Our distinction between economic value-add and emotional value-add initiates a nuanced
distinction of an advisory role and an expert’s role. Advisers need a breadth and depth of
knowledge while experts possess in-depth knowledge; advisers must listen and ask
questions whereas experts must tell and provide solutions; advisers should provide insights
by synthesizing information whereas experts must demonstrate expertise by analysing the
information towards a concrete recommendation.11 Effective client-engagement entails using
the advisory functions first and gradually transitioning towards the functions of an expert.
While the functions of an expert may be outsourced to technical experts or programmed into
software, only human interaction allows clients to freely express their concerns and goals in
a way that they are comfortable, enabling a truly personalised interaction. This makes the
role of advisers indispensable in the context of investors who are uninformed about financial
principles and lack the confidence to make financial decisions.
In this paper we present a fresh perspective on how advisers will continue to offer value in
an era where many human functions are being outsourced to automated financial
technologies. We offer a distinction of the advisory functions based on the cognitive systems
of human reasoning they engage with and then argue that those functions that have a high
“emotional” currency as opposed to being inherently economic and procedural in nature are
likely to be better delivered through human interaction. Creating and delivering emotional
value requires advisers to have strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, both of
which can be developed through training programs.1 We make a nuanced distinction
between experts and advisers. While the new advances in technology may take over the
functions of an expert, the functions of advisers will continue to be better delivered through
human channels, and human interaction is likely to be valued by investors willing and able to
pay for financial advice.