Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) and mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price (TROW) both plan to offer automated investment platforms for their clients, making themselves the latest entrants into the robo-advisor arena. They join other firms that have recently rolled out robo-advisor platforms such as Merrill Lynch with its Merrill Edge automated investment service.

T. Rowe Price's ActivePlus Portfolios platform will only use actively-managed funds, and there is no fee for the service. Clients will simply pay the investment management fees charged by the underlying funds in the program. The new service will initially only be available to IRA clients who have a balance of at least $50,000. The investment portfolios that are created in the program will use between eight and 13 of the company's mutual funds in order to provide a broad measure of diversification. Also, T. Rowe Price's robo-model contains a human element with its licensed client managers who are available for clients who need advice or assistance with complex issues.

Although Goldman Sachs has not made any official announcement of plans to roll out a robo-advisor platform, the firm has been advertising for employees who can help to build such a platform in its online job listings. The move signals a slight change in the direction the company is headed, as it seeks to expand its client base outside of the super-wealthy and penetrate the mass affluent market – current and potential customers with less than $1 million in investable assets. Its job ad states that the new automated service would be a part of the bank's investment management division.

Goldman Sachs and T. Rowe Price will soon be followed by other firms such as Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) and Raymond James, which are also planning on offering automated investment services to their clients. Morgan Stanley (MS) will roll out its robo-platform later this year. (For related reading, see: Citi's New Strategy for Wealthy Clients.)

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