Will Robo 2.0 spell the end for DFMs?

Following my recent blog looking at Robo 2.0 and whether advice professionals should be worried about automated advice, I’m now focusing on a recent article in Citywire Wealth Manager which put the spotlight on DFMs.

The article asked four advisers if the evolution of automated advice is likely to mean they stop using a DFM. You can read the full article here.

Thankfully, the conclusion of all four was that they get far more value from their relationship with a DFM than simply having access to investment portfolios.

People power

The key benefit to the advisers in the article was the interaction they have with the investment experts at the DFM and the comfort of knowing they have a qualified team that is focused on dealing with investments day in and day out.

It’s something we know our own adviser partners value. They can (and regularly do) pick up the phone to our team to pick their brains on investment choices, ask for help with specific issues relating to clients’ needs and generally use us as a specialist department within their own firm. This is exactly how we like it.

Interacting with our partners is an essential part of the service we offer. Listening to the challenges they face means we are always thinking about how to provide solutions and innovations that help them deliver better client outcomes.

Value for money

Feedback from our adviser partners is that they regard the service we provide as value for money. Our team is:

  •  Highly qualified – qualifications that are complex to achieve and take time and commitment to attain. Their qualifications range from actuaries to asset managers to central banks to rocket scientists. This breadth of experience and perspective is crucial when dealing with volatile markets
  • 100% focused on investment – the reason they get out of bed in the morning is to ensure the investment portfolios are doing what we promise. If they need tweaking, they tweak them. If they see opportunities for the portfolios to do better, they change them. If world events threaten negative impacts, they take a measured view on what should be done. They don’t react, they respond – their decisions are driven by data, knowledge and experience. Like the clients they serve, they are in it for the long-term. Above all, they take pride in their work.


Everything has a place

No doubt automated investment services will continue to evolve and there is a place for them. But I believe there will always be a place for specialist investment managers to work alongside financial planners.

Financial planners have a huge job to do, with investment being just one of many elements. It may be a fundamental one but partnering with a DFM means advice firms can focus on the bigger picture for a larger number of clients while being safe in the knowledge the investment side is being well looked after.