Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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It is not surprising that the investing public seeks accessible, low-cost, and reliable advice. This chapter discusses how digital, or robo-advisors have triggered a dramatic upheaval in how investment advice is formulated, delivered, and applied on an ongoing basis to actively managed retail investment accounts. The availability of digital advice is promoting the important policy objective of expanding access to retirement advice to a growing segment of underserved and undersaved Americans. In addition to discussing the socio-economic and technological factors that accelerating the growth of digital investment advisors, the chapter also discusses how such advisors fit within the existing legal and regulatory framework governing retail investment activities. It concludes with a look ahead anticipating how digital advice will continue to disrupt the financial services industry.


The published version of this working paper may be found in the 2019 publication: The Disruptive Impact of FinTech on Retirement Systems.


Financial advisory, investing, investment advice, fiduciary, fiduciary regulation, robo-advisor

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author(s) and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2018 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 30 January 2019