TIAA, the provider of insurance and retirement products that oversees more than $860 billion in assets, has acquired wealth management technology firm MyVest in a move to reach a broader client base through increased online services.
TIAA has collaborated with MyVest since 2009 to expand its discretionary investment and tax management services. The firm hopes the acquisition will help it develop digital advice capabilities and streamline some of the technology-based services it already provides to clients.
“The world keeps changing and people deserve a financial services provider who truly understands how, when and where they want to engage,” said Rahul Merchant, TIAA chief information officer.
The acquisition lends itself to the discussion about the future of investment advice, as traditional firms begin to incorporate more digital services into their businesses. Last week, Tiburon Strategic Advisors predicted that although robo investment seems to be on the uptick, the number of robo advisors will decline over the next few years as some fold and others get acquired. The DOL rule also has many advisors questioning their future financial viability; many will need to scale their practices and use more digital services to compensate for lost revenue.
Still, many clients just want to be able to access their advisors in a way that’s convenient.
“Our customers deserve choices and should be able to interact with us on their terms — when, where and how they want,” said Kathie Andrade, CEO of Retail Financial Services at TIAA. “This move will improve our ability to personalize financial services offerings and better meet customer needs, including those who prefer to interact with us online.”
As an independent subsidiary of TIAA, MyVest will continue to service its current client base.