Advisor Intelligence

Advisors Risk of Being Replaced by Robots

There’s a 58 percent chance that financial advisors will be “bot-sourced,” that their jobs will be replaced by a robot or computer, according to a recent Oxford study.

LPL Financial’s chief investment officer Burt White on Tuesday referenced findings from a September 2013 study titled “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization.” Overall, the study found that about 47 percent of total U.S. jobs are susceptible to computerization. 

Jobs with the best chance of survival are those that employ creativity, require dexterity (human touch) and center around assisting & caring for others. “We know nobody cares for humans better than another human,” White said. 

But looking at these factors, White argues that the study gets it wrong in its conclusion that there’s a 58 percent chance advisors will be displaced by computers. “This is where the study gets it wrong. What [advisors] are all about is caring, and feeling and wonderful relationships with others,” he says. 

While the advisory business is definitely at risk according to the study, other industries are even more susceptible, according to the study. White told attendees of the LPL Focus Conference that telemarketers have a 99 percent chance of being replaced by computers, while barbers have an 80 percent chance. 

That doesn’t mean that in 10 years, half the population will be unemployed because computers took their jobs, White says. Instead, like the farmers who migrated to jobs at factories during the Industrial Revolution, people today will find new jobs created through innovation. “It is the unskilled jobs that will be ‘bot-sourced’ and the skilled jobs will be more in demand than ever before,” White says. 

“This will be our biggest and most significant social and economic issue that we’ll have to deal with over the next 10 years.”

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