'I trust numbers more than I trust financial planners'


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As a mathematician and programmer, Lara Jordan, 36, likes the way her robo adviser, Stockspot, uses technology to determine her risk profile and goals, then puts together a personalised portfolio.

It also automatically rebalances the portfolio back to her target asset allocation.

"I sort of trust algorithms more than financial planners who are linked to the products of their institutions," she says.

robo advice lara jordan

"There are independent financial planners but you have to know which one is a good independent planner and I don't really know how to find one. I'm not really comfortable giving someone my money when I don't really trust them. The algorithms take the human biases out of the advice. I trust that more."

Certainly the Hayne royal commission showed how too many Australians have had their wealth gouged by poor financial planner practices.

It revealed that hundreds of thousands of people were overcharged, received poor advice, paid for advice they never received or were pushed into products that hurt their ability to reach their goals.

Lara looked into investing in property but decided the returns weren't good enough.

"Also I don't want to be tied to a 9 to 5 job for the next 30 years."

Lara, who lives on a houseboat, off the grid, likes to keep her life uncomplicated and flexible. She likes how simple it is to invest with Stockspot.

"It is so simple to set up an account with Stockspot. If you want to withdraw your money, you can. There are no penalties for taking my money out. If I want to change my plan I can. I can invest any time. It is so easy to put money in."

Behind the scenes, Stockspot has a team of people who choose low-fee exchange traded fund investments that are diversified (shares and defensive assets) and ideally weather all sorts of market conditions for the six portfolios it offers.

When Lara first signed up, she was matched with Stockspot's medium-risk portfolio with 50% growth assets and 50% defensive assets. It includes plain vanilla ETFs with exposure to the top Australian 300 companies, global shares, emerging markets, physical gold and bonds.

After a while she opened another account with a higher risk profile - 60% shares and 40% defensive. She is considering investing in the aggressive growth fund with 68% growth and 32% defensive.

She finds Stockspot's financial information transparent and a fairly easy way to learn more about her investments.

Do robo advisers appeal to tech-savvy millennials?

Yes, says Lara. But she adds that her grandparents, who live overseas and are in their late 80s, use a robo adviser for their investments. They find it easy and straightforward in their retirement years.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
March 28, 2019 10.19am

If this lady is a mathematician, then the first thing she should have seen is stockspots high fees at 0.9% and for what? A blend of ETFs no different to what she is more than capable of doing herself with basic 50% growth 50% balance etc. Or whatever blend she feels safe with. This push to robo advice might dodge the financial advisor scammers but at such high fees in Oz is still a joke. Wow. Just pick a few vanguard or low fee ETFs in the ratios you are happy with and save up to 0.9%.