The Covid-19 market crisis was the first big test for robo-advisors, and judging from a Dalbar study comparing insights between investors with robo-advisors to those with traditional financial advisors, they scored more than a passing grade.

Investors between the ages of 31 to 45 had the greatest satisfaction with their advisor. That represented 46% of traditional investors and 69% robo-investors. Traditional investors ages 46 to 75 had relatively low satisfaction ratings with their advisor, according to the Investor Insights: COVID-19 and Robo-Advice study.

“They came out looking pretty good in this particular instance, there is no doubt about that,” said Cory Clark, chief marketing officer at DALBAR, a Massachusetts-based company that evaluates, audits and rates business practices and service in the financial community.

Robo-investors, he said, were satisfied with their experience during the crisis and they seem to be happy where they are.

The study examined the experiences of 500 investors who worked with a traditional advisor and 500 who engaged with a robo-advisor in 2020.

Clark said it was apparent even before cross-referencing the data that satisfaction was high for both traditional and robo-advisors during the crisis, but it was obvious that robo-investors reported greater overall satisfaction.

The study revealed that more than half (55%) of robo-investors said that confidence in their advisor increased significantly during the crisis and 47% said the same for trust. That compared to 28% of traditional investors who said their confidence in their advisor increased and 29% who said they gained trust in their advisor.

Most robo-investors (90%) said their account balance grew thanks to help from their advisor, compared to 75% of traditional investors who said the same.

“When you consider the profile of the average robo-investor, along with the fact that most believe their account balance is higher today because of the help of their robo-advisor, it makes sense that trust and confidence would surge as a result,” Clark said.

The study also showed that while both types of investors indicated they are more likely to stick with their advisor following the Covid-19 market crisis, robo-investors reported a greater likelihood (92% versus 82%) of retaining their advisor.

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