Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor is designed for Wells Fargo clients who seek investment advice and are willing to engage digitally. But investors also have access to a financial advisor by phone. Financial advisor support is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET to answer questions and provide guidance.

New and Notable

Wells Fargo Wealth & Investment Management (WIM) announced the addition of  Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG)-focused portfolios to its product offering on May 17, 2022. Investors can access the robo-advisory platform with only a minimum $500 investment.

Pros & Cons

  • Can speak with financial advisors.

  • Classic methodology.

  • Top tier financial institution.

  • No performance data.

  • Relatively high account minimum.

  • Must give Social Security number to view recommendations.

Key Takeaways

  • Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor is a convenient option for existing Wells Fargo banking customers.
  • Tax-loss harvesting is available.
  • The signup process gets personal very quickly.

Company Overview

The banking giant Wells Fargo and Company operates the Intuitive Investor program as part of its subsidiary Wells Fargo Advisors. It initially launched Intuitive Investor in 2017. It then relaunched the program in 2022. Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor provides automated management of professionally-curated portfolios that lean heavily on modern portfolio theory (MPT) principles.

Wells Fargo was founded in 1852 by Henry Wells and William G. Fargo in an effort to help businesses and individuals manage their money. It's become a leading financial services company with offices in numerous cities across the U.S. Wells Fargo is headquartered in San Francisco and it employs about 250,000 people.

Account Setup


You can access the Intuitive Investor program through the Wells Fargo Advisors site. There's an informative breakdown on the site that compares fees and service levels between automated and fully human advisories. But the setup process gets personal quickly, requiring that you log in to an existing account or open a new one before you answer any other questions. This isn't a problem if you're already a Wells Fargo client, but Intuitive Advisor is not designed to bring on new customers.

This roadblock of requiring personal data and an existing Wells Fargo account so quickly may make potential customers uneasy. Applicants should demand a closer look “under the hood” before handing out their personal data, especially to a bank with a recent account fraud scandal in 2016 that affected millions of customers.

You'll fill out a short questionnaire about investment goals, time frame, and risk tolerance after you've created or logged into a Wells Fargo account. The system then recommends one of nine model portfolios spread across conservative, balanced, and aggressive risk themes.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor risk/return graph
Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor risk/return graph.

You can't make changes or trade directly, but securities transferred from another account can be retained if they replace one or more ETF allocations. Your risk profile can be changed at any time, potentially triggering a different portfolio allocation.

A $500 minimum is required to open an account and fund your portfolio. This can be established as an individual or joint taxable account, traditional individual retirement account (IRA), Roth IRA, SEP IRA or trust account. Accounts that fall below $100 will receive a notification. You'll then have 30 days to bring the balance above that amount in order to be eligible for the digital advisory services. Otherwise, your funds will be transferred into standard brokerage account.

New clients can also directly roll over a 401(k), 403(b), 457(b) or other plan held with a former employer.

Goal Setting


Intuitive Investor’s goal-oriented resources are divided into life planning and investment commentary sections, providing a wealth of useful information. This is offset by the fact that it's poorly organized. You're forced to drill through a lot of content to find relevant topics. These sections would greatly benefit from centralization, a search box, a table of contents, and a listing of hot topics.

A financial advisor is available to you by phone between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. For online services and support you can call between 8 a.m. and midnight ET, Monday through Friday. You can fill out an online form to have a financial advisor contact you to walk you through Wells Fargo's Envision process. This can help you and your Financial Advisor clarify and prioritize your goals to create a tailored investment plan. But it isn't a feature that you can access independently.

Account Services


The robo-advisor is well integrated with other Wells Fargo offerings, making it an attractive investment vehicle for existing clients. You can make deposits, set up recurring deposits, and initiate withdrawals through the account interface. Margin isn't available, nor can clients borrow against their accounts.

Cash Management

Intuitive Investor also includes Cash Services, providing money transfers to and from other Wells Fargo accounts. This service lets customers make deposits at any Wells Fargo branch as well as through the mobile app, and they can send and receive money through the Zelle transfer service. A Wells Fargo checking account lets you use bill paying services on the web or through the mobile app.

Interest is earned on unallocated cash through an overnight bank sweep into FDIC-insured accounts and non-FDIC-insured money market mutual funds. Wells Fargo Advisors discloses “We receive fees and other financial benefits under the different sweep vehicles”.

Portfolio Construction 


Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor offers you a classic portfolio approach with a bit of a weighting twist. Portfolio contents follow the categorization scheme found at most rivals, subdividing into nine portfolios that span very conservative to very aggressive risk objectives.

At least seven ETFs are used to populate each portfolio. In addition to low cost ETFs that track market-weighted indexes, the Intuitive Investor platform also buys Smart Beta ETFs, which cost a bit more, but overall represent a cost effective means to gain access to different investment factors.

The site states that the ETFs are selected by humans at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, but there wasn’t a readily available listing of providers and typical funds for review.

Portfolio Management


Intuitive Investor offers you the basic portfolio management that can be found with most robo-advisors. The platform maintains a broadly diversified portfolio that includes investments from a variety of market sectors and asset classes. The methodology follows traditional MPT principles, emphasizing the benefits of low cost securities, diversification, and indexing to achieve long-term financial goals. Algorithms don’t base decisions on market timing or short-term performance.

Intuitive Investor rebalances your portfolio “as often as necessary” to maintain allocations. The portfolio is checked daily to ensure that allocations are within thresholds. You can also engage in tax-loss harvesting on your individual or joint taxable account through a free opt-in program. Intuitive Investor will substitute similar ETFs to offset capital gains while maintaining your portfolio’s asset allocation if you enable tax-loss harvesting. 

You can get to your account management functions through Well Fargo’s single unified log-on. The interface is highly functional with account services, performance breakdowns, long-term projections, and tools to evaluate the potency of the current market approach. It also supports customized portfolio views, detailed research, and technical charting, as well as real-time market updates. You can send secure messages to advisors and access account documents.

User Experience


Mobile Experience

The website is mobile-ready and easy to read. Wells Fargo provides the same full-featured iOS and Android apps for all types of accounts, with two-factor authentication and nearly all account functions that are accessible through the desktop management interface.  

Desktop Experience

Intuitive Investor is part of the Wells Fargo Advisors site, but finding the program can take a few clicks because it's just one of multiple offerings. A full-featured FAQ complements a professional marketing presentation, providing most of the information that's necessary to open an account. Information on methodology and portfolio construction has been written for the layperson, avoiding fine print, and an account preview highlights major features.

Our review found no SEC-mandated wrap fee brochures on the public website. However, there was at least a document detailing fees and costs. Disclosures at the SEC site were limited to an omnibus wrap fee brochure that includes Intuitive Investor on a laundry list of advisory programs. But that document doesn’t disclose specific fees, market activities, objectives, or conflicts of interest. This marks a major omission by Wells Fargo because many seasoned investors consider the ADV-2A the quickest way to assess an offering.

Customer Service


Telephone service hours vary by department. For general questions about online services and support the hours are 8 a.m. to midnight ET on Monday through Friday. Financial advisors are available to you between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. Contact attempts produced a variety of unacceptable waiting times averaging a hefty four minutes and 25 seconds. One call reached a representative who wasn’t knowledgeable about basic program details.

There’s no live chat, and a warning message indicates that Wells Fargo won’t handle financial functions like transfers and withdrawals through email due to its inherent insecurity. A full-featured and well-written FAQ covers the Intuitive Investor program in detail, reducing the need to slog through dense legalese disclosures, agreements, and other fine print.

Education & Security


The Wells Fargo website provides ample goal-planning resources through its Investment Insights and Planning for Life sections. These are dedicated to basic and advanced investment topics as well as high-level market commentary by Wells Fargo staff. Sections also feature dozens of checklists, how-to articles and calculators for a wide range of goals that include marriage, divorce, retirement, and estate planning.

The educational resources are useful overall but they're not well organized. They lack a search function and a table of contents.

Security is up to industry standards. Intuitive Investor uses 256-bit SSL encryption as well as two-factor authentication for both desktop and mobile functions. Wells Fargo also guarantees fund replacement if the site or account is hacked. The wholly-owned Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network holds client funds, providing access to Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) coverage and excess insurance.

Commissions and Fees


The minimum to open an account of $500 is similar to other robo-advisors, but it's higher than those aimed at Millennials.

Intuitive Investor charges a 0.35% annual wrap fee that includes transaction costs, but there's a discount of 0.05% for clients with a linked Wells Fargo Prime Checking Account or 0.10% with a linked Wells Fargo Premier Checking or Private Bank Interest Checking Account. The ETFs average between 0.07% and 0.15% expense ratios. Wells Fargo charges a steep $95 fee to terminate an IRA account or to transfer the account to another broker.

  • Annual cost to manage a $5,000 portfolio: $17.50
  • Annual cost to manage a $25,000 portfolio: $87.50
  • Annual cost to manage a $100,000 portfolio: $350

Final Verdict

Intuitive Advisors offers excellent resources and automatically managed investments to existing Wells Fargo customers at a moderate cost. Like some of the other robo-advisors tied to financial majors, it appears that Wells Fargo is looking to prevent clients from leaving to explore robo-advisors at other financial firms rather than attract new clients into the fold.

This impression is compounded by the fact that the account minimum is beyond the reach of most beginner investors. Many new applicants may walk away after looking at the setup process, which requires a Social Security number before viewing the questions or portfolio. This roadblock could work at other top tier institutions, but Wells Fargo doesn’t have that luxury after undermining client trust in the 2016 scandal.

But Intuitive Investor is cost-competitive for the automated management services it brings to your portfolio if you're already part of the Wells Fargo product universe. The tweaked approach to MPT with the different weighting approaches is also an interesting departure, but it would be nice to see robust performance metrics backing up the approach.

The high minimum to open an account and the lack of an upfront preview suggest that investors unaffiliated with the Wells Fargo universe may find a better fit with more nimble competitors.


Is it safe to invest with Wells Fargo Advisors?

Intuitive Investor, a part of Wells Fargo Advisors, uses both 256-bit SSL encryption and two-factor authentication for both its mobile and desktop so using it is on par safety-wise with other sites from a security standpoint. Wells Fargo also guarantees fund replacement if your account is hacked. As for safe investing, Wells Fargo is a banking giant so you're as safe here as you would be anywhere if you know the ropes of investing or have a good advisor.

What are the fees for Intuitive Investor?

Intuitive Investor charges a 0.35% annual wrap fee, but it comes with a discount if you have a linked Wells Fargo Prime Checking Account, a Wells Fargo Premier Checking, or a Private Bank Interest Checking Account. Expense ratios for ETFs average between 0.07% and 0.15% as of 2023.

What is the minimum required investment for Wells Fargo?

The account minimum for Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor is $500. This is on par with most robo-advisors.


Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of robo-advisors. Our reviews are the result of in-depth evaluations of over 20 robo-advisor platforms, including the user experience, goal-setting capabilities, portfolio construction, costs and fees, security, mobile experience, and customer service. You can read our full robo-advisor rating methodology for a much more in-depth explanation.

We took a critical look at the services and technology provided by robo-advisors with the individual investor in mind. We organized our methodology into nine categories, scoring each advisor across multiple variables to rate performance in every applicable category. The score for the overall award is a weighted average of the categories.

We sent questionnaires with over 100 queries to the participating robo-advisories to evaluate these platforms. Most of the companies we reviewed gave us socially-distanced video demonstrations of their platforms and services.

We scored each category from the questionnaires, the hands-on testing of the platforms, and the platform demonstrations then combined the category scores into an overall rating for each robo-advisor. Each category covers the critical elements users need to thoroughly evaluate a robo-advisor.

Review Category Weighting Variables
Account Setup   5% 6
Goal Setting 15% 4
Account Services 10% 8
Portfolio Construction 15% 7
Portfolio Management 20% 4
User Experience 15% 6
Customer Service   5% 5
Education & Security   5% 6
Fees 10% 5
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