We asked 8 wealth management execs to predict the future of roboadvisers, human advice, fees, and more. Here are the full responses to our survey.


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  • Business Insider is polling experts around Wall Street to learn what finance, investing, and more will look like in 2030. 
  • Business Insider asked top executives and at wealth and brokerage firms — UBS, Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, Betterment, Wealthfront, BNY Mellon, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab — to predict what the business, already fast-evolving, will look like in a decade.
  • We asked them about technology, the financial adviser of the future, and industry consolidation. You can read their full responses to our survey below. 
  • Visit BI Prime for more wealth management stories, and click here to read an abridged version of this wide-reaching survey.

In recent weeks, we asked executives and at wealth firms  to examine what shape the business, already fast-evolving, may take in the year 2030.

We heard from top execs at UBS, Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, Betterment, Wealthfront, BNY Mellon, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab. We polled them about technology, what the typical financial adviser will be like a decade from now, and consolidation across business segments, and printed their responses here in full. 

The participants, who range from leaders at wirehouses to robo-advisers, were overwhelmingly upbeat on the potential for artificial intelligence in the industry. 

And while they were somewhat split on the direction of fees for advisory services and other offerings, the group was mostly in agreement that the industry would see consolidation in their respective segment of the market.  

Here are all of the participants’ responses to our five questions, listed in alphabetical order by firm or unit name. The first three questions were posed as short-answer, and the remaining two were posed as multiple-choice with the opportunity to add additional commentary.

What kind of wealth-tech will be ubiquitous in 2030 — and what may be phased out?

Jon Stein, chief executive of Betterment:

By 2030, consumers will be using a platform that not only intelligently manages their investments, but also incorporates their ongoing cash management into their advice and automation. You won’t have to think about how much money you should keep in your checking or savings accounts. You shouldn’t have to think about which account to pay your bills out of.

We’ll automate your entire financial life so you can spend more of your time doing the things that actually make you happy. As a result, we would expect to see things like budgeting tools and programs phased out.

Ben McGloin, head of advice, planning, and fiduciary services at BNY Mellon Wealth Management: 

With the proliferation of artificial intelligence and cloud computing, many investment management processes currently implemented by advisers will likely be fully automated using algorithms and machine learning to offer implementation with limited adviser intervention, e.g. investment research; asset allocation; portfolio rebalancing. 

These adviser tools will not only ensure improved and more consistent outcomes for clients, but will also allow advisers to manage more clients and spend more time with them.

Bernie Clark, head of adviser services at Charles Schwab: 

By 2030, we expect that advisers will be using data and predictive analytics more prominently to help inform their client service experience.

Advisers will have better insight into what their clients care about, and how they can best support their goals.

As far as what might be phased out  by 2030 — we could see the phasing out of any technology that doesn’t enable or enhance an advisers’ relationship with their clients.

Danielle Fava, director of innovation at TD Ameritrade Institutional:

Innovations are coming at us fast and from every direction, so it’s difficult to say what will catch on and what will fade away. What I do know is client expectations about how they receive financial advice have changed, and it’s not just Millennials or Gen Z. It’s fascinating to see how technology advances every field are finding new applications in financial services.

A decade from now, one of the hottest trends in technology should be commonplace among advisory firms: voice-enabled search combined with machine learning. Adoption of smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home is expected to be faster than for any other consumer device, including the smartphone, as consumers grow more comfortable making trades and checking their account information without clicks and taps.

Likewise, virtual assistants powered by A.I. help us deliver the right answer on demand at all hours of the day to clients using a range of new communications channels, including instant messaging and bots embedded in social media.

And while video conferencing is already popular, in 10 years I expect we will be leveraging augmented reality (AR) and holograms to speak with far–flung clients whenever and wherever they may be, and still enjoy the intimacy of a face-to-face meeting.

A.I. and machine learning can also help advisors glean actionable insights from written and voice conversations, including the sentiment of clients even if they don’t give voice to their feelings.

By 2030, we should expect that AI will be able to help advisers provide their clients with extreme personalization in everything from how and when they communicate all the way to investments.

TD Ameritrade’s Model Market Center is already well-positioned to support customized investments by providing an open architecture platform to support ideas from any manager. 

Jason Chandler, head of US wealth management USA at UBS Global Wealth Management: 

I think some of the biggest change we’ll see in the decade ahead will be in two areas: communications and data.

First, rapid innovation and shifting client preferences mean that there will be an increased need for flexibility in how advisers communicate with and serve their clients. Second, data will continue to be an integral component in providing clients the best advice.

Advisers empowered by advanced analytics for prospecting, advising, and communicating will be more productive and more effective. What we know for certain is that, as technology evolves, the value of trusted advice will become an even more important piece of the adviser-client relationship.

Andy Rachleff, chief executive of Wealthfront: 

In 2030, automation will be ubiquitous among young professionals who need help managing their money. Despite spending over half a trillion dollars a year on technology, traditional banks in the US have not been successful at building software.

Their core competency is delivering service through retail branches, not mobile apps. By our estimate, that puts about 50 million customers at risk of leaving their banks.

We’ll see this migration from traditional banks to mobile based next-gen banking services take place over the next 10 years. 

Jim Hays, president and head of Wells Fargo Advisors: 

More sophisticated, predictive analytics built on artificial intelligence and paired with natural language recognition will make investment choices easier. As investment choices become commoditized through those analytics, the value proposition for financial advisers will evolve.

An algorithm can recommend a stock, but a financial professional can help clients understand and plan for life goals and move through the emotional side of investing. That personal interaction between advisors and clients will be driven more by digital collaboration as video becomes the norm.

Regarding what will go away, ID and password authentication will phase out as we move to more secure biometric and more sophisticated authentication. Commission trades will likely become outdated.

Analysts expect a wave of adviser retirements between now and 2030, and a portion of wealth managers think their jobs will no longer exist in five to ten years. As the industry evolves, how will the job description for the wealth manager/financial adviser of 2030 have changed from the manager/adviser of 2019?

Jon Stein, chief executive of Betterment:

We are already seeing a shift. Historically, having an adviser or wealth manager most often meant portfolio manager.

Technology has significantly reduced the lift required to properly manage a sophisticated portfolio. Advisers are increasingly prioritizing financial planning and coaching to provide their clients with value.

Ben McGloin, head of advice, planning, and fiduciary services at BNY Mellon Wealth Management: 

Successful advisers will need to demonstrate that they can add value beyond the computing capability of algorithms.  In order to navigate the short and long term wealth management challenges that certainly lay ahead, advisers will need to ensure that their clients have a comprehensive wealth plan that goes beyond just managing their investments.

The comprehensive advice and support they will need to provide should be designed to empower their clients to stay focused on what’s important to them and confidently navigate the unpredictable and unexpected.

Advisers will need to leverage advisory tools to work closely with their clients to help to ensure that the advice they provide and the practical strategies they recommend are in tune with their clients’ preferences and provide for the future they want for themselves and their families. This is not a formula likely solved by algorithms; it’s a personalized plan for growing and sustaining real-life wealth.

Bernie Clark, head of adviser services at Charles Schwab: 

We’re already seeing the evolution of the role of adviser, moving away from traditional wealth management and toward something that looks more like a life management.

High-net-worth investors that independent advisers serve seek the kind of counsel that goes beyond managing their wealth. They want estate and tax planning, help with inheritance planning, even property management.

Advisers are increasingly providing these services as part of the deepening relationships they have with their clients.

Andy Sieg, president of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management:

Rather than become extinct, I think we’re moving into a golden era for advisers. They’ll be central to a broader relationship that extends beyond investing to include serving the comprehensive needs of their clients.

Research shows that clients increasingly want financial services delivered in one place for the convenience and quality of advice it allows for. The adviser of the future needs to be able to offer highly personal service, enhanced by a digital experience, and advice that takes into account more of their clients’ financial lives.

What’s more, today approximately 80% of our advisers are on teams. By 2030 essentially all of our advisers will likely be part of a team. 

Danielle Fava, director of innovation at TD Ameritrade Institutional:

For years, we’ve told advisers that technology can make their firms more efficient and give them more time to focus on building deeper, more meaningful relationships. By raising their tech game, advisers can meet the rising demands of a society accustomed to anywhere, anytime convenience.

But at the end of the day, we believe investors will still want to form ongoing relationships with trusted advisers who provide personalized, sophisticated wealth management.

Yes, most of the investment selection and portfolio allocation work advisors have done traditionally is being commoditized by technology, but that frees up more time for the advisor to go deeper: estate planning, tax planning and expert guidance on a whole range of financial decisions — career planning, college and family planning, long-term health and care planning — all well outside of the securities markets.

And based on all of the technology advances we are seeing, the adviser of the future needs to be comfortable adopting and incorporating the latest innovations into their practices. We don’t see adviser jobs going away. Just the opposite.

Demand is rising and so there is an opportunity — and an urgent need — for our industry to work together and attract a new generation talent by raising the profile of financial planning on campuses and encouraging RIAs to seek out young professionals to help sustain the industry’s great success over the past few decades.

Jason Chandler, head of US wealth management USA at UBS Global Wealth Management: 

I don’t think the job description will change that drastically for a wealth manager or financial adviser because our value proposition is incredibly durable.

We provide customized and nuanced advice that helps our clients improve their lives and create legacies that matter.

Digitalization and evolving industry dynamics will certainly impact how we do business, but the value of the advice that financial advisers provide to clients will endure.

Andy Rachleff, chief executive of Wealthfront: 

The evolution of financial advisers will look a lot like that of travel agents. They will be forced to go up market serving older, wealthier clients who value in-person interaction.

The young professionals of today will continue to employ more and more automation and mobile-based services to help them manage their money over the next 10 years and beyond. 

Jim Hays, president and head of Wells Fargo Advisors: 

Regardless of how technology evolves, the financial adviser field is grounded in relationships. That being said, the predominance of technology and its impact on the financial advice industry can’t be understated.

As we move forward and the average adviser age lowers from the current industry average of 51-plus, advisers must embrace tech changes as an ever-evolving way to connect with and advise a diverse population.

The need for customized, personal advice on how to reach life goals won’t change. But how advisers connect to deliver that advice will change.

How will robo-advisers and the broader theme of self-directed investments impact the financial markets in 2030?

Jon Stein, chief executive of Betterment:

It has never been easier or cheaper to invest in a high-quality, diversified portfolio paired with fiduciary advice.

We should anticipate that by 2030 we will see millions of Americans’ outcomes improve by a reduction in their investing fees, greater access to quality funds and the elimination of the minimum to start investing. Betterment does not have a minimum.

Ben McGloin, head of advice, planning, and fiduciary services at BNY Mellon Wealth Management: 

Broader participation, likely creating more volatility during times of market uncertainty or volatility.

Bernie Clark, head of adviser services at Charles Schwab: 

Ten years from now, the biggest impact will likely be, simply, more access to the markets, which means more people investing, which has been a fundamental guiding principle at Schwab since Chuck founded the firm.

Solutions like these provide greater access to investing than ever before and we hope to see more people investing in their future than ever before by 2030.

Jason Chandler, head of US wealth management USA at UBS Global Wealth Management: 

New technology has certainly introduced great tools and different ways for clients to understand their financial lives and planning.

We’ve seen through our partnership with SigFig that our UBS Advice Advantage offering has been very popular with mass- and emerging-affluent clients, which is the segment that I think will leverage this service model the most.

As a client’s wealth increases, however, their needs grow more complex and the sophistication of the advice they require is something that can only be delivered through a human interaction and relationship.

Andy Rachleff, chief executive of Wealthfront: 

Automated investment management will be one of many low cost, value-added services offered by next-gen banking services. Direct-to-consumer fintechs that do not successfully evolve into trusted financial hubs won’t survive until 2030.

Jim Hays, president and head of Wells Fargo Advisors: 

Robo-advisers are here to stay and I believe they are a positive enhancement for our industry.

Digital access to investment portfolios allow a broader segment of people access to early investing. Robo platforms will continue to evolve and provide more sophisticated investing strategies within increasingly easy-to-navigate apps.

Additionally, through Wells Fargo Advisors’ Intuitive Investor, we’ve found users actually prefer a hybrid model — pairing powerful portfolios with advice from financial advisers.

We believe that will be more of the norm moving forward, with some facet of embedding that access to personal advice inside the technology.

Self-directed investments will continue to appeal to some and enhanced platforms and offerings will likely make self-directed investing even more user-friendly in the future.

The key to moving forward successfully is to provide the right array choices to investors: from completely self-directed investing, to a hybrid model like Intuitive Investor, along with full-service advice.

Will the wealth management industry consolidate in your firm’s segment over the next decade?

Jon Stein, chief executive of Betterment:


Ben McGloin, head of advice, planning, and fiduciary services at BNY Mellon Wealth Management: 


Bernie Clark, head of adviser services at Charles Schwab: 

We’ll continue to see some degree of consolidation in the independent space, which we see as more of a continuation of a trend than the beginning of one. We’ve seen a number of large, so-called ‘national’ firms continue their purpose-built acquisition strategy to achieve scale and a nationwide footprint.

From a purely statistical standpoint, the number of M&A deals we see year over year remains relatively small as a percentage of the industry at large.

Danielle Fava, director of innovation at TD Ameritrade Institutional:

Yes, clearly. The RIA segment over the past two years has been in the midst of a historic wave of consolidation, as a number of private equity investors and larger firms set their sights on building nationwide RIA companies.

According to FA Insight research, 2018 was a record year for adviser-led deals, and based on what you see in the papers each week, we are on pace for a new high in deals this year.

Consolidation is sweeping every corner of the business, from independent broker dealers and banks to, as everyone know by now, online brokers and custodians.

Jason Chandler, head of US wealth management USA at UBS Global Wealth Management: 

Yes. A trend we are seeing is that clients prefer to get most of their advice at one firm — whether that be investment management, financial planning, lending, structured products, etc. — which will likely lead to greater consolidation across banks and wealth management firms.

With that being said, I am extremely energized and optimistic about the future of our industry and our business model.

Andy Rachleff, chief executive of Wealthfront: 


Jim Hays, president and head of Wells Fargo Advisors: 

Yes. I believe the current wave of industry consolidation is a consequence of several possible factors.

It may be a matter of scale — being able to compete and offer a vast array of client services is becoming table-stakes as client needs and complexity grow.

Those consolidating may not have a value proposition that is powerful enough for attracting either financial advisers or clients. Additionally, the regulatory environment is likely driving the need to consolidate.

Essentially, if a firm doesn’t have critical mass, it can be very challenging to be successful. Clients expect an integrated, unified experience across all their finances. Smaller firms may not have the scale and security to deliver as client needs change.

Are fees for managing wealth going to fall further by 2030?

Jon Stein, chief executive of Betterment:


Ben McGloin, head of advice, planning, and fiduciary services at BNY Mellon Wealth Management: 

Yes. Investment fees will continue to fall, while advisory fees will likely fall at a slower rate.

Bernie Clark, head of adviser services at Charles Schwab: 

What the independent adviser space is experiencing is less of a reduction in fees than it is a compression of margins. That is, advisers are offering more services to their clients within their existing fee structure to continually build on the value proposition they offer clients.

We believe the level of service and the approach to high-touch relationships will continue to be a differentiator in financial services for independent advisers.

Danielle Fava, director of innovation at TD Ameritrade Institutional:

Adviser fees are not going to fall further, but they will evolve far beyond ‘wealth management’ fees. Our FA Insight research shows that adviser pricing has been holding steady, even in the face of fintech start-ups offering to manage investments for pennies — or for free.

The challenge has been that independent advisers have been offering more and more services for the same fee. We encourage advisers to take a closer look at their pricing to make sure they are getting duly compensated for all the expertise and guidance they provide, not to mention the comfort of a trusted, fiduciary relationship.

Different pricing approaches, like a minimum fee, can help protect firm revenues in a down market, while subscription pricing can help RIAs profitably serve a broader demographic of clients who are still building wealth.

Jason Chandler, head of US wealth management USA at UBS Global Wealth Management: 

Yes. Fees for brokerage trading and fees for single asset allocations will likely continue to fall over the next few years.

This fee compression only reinforces where the true value will be for a financial adviser – which is to provide unique and tailored advice to their clients for their short, medium, and long-term needs.

Andy Rachleff, chief executive of Wealthfront: 


Jim Hays, president and head of Wells Fargo Advisors: 

Not necessarily. While certain types of transaction fees may move downward, it’s short-sighted to discount the value a financial adviser brings to a client.

The types of services that financial advisers provide will evolve as technology built on machine- learning could commoditize investment options and choices at some point.

A financial adviser’s inherent value will become the 360-degree view of a client’s financial life tied to their personal goals and helping clients reach those life goals. The companies that can help clients with more aspects of their financial lives will be the most valuable.

Will that mean that we charge differently for a different type of service? Very possibly.