Tag: Wealthsimple

Posted on November 8, 2019

Consumer demand has prompted digital advisors to offer socially responsible investing (SRI) portfolio options over the past few years.  We have opened and now have eight pairs of portfolios (regular and SRI) included in our report, including six pairs with a year or more of performance reported.  The SRI robo portfolios included in our analysis are offered by Betterment, E*Trade, Ellevest, Merrill Edge, Morgan Stanley, TD Ameritrade, TIAA, and Wealthsimple.  

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Posted on October 4, 2019

Schwab Cuts Commissions, TD Ameritrade Follows

Decades ago, Schwab led the revolution of reducing commissions on trades. High-tech startups, led by Robinhood, are now eliminating commissions altogether. Interactive Brokers slashed commissions on U.S. stocks and ETFs to zero last week. Schwab has responded in kind by announcing that it will cut all commissions on trades of U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options on October 7. TD Ameritrade and ETrade have both followed suit and cut the same commissions. The move rattled the prices of these companies’ shares. Schwab’s and Interactive Brokers’ share prices both fell over 9%, and TD Ameritrade’s, which relies more heavily on commission revenue, fell 25.8%. ETrade, who has kept commissions steady, saw its share price drop 17% on the day of the Schwab announcement.

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Posted on October 1, 2019

Winner: Vanguard Personal Advisor Services
Runner-Up: Personal Capital
Honorable Mentions: Ellevest & Wealthsimple

Digital-only platforms currently lack the high degree of sophistication and customization needed for complex financial planning.  Therefore, investors looking for more personalized advice and tailored portfolio allocations still need to work with live advisors.  In order to justify the level of customization being offered, such services typically have higher investment minimums than digital-only products.

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Posted on September 27, 2019

As the digital advice industry has grown, acquiring more customers and assets, providers have expanded their role from automated investment managers to digital bankers. A major component of this shift has been the offering of high-yield cash accounts. Betterment, Wealthfront, Ally, Personal Capital, Wealthsimple and SoFi offer these accounts, which have APYs of at least 1.80% and carry FDIC insurance. Personal Capital and SoFi accounts are FDIC insured up to $1.5M—six times the coverage of a savings account opened at a traditional bank. Wealthfront and Betterment offer $1M of FDIC insurance. Robos partner with numerous banks, take in users’ deposits, and spread those deposits across partner banks. This process allows high-yield cash accounts to provide insurance beyond the standard $250K.

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Posted on September 6, 2019

In recent years, socially responsible investing (SRI) – also commonly categorized as environmental, social, and governance investing (ESG) – has gained popularity with retail investors and investment managers alike.  Between 2016 and 2018, assets invested in ESG-themed mutual funds grew 34%, while assets in ESG-themed ETF funds more than doubled. Driven by consumer demand, a natural expansion has been undertaken by digital advisors to offer separate SRI portfolio options.  Within the past few years we have opened and funded SRI accounts at each of the providers that offer sustainable investing options. With a year of performance to review, we have assessed the risk and return statistics of SRI portfolios offered compared to their standard offerings.  While today’s focus is on performance, we will publish a full report on the composition of SRI portfolios, including costs and sustainability scores, later this month.

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Posted on September 3, 2019

  • Betterment, Wealthfront forced to lower rates on high-yield cash accounts
  • Capital One acquires United Income after buying 10% stake last fall
  • Wealthfront acquires Grove as it looks to bolster its cash management technology
  • Betterment reaches profitability 
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