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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Stein Opens Betterment's Doors to Two More Asset Managers

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The largest independent roboadvisor is opening up its investment doors to two more asset managers.

Betterment will now offer an income portfolio strategy powered by BlackRock and a smart beta portfolio strategy powered by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Betterment CEO Jon Stein revealed this morning. Until now all of Betterment's offerings have been powered solely by Vanguard ETFs.

A spokesman for GSAM was not immediately able to comment, and a spokesman for BlackRock did not return a call for comment.

Stein puts the New York City-based, venture capital-backed roboadvisor's move into the context of his growing and "increasingly diverse customer base." Betterment now manages more than $10 billion for more than 270,000 investors.

"They all want to put their money to work, but not necessarily in the same way," Stein states. "Adding these options to our existing portfolio strategies will help us deliver on our promise to provider customers with a personalized investment plan tailored for their individual needs and preferences."

Many roboadvisors and ETF strategists (roboadvisors' non-internet-focused brethren) have long worked only with certain ETF shops to build their portfolios. Indeed, the two biggest roboadvisors, offered by Schwab and Vanguard, are both part of much bigger financial services titans and are powered exclusively by proprietary ETFs.

Yet Betterment isn't the only one now turning to multiple asset managers for its portfolio building blocks. Indeed, BlackRock's own FA-friendly roboadvisor, FutureAdvisor, is powering LPL's cyborg advisor program out of ETFs from multiple firms. Invesco, which also owns a big ETF shop, has its own advisor-friendly roboadvisor, Jemstep, which also is not restricted to using one firm's wares. And independent ETF shop WisdomTree even backs an open-architecture, advisor-focused roboadvisor, AdvisorEngine. 

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