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Self-Directed Investors Think They Do a Great Job

Despite volatility, self-directed investors are happy with their returns this year, MMI predicts rapid growth for advisory firms, and TD Ameritrade builds a "skill" for Amazon's Alexa.

Self-directed investors are happy with their investments in 2016, an E*TRADE survey reveals. Ninety percent of the close to 1,000 self-directed investors surveyed said they were either somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with how they managed their money over the course of the past year. The survey, which targeted DIY investors with $10,000 or more in an online brokerage account, also identified four things they plan to do more of in 2017: Utilize online tools to check their allocations, adjust those allocations, take advantage of educational material and increase retirement plan contributions. “In the work we do with investors, we see that satisfaction comes from having a plan and sticking to it. It was a turbulent ride to say the least in 2016, and the data suggests investors took short-term market fluctuations in stride,” said Lena Haas, SVP of Investing at E*TRADE Financial. “Further, while these investors are satisfied with the investing path they are on, they are ready to kick their management up a notch in 2017.”

Despite Obstacles, MMI Firms Expect Sustained Asset Growth

A new survey of members of the Money Management Institute predicts Investment Advisory Solutions will experience an average 11 percent annual growth over the next four years, with total industry assets reaching $6.7 trillion by the end of 2020. Assets have grown steadily since 2008, reaching $4.3 trillion in the first half of 2016, led by strong growth in unified managed accounts (UMA) and rep as portfolio manager (RPM) platforms. In addition, the MMI survey found that firms continue to focus on Dept. of Labor fiduciary rule compliance, updating their value proposition to compete with digital advisory competition and fee compression. “This year’s survey paints a picture of an industry that continues to find new ways to grow, and we see great opportunities for the financial advice industry as we look to 2017 and beyond,” said Craig Pfeiffer, President and CEO of the Money Management Institute.

TD Ameritrade Builds a Skill for Alexa

Just in time for Christmas, TD Ameritrade created an Alexa "skill" for Amazon's popular voice-activated virtual assistant Alexa. Investors can ask Echo to find prices of more than 75,000 securities, including stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and 3,800 indices on all the major U.S. exchanges. Anyone with an Alexa enabled device – Amazon Echo, Tap, Dot or Fire TV products – can verbally ask for quotes and get real-time answers (subject to a 15-minute delay in pricing). Users can ask, "Alexa, ask TD Ameritrade for the price of Amazon," or "Alexa, ask TD Ameritrade for the price of A-M-Z-N" and Alexa will respond. Of course, you can't tell Alexa to buy or sell any of the securities - but who doubts that "skill" is just around the corner?  

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