Betterment Bets on Retirement (Thumbs Sideways)
Betterment CEO Jon Stein
What happened: Betterment announced Betterment for Business, a new product to be launched in Q1 2016. Betterment for Business will be a 401K platform to provide plan participants access to Betterment’s automated investing technology, as well as administrative tools for the plan sponsors.
Why it matters: Notwithstanding their “institutional” business that has helped Betterment deliver a slightly higher growth rate than archrival WealthFront, Betterment continues its quest to put advisors out of business with a full-stack 401K solution —custodian, advice, recordkeeping and tools all-in-one. Schwab actually tried this one and retreated; it turns out that advisors add a lot of value to the process. But in any case, we wish Betterment the best of luck hiring out a massive B2B salesforce to convince mom and pop to fire Fidelity and hire a comparable product with similar fees. The main differentiation? A prettier user interface. Color me skeptical.