AFL’s Ted Richards and the human side of robo-investing
There is a lot of talk about the entry of ‘robo advisers’ into the financial advice market. Revelations by the banking royal commission have accelerated calls for technology to provide the answer to the broadening trust deficit and intractable problem of advice being too expensive for the average investor.
However, despite these tailwinds, the take up of digital advice in Australia has been relatively modest. This compares to the United States where a significant proportion of investors are embracing technology-enabled advice solutions, such as Betterment and Wealthfront.
Home-grown Australian providers, such as Clover and Stockspot, have made inroads with their low cost, automated investment offerings. The challenge remains for consumers to create a human connection with digital investment advice. That is what makes the story of former Essendon and Sydney Swans premiership player Ted Richards and his collaboration with robo adviser Six Park so interesting.
Richards does not fit the mould of the stereotypical footy player. His interest in finance was ignited at age 17 when his father gave him a copy of the Peter Lynch book One Up on Wall Street. While playing for the Swans, Richards completed a bachelor of commerce at the University of NSW and subsequently a master of applied finance. He was clear he wanted a career beyond sport and worked hard to obtain the skills to ensure he could contribute in the business world. While still juggling the demands of professional sport, he completed internships with Citigroup and Airlie Funds Management, alongside legendary stock picker John Sevior.
But it was Richards’ belief that more people needed access to affordable, transparent investment advice that lured him away from funds management.
Richards discovered automated investment advice platform Six Park, and was so impressed he used his savings to buy a slice of the business.
While the perception of robo advice is that it’s all about smart technology, Richards was impressed by Six Park’s focus on the quality of the human inputs.
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