FA Magazine March 2023 - Page 14


Can ChatGPT Replace Advisors ?

Can a chatbot like ChatGPT take the place of advisors ?

Just recently , the new AI complex-learning model passed part of the Wharton MBA exam , answered U . S . medical licensing exam questions with a passing grade and scored a 50 out of 95 on the multistate bar exam .
So it ’ s probably just a matter of time before ChatGPT , developed by San Francisco-based OpenAI and still in its infancy , is able to provide investors with more comprehensive financial planning and investment advice , a panel of broker-dealer CEOs admitted in late January at the FSI OneVoice conference in Palm Desert , Calif .
“ ChatGPT just passed the bar exam , so how long before it is able to get a Series 7 ?” asked Amy Webber , CEO of Cambridge Investment Research Inc .
FSI President and CEO Dale Brown moderated the “ Re-energizing for the Long Run ” panel of CEOs , which included Doug Ketterer , CEO and founding partner of
“ ChatGPT just passed the bar exam , so how long before it is able to get a Series 7 ?” asked Amy Webber , CEO of Cambridge Investment Research Inc .
Atria Wealth Solutions , and Tim Stinson , president of Cetera Advisor Networks . ( Ketterer , Stinson and Webber are all FSI board members .)
“ I don ’ t believe that the vast majority of investors are going to suddenly decide they just want to do business with an algorithm , but it gives the industry something to worry about ,” said Webber , whose firm generated $ 1.5 billion in revenues in 2022 , 88 % through recurring fees .
Rather than worrying that artificial intelligence will replace advisors , the industry has to be able to develop its own AI to allow advisors to maximize their time and profitability instead of handling too many time-intensive tasks manually , she said .
“ AI has to work and have the impact that we expect it to have . We ’ ll have to do more with less for the advisor . We need to enable them to provide advice in a human way ,” she stressed .
Creating tech efficiency will become an even greater imperative if the industry can ’ t replace all or some of the 40 % of advisors that are earmarked to retire in the next decade , she added .
Ketterer said he doesn ’ t think the industry has to worry about losing business to a chatbot immediately .
“ I don ’ t think we ’ ll lose clients and revenues in the next five years . I think most clients want to work with advisors , but this is definitely on the horizon ,” said Ketterer , whose firm Atria Wealth Solutions generated $ 600 billion in 2022 and is “ 50-50 managed money and traditional brokerage , three-quarters annuitized .”
“ In a prior life , I got a call from an advisor who said , ‘ Why don ’ t we have a robo-advisor ? I just lost two $ 50 million clients to a robo-advisor .’
“ I said to him , ‘ The question is not why don ’ t we have a robo-advisor , but how are you servicing these clients that you ’ re losing them to a robo-advisor ?’ By the way , the robo-advisor is not around anymore ,” Ketterer said .
Webber said the real threat is that many dually registered advisors are still transactional and not providing comprehensive financial planning . Some “ 83 % of clients want a comprehensive financial plan , but apparently clients don ’ t think their advisors are doing that ,” she added , citing a 2022 J . D . Power survey of 4,396 investors who work directly with a dedicated financial advisor or team of advisors .
Stinson , whose firm Cetera Advisor Networks generated $ 1.2 billion in revenue in 2022 , 60 % of it transactional , said “ technology for us is not a replacement for a person , it ’ s an enabler . How do you get there ? It starts with the right platform and enabling the advisor .”
To help advisors who work with Cetera evolve , the firm recently created a mobile application for client use and continues morphing its legacy system “ into a wealth hub that integrates wealth and investment management , planning tools and succession strategies in a centralized state to support human capital ,” Stinson added .
— Tracey Longo