Big Banks Go Robo for Wealth Management in 2018

JPMorgan Chase will begin offering robo-advisor wealth management in 2018. The tentative launch date is March for their new financial technology advisement services.

Chase is not the only financial industry giant to begin offering robo-advisor services either. In 2017 Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo successfully launched versions of their own robo-advisor services.

Robo-advisors are autonomous financial software programs that are designed to help people self-manage their own wealth, stocks and financial portfolios. Robo-advisors exist entirely online, require little-to-no human oversight and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Investors must first fill out an application detailing their personal information, financial holdings, assets and wealth management advisement preferences.

After supplying the information, a robo-advisor then buys, sells and trades stocks on the investor’s behalf, as well as managing finances, retirement planning, investments and other financial services completely autonomously or via accountholder directives.

Investors have made robo-advisor wealth management popular in recent years because they allow the investor to take charge of their own decisions without the need for a human stockbroker or financial advisor.

Robo-advisors are also much more affordable that human financial advisors.

A human financial advisor can command commission fees that are equal to 1% to 2% of a client’s overall wealth asset portfolio.

Companies that offer robo-advisors instead charge minimal commission fees, ranging from $15 a month to $200 a month and up to a few thousand dollars a year, depending on the client’s wealth, assets and overall financial portfolio.

Forward-looking

Mainstream financial banking’s acceptance of robo-advisors may have a lot more to do with forward-looking business strategies that incorporate robo-advisors into everyday banking practices.

Financial industry experts theorize that banking industry giants want to be able to more accurately data-mine customer banking relationships from first account openings to retirement pension planning.

“Everybody has their platform in place pretty much at this point; the question becomes how they are developing a proposition to grow it into the fabric of the traditional business model,” Alois Pirker, the research director for financial advisement firm the Aite Group, told American Banker. “The end cannot be a low cost minimum investment platform. That’s merely the first step.”

JPMorgan Chase customers must have at least $5,000 in investments to apply and the company is actively courting the millennial demographic. Chase’s success with robo-advisors will soon be assessed.

One thing is certain: Robo-advisor wealth management is becoming mainstream. Robo-advisors may soon become just as common as the everyday ATM.

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