John O'Connell, founder and chief investment officer of the Macquarie Group-owned robo-advice venture Owners Advisory, has passed away at the age of 53.
O'Connell had a long and distinguished career at Macquarie, starting as a senior analyst in the 1990s, before going on to be Macquarie's global head of research where he built a leading global research team.
In 2016, the Group, on O'Connell's recommendation, made the move to computer-generated financial advice, aiming to provide low-cost professional grade guidance, expertise and access to knowledge to self-directed and self-managed super fund (SMSF) investors. At its height, the platform offered more than 30,000 local and international investments from across the funds management industry.
"[O'Connell] was always at the cutting edge of new ideas, and nothing demonstrated this more than his decision to establish Owners Advisory to make professional grade, automated investment advice and services available online," Macquarie Group said in a statement.
"[He] was a warm and generous leader, who provided thoughtful insights and an innovative perspective in an easily understood way. We all have many fond memories of working with John, and he will be greatly missed by all of us."
Due to the high level high level of passion, personal investment philosophy and insightfulness O'Connell placed into the venture, the Group has decided to end the service to direct investors through the website, preferring to integrate the automated offering into its platform.
"We're committed to continuing John's legacy with automated and innovative investment advice," the Group said.
"To fulfil John's vision to support advisers in efficiently providing investment advice to more Australians, we will be integrating our automated advice offering into our leading wealth platform so advisers can incorporate robo-advice into their value proposition for clients."
Interested parties have been advised to contact Macquarie's wealth management client connect team for assistance.