Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: September 4-8

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: September 4-8

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on, September 4-8, 2017

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Epigenetics Holds Promise of a New Way to Create Life Insurance

What is “biological age,” exactly? It’s ill-defined, but we know that we all age at different rates. Some 60 year olds have the physiology of 40 year olds, while other 60 year olds may be on their deathbeds. — Brian Chen

2. The Huge World-Wide Market Potential for Digital Wealth

With retail investors demanding for more complex asset classes and investments and increased transparency and control over investments, traditional wealth management firms, more wealth manage firms are joining the digital space and as a result. — FintechNews HK

3. The 5 Biggest Challenges Big Advisory Teams Need to Consider

A move for any team of advisors can be challenging, yet for whales those challenges multiply The movement of billion dollar premier wirehouse teams has become part of the industry’s new normal. — Barbara Herman

4. Liquid-Alternative Investing from an ETF Strategist Perspective

For all its complexities, Liquid-Alt investing can be reduced to this primary bet: the Liquid-Alt investor is forecasting that the implied volatility priced into a ‘trade’ is meaningfully different than its anticipated volatility. — Benjamin M. Lavine

5. Smooth Tomorrow's Market Volatility With a Smart Approach to Robotics & AI

Every advisor knows that volatility can wreak havoc on your clients’ psyches, and managing this “risk” or “sleep factor” can be challenging. — Chris Buck

6. 19 Questions Your Financial Advisory Team Must Be Able to Answer

What’s easier to sell: a service you know very little about and have zero regard for, or a service you are excited to share with others because you really think it offers value? — Maria Marsala

7. The Facebook Marketing Guide for Financial Advisors

Facebook isn't just for funny cat videos or seeing what your friends had for dinner last night. It's also a marketing tool, and financial advisors can leverage Facebook marketing to generate a steady stream of ideal clients. — James Pollard

8. The Single Most Important Thing That Will Impact You and Your Clients' Futures

The single most important thing that will impact you and your clients’ futures is The Singularity. What is The Singularity? — Bill Bachrach

9. The 7 Traits of Highly Successful Financial Advisors

Highly successful financial advisors do things differently than their less successful peers.  Tap into what they do differently in these 7 traits. — Annette Bau

10. What Differentiates You Is Better Than Why You Are Better

Explaining the reasons why you’re “better” than your competition seems logical. However, it’s not always effective. — Maribeth Kuzmeski

11. Why Advisors Should Build a Progressive Service Model

How Advice Service Offerings Came To Make No Sense? In the not too distant past, most advisers were paid commissions.That meant they didn’t actually set the fee they were paid for their services. Instead, their revenue was defined by a third party; the product manufacturer. — Stewart Bell

Douglas Heikkinen
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IRIS Co-Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues ... Click for full bio

China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity

China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity

Written by: Jeremie Capron

China is on a mission to change its reputation from a manufacturer of cheap, mass-produced goods to a world leader in high quality manufacturing. If that surprises you, you’re not the only one.

For decades, China has been synonymous with the word cheap. But times are changing, and much of that change is reliant on the adoption of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”). For investors, this shift is driving a major opportunity to capture growth and returns rooted in China’s rapidly increasing demand for RAAI technologies.

You may have heard of ‘Made in China 2025,’ the strategy announced in 2015 by the central government aimed at remaking its industrial sector into a global leader in high-technology products and advanced manufacturing techniques. Unlike some public relations announcements, this one is much more than just a marketing tagline. Heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, the program is focused on generating major investments in automated manufacturing processes, also referred to as Industry 4.0 technologies, in an effort to drive a massive transformation across every sector of manufacturing. The program aims to overhaul the infrastructure of China’s manufacturing industry by not only driving down costs, but also—and perhaps most importantly—by improving the quality of everything it manufactures, from textiles to automobiles to electronic components.

Already, China has become what is arguably the most exciting robotics market in the world. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2016 alone, more than 87,000 robots were sold in the country, representing a year-over-year increase of 27%, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Last month’s World Robot Conference 2017 in Beijing brought together nearly 300 artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and representatives of over 150 robotics enterprises, making it one of the world’s largest robotics-focused conference in the world to date. That’s quite a transition for a country that wasn’t even on the map in the area of robotics only a decade ago.

As impressive as that may be, what’s even more exciting for anyone with an eye on the robotics industry is the fact that this growth represents only a tiny fraction of the potential for robotics penetration across China’s manufacturing facilities—and for investors in the companies that are delivering or are poised to deliver on the promise of RAAI-driven manufacturing advancements.

Despite its commitment to leverage the power of robotics, automation and AI to meet its aggressive ‘Made in China 2025’ goals, at the moment China has only 1 robot in place for every 250 manufacturing workers. Compare that to countries like Germany and Japan, where manufacturers utilize an average of one robot for every 30 human workers. Even if China were simply trying to catch up to other countries’ use of robotics, those numbers would signal immense near-term growth. But China is on a mission to do much more than achieve the status quo. The result? According to a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in 2019 as much as 40% of the worldwide market volume of industrial robots could be sold in China alone.

To understand how the country can support such grand growth, just take a look at where and why robotics is being applied today. While the automotive sector has historically been the largest buyer of robots, China’s strategy reaches far and wide to include a wide variety of future-oriented manufacturing processes and industries.

Related: Smooth Tomorrow's Market Volatility With a Smart Approach to Robotics & AI

Electronics is a key example. In fact, the electrical and electronics industry surpassed the automotive industry as the top buyer of robotics in 2016, with sales up 75% to almost 30,000 units. Assemblers such as Foxconn rely on thousands of workers to assemble today’s new iPhones. Until recently, the assembly of these highly delicate components required a level of human dexterity that robots simply could not match, as well as human vision to help ensure accuracy and quality. But recent advancements in robotics are changing all that. Industrial robots already have the ability to handle many of the miniature components in today’s smart phones. Very soon, these robots are expected to have the skills to bolster the human workforce, significantly increasing manufacturing capacity. Newer, more dexterous industrial robots are expected to significantly reduce human error during the assembly process of even the most fragile components, including the recently announced OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens that Samsung and Apple introduced on their latest mobile devices including the iPhone X. Advancements in computer vision are transforming how critical quality checks are performed on these and many other electronic devices. All of these innovations are coming together at just the right time for a country that is striving to create the world’s most advanced manufacturing climate.

Clearly, China’s trajectory in the area of RAAI is in hyper drive. For investors who are seeking a tool to leverage this opportunity in an intelligent and perhaps unexpected way, the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index may help. The ROBO Index already offers a vast exposure to China’s potential growth due to the depth and breadth of the robotics and automation supply chain. As China continues to improve its manufacturing processes to meet its 2025 initiative, every supplier across China’s far-reaching supply chains will benefit. Wherever they are located, suppliers of RAAI-related components—reduction gears, sensors, linear motion systems, controllers, and so much more—are bracing for spikes in demand as China pushes to turn its dream into a reality.

Today, around 13% of the revenues generated by the ROBO Global Index members are driven by China’s investments in robotics and automation. Tomorrow? It’s hard to say. But one thing is for certain: China’s commitment to improving the quality and cost-efficiency of its manufacturing facilities is showing no signs of slowing down—and its reliance on robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence is vital to its success.

Want all the details? Download the ROBO Global Investment Report - Summer Brings Best ROBO Earnings in Six Years or visit us here.

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ROBO Global LLC is the creator of the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index series, which provides comprehensive, transparent and diversified benchmarks representing the ... Click for full bio