Financial Advice With Technology and Automation

A question we commonly get at SWS Partners is whether we staff our business differently because of our aggressive adoption of automation.

The short answer is, yes.

By emphasizing the use of technology and automation, we can spend more time advising clients as opposed to spending time helping them to understand what is happening in their portfolio. Therefore, we have scaled our staff around those who can support our advice model, rather than an administrative or operational emphasis.


We believe that embracing technology has help us cut the fat, so to speak, and allows our clients to pay for what is of value to their financial well-being, and nothing more. As margins continue to erode in the financial services industry, we think this type of business structure will allow SWS Partners to set itself apart in terms of what we are able to deliver for our clients.

The idea of cutting the fat means that we are unlikely to ever be faced with a choice of hiring for operational or administrative positions instead of another professional that can provide financial advice. After all, our value is in our advice.

What we have found is that clients, regardless of their age or station in life are looking to get their questions answered, regardless of what that question may be, by the most qualified person to do it. That may mean working with an advisor with twenty years of experience on complex issues related to multi-generational planning or getting retirement planning advice from our twenty-something financial planner when that meets their needs.

As Dr. Michael Finke, a noted expert in behavioral finance recently pointed out, “[a]t some point, we demand an empathic human who is compassionate and capable of coming up with solutions that account for our emotional and our quantitative needs. Research even shows that we prefer getting an imperfect recommendation from a human doctor to the perfect recommendation from an algorithm.” So while the key may still be age, it’s not necessarily for the reasons one may think.

Our clients, both existing and new, find comfort in the fact the average age of our firm is 37. This is important when you consider a 2014 Cerulli report, which found that 43% of advisors are older than 55 and nearly one-third of all advisors fall into the 55 to 64 age range. So while we may not staff our automated platform with millennials, we do understand that it is comforting to our clients and prospective clients that we are young enough to remain viable for the foreseeable future.

After all, SWS Partners intends to be here for the current generation, and when the next generation comes.