Financial advisors seeking ways to compete with robo-advisors are choosing white label automated advisory platforms, which streamline the investment management portion of the advisor’s practice, thus freeing the finance pro up for the duties that only a human can perform. Integrating a robo-advisor component into an advisor's offerings releases time for financial, tax, estate and other planning conversations.

Although robo-advisors are proliferating, they aren’t likely to replace their human counterparts any time soon. In fact, a recent study by GFK Research found that only 9% of consumers surveyed claimed that they would be likely to use an investment advisory service that offered only digital contact with human advisors. This research substantiates the benefits to financial advisors who choose to use a robo-advisor to enhance their work. 

Here is a list of automated financial services companies that financial advisors might want to consider using. (For more, see: Robo-Advisors and a Human Touch: Better Together?)

Jemstep

Jemstep, recently purchased by investment management firm Invesco, offers a “complete advisor solution,” according to its website. The company provides automated client engagement onboarding as well as a service platform. Its Advisor Pro bent helps advisors scale their investment management practice regardless of the client profile. The platform enables the advisor to maintain his own investment strategy and model portfolios, to help keep his firm differentiated from competition.

Jemstep features include:

  • Ability for advisor’s clients to link all accounts
  • Integrated and comprehensive dashboard to better serve clients
  • Holistic portfolio analysis
  • Investment management
  • Fee comparison capabilities
  • Various communication options including live chat, email support, calendar integration, and automated email campaigns
  • CRM and email integration

Jemstep was an early entrant into the individual robo-advisory field and one of the initial players offering services for financial professionals.

Tradingfront

Tradingfront offers advisors a fully customizable white label robo-advisor platform. Its tagline is, “Advisors own the relationship, we help you keep it.” Its robo solution for registered investment advisors (RIAs) claims to simplify the client/advisor relationship and reports.

Tradingfront features include:

  • Client reporting portal
  • Advisor dashboard with account overview and activity tracking
  • Easy steps to account opening
  • Automated messaging service to ensure that you are always available for your clients
  • Coming soon: a portfolio platform with automated compliance, trading, account application portal, and CRM system (For related reading, see: How Financial Advisors Can Adjust to Robo-Advisors.)

NestEgg by Vanare.com

The NestEgg product offers a scalable robo-advisory solution for the human financial advisor. The company claims to empower advisors to scale their digital offerings and be attractive to the up-and-coming generation, using the firm’s brand and integrating advisors' own investment philosophy.

NestEgg's features include:

  • Fully configurable investment philosophy, profiling and branding
  • Customizable investment models and recommendations
  • Individually-tailored portfolio recommendations based upon analytics such as back-testing and Monte Carlo simulations
  • Secure and compliant online account set up option
  • Performance tracking
  • Client management to support the advisor/user relationship

NestEgg integrates with the advisor’s custodian to bring the robo-advisory automation to the financial professional.

Envestnet

This wealth management robo-advisor offers integrated portfolio, practice management and reporting tools to financial advisors and institutions. Envestnet recently bought Upside's white-label robo-advisor platform. The Envestnet Advisor Suite's open architecture platform includes institutional-level research, investment products and resources. This firm caters to advisors with a range of tools.

The Envestnet tools assist advisors with these tasks:

  • Asset allocation and investment policy statements
  • Financial planning applications
  • Investment planning
  • Research and due diligence
  • Portfolio analytics
  • Proposal generation and presentations

Envestnet might be considered a white label robo-advisor, but it also offers many additional tools and resources for the financial advisor. (For more, see: E*Trade Builds Its Own Robo-Advisor.)

Betterment Institutional

Betterment, one of the more established, low-fee robo-advisors, also offers a white label version for advisors, Betterment Institutional. The Betterment Institutional website description states, “Betterment Institutional is a digital wealth management platform that empowers you to grow your business and spend more time with your clients.”

The Betterment platform offers advisors:

  • Automated trading and investment solutions
  • Tools for streamlining advisors' back-end functions
  • A globally-diversified, low cost ETF portfolio
  • Money-saving, tax efficient client features
  • Seamless integration with the advisory firm’s brand

Finally, the Betterment expedient sign-up process minimizes client account set up time.

Motif Investing

According to its website, “ Motif Advisor offers an innovative wealth management platform to help Advisors connect with investors across all generations.” The Motif Advisor targets advisors seeking to engage younger, more tech savvy investors.

Motif's features include:

  • The Motif AutoPilot, an automated investment management offering
  • The Motif AdvisorCenter, an advisor’s portal for access to easily manage and trade client accounts
  • The Motif GenerationConnect social platform, an online social community designed to engage clients of all ages
  • The Motif Wealth Management Framework, which offers advisors low-cost, customizable modules for diversified client portfolios as well as a tactical approach for strategic investment management.

In concert with the Motif investment approach of low-cost thematic investing, its advisor offering gives professionals a highly customizable automated investment portal with lots of unique features. (For more, see: How Motif Investments Works: Risks and Rewards.

Folio Institutional

The Folio Advisor Connexion is another suite of tools for financial advisors. On the Folio Institutional website, the firm describes its Folio Advisor Connexion as “a powerful new capability that can wholly transform your practice and give you the competitive advantage you need to grow your firm in unprecedented ways.” Its financial advisory services integrate with the existing Folio Institutional brokerage platform and gives advisors an online web-based advisory service. Folio Institutional, similar to Motif, targets young, tech savvy investors. The platform is a modular approach to mix online and in-person guidance.

The Folio Institutional benefits for advisors include:

  • Complete advisor control
  • Access to new client segments
  • Potential to reach previously underserved markets
  • Ability to minimize back office costs

Additionally, the Folio advisor offerings include access to more than 140 pre-selected investment portfolios expressing various indexes, sectors, strategies and goals. The advisor can use them as is or customize. 

Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services (IWS)

Fidelity IWS jumped on the robo-advisor market by taking advantage of partnerships. Fidelity partnered with Betterment Institutional to provide its platform to advisors who custody client assets with Fidelity. This allowed Fidelity entrance into the robo-advisory crowd. 

In an attempt to target the growing mass-affluent sector, Fidelity IWS also collaborates with LearnVest. In this partnership, Fidelity IWS RIA and its national financial broker-dealer advisors receive preferred pricing. (For more, see: What's the Best Robo-Advisor?)

Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios

In an extension of Schwab’s recently launched robo-advisor for individuals, the investment management firm rolled out a service for advisors who custody client accounts at Schwab. The Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios fact sheet explains the rationale behind their new service: “Helps you serve clients more efficiently, while delivering a digitally enabled experience clients have come to expect.”

The Schwab robo for advisors gives advisors access to more than 450 ETFs representing all major fund families. Similar to its individual product, there is a required cash minimum (4%) for each portfolio.

The Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios features include:

  • An advisor-branded online website and mobile app
  • Portfolio, activity and asset allocation charts and graphs
  • Real-time performance reports
  • 24/7 customer client support
  • Automated client asset allocation rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting

The Bottom Line

New robo-advisors for advisors are launching quickly. As human advisors work to capture younger clientele and to keep up with the pool of automated advisors, the addition of a digital platform to their service offering adds a competitive advantage. (For more, see: How Will the Fiduciary Rule Impact Robo-Advisors?

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