Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor at a glance
Pros: Where Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor stands out
Access to financial advisors
One of the key features of Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor is the ability to speak with a financial advisor. These professionals are available via phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET. Financial advisors can be useful to all kinds of investors, but are especially helpful with new investors who aren’t as experienced with markets or financial terms. They can also help answer more complicated financial questions that might not be addressed on the platform’s website. This service is included in the 0.35 percent management fee you’ll pay annually.
Some other robo-advisors also offer access to financial advisors, but it often comes at a higher tier of service that requires a larger investment base from the client. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offers access to human advisors for its premium tier, which carries a minimum investment of $25,000 and has an effective fee of 0.70 percent at that amount. The fee declines as a percentage at higher asset levels.
Low fund fees within portfolios
Another area where Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor stands out is its fees for ETFs that are included in its portfolio offerings. The portfolios’ ETF fees range from 0.07 percent to 0.15 percent, which is relatively low compared with funds that take a more active approach and have fees approaching 1 percent. The fees charged by the ETFs are on top of the management fee you’re already paying to Wells Fargo, so it’s important to keep them as low as possible.
After answering a series of questions about financial goals and levels of risk tolerance, investors will be placed into one of nine portfolios that range from conservative positioning to a more aggressive approach. Conservative portfolios tend to emphasize current income and have higher bond allocations, while more aggressive portfolios hold more stocks and focus on capital appreciation at the expense of current income, which usually means the funds will have greater volatility.
The portfolio allocations will vary between equities, fixed income and cash based on your answers to the questionnaire. While the nine portfolios offer a number of different scenarios that are likely to work for the majority of people, more opportunities to customize portfolios would be an improvement and bring Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor more in line with leading robo-advisors.
Betterment and Wealthfront each offer ETFs from more than 10 different asset classes, allowing for more diverse portfolios than what is currently offered by Wells Fargo. Still, Wells Fargo’s nine portfolios is far above the four options from JP Morgan Automated Investing.
Wells Fargo also offers additional features such as daily automatic rebalancing in your portfolio, which allows your positions to be resized if their allocations have drifted from the recommendation. Though rebalancing is common among robo-advisors, it’s nice to have it monitored automatically so you won’t have to track it yourself.
If you choose, Wells Fargo will also look for tax-loss harvesting opportunities in individual and joint accounts. This feature allows Wells Fargo to use an automated process to sell investments that have declined in order to maximize your tax savings. The IRS allows investors to claim up to a $3,000 net loss on their taxes each year, which would allow an investor in the 24 percent marginal tax bracket to save $720. Keep in mind that losses can also be used to offset gains and lower the capital gains taxes you owe.
Tax-loss harvesting isn’t offered by all robo-advisors and the ones that do offer it may require a certain level of assets before the service kicks in. Wealthfront won’t start tax-loss harvesting until your assets reach at least $100,000, while Schwab Intelligent Portfolios begins harvesting at $50,000 in assets.
In addition to being able to speak with financial advisors 12 hours a day, five days a week, Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor clients will also be able to get questions asked via a phone line that’s available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-midnight ET. Between the financial advisor line and the large number of hours of availability through the general customer service phone number, customers shouldn’t have any issues getting their questions answered or having problems addressed.
You’ll also get access to Wells Fargo’s vast branch network, where you can make deposits into your account. The mobile app is also useful for depositing checks or initiating withdrawals.
Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor is a competitive robo-advisor offering, especially for beginning investors who are interested in having the option to speak with financial advisors as much as they’d like. While the management fee is above average, low-cost ETFs help keep the overall fee reasonable and well-below the typical 1 percent fee for traditional financial advisors. You’ll also get tax-loss harvesting services, a feature that is not universal among robo-advisors.
For investors who are looking to speak with human advisors at a lower cost, SoFi Automated Investing might be a preferable option. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios also offers the option of speaking with financial advisors, but only for more affluent customers who have at least $25,000 in their account. Schwab customers also receive a broader array of tools compared to Wells Fargo.
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