Betterment adds Dimensional Fund Advisors to its adviser robo

Advisers will still need to get DFA's approval to access its mutual funds

Apr 11, 2019 @ 2:57 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

Popular fund provider Dimensional Fund Advisors will soon make its mutual funds available on the Betterment for Advisors platform.

Betterment CEO Jon Stein said the move is part of a number of enhancements designed to broaden the appeal of its digital-advice platform for advisers, and one current customers have requested for years.

"Dimensional really has an incredible relationship with their community," Mr. Stein said. "They are very philosophically aligned with Betterment. It felt like a natural fit. The types of advisers who are likely to use Dimensional are likely to use Betterment."

The Dimensional funds, coming to Betterment for Advisors in the third quarter, will be the robo's first mutual funds. It primarily offers exchange-traded funds from Vanguard, BlackRock and Charles Schwab, but also offers model portfolios from an expanding number of asset managers.

Adding the products is part of a larger trend of giving advisers more control over the portfolios they offer clients on the digital platform. In 2018, Betterment added commodities to the platform, revamped its adviser-facing dashboard and launched the Flexible Portfolios feature to let advisers customize allocation models.

Over the next quarter, Betterment will be collecting feedback from advisers on other model portfolios they are most interested in, Mr. Stein said.

Dimensional requires advisers to receive training on its products before they are approved to sell the funds. Only approved advisers can access the funds on Betterment.

"We are constantly looking to help the advisers we work with deliver outstanding client experiences by providing them with solutions and access to value-added services," Dimensional Co-CEO Dave Butler said in a statement.

Betterment does not plan to offer Dimensional funds on its retail robo-adviser.

The firm currently manages more than $16 billion in assets but does not break down how much is on the retail side verses Betterment for Advisors or Betterment for Business, its 401(k) product.

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