SigFig is rolling out a new wealth platform for financial advisors, which aims to automate many steps in client onboarding and other processes.

The fintech firm, which works with UBS, Wells Fargo and other firms on investor-facing robo-advisors, says Citizens Bank Wealth Management is the first financial group to work with the platform, called CoPilot.

Over the past few years, advisors were “seeing [the robo platform] as … so simple in terms of signing [clients] up and onboarding,” said SigFig CEO Mike Sha in interview. “They then asked, ‘Can we tap into this technology, too?’”

For registered representatives — especially at large firms — their technology is “antiquated and leaves most manual work to be done by humans,” Sha explained. “Built around legacy systems that are 10 to 30 years old, the advisor technology tends to be “clunky and hard to use.”

SigFig’s wealth platform for advisors handles front-, middle- and back-office administrative tasks, including the paperless onboarding of new clients; it also automates compliance processes such as yearly and changes to clients’ risk profiles with the aim of boosting advisor productivity and firm profitability.

Time for Change

In general, “There is a shocking amount of work that is [still] being done manually. This is an industry awash in inefficient processes that can be automated,” according to Sha.

“As these processes are digitized, this leaves so much more time for advisors to serve the clients with planning, thinking through decisions and helping to shape behaviors” that lead to more positive outcomes for advisors and clients, he added.

In the past, advisors spent lots of time on investment management, for instance, which has largely been commoditized by low-cost ETFs and model portfolios, he and other industry veterans point out.

“We are bringing all those tools and experiences into one space and one platform,” he said. “This lets advisors spend less time on busy work and more time on work that really adds value to their clients.”

This summer, Backend Benchmarking’s  list of top robo-advisors over a two-year period included Vanguard as best overall robo, with Betterment as a runner-up and SigFig as honorable mention. 

Founded in 2007, SigFig says some 70 million consumers work on its robo technology.