Big outstanding question is whether the computer complements the advisor or replaces?
COMPUTER-GENERATED investment advice has gotten a lot of attention in the last few years. And for good reason. Many web-based services have given investors with smaller portfolios access to advice that they wouldn’t otherwise get. And because these services charge lower fees — no need to pay human advisers, after all — that can increase returns on investments that track indexes. But what has not been clear is what benefit, if any, these so-called robo advisers, which help investors with asset allocation and charge a relatively modest fee for the service, bring to high-net-worth investors. Suffice it to say there is little consensus. And that is probably fair: There are pluses and minuses among the three dominant ways to use technology in personal investing. Here’s a look at the three: