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Morgan Stanley Launches Robo Advice Platform

The brokerage is the latest to roll out an automated investment option.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management launched its own robo advice platform Monday morning, with model portfolios catering to the investment styles of younger generations and features now ubiquitous to automated investment solutions.

The online platform, called Access Investing, is intended to bring better efficiency and personalization to Morgan Stanley advisors for their existing clients, the company said in a statement. The tool is also meant for investors who don’t meet the qualifications to work with an advisor. The idea is, these smaller accounts will eventually transition into a more traditional advisory relationship as they accumulate assets and their financial needs become more complex.

Like other robo advice platforms, users will input data and complete a questionnaire to measure their risk tolerance. They can then choose from a list of suggested model portfolios from Morgan Stanley’s Global Investment Committee, which are automatically rebalanced and undergo tax-loss harvesting.

The portfolios include mutual funds, passively and actively managed exchange traded funds, an ETF-only market tracking portfolio, and seven thematic portfolios, including sustainability, gender diversity, next wave technology and emerging market trends.

Investors are increasingly conscious about the underlying holdings of their portfolio and aligning their portfolio with their own set of values or beliefs, said Lisa Shalett, Morgan Stanley’s head of investment and portfolio solutions, in a statement.

Morgan Stanley found that 86 percent of millennials—broadly defined as those born between the early 1980s and 2000—are interested in socially responsible investing, SRI for short, and are twice as likely to invest in a fund if SRI is part of the value creation thesis.

The investment minimum to open an account is $5,000, and all accounts are charged a fee of 0.35 percent of assets under management. There are no other account service or termination fees, but investors could incur additional fees and expenses from the funds they own in their account.

Some of the big brokerages have already rolled out their own automated advice tools. Last month, Wells Fargo rolled out its “Intuitive Investor,” with a $10,000 minimum investment and 0.5 percent annual advisory fee. Earlier this year, Merrill Lynch introduced Merrill Edge Guided Investing, with a $5,000 minimum and 45 basis points fee. Raymond James Financial revealed its Connected Advisor platform in January.

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