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BlackRock mulling Aussie robo-advice launch

BlackRock mulling Aussie robo-advice launch

Tim Stewart
— 1 minute read

US fund manager BlackRock is getting ready to export its robo-advice platform FutureAdvisor around the world – and one Australian executive would like to see it in this country sooner rather than later.

BlackRock acquired FutureAdvisor in August 2015 and rolled out the platform to financial institutions as a business-to-business service.

BlackRock Australia's head of iShares Jon Howie told InvestorDaily he believes Australia needs FutureAdvisor now.

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"As always with a large organisation we have to be conscious about how thinly we spread ourselves and so at the moment the focus is on getting the US application of that opportunity right," Mr Howie said.

"I can tell you that internally everyone around the world is putting their hand up and saying, 'We can make this work in our market'."

BlackRock Australia needs the platform immediately, because it will take some time to tweak the offering for the local market, Mr Howie said.

"It has to be moulded, developed and honed for the local landscape. And that will take time."

FutureAdvisor in the US is predominately a business-to-business robo-advice platform used by BlackRock's clients which are large financial institutions.

"We don’t want to build a direct-to-consumer offering as BlackRock in Australia. BlackRock is a relatively small organisation compared to the big [Australian] banks," Mr Howie said.

"In the US, FutureAdvisor does have a very small direct-to-consumer business. But that is not the focus of the offering."

Mr Howie said many people in the financial services industry are underestimating the extent to which robo-advice will "change the game".

"There will be non-traditional entrants into this space that will disrupt the [major players]," he said.

"Many of the traditional financial services businesses won’t be nimble enough to respond because they don’t have the technological DNA."

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