Are Robo-Advisors Worth It?

Are Robo-Advisors Worth It?

Robo-advisors can be worth it for certain investors, depending on their needs, preferences, and financial situation.

As technology transforms every aspect of our lives, it’s no surprise that the financial industry has undergone significant changes as well. Robo-advisors emerge now as a popular choice for individuals seeking financial advice and investment management. But are they the right path to financial security and preparedness in Australia’s ever-evolving financial landscape? In this article, we’ll explore the mechanics of robo-advisors and weigh their advantages and disadvantages in the context of the current Australian market.

Understanding Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors are automated, algorithm-based platforms designed to provide financial advice and investment management services with minimal human intervention.

When you sign up with a robo-advisor, you often go through an online questionnaire. This questionnaire gathers information about your financial goals, risk tolerance, investment horizon, and current financial situation. The responses help determine an investment strategy that aligns with your unique circumstances.

Using the information from the client assessment, the robo-advisor’s algorithms create a diversified investment portfolio. This portfolio often includes a mix of stocks, bonds, and other assets tailored to your risk profile and objectives.

Once your portfolio is established, the robo-advisor continuously monitors your investments. When necessary, it automatically balances your portfolio to maintain the desired asset allocation. Additionally, it may make tax-efficient investment decisions.

Robo-advisors are known for their cost-efficiency. They often charge lower fees than traditional human financial advisors, making them an attractive option for cost-conscious investors. Writing for Forbes Australia, Prashant Mehra stated a robo-advisor’s processing fee may range from 0.05 per cent to 0.5 per cent of an investor’s account balance.

Robo-advisors are accessible 24/7 through online platforms or mobile apps. This accessibility allows investors to monitor their portfolios and make adjustments at their convenience.

Advantages of Robo-Advisors

Some proponents of automated finance services have highlighted robo-advisors for a number of reasons.


Robo-advisors are available to anyone who has an internet connection. You don’t need a significant amount of wealth to get started. This accessibility democratises investing, allowing more people to benefit from professional portfolio management.


Australia has a relatively high cost of living, and traditional financial advisors often charge significant fees. Robo-advisors may offer a cost-effective alternative, making professional investment management more accessible.


Robo-advisors supposedly excel at creating well-diversified portfolios. They use modern portfolio theory to optimise asset allocation, reducing risk by spreading investments across various asset classes. Diversification can help protect your investments during market volatility.


Robo-advisors are known for their transparency. Clients can easily see how their portfolios are allocated, what fees they’re paying, and how their investments are performing. This level of transparency nurtures trust and enables investors to make well-informed decisions.

Disadvantages of Robo-Advisors

Where there are purported advantages to robo-advisory services, there are also counterpoints.

Limited Human Interaction

While some investors appreciate the lack of human intervention, others miss the personalised touch of working with a human financial advisor. Robo-advisors can’t provide the same level of emotional support or customised advice as a person can.

Lack of Flexibility

Robo-advisors operate within the confines of their algorithms. If you have unique financial circumstances or preferences, a robo-advisor may not be able to accommodate them as effectively as a human advisor.

Robo-advisors primarily focus on investment management. They may not provide comprehensive financial planning services that address broader financial goals, such as retirement planning, tax optimisation, or estate planning. As such, you will have to consult licensed human specialists who may guide you in those specific matters.

The Australian Shareholders Association also notes the belief that some people think a robo-advisor can invest your funds for you, when in reality, they can only guide you on where to invest and a human investment manager will still run your portfolio.   

Market Volatility

Robo-advisors create investment decisions based on historical data and algorithms. During periods of extreme market volatility or economic crises, these algorithms may not always make the most prudent choices, potentially leading to losses.

Regulatory Challenges

The Australian regulatory environment for financial services is complex and evolving, requiring full compliance from robo-advisor firms. At present, ASIC labels robo-advisors as advisory services under Regulatory Guide 255. The AMF/CTL Act considers them as financial service providers also serving as reporting entities, requiring them to redflag and escalate suspicious transactions for action by AUSTRAC.  

Market Complexity

The Australian investment landscape is diverse and complex, with unique asset classes like superannuation funds. Robo-advisors may struggle to provide tailored solutions for all aspects of an Australian investor’s financial life.

The complexity may even give rise to alternative financial advisory models. Speaking at the AFR’s Super & Wealth Summit, Kelli Keough, digital and client solutions director of JP Morgan’s wealth management arm, said the US market overestimated the need for robo-advisors, so much that clients are open to hybrid models, where a client will discuss their goals with a human advisor, and recommend a professionally managed portfolio that will change with market fluctuations.


The decision to use a robo-advisor or a human financial advisor ultimately depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. Robo-advisors offer cost-effective, accessible, and transparent investment management, making them a viable choice for many Australians. However, they may not be the best fit if you require personalised financial planning or prefer human interaction.

In Australia’s evolving financial landscape, robo-advisors can complement traditional financial advisory services, offering a streamlined and efficient way to manage investments. As with any financial decision, it’s essential to conduct thorough research, assess your goals, and, if needed, seek advice from financial professionals to determine whether a robo-advisor aligns with your financial security and preparedness objectives.

DISCLAIMER:  This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute official financial advice. 2 Ezi has no relationships with and does not endorse any robo-advisor service, nor accepts referral payments from them.

Scroll to Top