February 2017 – Digital Advice Platforms’ Positioning

With the continued growth of startups like Betterment and Wealthfront, digital advisory platforms have disrupted the traditional investing space over the past several years. To keep up with the trend, incumbent brokerage firms have recently introduced digital advice platforms, or robo advisors, into their offerings. This month’s Broker Monitor Report examines how these firms market and position digital advice platforms on their websites, analyzing public site product pages, dedicated microsites and other public site sections to assess how firms showcase these offerings alongside other products.

Eight of the 18 firms in our coverage group offer an automated investment platform, all of which are promoted on dedicated product pages along with firms’ traditional offerings. Five of these platforms are advertised on their firms’ public site homepages, though only two highlight the platform via a dedicated microsite. As more brokerages enter the automated investing space, firms will have a need to differentiate their offerings and stand apart from competitors. While some firms, like TD Ameritrade, highlight their goal-based investing, others, like E*TRADE, emphasize that they allow clients to invest easily, with little client involvement required.