Center Events

Robo Advisors at the Regulatory Crossroads Workshop

April 13, 2018 | University of Pennsylvania Law School, Silverman Hall

Friday, April 13, 2018

University of Pennsylvania Law School, Silverman Hall Room 240A

Co-sponsored by the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition, the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, the Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University Law Center, and the Warren Center for Network & Data Sciences.

Increasingly, consumer financial advice comes from automated systems that employ large data sets, advanced algorithms, and automated interfaces. Typically, these “robo advisors” work behind the scenes for human intermediaries.  But fully automated systems are gaining traction in wealth management and insurance services, and the rise of automated personal financial services may pave the way for fully automated systems in consumer credit.  Whether they work directly or indirectly with consumers, robo advisers present opportunities and challenges to financial services markets and regulators that have yet to be systematically addressed.  The opportunities include lower cost, higher quality financial advice and a digital feedback loop that increases the efficiency of financial markets and consumer financial security.  The challenges include manipulation and misunderstanding of automated advice, the potential for further consolidation of the financial sector, and the threats to privacy and security that accompany digitalization more broadly.

This workshop starts from the proposition that insights from multiple domains will be needed to address these questions successfully:  IT practice, financial services regulation, the financial services industry, behavioral sciences, computer and data sciences, and law.  The workshop will bring together representatives from these diverse backgrounds to explore best practices and potential regulatory principles for automated financial advice.  The goals of the workshop are to further the development of a common vocabulary and understanding across domains, to inform the public and private sector participants about research that has the potential to impact their work, and to identify opportunities for research on automated advisor technology to provide consumer guidance (information technology domain), on consumers’ responses to this technology (behavioral science domain), and on regulatory principles to support better financial decisions with automated financial advice (legal domain).

10:00 am- Roboadvising:  Operational Forms and Strategies

  • Dan Egan, Director of Behavioral Finance and Investments, Betterment
  • Sam Kina, Senior Vice President of Economics and Data Science, Picwell
  • Justin Williams, Vice President, BlackRock, and Legal & Compliance Counsel, FutureAdvisor

11:00 am- The State of Play in Artificial Intelligence

  • Michael Kearns, National Chair, University of Pennsylvania Computer and Information Science Department
  • Solon Barocas, Assistant Professor for the Department of Information Science, Cornell University

11:45 am-  Roboadvising and the Consumer

  • Berkeley J. Dietvorst, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Benedict Dellaert, Professor of Marketing, Erasmus University
  • Mary Steffel, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Northeastern University
  • Sunita Sah, Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations, SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University

12:45 pm- Lunch and Keynote: Amias Gerety, QED Investors, former Assistant Secretary, US Treasury

1:45 pm- Regulators and Roboadvising: Strategies, Agreement and Dissensus

  • Steve Polansky, Senior Director, Regulatory Operations, FINRA
  • Wei Zhang, Credit Cards Program Manager, CFPB
  • Rochelle Kauffmann Plesset, Senior Counsel, SEC Div. of Investment Management
  • Barbara Richardson, NV Insurance Commissioner and Chair, NAIC Producer Licensing Working Group

2:45 pm- The Future of Roboadvising:  Trends, risks and opportunities

  • Sevin Yeltekin, Professor of Economics and Senior Associate Dean of Education, Carnegie Mellon University

  • Chris Brummer, Research Professor and Faculty Director of the Institute of International Economic Law, Georgetown University

  • Tom Baker, Professor of Law and Health Sciences, University of Pennsylvania Law School

For more details about this event please visit: