Maureen Jensen, head of the Ontario Securities Commission, has faith that robo-advisor platforms will not replace human financial advice.

“I don’t think they’re going to replace advisors,” Jensen told an audience of financial advisors on Thursday. “Advisors are a very important parts of this market. They’re critical for the interaction with clients. I think what will happen is it will help them automate certain aspects of their business, maybe client onboarding.”

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Jensen, speaking at an industry conference in Toronto held by the C.D. Howe Institute and other groups, used as an example the secure collection and import of client data using digital IDs and a similar API–making it easier for organizations to bring on new clients.

“You always will have that detailed, specific, far-ranging advice, and that will always be done through advisors. It will just be assisted by technology,” she said.

Automated compliance

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In response to industry critics who have complained about the higher costs of rising compliance, Jensen said technology can in fact reduce compliance overhead.

“People are looking at ways to reduce their costs,” she said. “If you use technology [for] every transaction and every interaction, the entire process is captured as data. You can have automated compliance. Then you can spend your time, instead of capturing the information, doing something about it.”

Jensen suggested regulation will need to take on a more principles-based approach. Prescriptive rules, she said, have created boxes into which fast-evolving industry platforms don’t always fit.

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