Man In The Machine
Updated: Dec 22, 2021
How UX Is Returning the Human to AI Portfolio Automation.
The Technology Dilemma
No matter who you are or what industry you happen to be a part of, chances are you have something of an uneasy relationship with technology. As tech sectors advance and bring incredible innovations, we also feel the icy chill of a life that’s becoming more automated. And while these automations are undoubtedly helpful at large, they come with a cost.
A human cost.
For those of us in the cross-section of the financial and technology world, this tension is immensely real. We’ve watched the industry be revolutionized by tech advancements while at the same time be decimated by the advent of automated services. It used to be that the biggest threat to an RIA was that a client might choose a different advisor. Now the most significant threat is becoming what if the client doesn’t choose an advisor at all? What if instead of trusting a flesh and blood expert, ANY expert, they decide to trust themselves…themselves with a Robo-advisor in-hand, that is.
And so the duality, once again, is created: we need technology to make us better and more competitive, while technology at the same time contributes to some kind of pitfall.
This is the dilemma that we at UX are trying to solve — how do we return, not replace, the human in technology?
We believe we’ve found the answer.
The Two "AI" Problems
Let’s highlight a simple example:
You, an RIA, need portfolio management. Unless you’re somehow drowning in time, you will automate your portfolio management because, quite frankly, there aren’t enough hours in the day for you to build and constantly manage individual client portfolios. You’ll pick an automated portfolio manager, take its suggestions, pass them on to your client, and keep your head down.
But the problem here is two-fold:
most RIAs are getting their portfolio management from the same handful of sources. There’s little to no differentiation — because that’s often the business of automation.
The automation isn’t trying to think uniquely — it’s trying to automate. Your clients aren’t getting unique insights; they’re getting the same insights as everyone else. The technology can’t see how unique your clients are. This leads to the second issue…
YOU have no discernable edge over your competition.
A lot of RIA’s we talk to feel less than formidable. And that’s not a surprise. Many see themselves with less time, less clients, less staff, and less capacity than their competitors. Notice I didn’t say less intelligence or less ability? The issue isn’t that RIAs aren’t capable; it’s that when you use the same portfolio automation as your competitors, your capacity gets nullified.
The technology can’t see how unique you are.
Here lie the two problems that we have to resolve: Technology doesn’t understand your clients’ unique requirements, and the technology doesn’t understand your unique expertise and capacity. In both places, it has cut the human out in favor of its own automation.
The last issue here is that the ones who mainly benefit from the current portfolio automation system are the lazy investment managers who hope no one catches on to their apathy.
The RIA who wants to do some good, is working hard, and needs the leg up? They lose in the end because even though they ARE different, they AREN’T using a different system. One that relies upon them to make it work, as opposed to the technology.
Putting the "I" Back In Intelligence
Now, to be sure, we’re not arguing against automation technology. Technology gives our clients the ability to grow by leaps and bounds and to stand head and shoulders above the competition by providing insights that no one else has. For context, here are two startling facts:
-90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years.
-85% of large-cap funds underperformed the S&P 500 over the last 10 years.
When you take the scope of data, mixed with the probability, and add in the historical propensity for underperformance, what you arrive at is the need for a game-changing piece of technology.
Because technology can, by and large, change the possibilities.
But when that technology works devoid of the human beings on the other end of it, when it discounts the RIA and their client, and when it provides nothing that’s differentiated from other technology — then there’s a limit to how valuable that AI will be. For everyone, but especially for the smaller RIA.
That’s why at UX, we’re returning the human to the AI. By advancing technology that relies on a unique AI learning algorithm and AI pattern matching, we don’t just create better portfolios for your clients. We combine the ability to identify near-future market states and leverage the information to meet your clients’ individual needs.
And by providing technology that’s easy to use and yields better results, we’re helping you use your skills and expertise to manage the AI’s suggestions, differentiating you in the market by allowing you to take our best suggestions and create better portfolios with them.