RBC is On a Robo ‘Journey’

  • Diana Asatryan
  • March 31, 2017
  • 0

Automation of investment advice has gained enough momentum for even the “non-disruptors” to get involved.

So what’s the best strategy for deploying this new technology? Royal Bank of Canada makes a case for build vs buy with its new digital advisory tool.

The bank piloted MyAdvisor this week with 500 of its customers in Canada. The tool connects clients to advisors online or on mobile, giving both parties access to a client’s dashboard. The dashboard contains users’ savings and investment goals, allowing for real-time adjustments for achieving those goals.

For now, there are four wealth management specialists assisting the customers. RBC will roll out the free tool for its customers in July, pulling in 8,000 advisors across Canada by year end, Michael Walker, head of mutual funds distribution and RBC financial planning, told Bank Innovation.

“We wanted to launch a perfect marriage between a human and what digital can provide,” he said. “The tool automatically creates the dashboard, with the interactive toolkit, and video chat capabilities. But we found that our clients really want and appreciate the relationship and advice from specialists.”

MyAdvisor will be further automated in the future, but the human element will remain key to RBC’s wealth management operation. The tool was developed and built in RBC’s Toronto-based innovation lab.

“We searched to make sure we are leveraging all the best tech out there,” Walker explained. “But the challenge of purchasing and whitelabeling a solution is that, in some regards, you are giving up owning the end to end client experience. Yes, we would use some of the components from outside, but we felt strongly about innovating and creating the experience.”

The point wasn’t just around deploying the actual product, according to Walker; it was also around the creation process itself. “We definitely leveraged our RBC innovation labs, and created a whole culture around innovation. It was almost a startup mentality on how to approach the production process,” he added. “With this innovation process already in place, we are now able to bring new features to this tool every two weeks,” which wouldn’t be possible if the bank had acquired the technology, instead of building it, Walker said.

RBC is on a “journey” with MyAdvisor features, planning to add more automation and AI around observing investment and saving patterns, as well as provide more executive advice, based on key market triggers and life events.

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