Goldman Sachs is targeting far less affluent investors by launching a robo-advice service with account minimums potentially as low as $5,000, according to news reports.
The bank’s wealth management operations have been traditionally aimed at the ultra wealthy.
Joe Duran, whose firm United Capital was acquired by Goldman for $750 million in May, tells the Financial Times that his team is on schedule to roll out a digital wealth management platform in 2020 aimed at clients with as little as “$5,000, $10,000 or $15,000.”
While the minimums have not been finalized, they’re planned to be “significantly lower” than Goldman’s traditional wealth management services, which cater to people with at least $1 million, the FT writes.
Duran tells the paper he expects the minimum account size to be higher than those at other robos, such as Betterment — which has no minimum to invest — “because of the kind of people the [Goldman] brand attracts.”
The new platform will be available to United Capital’s direct clients as well as to outside advisors using United Capital’s Finlife wealth management platform, according to the FT.
The new platform is aimed at clients “with low complexity, not that much in assets,” but also at serving as a pipeline for more services as these new clients “experience the Goldman Sachs’ way,” Duran tells the paper.
Duran also says that United Capital has already run trials of the new platform with clients brought on by Ayco, Goldman’s employee financial counseling service, which has resulted in “millions of dollars of new clients,” according to the FT.
Moreover, United Capital has seen “much bigger growth” than expected from Goldman Sachs’ private bank since it started referring clients with less than $10 million in assets to United Capital, Duran tells the paper.
Goldman COO John Waldron announced at a conference this June that the company was “developing a digitally empowered mass affluent capability,” saying the new platform would “leverage” its existing customer base as well as Marcus, the firm’s online retail bank.
But the acquisition of United Capital in May already signaled Goldman’s pivot toward the mass affluent market. Prior to the acquisition, Goldman’s wealth advisors traditionally catered to ultra-high-net-worth investors — its 450 private bankers oversaw $480 billion at the time. United Capital’s 220 advisors, meanwhile, managed $25 billion at the time.
Next year, Goldman is also launching a tax-free investment account in the U.K. under the Marcus brand through Nutmeg, a British robo-advisor Goldman invested in.