Digital wealth management firms have introduced disruptive industry changes that are here to stay, and traditional players need to act quickly to determine how to stay competitive, says a report from EY.

While some have discounted the robo-advisor movement as no match to human investment advice, EY’s report, Advice goes virtual: how new digital investment services are changing the wealth management landscape, suggests otherwise.

Digital entrants’ efforts to streamline the online client experience, provide greater transparency and lower prices for lower-end markets have gained traction and can’t be ignored by Canada’s wealth-management industry anymore.

“We have yet to see how the digital models will hold up in a market downturn and whether they will reach profitability quickly enough, but the improved client experience and high level of transparency can’t be underestimated,” says Gregory Smith, wealth management advisory leader at EY. “They’re also tapping into markets that are largely ignored by traditional wealth managers.”

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