FECIF - The European Federation of Financial Advisers and Financial Intermediaries

Editorial - December 2017

David CharletDavid Charlet

Beyond robo-advisors, what might the future be for following generations?

The media seems to have only one word to say at present, when explaining our future: robots! Is it time for robo-advisors to replace our human members?

If you take a look to some of our previous editorials, written by our Secretary General or some of our members, you will have understood that things are much more complicated.

In short, we may summarize it by saying that, of course, some direct employment may disappear, but not firms and the market.

What may be dangerous is not digitalization, but more standardization and a ban on the need for advice for individuals even if they have no skills.

However, if you look at the situation like that, it’s as if you cannot see the forest for the trees.

First of all, I have to say this digitalization will not lead to a new world. We are facing the new world already!

After 2007, the “year of paper” for our professionals, 2018 will probably be deemed Digital Day.

This editorial is the last for 2017, and our D Day is expected … tomorrow! The question remaining will then be: are you ready? You the advisor of course, but also you the citizen - are clients and advisers investors in digital or just in the “real” economy?

If you have doubts about that, just let me provide you with some examples of new regulation, texts or part of texts entering into force, leading to a numerical system.

First of all, we could keep in mind the project “Building a European Data Economy”, proposed by the European Commission on January the 10th of this year. But we could also talk about the 24 legislative actions concerning every part of our day-to-day life, which the Commission has decided to commence, aiming to create a real and efficient Digital Single Market. Only 6 of these, regarding the Commission Programme for 2018, have so far been effected, but one paramount and pivotal chapter for next year may be the projects linked to the Capital Markets Union and then, what may concern our clients and advisors.

But they are already facing new rules related mostly to MiFID or IDD but also to the Anti Money Laundering Directive. We are talking about new conservation or recording methods, new kinds of sustainable support, new controls.

Those texts are accompanied by others, leading to more protection rules for personal data and entire systems. The NIS* Directive, or the much more famous GDPR**, are supposed to protect all of us. But it will also be a nightmare for many professionals all across Europe. Of course the GDRP is an old and well seen project, but what firm could tell you “yes, I’m ready”. From our knowledge and experience, very few.

If you are just a citizen, let’s say a client, are you aware of your new rights? Of what may be done with your data? Of what you can do with that data and, for example, do you know how to ask for it on a defined form and to provide it to another firm? And are firms, especially the smallest ones, ready to provide that data, as they are supposed to?

For our advisors, the entire digital package means a new way of management for the relationship between them and their client.

This is not just a change for our profession, the ground on which we stand is moving – this is simply a part of global developments, in all walks of life.

If you are not in agreement with that, please give a thought to this fact: who could have ever thought we would have to give advice on things that “look like” financial assets, being in fact internet or digital applications? Would it have been taken seriously only ten years ago? But what are ICO and Bitcoin?

Financial Advisors of Europe … are you actually ready to give advice on this?

Well, the world is changing, so you’ll have to, anyway.

Happy 2018 to all …



* NIS: Network and Information Security -
** GDPR : General Data Protection Régulation

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