Wells Fargo CFO John Shrewsberry said during a conference call with equity analysts Tuesday, “There are a number of initiatives underway …” in wealth management.
“At some point, it could even include a service or capability that competes with some of the robo-advisory people out there today who rely primarily on technology to construct portfolios and make offerings to customers,” Shrewsberry explained.
(News of the development was first reported by “The Wall Street Journal.”)
The company, which includes over 15,000 financial advisors, declined to share any more details on the matter, and rival Morgan Stanley (MS) — which reports earnings on Monday — said it did not care to comment on whether or not it will move in this direction.
The trouble for Wells Fargo, as well as Merrill Lynch, is that the automated-advisory field is becoming more competitive by the day.
Earlier this year, Vanguard rolled out a robo-service that costs just 30 basis points and offers video chats with an advisor. And Charles Schwab (SCHW) recently introduced robo-offering for both advisors and investors on its discount-brokerage platform.
Recent research from global analytics firm Cerulli Associates, such entrants are likely to make it difficult for existing robo firms to compete.