Three reasons future investors will continue to value human advice

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While artificial intelligence will make some tasks easier, we can’t underestimate the power of real-life interactions.

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Doug Guzman
Group Head, RBC Wealth Management & Insurance

You have investible assets and need a diversified plan. You want both a retirement plan and a strategy for your teenagers’ education fund. You’re in the market for a vacation home but you and your siblings are trying to settle a late parent’s estate. Would you feel comfortable discussing these complex scenarios with a robot?

There is much forecasting about the looming impact that artificial intelligence (AI) will have on almost every sector of the economy. In fact, an RBC research project, aptly titled Humans Wanted, analyzed the changing demand for Canadian skills, the impact of automation on work and the emerging needs for Canadian youth in the 2020s. It found that more than a quarter of Canadian jobs will be heavily disrupted by automation in the next decade as we move from a jobs economy to a skills economy. While some tasks can be completed more efficiently with robotic processing, there will always be a place for real-time, empathetic human advice, especially for high-net-worth investors. Here’s why:

1. Investment advisors already have “future ready” human skills

As automation permeates the workplace, certain skills will become table stakes – skills such as critical thinking, co-ordination, social perceptiveness, active listening and complex problem solving. While many workers will need to add these skills to their toolbox, advisors already have them and use them daily in their relationships with clients.

2. Life is more complex for everyone

The general population is, on average, living longer, and many will retire before they settle their parents’ estates. Investors will need more complex, holistic and thoughtful advice than ever before. While AI may be able to do simple tasks faster than humans, it can’t respond to the changing needs of investors as they move through various life changes and events. Human advisors can help deal with the financial implications of major life events such as illness or divorce. They can also help investors understand trade-offs when pursuing multiple, competing financial goals.

3. People want to know that somebody “gets” them

We all want to work with someone who understands our needs and provides bespoke advice that’s tailor-made for us. If we are unsure or emotional about a financial decision, we want a calm and trusted partner who can offer a different perspective. A human advisor can listen with empathy, help investors understand the ramifications of emotion-based decision-making, and encourage longer term planning to protect their financial future.

The value of personalized advice and the strength of relationships will always be the biggest part of our business. The tools enabled by our advancing technological capabilities will simply free up more time to focus on those meaningful interactions. Sounds like a win-win to me.


RBC Wealth Management is a business segment of Royal Bank of Canada. Please click the “Legal” link at the bottom of this page for further information on the entities that are member companies of RBC Wealth Management. The content in this publication is provided for general information only and is not intended to provide any advice or endorse/recommend the content contained in the publication.

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Doug Guzman

Group Head, RBC Wealth Management & Insurance

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