Ameritrade sign on a door (Image: Shutterstock)

TD Ameritrade’s robo-advisor, Essential Portfolios, has lowered its investment minimum from $5,000 to $500 for clients who set up recurring deposits when they open their accounts.

The management fee for Essential Portfolios accounts remains unchanged, at a flat 30 basis points.

“We believe that every investor should have access to a professionally managed portfolio, regardless of their wealth or income level, and lowering the minimum for Essential Portfolios is a natural step in that direction,” said Peter deSilva, president of retail at TD Ameritrade.

The new lower minimum follow the results of a recent survey of U.S. investors 22 and older with at least $10,000 in investable assets that was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of TD Ameritrade. The survey found that almost one-quarter the roughly 1,000 respondents felt that high investment minimums are a barrier to investing. Nearly 40% of millennials surveyed said they would have started investing earlier on if the minimums had been lower.

TD’s Essential Portfolios consists of core and socially aware (ESG-focused) portfolios available in five risk categories: conservative, moderate, moderate growth, growth and aggressive for equities and bonds. TD Ameritrade does not disclose the mutual funds or ETFs that comprise these categories on its website.

The Robo Report, which monitors the performance of robo-advisors, places TD Ameritrade’s Essential Portfolios in the middle of the pack year-to-date through the third quarter for a traditional balanced portfolio — up 12.8%. Its SRI portfolio gained 11.7%, placing its performance closer to the bottom of its peers due to a “series of poorly executed tax-loss harvesting trades that left the portfolio highly allocated to cash in January of this year, dragging on performance,” according to The Robo Report.