Kyle Ryan wishes the industry would stop referring to Personal Capital as a robo-adviser.
"It bothers me because we're not," said Mr. Ryan, executive vice president of the San Francisco-based firm that offers an online investment advisory platform. "From the beginning we've also embraced the traditional adviser relationship because we think people want and need advisers."
In fact, Mr. Ryan is crafting an entirely new client experience at his firm, and is an industry leader in trying to figure out the best way of transitioning from solely physical distribution of investment services to virtual delivery.
As director of adviser services, he built out a process that blends an adviser's personal touch with high tech investment and analysis tools. He's hired, trained and mentored the firm's 40 advisers, each of whom works with clients that have investible assets of at least $100,000.
Mr. Ryan, a certified financial planner, also works on specific situations for clients and prospects as a member of the investment committee.
Over his career, he's mostly held management positions at investment advice firms. Mr. Ryan was the youngest ever group vice president at Fisher Investments and then spent about two years at Merrill Lynch as director of wealth management banking before joining Personal Capital.
Mr. Ryan, who is married with four children, met Personal Capital chief executive William Harris Jr. in 2009 when the firm "was just an idea," he said.
"We talked about transforming the wealth management business by leveraging technology," he said.
Mr. Ryan joined Personal Capital in 2010, the year before the firm launched its online tools and services.
"Technology enhances what an adviser can do for a client," he said.
ó Liz Skinner
Wealth manager and partner/associate professor of personal financial planning, Evensky & Katz Wealth Management/Texas Tech University