Robo-advisers are registered financial advisers who use mathematical rules or computer algorithms to provide financial advice or portfolio management online. This recent trend, which requires very little human interaction, has the potential to impact the competitive landscape in the market by offering more affordable access to investment advisory services to retail investors.
After six years of planning and intense effort, which included solicitations of input from the industry and investor advocates, the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Conflicts of Interest rule was released in April 2016 (the “Final Rule”). Among other things, the Final Rule required all “advisers” (i.e., individuals or entities who are representatives of a registered investment adviser, bank or similar financial institution, insurance company, or broker-dealer) providing advice regarding retirement accounts act in the best interest of their clients. Advisers were given until April 10, 2017 to implement the changes required by the Final Rule.