6 Ways Roboadvisors Have Evolved to Suit 2020

By many accounts, 2020 has been a difficult year full of events nobody could have anticipated or planned for.

As an industry, however, fintech has faired rather well. The shift to digital combined with an enhanced focus on the customer experience have benefitted banks, end users, and even fintechs themselves.

Fintech’s wealthtech subsector is no different. In fact, roboadvisory tools have evolved over the past decade with near-futuristic new features and offerings that are helping today’s consumers battle the challenges of 2020.

Here we’re taking a look at six ways roboadvisors have improved to (unknowingly) prepare for the toughest year yet.

AI has gotten smarter

Thanks to machine learning capabilities, the AI technology that powers investment strategies, forecasting, and reporting has improved significantly since roboadvisors hit their peak in 2015. Additionally, the amount of data has increased and computing power has been significantly upgraded, meaning that AI has never been smarter.

Recession forecasting

One of my favorite tools that launched this year is Personal Capital’s Recession Simulator. While many investment portfolio models offer a range of what-if scenarios, the Recession Simulator helps users illustrate the effects that historical recessions may have on their portfolio. Currently the Recession Simulator allows users to mimic returns of the DotCom crash of 2000 and the Financial Crisis of 2008.

Challenging the challengers

Last year ushered in the era of challenger banks, and roboadvisors were quick to jump on the opportunity. Three of the top roboadvisors by assets under management– Wealthfront, Betterment, and Personal Capital– all launched checking tools last year. These accounts help consumers keep all of their cash in a single, unified place and some offer tandem, high-yield savings accounts.


While many fintechs have promised to automate savings, investing, and billpay, many have been slow to deliver. Recently, however Wealthfront has made strides toward its Self-Driving Money concept. Last month the company unveiled Autopilot, the first product in its self-driving money suite. Autopilot takes clients’ savings and automatically monitors their balances and moves money around on their behalf to maximize their savings and returns.

Looking beyond retirement

While everyone hopes to save for retirement, there are plenty of other events to save for, too. Many roboadvisors have set up their platforms to enable users to save up for relatively smaller savings goals, such as a kitchen renovation, a child’s education, or a wedding.

Built for everyone

While many investment platforms cater to a variety of risk appetites, some have started to cater to new client bases, such as gig workers. Betterment, for example, launched a promotion with Steady, a gig economy workforce platform, to offer its users free financial advisory services for one year.

Photo by Eugene Zhyvchik on Unsplash

Personal Capital CEO Speaks Up About the Company’s Acquisition

If you missed the news earlier this week, here’s a recap: Personal Capital agreed to be acquired by Empower Retirement, the second-largest retirement services provider in the United States, for up to $1 billion, composed of $825 million on closing and up to $175 million for planned growth.

According to Forbes, the San Francisco-based fintech is selling for the same price as its valuation in February 2019. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.

After a bit of time to digest everything, Personal Capital CEO Jay Shah looked at the decision and what it means for the eleven-year-old company. Shah has been at Personal Capital since the company’s launch in 2009 and will now serve as President of Personal Capital and will also sit on the Executive Team at Empower.

Shah explained that, though many companies have expressed interest over the years in acquiring Personal Capital, none of the opportunities felt right. However, because Empower shares many of Personal Capital’s same “visions and values.”

He went on to describe how, in today’s uncertain world, the buy-out “will ensure extra strength and resources to grow Personal Capital, and bring [clients] more of the great technology and service [they’ve] come to expect. He added that combining the two companies will help Personal Capital support and further develop its features and service offerings.

As for what’s next, Shah said that Personal Capital will continue to operate as it always has. And because the company’s leadership team has committed to stay on for the long-term, the company’s culture will stay in-tact. “I recognize that this announcement feels like a major change, but I also want to assure you that your day-to-day experience with Personal Capital will remain the same,” he added.

Photo by Oleg Laptev on Unsplash

Personal Capital Helps Investors Worried about the “What If” of Future Recessions

Not that we didn’t see it coming, but the National Bureau of Economic Research officially declared yesterday that the U.S. entered into a recession in February.

With the market volatility over the past few months, many investors have attempted to assess how the changes will impact their retirement plans. Seeing the need to offer peace amid uncertainty, Personal Capital made a move last month to help investors prepare their portfolios for the worst.

The company added a new tool, Recession Simulator, to its dashboard. The feature helps its U.S. users illustrate the effects that historical recessions would have on their portfolio. Currently the Recession Simulator allows users to mimic returns of the DotCom crash of 2000 and the Financial Crisis of 2008.

“With uncertainty around the market’s performance and overall economy, we want to continue to be a catalyst for providing individuals the necessary tools and insights to best position themselves to reach their financial goals under volatile market conditions,” said Personal Capital EVP for Advisory Service, Kyle Ryan.

The retirement dashboard also incorporates expected return and volatility, annual savings, income events, spending goals, retirement spending, social security, and tax rules for taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free investment accounts. My favorite aspect of Personal Capital’s retirement tool is that it allows users to generate different scenarios to simulate retirement income under multiple circumstances. It helps users to easily compare situations such as: What if there is a recession every 10 years? What if I sell my rental property at age 50? What if I pay for a child’s tuition?

The new Recession Simulator tool is the result of a company-wide hackathon, and according to Personal Capital’s recent survey, it comes at a good time. The survey found that around 40% of people indicating they were planning to retire within the next 10 years have decided to delay their retirement. It also uncovered that around 77% of the respondents who are at least 10 years away from retirement expressed some concern about COVID-19’s impact on their retirement goals.

A Finovate alum since 2011, Personal Capital has amassed $12.3 billion in assets under management since it was founded in 2009. The company has 24,000 investment clients across the U.S. and 2.5 million registered users of its free financial planning tools.

Photo by Travis Essinger on Unsplash

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Paper.id lands funding to power digital invoicing for SMEs in Indonesia.

Around the web

  • BlueVine launches BlueVine Business Banking.
  • Salt Edge unveils Salt Edge Authenticator for strong customer authentication and dynamic linking.
  • Jack Henry’s PayCenter helps first 15 bank clients join RTP network.
  • AccountScore and Equifax debut credit risk index to help lenders better understand loan applicants.
  • Personal Capital celebrates 10 years in wealthtech with a brand refresh.
  • MX ships new tool to help consumers manage and cancel recurring subscriptions.
  • Swaper’s three years milestones: 2800 investors have funded over 7 million Euros in loans.
  • Envestnet | Yodlee releases Intelligent APIs to further personalize financial wellness tools.
  • myGini completes PCI Level 1 compliance audit.
  • FinTech Global recognizes Insuritas as InsurTech 100 Member.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • InComm Makes Third Acquisition this Year with Purchase of Meridian Loyalty.
  • Email Security Specialist GreatHorn Locks in $13 Million Investment.

Around the web

  • Monzo partners with Xero and Free Agent.
  • Temenos to power digital transformation for Rwanda’s Bank of Kigali.
  • BuiltIn features HooYu in its look at how AI is changing the banking industry.
  • ACI Worldwide teams up with Egyptian Banks Company, which will leverage ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution.
  • Entrepreneur magazine names Lendio Franchising as a Top 100 Franchise for Less Than $50,000 in 2019 and as the Best Financial Services Franchise Brand for the second year in a row.
  • Yseop recognized as a representative vendor in Gartner’s first Market Guide for Natural Language Generation Platforms.
  • Saga selects FIS to deploy its Integrity SaaS solution.
  • iSignthis launches third European office in Gzira, Malta.
  • In June Personal Capital surpasses $10 billion in assets under management, an increase of more than $2 billion since Q4 2018.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Personal Capital Raises $50 Million in Round Led by IGM Financial

Silicon Valley-based wealthtech player Personal Capital is living up to its name as it has raised $50 million in a Series F funding round led by IGM Financial, reports Antony Peyton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The firm is in a personable mood as it has recently surpassed $8.5 billion in assets under management and two million registered users on its platform, which tracks more than $650 billion in aggregated account value.

The company didn’t go into specifics, but the funding will be used for growth, enhance its technology platform, and invest in partnerships.

“We have stayed laser focused on our mission of building a business that uses the ideal combination of technology and advisors to help Americans achieve clarity and confidence in their financial lives,” said Jay Shah, CEO of Personal Capital.

In terms of details, it has launched Smart Withdrawal, a personalized and interactive withdrawal strategy planner for retirement.

The company also announced a partnership with Alight Solutions and AllianceBernstein to create WealthSpark that will provide American workers with insights to their finances through Personal Capital’s technology.

Personal Capital is headquartered in Redwood City with hubs in San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, and Atlanta. It was founded in 2009.

IGM Financial is a Canadian personal financial services company, with approximately $154 billion in total assets under management. Its activities are carried out principally through IG Wealth Management, Mackenzie Investments and Investment Planning Counsel.

Personal Capital demonstrated the One Click Investment Proposals feature of its platform at FinovateSpring 2014.  The company is also a veteran of our developers conferences, most recently providing a presentation titled Data-Driven Account Opening at FinDEVr Silicon Valley in 2016.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Personal Capital Raises $50 Million in Round Led by IGM Financial.

Around the web

  • OnDeck secures $85 million credit facility.
  • Central 1 integrates with SecureKey to offer the firm’s single sign-on authentication services to its members.
  • Consumer goods giant Unilever partners with Optimove to enhance its marketing operations.
  • Technology Association of Georgia names DefenseStorm a Top 40 Innovative Technology Company.
  • Ripple announces new partners in its global University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI).

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alums Shine in 2019 Forbes Fintech 50 Roster

A baker’s dozen of Finovate alums has been honored this week with spots on the 2019 Forbes Fintech 50, an annual aggregation of what the editors called “the most innovative companies in fintech.”

Here are the Finovate alums that made the cut. Read the full list.

“Recognition as a leading innovator in fintech is tremendous validation for the hard work we’ve done at Marqeta to open the industry up to the possibilities and opportunities of modern card issuing,” company CEO and founder Jason Gardner said. Marqeta is among the 20 companies to make its first appearance on the Forbes Fintech 50 roster.

Also earning their first appearances on Forbes Fintech 50 roster are New York based mobile investment platform Stash and San Francisco supply chain payments innovator Tradeshift.

“Very excited to be included in the 2019 Forbes Fintech 50!,” Stash tweeted once the news was released at the start of the week, “Monday = made.”

“We made the list!” Tradeshift tweeted this morning.

Summarizing this year’s selection of top fintechs, the editors noted that while 19 out of the 50 fintechs featured are unicorns with valuations of more than $1 billion, a nearly equal amount – 20 startups – are making their first showing on Forbes top fintech list. The two areas where newcomers were more prevalent, according to the editors, were payments technology and startups serving the un- and underbanked.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Pindrop Advances into Smart Devices with $90 Million in Funding.

Around the web

  • iSignThis begins accepting customer deposits to its own issued International Bank Account Numbers (IBANs).
  • Personal Capital moves headquarters to Redwood Shores.
  • Signifyd opens EMEA headquarters in London to support its ecommerce fraud protection business in Europe.
  • Juvo expands across Asia with regional headquarters in Singapore.
  • Ondot announces new digital card services platform to support U.K. banks.
  • Lighter Capital provides NinjaCat $1.1 million.
  • R3’s new Corda App supports Ripple’s XRP.
  • Upserve (formerly Swipely) releases newest point-of-sale device, Upserve POS, now available for Android.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • KPMG Acquires Minority Stake in Alternative Credit Scoring Specialist, AdviceRobo.
  • Thinking Capital, National Bank Expand Funding Options for Canada’s SMEs.

Around the web

  • Australia’s business bank Tyro to offer flexible same-day settlement and payroll integration courtesy of a partnership with Xero.
  • Spreedly unveils latest version of its Account Updater solution.
  • Dwolla discontinues its last branded solution Transfer; pivots to focus on Dwolla Platform, the company’s white-label API.
  • Klarna to acquire Close Brothers Retail Finance (CBRF).
  • Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank partners with Ripple for instant settlement of cross-border money transfers.
  • WorkFusion launches Partner Portal to support rise in AI-driven automation engagements.
  • Solna launches its intelligent invoicing tool powered by credit score data.
  • Personal Capital Promotes Craig Birk to Chief Investment Officer.
  • Moody’s Analytics partners with Cortera on a small business solution.
  • Arxan launches advanced protection for client-side eeb apps.
  • Checkbook celebrates topping two million user milestone.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Hydrogen, TD Bank Partnership Drives DIY Financial Planning.

Around the web

  • Hackney London Borough Council leverages technology from OutSystems to enhance its digital services.
  • NCR inks partnerships with a trio of credit unions: Parsons FCU of California, Educators Credit Union of Texas, and AERO FCU of Arizona.
  • Anorak to provide life insurance advice to users of money management app, Yolt.
  • SaleMove wins top honors at Orion Advisor Services’ Ascent/FUSE 2018 conference. See SaleMove at FinovateFall in New York September 24-26.
  • Varo Money to deploy Temenos’ T24  core banking platform.
  • Digital lending platform Roostify announces its app is now available on the Salesforce AppExchange.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • What Happens When a Lending Platform Goes Under?
  • Australian Challenger Bank Tyro Partners with Alipay.

Around the web

  • Coinbase leverages an electromagnetic signal blocking tent to secure assets from cybercriminals.
  • Klarna to provide pay later service for U.K. retailer, The Fragrance Shop.
  • Finastra to support fintech collaboration in the Middle East by joining Bahrain FinTech Bay.
  • AlphaPoint powers San Francisco-area, XRP-based cryptocurrency exchange, DCEX.
  • Check Point rumored to be developing a mini-firewall for IoT.
  • Bloomberg reports: Google and Mastercard Cut a Secret Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales.
  • Personal Capital launches “Retirement Paycheck” service to simplify retirement income.
  • Salesforce selects InvestGlass for EMEA fintech accelerator.
  • Black Enterprise profiles DarcMatter co-founder, Natasha Bansgopaul.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.