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Robo-Advisor Performance Under Stress Called Into Question Following 'Brexit Day'

Robo-Advisor Performance Under Stress Called Into Question Following 'Brexit Day'
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According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal, automated investing service Betterment LLC halted platform trading on Friday to prevent clients from elevated market volatility due to Brexit.

Citi’s William R Katz said in a report that this action raised question about Robo’s ability to “navigate client communications/relations and volatility” amid tough market conditions.

Can Robos Handle Stress?

Although Betterment highlighted that the suspension was in the clients’ best interests, and not an issue with the overall model, the event “heightened focus” on how Robos perform during periods of stress.

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“To this point, the industry has grown with the backdrop of rising Equity and Fixed Income markets combined with little volatility. The next stage of growth could depend on Robos ability to outperform and provide customer satisfaction in down cycles, thus driving increased investor confidence in the model,” analyst William Katz wrote.

Robo Versus Advisor

Friday’s suspension of trading also retriggers the Robo versus Advisor debate — whether human intervention was necessary in the advice industry to protect clients when markets suffer severe losses.

“We do think Robo advice will continue to take share, given fee, demographic and regulatory dynamics; but, we continue to believe Robos will serve as a complementary offering to Advisors, not a replacement, with ‘Hybrid’ offerings garnering the most share,” Katz commented.

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