Incorporating Tech Solutions

Advisors Use Robo-Advice for Older and Wealthier Clients

Contrary to Popular Belief, Reality is Far Different from Perception

July 23, 2015, Louisville, KY – According to Jefferson National’s inaugural Advisor Authority study on innovative advisor behavior, Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and fee-based financial advisors who currently use robo-advice are employing the tools for both their wealthier and older client segments—contrary to popular belief.

General perceptions in the industry suggest that robo-advice would likely be used for younger clients with lower assets under management. In reality, 52% of advisors who currently use robo-advice report that they most often use it for clients with over $1 million in investable assets – and a full 20% say that they use it most often for clients with over $10 million in investable assets.

The study also found that 49% of early adopters use robo-advice for Boomer clients, and 49% also use robo for their younger Millennial clients, challenging the general perception that only younger clients would be more open to newer technologies.

“Our recent Advisor Authority study found that the most successful advisors—those who earn more and manage more assets—are forward thinkers and early adopters when it comes to using technology, including robo-advisors,” says Mitchell H. Caplan, CEO of Jefferson National.

“While there is no replacement for the value of holistic guided advice, our research demonstrates that this new generation of digital advisory solutions can be incorporated into a successful advisor’s practice to create greater efficiencies—and create more value for their clients. The most successful advisors understand that rather than a threat, robo-advisors are in fact an important part of a comprehensive offering.”

Awareness, Adoption Still Slow In Developing

Still, awareness is low and adoption is slow among advisors as a whole. The online survey of 535 RIAs and fee-based advisors nationwide, commissioned by Jefferson National and conducted in April by Harris Poll, found that adoption of robo-advice has been tepid at best.

Just 19% of advisors currently use any type of robo-advice. And, only 15% of the advisors who currently are not using robo-advisors are very likely to integrate this model into their practice in the next 12 months. Even advisors who are familiar with the robo-advice model are almost evenly divided on their outlook.

While 48% say robo-advisors do not pose a threat, 42% say robo-advisors do pose a threat. “It’s not a question of good or bad,” says Kenny Landgraf, President and Chief Investment Officer at Kenjol Capital Management and one of the advisors who participated in the Advisor Authority study. “You need to be a digital advisor, and robo-advice is one sleeve of that digital transformation. It can complement your practice. But it’s no replacement for holistic financial advice. As clients build more assets, as their situation becomes more complex, they will want to work with an advisor and draw on their wisdom. In the end, people still want to talk to people.”

The most successful advisors understand that rather than a threat, robo-advisors are in fact an important part of a comprehensive offering

Jefferson National’s first annual Advisor Authority study addresses many more of the advising, investing and practice management challenges confronting RIAs and fee-based advisors—and the innovative techniques that they need to succeed in today’s competitive market.

To download a copy of Advisor Authority, financial professionals can visit:

For more information, please contact Greg Hassel at 212-840-1661 or, or Deborah Newman at 502-587-3858 or



The Advisory Authority Survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Jefferson National from April 13 – April 24, 2015 using a sample from the Harris Poll Panel of Financial Advisors. Among the 535 Financial Advisors, there were 343 Independent Registered Investment Advisors and 192 Broker/Dealers. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys.
Because the sample is based on those who were invited to participate in the Harris Poll online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A complete survey method, including weighting variables, is available upon request.
About Harris Poll
Over the last 5 decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. Contact us for more information.
About Jefferson National
Jefferson National is a recognized innovator of a leading tax-advantaged investing platform for RIAs, fee-based advisors and the clients they serve. Trusted partner to a network of 3,000 advisors, Jefferson National provides greater efficiency, transparency and choice through an adaptable technology platform, award-winning distribution strategy and cost-effective servicing capabilities.
Named the industry “Gold Standard” and winner of more than 45 industry awards, including the DMA 2010 Financial Services Company of the Year. The company serves advisors and clients nationwide, through its subsidiaries Jefferson National Life Insurance Company and Jefferson National Life Insurance Company of New York.