The best-known robo-advisor is getting into the higher-end financial planning business.
Betterment, founded in 2008 as an online investment service with no minimums, is expanding its offering with two new tiers for higher net-worth investors who want a human looking at their accounts along with the company’s robo-advisor system.
Betterment Plus will let customers with at least $100,000 in assets get an annual planning call from IRL experts and email advice throughout the year. Betterment Premium gets customers with at least $250,000 in assets unlimited access to experts throughout the year.
“We’re now a one-stop shop for financial advice, all the way up to and including getting a dedicated advisor, if that’s something you’re interested in,” Betterment Vice President of Investing and Financial Advice Alex Benke told Mashable.
The new services mark the biggest change to Betterment since its founding. Originally pitched as an easy option for new investors who might not really know how to get started, the robo-advisor now wants to be a full-service financial planner.
The original Betterment offering will stick around as Betterment Digital, still without a minimum asset requirement.
Betterment Digital will charge customers a flat 0.25 percent fee. The Plus and Premium offerings will come with 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent fees. The financial service doesn’t charge fees on assets past $2 million.
Betterment has 210,000 customers who trust the company with $7 billion in assets. The company thinks some of its original customers will opt for its new higher tiers, but also hopes to attract new investors who weren’t comfortable trusting only a robo-advisor before.
“We’ve seen interest from our existing customer base, but not from everyone. There’s a group of people who found us day one and just wanted to do it themselves and leverage self-service advice,” Benke said. “But we believe there’s a group of people who never came to Betterment in the first place. They can now come with any type of financial needs.”
This launch marks the first step in an expansion into new financial products for Betterment. In the long term, the company is interested in offering other services like life insurance, student loan refinancing as well as granting loans, Benke said.