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Betterment Adds Human Advice To Robo Offering

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Betterment Adds Human Advice To Robo Offering

One of the biggest robo-advisors has turned into a cyborg.

Betterment announced Tuesday that it would add different levels of service plans to its robo-advisor product, the more expensive versions of which give users the option to consult with a human financial advisor.

Betterment service will be divided into three tiers: Betterment Digital, Betterment Plus and Betterment Premium.

What Betterment Provides

Betterment Digital is the company’s main-line robo-advisor, with a fee of 25 basis points. Plus offers investors a yearly consultation call with a team of Betterment staff CFPs who will monitor their accounts, with a fee of 40 basis points. Betterment Premium gives users unlimited access to those financial planners, who will offer them advice throughout the year at a cost of 50 basis points.

“Adding the human element helps further the Betterment mission, because now we can serve any kind of client that comes to us,” said Alex Benke, vice president of financial advice at Betterment.

The Importance Of Relationships And Betterment's Platform

As Betterment customers have gotten older and wealthier in recent years, Benke said that they began to request financial planning advice. Benke said that Betterment’s staff advisors have experience at firms like Vanguard, Merrill Lynch and PNC.

Betterment Plus users won’t always get the same advisors year-over-year, but advisors will be briefed on customer accounts so that they don’t give contradictory advice, said Benke.

“Continuity of the relationship is very important to us,” he said.

Benke built technology products at JPMorgan before jumping to Betterment five years ago.

“Betterment is a place where I can take useful financial advice and help potentially hundreds of thousands of people rather than a hundred,” he said.

Learn more about how Betterment CEO Jon Stein got his start in this profile.

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