While online banking continues to expand rapidly, financial advising has just begun transitioning to the Web. The gravitation toward online wealth management represents an interesting shift in the financial services industry, but the question on many consumers’ minds is whether they feel comfortable entrusting a program—or a person they’ve never met—to pilot their investments.
For many, it’s not an easy decision, but a number of financial industry experts believe online advising can be useful for a segment of the population that’s largely untapped by traditional wealth-management firms: the lower to middle class. “These websites provide financial advice to people with less money to invest, and at a lower price point,” says Robert Stammers, director of investor education at the CFA institute, a global nonprofit organization of investment professionals. Since traditional firms require clients to have substantial financial assets (some a portfolio size of at least $1 million), many cash-strapped Americans can’t afford to hire a financial adviser.
Targeting that demographic are online-only financial advising startups like Personal Capital, LearnVest, and FutureAdvisor. Click here to read about their approach and why wealth management is moving to the Web.