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Robo-Advisors a Useful Tool, Not the Enemy Says Jefferson National CEO

Robo-advisors are not the enemy of registered investment advisors (RIAs) because in the end nothing can replace guided advice, said Mitchell Caplan, CEO of Jefferson National.

Robo-advisors are not the enemy of registered investment advisors (RIAs) because in the end nothing can replace guided advice, said Mitchell Caplan, CEO of Jefferson National. 'The technology that is embedded in this robo-advice will become an important and integral part of an advisor’s practice and you will see the intersection of human capital along with technology,' said Caplan. Caplan, who previously served as CEO of E*Trade, said clients value face time and the demand grows as they amass more wealth. He added that guided advice becomes even more crucial during volatile markets, as well as year-end tax planning. Instead of seeing these new technologies as an enemy, Caplan recommended that advisors should embrace them because the new wave of digital advice is just one of many tools that advisors can use to increase the time that advisors can spend with their clients. Caplan said tax deferral is an underrated tool in an investor's arsenal. When saving for a retirement 25 years away, he said it makes perfect sense to not have to pay taxes every year, but rather defer until the burden will likely be lower. 'In our mind, the ideal message in order to try and minimize taxes and maximize return is to figure out how you partner as a consumer with an advisor and that advisors has the right tools and technology to make it work,' said Caplan. Another way to increase returns is to limit fees.

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