Overstock has been building out their FinanceHub for the past few months to include Overstock credit cards and insurance products, loans by LendingTree, Prosper and SoFi, a robo-adviser for automated investing and a discounted trading platform; Raj Karkara, Overstock VP of loyalty and financial services, tells TearSheet, “Consumers don’t want to sit and sign 50 documents, they just want to go online and get through the steps they need to take to move forward.”; the moves made are part of a broader strategy for the retailer to become a full service fintech firm that caters to their clients needs. Source.
Robo adviser Wealthfront has announced in a blog post that it will expand its product offering to include loans; the firm is one of the premier robo advisers in the US; through a partnership with RBC Capital Markets, Wealthfront has uniquely designed a lending product for its current clients with at least $100,000; loans can be issued for approximately 30% of a client's account value. Source
Betterment has announced a new service that will offer professional advice from certified financial planners for an additional fee; the firm has structured the new service in two tiers providing for annual and unlimited advice; the annual access will be charged an additional 40 basis points with a minimum investment required of $100,000; the unlimited access will charge 50 basis points and require a minimum of $250,000; the new offering will target high net worth clients however the company will continue to maintain its $0 minimum investment; it is expected that robo adviser services will evolve to a hybrid model providing both automated and human services; Vanguard and Schwab offer a hybrid model with human advice available by phone or video chat. Source
Condor Capital Management's Ken Schapiro analyzed the market's robo adviser offerings by opening and funding more than a dozen accounts with a similar investment profile; all portfolios included an allocation of 60% equities and 40% fixed income however each followed the robo adviser's suggestions within those two categories; the results showed one year performance ranging from 10.75% to 5.55% with international holdings and bond fund variations significantly affecting the returns. Source
The European robo adviser has gained 10,000 customers and reported GBP260 million ($339.25 million) in assets under management; customers include Italian and UK consumers; source provides other data from the company's earnings results reporting a loss of GBP6.3 million ($8.22 million) from revenue of GBP167,628 ($218,721) for 2016; company says it is forecasting profitability by 2019; currently partnering with Allianz and another firm in Italy on two new servicing deals; also focused on launching a pension product this year. Source
The SEC's Division of Investment Management has published an investor bulletin including suggestions for investment advisers on meeting disclosure, suitability and compliance obligations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940; the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy also published a bulletin for individual investors providing information to consider when investing with robo advisers. Source
Asset allocation is an emerging concept increasingly being introduced to Chinese retail investors who have historically invested in highly volatile markets; CreditEase is one fintech company in the region seeking to educate and support more strategic investing through robo advisory services; the fintech company launched its Toumi robo adviser service in May 2016; the automated service provides advice for clients based on age, risk aversion and other preferences; it offers stable returns with low fees; with numerous cases of fraud from fintech investing in China more of the retail population is interested in safer robo advisory investment options; the country currently has approximately RMB 100 trillion ($14.5 trillion) in personal investable assets with nearly all the major banks developing new robo adviser services. Source