March 2018 – Expanding the Coverage Set: Account Opening and Onboarding

In the past year, multiple incumbent brokerages launched automated investing services, further saturating the digital advice market. At the beginning of 2017, only six of the 18 leading brokerages covered in Corporate Insight’s Audit service offered digital advice accounts. Today, that number has doubled to 12, which does not even account for new services launched by major banks and asset managers. Based on our market research and client feedback, Corporate Insight is excited to announce the expansion of our coverage set to include three of the most significant new service offerings: Charles Schwab Intelligent Advisory, Morgan Stanley Access Investing and Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor. The addition of Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Advisor will provide us with our first insight into how full-service wealth management firms position and deliver digital advice services, a development edging them closer to direct competition with self-directed brokerages. Meanwhile, the addition of Charles Schwab Intelligent Advisory represents the fourth hybrid managed account service in our coverage set (joining Capital One Advisors Managed Portfolios, Personal Capital and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services), an increasingly popular service model among incumbents and digital advice startups alike.

Given the digital advice market’s increasingly competitive environment, this report also provides proprietary survey findings to help our clients better understand their target prospects and customers. The results stem from our November 2017 investor survey, which was predominantly geared toward self-directed investors, and paint an optimistic picture. Since we last fielded an investor survey in 2016, awareness and usage of digital advice platforms has grown significantly, as have the asset levels of investors who are most likely to use such a service. In the coming months, Corporate Insight will field an in-depth, digital-advice-specific survey so we can build a comprehensive customer persona and help our clients optimize their marketing strategies and platform development priorities.

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