Betterment, the largest independent robo-advisor, has taken another step to expand its advisor business. Three months after it changed the name of the service and expanded its investment offerings, it announced a strategic partnership between its Betterment for Advisors platform and the Financial Planning Association.
“This partnership leverages FPA’s collective expertise and knowledge to further Betterment for Advisors’ mission,” said Cara Reisman, head of business development at Betterment for Advisors, in a press release. She told ThinkAdvisor, “A big goal for us is to work with the FPA to enable advisors to streamline operations.”
FPA says the partnership will help educate advisors about using technology to serve more clients. “In a world where our members are getting infused with robo-advisors and new technology this is a way to work together to improve the quality of financial planning,” George Bradley, director of professional development and corporate relations, told ThinkAdvisor.
Betterment for Advisors is FPA’s first robo-advisor strategic partner (It has about a dozen such partners). The arrangement is set for 16 months, but FPA expects it will extend longer as a means for its members nationally and in local chapters to interact with Betterment.
Prior to the announcement, Betterment representatives participated in FPA’s national conference, held in Baltimore in late September. Betterment now expects to participate in more FPA-related conferences in the coming year and in other collaborative programs which have yet to be decided.
“We are looking for other ways to collaborate on thought leadership, and other initiatives,” said Reisman, adding that more announcements will be forthcoming early next year.
Betterment for Advisors currently serves more than 300 financial advisor firms but it does not disclose how many individual advisors that number represents or the amount of assets. Betterment itself has $6.106 billion in assets from over 248,800 clients, according to the firm’s latest ADV filing dated Oct. 31, 2016.
FPA has 24,000 members, including about 60 to 65% who are RIAs. Most of the rest are independent broker-dealers.
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