Great article showing the challenges established players have in making structural changes. On the surface it is very easy to replicate the model of Wealthfront and Betterment for USD 10-15m, however to bring it to work in large organizations where the core model is people based is more complicated than just building the platform
Shane Leonard recently wrote a doomsday post on this site about robo advisors, whose rapid growth has made the behemoths of finance take notice. Now that robo advisors have shown there’s a market for low-cost, online investment management, Leonard predicts that the industry’s incumbents will copy robos’ technology and offer similar services at little to no cost, essentially wiping out their nascent rivals. Leonard cites two examples: One is Charles Schwab, the discount broker and asset custodian, which said last July that it would offer online investment management for free sometime this year. Another example is Vanguard, which came out with its Personal Advisor Service last year, and plans to make human financial advisors available for inexpensive webcam consultations. Schwab and Vanguard are both great companies, but several structural issues prevent them from competing effectively.