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The top robo-advisor offerings for 2022



When you’re looking for a hands-off way to invest, robo-advisors can be a good choice. These online investment platforms typically provide automated investment management and often do so for minimal cost and little effort on your part. Simply answer a questionnaire about your financial goals, timeline, risk tolerance, and other preferences and the platform selects assets and designs a portfolio for you.  

But not all robo-advisor platforms are created equal. Some are more expensive than others or require a steep minimum balance to get started. Some offer one-on-one guidance from a financial professional, while others may offer no human support at all.

To help make the selection process a little easier, the Fortune RecommendsTM editorial team reviewed nearly two dozen robo-advisor platforms and came up with a list of our top 10 picks. When conducting our review we considered the minimum required deposit to open an account, commission fees, annual fees, customer support, one-on-one advisory service, sign-up bonuses, and account closure fees. (Read our full methodology here)

All fees listed are up to date as of December 16, 2022.

  1. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
  2. Merrill Edge Guided Investing
  3. Ally Invest Managed Portfolios
  4. INVEST for Amex by Vanguard
  5. Fidelity Go
  6. SigFig
  7. UBS Advice Advantage
  8. E*TRADE Core
  9. Wealthfront
  10. Betterment

The 10 best robo-advisors

Here’s a closer look at the top 10 on our list including key information about their fees, customer service offerings, and other important information to consider when opening an account.

1. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios: For the investor seeking minimal fees and personalized support 

Key numbers 
Commission: $0
Account minimum: $5,000
Annual advisory fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: $0
Account closing fee: $0

Why we picked it: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offers the best all around service for the price Though the initial deposit to get started is steeper than many other platforms, there’s no advisory fees, no commissions, and no account closure fees. In addition, customers get 24/7 live support from U.S.-based professionals and the Schwab robo-advisor actively monitors and automatically rebalances your portfolio when needed. In addition to phone support, the platform also offers chat support with account specialists. 

2. Merrill Edge Guided Investing: For those seeking a sign-up bonus 

Key numbers
Commission:
$0
Account minimum: $1,000
Annual advisory fee: 0.45%–0.85%
Sign-up bonus: $100–$600
Account closing fee: $49.95

Why we picked it: Merrill Edge comes with more fees than some of the other accounts that made our list. But it’s also one of the few platforms currently offering a sign-up bonus. Though you’ll need to deposit a significant amount of money to earn a bonus. Those who fund their account within 45 days of opening with at least $20,000 will receive a $100 cash bonus. The bonus increases to $150 when you deposit from $50,000 to $99,000 within 45 days, while deposits of between $100,000 to $199,999 earn $250. 

Those who deposit $200,000 or more earn a $600 bonus. Another benefit of this platform is phone access to personalized service from advisors. However, the $1,000 minimum to open an account with Merrill Edge may be too high for some and there are some fees to consider, including advisory and account closure fees. 

3. Ally Invest Managed Portfolios: For investors who have less money to get started but still want personalized support  

Key numbers
Commission:
$0
Account minimum: $100
Annual advisory fee: 0%–0.30%
Sign-up bonus: $0
Account closing fee: $0

Why we picked it: Ally makes it easy to get started investing with just a $100 minimum deposit requirement and few fees for its service.Those who open Ally’s Cash-enhanced portfolio, which requires setting aside 30% of your portfolio in cash to act as a buffer against volatility, won’t pay advisory fees. 

However, when opening Ally’s Market-focused portfolio, which only requires a 2% cash buffer set aside, there’s a 0.30% advisory fee. Ally Invest customers get access to portfolio specialists via phone Monday through Friday. The Ally platform offers chat customer service and you can also reach out with questions via email.

4. INVEST for Amex by Vanguard: For American Express Card members who want assistance investing

Key numbers 
Commission: $0
Account minimum: $10,000
Annual advisory fee: 0.50%
Sign-up bonus: $0
Account closing fee: $0

Why we picked it: INVEST for Amex by Vanguard is designed for basic American Express cardholders and offers membership rewards points when you invest. Another particularly notable feature of this platform is the dedicated, one-on-one consultation it provides with a Vanguard representative once you enroll. On the downside, while there’s no advisory fee for the first 90 days, after that customers pay a fee of up to 0.50% on assets managed by the INVEST platform.  

5. Fidelity Go: For those seeking minimal opening deposit requirements 

Key numbers
Commission:
$0
Account minimum: $10 
Annual advisory fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: $0
Account closing fee: $0

Why we picked it: If you’re curious about robo-advisor platforms but don’t have much money available to get started, Fidelity Go may be a good choice. There’s no deposit required to open an account and just $10 is required to get started investing and exploring the robo-advisor experience. Yet another benefit of the Fidelity Go platform is the lack of fees across the board. For those who have less than $25,000 under management, there’s no annual advisory fee. However, those with $25,000 or more in a Fidelity Go account will pay a 0.35% each year. In exchange for that 0.35% fee, customers get unlimited one-on-one coaching.

6. SigFig: For those seeking unlimited access to advisors 

Key numbers
Commission:
$0
Account minimum: $2,000
Annual advisory fee: 0%–0.25%
Sign-up bonus: $0
Account closing fee: $0

Why we picked it: Perhaps the most notable feature about a SigFig robo-advisor account is that it offers unlimited access to advisors no matter what your account balance. This is an invaluable feature. The platform’s customer service options are also admirable and include phone, email, and chat. The platform also constantly monitors your account and rebalances it when necessary. On the downside, you’ll need $2,000 to open a SigFig account. And while your first $10,000 invested is managed for free, beyond that you’ll pay a 0.25% annual fee. 

7. UBS Advice Advantage: For those who have a substantial amount of money to begin investing with

Key numbers
Commission:
$0
Account minimum: $10,000
Annual advisory fee: 0.75%
Sign-up bonus: $0
Account closing fee: $0

Why we picked it: At $10,000, UBS has the steepest minimum balance on our list. However, users are able to contact UBS financial advisors whenever they have questions. Advisors can be reached Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. EST until 7:30 p.m. EST. You’ll also pay an advisory fee with UBS, which is worth keeping in mind. However, the platform offers automated rebalancing, tax-loss harvesting, and ongoing oversight by experienced financial professionals. 

8. E*TRADE Core Portfolios: For new investors who want access to educational information 

Key numbers
Commission:
$0
Account minimum: $500
Annual advisory fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: $50–$3,500
Account closing fee: $75

Why we picked it: Perhaps one of the best known robo-advisors, E*TRADE offers a number of benefits including no annual advisory fees and a sliding scale sign-up bonus that starts at $50 for those who deposit at least $5,000 within 60 days of opening an account. Its platform is also easy to use and offers a suite of educational information and articles for users who are new to investing. On the downside, the $500 account minimum may be an issue for some and there’s also an account closure fee. Customer service options include 24/7 phone, email, and chat via the E*TRADE website.

9. Wealthfront: For those interested in customized robo-portfolios

Key numbers
Commission:
$0
Account minimum: $500
Annual advisory fee: 0.25%
Sign-up bonus: $0
Account closing fee: $0

Why we picked it: Wealthfront’s robo-advisor platform allows users to create portfolios that are curated and customized based on specific interests such as social responsibility. You’ll need $500 to open a Wealthfront account however, which may not be accessible for everyone. In addition, there’s an advisory fee of 0.25% per year. Wealthfront customers have phone access to product specialists and can also reach professionals via email. The platform promises emails are answered within one business day.

10. Betterment: For beginning investors looking for an easy-to-use platform and minimal fees

Key numbers
Commission:
$0
Account minimum: $0
Annual advisory fee: 0.25%
Sign-up bonus: $0
Account closing fee: $0

Why we picked it: Betterment offers a very user-friendly platform that allows for setting up your account within just a few minutes after answering a few questions. You don’t need any money to open an account but you will need $10 to start investing. The platform offers automatic rebalancing and dividend reinvestment for no added cost. Users can also set up automated deposits to their Betterment account to continue funding their investment goals. 

One drawback to consider however is that there’s a fee to access one-on-one advice from certified financial planners. Customers will need to purchase a one-time package for that support, which costs $299 to $399, or switch to a premium plan that includes continuous support. Premium plans have a 0.15% add-on annual advisory fee.

What is a robo-advisor? 

Robo-advisors are platforms that offer automated investing and wealth management services based on the use of mathematical algorithms. Customers provide some initial information about their financial goals, risk tolerance, and personal background and the robo-advisor identifies suitable assets and creates a portfolio. Many robo-advisors also automatically rebalance portfolios and provide tax-loss harvesting.

These online portfolio management services first emerged on the scene back in 2010 and over the years the field has grown to include more than 100 robo-advisor platforms across 15 countries, according to a report from Deloitte.

How do I open a robo-advisor account?

Opening a robo-advisor account is simple. It typically involves completing an online questionnaire that requires providing information about yourself, your financial goals, and your risk tolerance. After that, you fund the account to get started.

Can you lose money with a robo-advisor?

As with any type of investing, there are risks involved and it is possible to lose money with the ups and downs of the market.

Our methodology 

To identify our top picks for the best robo advisors, Fortune RecommendsTM compared 20 different robo advisor platforms. We ranked each account based on seven categories: commission fees, account minimum, annual advisory fees, customer service, human advisor availability, sign-up bonus, and account closure (ACAT) fees.

All of the accounts on our list are available to anyone in the U.S., so you can sign up for any offering no matter where you’re located. 

The core categories we analyzed are:

  • Commission fee (25%): This represents the fee some investment platforms or brokers charge for buying or selling stocks at your request. It is sometimes referred to as a trading fee.
  • Account minimum (20%): Some robo advisors require a minimum deposit to establish an account, which in some instances can be as high as $10,000 or more. We ranked robo advisors with low to zero minimum opening balances higher.  
  • Annual advisory fee (20%): An annual advisory fee is charged by some robo advisors to cover the services provided by the financial platform and its professionals. The fee is charged as a flat dollar amount or as a percentage of assets under management on the platform. To calculate this fee for platforms charging a percentage, we used the minimum required opening balance of  $10,000, which is the highest minimum balance amount among all robo advisors we reviewed. 
  • Customer service (10%): The ability to get questions answered easily is critical when it comes to managing your money. Top picks in our ranking offer customers various ways to get in contact: chat support, by phone, or even email—with phone support being the most highly rated. 
  • Sign-up bonus (10%): Some robo advisors periodically provide a cash sign-up bonus to attract new customers. In some cases the bonus is as high as $600 or more.
  • Human advisor (10%): Not all robo advisor platforms offer customers the ability to interact with a financial advisor but the best do. Those who provide professional, one-on-one financial guidance were scored more favorably.

Account closing fee (5%): Fees can add up quickly. Yet another fee charged by some platforms is an account closure or ACAT fee. Robo advisors that do not charge ACAT fees were rated higher.



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