Who will be the largest players in robo-advice? It's not who you are thinking--venture cap-funded firms like Betterment and Wealthfront, says Chip Roame, managing partner and founder of consulting and research firm Tiburon Strategic Advisors.
No, the biggest robos are destined to be Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments, TD Ameritrade and Vanguard, said Roame on Thursday during an American Bankers Association webinar on the future of wealth management.
“In five or 10 years, the biggest robo-advisors will be brands you have known for a long time. Few of the venture capital-backed start-ups will survive,” said Roame.
In any case, while financial advisors are generally saying they are not losing business to the robos, Roame said the value of human advisors is being eroded.
He noted that since the robo arms of firms such as Schwab and Vanguard offer fees of 25 basis points, advisors will be put on the defensive to explain why they charge four times as much.
He predicted all advisors will eventually have a form of online advice.
In another prediction, the research company leader said exchange-traded funds will gather more money in the next five years than mutual funds.
At $2 trillion, ETFs are already larger than hedge funds and index mutual funds, he pointed out.
Since ETFs will be winners in the next handful of years, Roame said liquid alternative funds offering hedge-fund like strategies and other alternative investments designed for the mass affluent are certain losers.
Liquid alternatives are overpriced and they underperform with excessive fees, he said.