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Wells Fargo Rolls Out Long-Awaited Robo Platform

By Thomas Coyle November 7, 2017

Wells Fargo Advisors has launched its Intuitive Investor robo-advice platform. The service, aimed at novice do-it-yourself investors with as little as $10,000 to put up, was first announced last March.

Engineered “for consumers who prefer to manage their finances themselves,” Intuitive Investor features investment strategies from Wells Fargo Investment Institute, an in-house investment-education program and, as an option, access to advisors employed by Wells Fargo, the company says in a press release.

The platform “simplifies the experience of investing by blending technology-driven resources with high-impact personal advice to give new and emerging investors a lower-cost option for entering the markets,” according to Wells Fargo.

In addition to online investment profiling, phone access to financial advisors, and ongoing portfolio monitoring and management, Intuitive Investor provides access to ETF portfolios designed by Wells Fargo Investment Institute and managed by rebalancing and tax-loss-harvesting technology from SigFig, which also partnered with Wells Fargo on mobile delivery of the service.

But Intuitive Investor’s minimum and its “annual advisory” fee of 0.50% of money under management seem on the high side for such an offering. Merrill Lynch’s Merrill Edge Guided Investing platform and Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolios program have $5,000 minimums, while Wealthfront requires $500 and Betterment has no minimum. And these platforms charge from 0.25% to 0.45% — and Wealthfront doesn’t take its 0.25% vig on accounts with less than $10,000. Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services has a $50,000 minimum but only charges 0.30%.

Jon Weiss, Wells Fargo’s wealth- and money-management chief, says the firm was “inspired” to put Intuitive Investor in consumers’ hands by “significant advancements in technology, changing consumer preferences and evolving demographics.”

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Intuitive Investor meets a need for services they can access remotely and at any time while “preserving the advantages that come with having access to one of the largest investment firms,” Weiss adds.