Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor review 2021

Bankrate reporter Brian Baker covers investing and retirement. He has previous experience as an industry analyst at an investment firm. Baker is passionate about helping people make sense of complicated financial topics so that they can plan for their financial futures.

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Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Logo

Best For

  • Beginning investors
  • Tax strategy
  • Existing Wells Fargo customers

Wells Fargo’s Intuitive Investor offers investors a solid robo-advisor product while also providing the option of speaking with a human financial advisor five days a week. This may be particularly appealing to new investors with little or no previous experience with investing because they’ll be able to get questions answered by a professional, which isn’t common among most robo-advisors. Wells Fargo also offers additional benefits such as monitoring for tax-loss harvesting opportunities and reasonable fund fees within their portfolios.

But the added benefit does come with additional costs. Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor comes in with an above average management fee for a robo-advisor and you may face additional account fees associated with certain actions such as terminating an IRA. Investors who are looking for the option of speaking with professional advisors at a lower cost might consider SoFi Automated Investing for their robo-advisor needs.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor at a glance

Star Rating

4
  • Cost: 3.5 of 5
  • Investments and Portfolios: 4.5 of 5
  • Account Types: 4 of 5
  • Features and Tools: 4.5 of 5
  • Customer Experience: 3.5 of 5
  • Account Minimum:
    $5,000
  • Management Fee:
    0.35 percent, but falls to 0.30 percent when linked with Wells Fargo Bank Portfolio account
  • Account fees:
    $95 fee for IRA termination and outgoing account transfer; $30 fee for outgoing domestic wire transfer ($40 for international)
  • Portfolio Mix:
    9 portfolios built using 36 ETFs
  • Fund Expense Ratio:
    0.07 percent to 0.15 percent, depending on portfolio
  • Account Types:
    Individual, joint, custodial, IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, inherited IRA and inherited Roth IRA
  • Cash Management Account:
    Wells Fargo bank account opened with Intuitive Investor account
  • Customer service:
    Phone, M-F 8 a.m.-midnight ET; Financial advisors, M-F 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET
  • Tax Strategy:
    Tax-loss harvesting
  • Rebalancing:
    Yes
  • Tools:
    Basic goal planning, educational articles
  • Promotion:
    None

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 aren’t addressed on a website’s FAQ section. 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 might come 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.

Wells Fargo’s fund fees are in line with robo-advisor leaders such as Wealthfront and Betterment. Investors who are looking for even lower fees might also consider Vanguard Digital Advisor.

Portfolio management

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.

Tax-loss harvesting

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.

Customer service

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. You’ll also be able to use the mobile app for depositing checks or initiating withdrawals.

Quick comparison of Robo-Advisor options:
Robo-Advisor Overall Rating Cost Rating Investments and Portfolios
Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor logo
3.5 4.5 of 5
SoFi Automated Investing review 2021 logo Read Our Review
5 4 of 5
Wealthfront review 2021 logo Read Our Review
5 5 of 5
Betterment review 2021 logo Read Our Review
5 5 of 5

Cons: Where Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor could improve

Management fee

With an annual management fee of 0.35 percent, Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor comes in above what might be considered the typical fee amount for robo-advisors of 0.25 percent. This means that you’ll pay $35 for every $10,000 you have invested with Wells Fargo. They do offer a slight discount to 0.30 percent if you link your account with a Wells Fargo Bank Portfolio account, but make sure you link the accounts in the first 90 days of opening your Intuitive Investor account or the discount won’t apply.

Keep in mind that the fees you pay on the ETFs in your portfolio are in addition to the management fee, so your total fee could come to 0.50 percent if you are in one of the more expensive portfolios. While these fees are below what you’d pay for a traditional financial advisor, they’re above average for robo-advisors.

Wells Fargo does offer a satisfaction guarantee, which allows you to close your account within the first 90 days and receive a full refund of any fees paid.

Despite the above-average fee, Wells Fargo does stand out when compared to other bank-sponsored robo-advisors such as Merrill Guided Investing or JP Morgan Automated Investing. Neither of those banks offers tax-loss harvesting services and have limited portfolio options compared to Wells. Merrill will charge you 0.85 percent to have the ability to speak with a financial advisor, 0.50 percent higher than Wells.

Tools

Like other bank-sponsored robo-advisors, Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor doesn’t offer much in the way of tools or goal planning. There are educational articles available on the Wells Fargo Advisors website that cover a number of different life events such as marriage and estate planning, but other robo-advisors can provide better tools in this area.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offers its Play Zone tool, which allows users to play around with a number of different possibilities for the expected rate of return and savings estimates through scenario analysis.

Other account fees

You could also find yourself paying additional fees for taking certain actions in your account. If you close an account, you’ll be charged an outgoing account transfer fee of $95, the same amount you would pay for terminating an IRA. An outgoing domestic wire transfer fee will run you $30, while an international one will cost $40. These fees might seem insignificant, but they can really eat into your overall returns, particularly if you have a relatively small account balance.

Bottom line

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 one percent fee for traditional financial advisors. You’ll also get tax-loss harvesting services, a feature that is not standard among most 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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