Wealthfront, the West Coast robo-advisor battling Betterment for the top spot in tech-enabled wealth management, is launching a new version (and vision) of its wealth management service.
The Redwood City, Calif.-based company is integrating with tools like Venmo and Redfin to get an even more complete picture of its customers’ financial holdings.
The integration, aimed squarely at millennials, is designed to help the robo-advisor come up with an even more tailored set of suggestions for investments to ensure financial health over time, according to the company.
It’s an interesting move, and one that positions the company to talk a better game to its core audience — the newly affluent, mid-to-late twenty- and thirty-something employees in white-collar jobs around the country.
The redesign and fresh integrations come on the heels of the announcement of a big, new financing round for Betterment earlier this week.
Both firms are pitching their position as fiduciaries, with a legal obligation to provide sound financial advice to their customers as a huge leg up on their competition.
In a blog post announcing the new features, Wealthfront chief executive Adam Nash wrote:
Wealthfront has been built from the ground up with the same social contract that is at the heart of fiduciary advisor: our clients trust us with the relevant details of their financial lives and we keep their information private and secure. Our advocacy for a fiduciary standard is based on the premise that it will lead to better far better advice and outcomes.
We understand that many older investors who meet the high minimums of the traditional industry will continue to find more comfort in a personal relationship with a traditional advisor and we respect that. However, we are building our service for a new generation of investors, and designing it to grow with the profound capabilities we expect from intelligent services in their lifetimes.
The standard also sets the two companies apart from new lending companies like Earnest, CommonBond and a host of others vying for customers’ attention by managing a long-term financial commitment like a mortgage or student loans.
No matter the approach, there’s no denying how explosively investments in financial services startups have grown in the past few years.
As we noted earlier this week:
According to a report from KPMG and CBInsights published earlier this month, global investment in fintech companies totaled US$19.1 billion in last year, with US$13.8 billion invested into VC-backed fintech companies.
That represents a 106 percent jump compared to 2014. Those record-breaking levels were achieved despite a 64 percent sequential drop off in funding in Q4,according to the report, with US$1.7 billion invested across 154 deals to VC-backed fintech companies globally, the lowest quarterly fintech funding total since the third quarter of 2014.