Category: News

Posted on July 2, 2020

The recent announcement of Empower acquiring Personal Capital represents the largest acquisition of a robo-advice firm to-date, but it is not without precedent. We have seen the relationship between retirement-plan providers, RIAs, and robo-advice technology come together before. 

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Posted on May 21, 2020

Motif Investing, a fintech firm that offers brokerage and robo-advisor services, has announced that it is ceasing operations. It is another firm in the growing list of robo advisors that have done so. However, Motif’s closure is somewhat surprising, considering that it has raised $126.5 million since 2010 (according to Crunchbase) and offers a unique and wide range of services. Motif’s name reflects its strategy of offering themed portfolios. Investors could choose from portfolios created by Motif or even other users. This gave customers a selection and level of customization that other robos simply did not offer. However, like many fallen fintechs, scale and profitability did not materialize.

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Posted on March 13, 2020

News of the novel coronavirus has dominated the 2020 news cycle. Both equity and bond markets have been extremely volatile, and the S&P 500 Index has dipped into bear market territory after dropping as much as 25% from its previous high. However, many other developments have taken place during the year. Morgan Stanley is set to acquire E*Trade in an all-stock deal valued at $13 billion. Citigroup unveiled its new robo advisor, and Goldman Sachs is expected to do the same soon. 

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Posted on January 10, 2020

December caps off a strong 2019 for robo advisors.  A November report by the Aite Group claims that assets managed by robos are up 10% over the first three quarters of 2019. This does not account for a roughly 10% increase in equity markets in the fourth quarter. At least two robos, United Income and Twine, passed the $1 billion in assets mark. The report paints a bright future for the industry, predicting a four-fold increase in robo assets by 2023. 

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Posted on December 10, 2019

The robo advice industry will soon have a new player: Goldman Sachs. Details are limited but Rachel Schnoll, head of Goldman’s RIA platform, said that the product is built but not yet available to the public. The new robo advisor is expected to pair nicely with Marcus, Goldman’s consumer-facing bank. Both are part of Goldman’s initiative to move away from exclusively serving the ultra-wealthy and instead to bring Goldman-quality products to the mass-affluent. 

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Posted on November 11, 2019

Cash Products Attract Assets 

Wealthfront and Betterment have both hit $20 billion worth of assets on their platform. On its website, Wealthfront boasts that its “clients trust [it] with more than $21 billion” as of November 2019. However, regulatory filings suggest that most of this growth has been the result of cash moving into high-yield savings accounts.

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