Insights shed light on how advisors are embracing digital advice


Explore advisor case studies and survey data to see how some firms are using automated investment management to expand their reach, implement client segmentation, and encourage relationships over time.

Key Points

  • The growing popularity of automated investment advice platforms in recent years has altered the wealth management landscape. Traditional advisors are standing up and taking notice. The industry is dealing simultaneously with shifting client demographics, the emergence of a new generation of investors, increased competition, and changing client expectations around advisor communication and information access. In this environment, forward-thinking advisors are looking at opportunities to use automation to be more competitive, increase efficiency and deliver a better client experience.

Schwab spoke in-depth with three firms that have launched digital advice platforms using Institutional Intelligent Portfolios® as the automation engine. Their experiences thus far are instructive for any firm considering an automated offering, for both the similarities as well as the differences in their strategies and service models.

  • HawsGoodwin Financial launched its prosperHG platform to target what it calls the "emerging investor" and soon saw a more established type of investor than originally envisioned.
  • Level Financial Advisors uses its Blueprint digital platform as the entry to a three-tiered client-segmentation strategy. The firm makes a point of having a human connection during the onboarding process to establish a relationship that will likely grow in the future.
  • SWS Partners, LLC launched the SWS Direct automated platform when it saw the opportunity to capture business from investors that did not need a high level of advisor engagement.

Engaging new audiences

In a recent Charles Schwab survey of more than 300 investment advisory firms that use or intend to use automated investment management, the majority of respondents believe it will enable them to serve a market segment they have not served in the past. For many firms, an automated offer enables them to formalize a client-segmentation strategy based on account size. It is also a way to engage young high earners who are just starting to accumulate investable assets, which could grow into substantial portfolios warranting full-service attention over time.Perhaps the most telling conclusion is that high-tech and high-touch aren’t mutually exclusive. Firms that have an automated platform are likely to brand and market it as a distinct but integrated offering within the firm rather than as a completely separate entity.

Few advisors are going completely digital with their offers*

*As of June 2016

About Institutional Intelligent Portfolios

In a rapidly changing wealth management environment, it's incumbent upon advisors to think about how to use technology to enhance their offerings and strengthen client relationships. There is much to be learned from looking at the different ways advisors are using new technologies and service models to stay ahead of the curve.

Learn more.

Institutional Intelligent Portfolios is an automated investment management platform designed to help advisors combine their personalized wealth management services and expertise with an automated online client experience that is advisor-branded. Institutional Intelligent Portfolios enables Registered Independent Advisors (RIAs) to create a diverse set of ETF portfolios for their clients that reflect the advisor's investment philosophy. The platform provides rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting to automate portfolio management. And it is integrated with Schwab Advisor Center® and Schwab Alliance, systems that advisors and their clients are accustomed to using.