More Humans at Robo Betterment

OMG. Robot layoffs. That sure seemed fast. These robot “kids” just got their jobs a short time ago and now they are getting pink slips. And, the irony of it all, the layoffs are from the largest independent robo-adviser. Wait till President Trump gets those “robo-firers” in the Oval Office.

Betterment, the largest independent robo-adviser is going to add real human people to its workforce. Betterment having championed automated technology for years (indeed, since inception) is trying to attract wealthier clients and boost fee income. Clients will be charged a “premium fee” for unlimited advice from human financial planners. Interesting brand extension. (Bill Taylor/CEO)

“The largest independent robo-adviser is adding human advice to the automated technology it’s championed for years.

Betterment LLC will begin offering recommendations from certified financial planners and other experts alongside its computer-driven service, which aims to build investment portfolios for a fraction of the fees charged by traditional brokers. The human touch will cost 50 basis points of clients’ assets for a “premium” plan allowing unlimited advice from financial planners, roughly double the charge for the company’s digital service, depending on the account size.

The move marks an evolution for robo-advisers as they add more services in an attempt to win high net worth individuals and compete against traditional asset managers. Citigroup Inc., whose venture capital arm has participated in at least two funding rounds for Betterment, previously said wealthier clients wouldn’t move a larger chunk of assets to robo-advisers.

“Over the last couple of years, as our client base has gotten older and wealthier, we’ve had a call for handling more advanced situations,” Alex Benke, Betterment’s head of financial advice and planning, said in an interview. “We’re meeting that need now with the ability to talk to a certified financial planning professional or another licensed expert.”…

The announcement Tuesday is part of a move to close that gap and boost fee income. While Betterment will maintain its $0 account minimum for digital-only customers, clients will need a minimum $100,000 in assets for a plan that costs 40 basis points and gives access to investment professionals once a year. The 50-basis point plan will provide unlimited access and require a $250,000 minimum balance. There is no fee charged on assets above $2 million.”

Read Full Article at Bloomberg