What is in this article?:
- The Uberization of Wealth Management
- Schwab, Vanguard and BMO: Innovating for better or for worse
- Convenience Is King
Robo advisors and beyond: why you need to pay attention to Charles Schwab, BMO and Vanguard
Some have called robo advisors the Uber of wealth management. Uber transformed an existing service to meet the needs of a convenience-hungry generation. Similarly, the introduction of robo advisors into the wealth management industry has disrupted the way business is done by offering a convenient, online and cost-effective way to invest for a digital-savvy generation.
In the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, robo advisors (or automated investment services) were born. Early robos, such as Betterment and kaChing (which later became Wealthfront), were simple. They were designed to rebalance investor assets within target-date funds while giving their users a modern, sleek and online interface at a lower cost. But then they became so much more. On top of adding services like tax-loss harvesting and automatic rebalancing, robos began to diversify. The catalog of automated investment services available today is far more dynamic and intricate than it was at its genesis. While the fate of robo advisors is yet to be known, what is certain is that their capabilities are expanding and investors continue to turn to them for their financial planning needs.
The Millennial Factor
The biggest achievement robos have on their mantel is the business of millennial investors. Millennial investors have, not surprisingly, flocked to robo advisors’ convenience, sleek online design, simplicity and affordability. According to a study from Wells Fargo, only 16 percent of millennials work with a financial advisor. Just as baby boomers are making their way into retirement, many millennials are now in the financial position to invest, and it’s time for wealth management firms to jump on the opportunity.
Sadly, most firms are not innovating their platforms to keep up with the paperless, convenient and cost-effective services of automated investment.
However, there are a few big firms who have innovated to keep up with robos, and more importantly, attempt to deliver a memorable client experience.