Bank of America on Monday added human advisors to its robo-advice platform, creating a hybrid offering aimed at the mass-affluent market. The platform, Merrill Guided Investing, now offers an option to work with a financial solutions advisor (or FSA), along with an improved digital platform.
“This new high-tech and high-touch offering is designed to serve clients who want both a ‘do it yourself’ experience together with help from an advisor,” according to Aron Levine, head of Consumer Banking and Investments for Bank of America.
For self-directed investors, the bank offers the self-directed Merrill Edge platform (since 2010). Clients who opt not to use an advisor can still use Merrill Guided Investing, which was launched in 2017 and includes some non-digital portfolio management services. The two programs had client assets of about $211 billion as of March 31.
Investors working in the new program with a financial solutions advisor can discuss their long-term financial goals, develop a plan and track progress toward those goals using 25 investment strategies vs. 15 strategies with Merrill Guided Investing.
The new program has a $20,000 minimum and an annual fee of 0.85% vs. a $5,000 minimum and yearly fee of 0.45% with Merrill Guided Investing.
Merrill has about 2,700 FSAs and plans to add another 300 by year-end.