Vanguard is piloting a new digital advice platform it plans to make available to retail investors and participants in employer retirement plans, according to news reports.

The fund giant has filed an initial disclosure document with the SEC about the planned launch of its new platform, dubbed “Vanguard Digital Advisor,” according to InvestmentNews. The new service will allow clients to set long-term goals, such as retirement savings targets, or shorter-term goals such as large purchases, the publication writes. The platform will then consider the investor’s risk profile, existing investments and tax situation as well as the time horizon to recommend investments, according to InvestmentNews.

William Trout, head of wealth management for Celent, tells the publication that Vanguard’s new offering is a "shot across the bow of Schwab,” which offers its own digital planning service dubbed “Intelligent Advisory.”

A spokesman for the firm tells the publication that Vanguard is currently piloting “a new advice service” but refused to provide any more details.

The new offering, according to the filing with the SEC, will cost 15 basis points, which is about half of the fee Vanguard charges for its robo hybrid platform Personal Advisor Services that offers clients access to a human financial advisor in additional to digital financial planning tools, the publication writes. However, David Goldstone, head of research at Backend Benchmarking, tells InvestmentNews that the real cost, including expense ratios for underlying funds, is 20 basis points.


The digital-only platform also has a personal account minimum of $3,000 rather than the $50,000 required for the hybrid service, according to the publication.

When it comes to 401(k) plans, the new platform can manage accounts with as little as $5, InvestmentNews writes.