Originally published at FinDEVr.com
Less than a month after announcing its new $105 million SoFi Prime Income Fund to help raise funds to issue loans, online lending innovator SoFi is making headlines again with the launch of SoFi Wealth. The new initiative, the company’s first digital wealth management offering, will allow investors in the U.S. to invest as little as $500 (or a $100 monthly recurring deposit) in automated, low-cost, ETF portfolios. But unlike many roboadvisors, clients of SoFi Wealth will have phone and/or chat access to human financial advisors.
SoFi believes that keeping human advisors as part of the overall investment picture is a plus for investors, especially the younger professionals that are a significant part of the company’s user base. “People love the low fees and automation of robo-advisors, but they struggle with not having an actual human being to talk to when facing big financial questions,” SoFi Wealth general manager, John Gardner said. “That guidance from a live advisor can help give them the confidence they need to start planning for a lifetime of financial success.”
Pictured (left to right): SoFi Wealth Head of Strategy Stephen Sikes and Quovo CTO and co-founder Michael Del Monte during their FinDEVr 2017 New York presentation, How Quovo & SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication.
In addition to providing live human advisors, low investment minimums, and access to low-cost automated ETF-based portfolios, SoFi Wealth also charges no management fees for clients who are also SoFi loan borrowers. Others pay a modest management fee of 0.25%, with no charge on the first $10,000 invested. Clients can access their accounts online, as well as via the SoFi Wealth app. Both Android and iOS versions are available.
The company also announced that it is developing a broader range of personal finance and financial planning solutions geared toward first-time home buyers and young families. SoFi anticipates rolling out these products and services over the summer of 2017.
Founded in 2011 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, SoFi made its FinDEVr debut earlier this year at FinDEVr 2017 New York. The company, in partnership with Quovo, discussed the challenge of managing consumer financial accounts in a presentation titled, How Quovo & SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication. The presentation focused on how Quovo developed a bank authentication API for SoFi that both improved security and streamlined UX. FinDEVr attendees gave the presentation a FinDEVr Favorites awards in the Favorite FinDEVr Alum category.
A member of CNBC Disruptor 50 for 2017, SoFi has raised more than $1.8 billion in funding – making the company one of fintech’s true “unicorns” – and includes Baseline Ventures, DCM Ventures, Discovery Capital, East West Bank and Morgan Stanley among its equity and debt investors. With origins in student loan financing, SoFi has since expanded significantly to include mortgage lending, personal loans, life insurance, and wealth management among the services it provides. Mike Cagney is CEO.