Wells Fargo launches hybrid robo-adviser

Intuitive Investor platform requires at least $10,000 in assets and has a 50-basis-point fee

Nov 6, 2017 @ 2:27 pm

By Ryan Neal

Wells Fargo officially got into the digital advice market on Monday with the launch of Intuitive Investor, the bank's new hybrid robo-adviser.

The offering combines digital access to a portfolio of ETFs designed by the Wells Fargo Investment Institute with access to human advice from a team of advisers from the firm's wealth management division, Wells Fargo Advisors. Intuitive Investor will offer nine different strategies based on the client's answers to a risk questionnaire and goals.

BANKING INTEGRATION

The robo integrates with Wells Fargo's online and mobile banking services, meaning clients can open and fund a new Intuitive Investor account from their existing Wells Fargo app. Eddie Queen, Wells Fargo Advisors' head of digital and automated investing, said making the experience fit seamlessly with the firm's existing digital properties was a primary goal in developing the robo, and a reason it took longer to come to market than some competitors.

"We wanted to prioritize doing this right rather than doing it first," Mr. Queen told InvestmentNews. He added that the integration will make it easier to introduce the robo to existing Wells Fargo customers, avoiding the marketing challenges and high customer acquisition costs that have plagued robo startups.

"[We can] get in front of those clients who do not invest with us today, who are already online with Wells Fargo and give them the opportunity to improve their financial health by investing towards long-term goals," Mr. Queen said.

Like similar offerings from Bank of America and Charles Schwab, the goal is to introduce new and emerging investors to the markets with a lower-cost service than a traditional advisory relationship.

Intuitive Investor requires a minimum investment of $10,000 and will charge an annual 50-basis-point advisory fee. Wells Fargo customers who link the account to a premium checking account, Portfolio by Wells Fargo, will get a 10-basis-point discount.

YOUNGER CLIENTS

Clients looking for additional advice can move their Intuitive Investor portfolios over to a full-service relationship with Wells Fargo Advisors. The tool is also available to the firm's human advisers as a means of engaging with new clients. Mr. Queen hopes that over time, Intuitive Investor can create a pipeline of new Gen X and millennial customers for Wells Fargo's full-service offerings and private bank.

Intuitive Investor was built by technology vendor SigFig, which announced the partnership with Wells Fargo in November 2016. Wells Fargo filed the robo-adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March and began a pilot program over the summer.

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