The top investment & wealth management firms to pay attention to in 2021

The top investment & wealth management firms to pay attention to in 2021
  • The fintech industry is moving every year. Throughout 2019, fintech startups globally scooped up $34.5 billion in funding.
  • But as more and more fintech companies pour into the space, it can be tough to sift through them and identify the largest fintech companies.

The sharp market decline in the early days of COVID-19, as well as the proceeding market volatility, has significantly impacted investors' portfolios. Wealth management firms' top lines were also effected, as net income and fees tied to assets under management (AUM) saw a drop consistent with market performance.

While backstop and contingency efforts have been used as an interim solution to market challenges, investors and wealth management firms must consider new approaches to avoid losing market share and to stay relevant long-term.

Insider Intelligence has put together a list of the top investors and wealth management firms - Betterment, Vanguard, Moneyfarm, Robinhood, Advizr, Nutmeg, Wealthfront, Habito, Hydrogen, Sigfig, Scalable Capital, Mint, Wealthsimple, and Charles Schwab. We'll share how each of these top firms are positioning themselves for success as we transition into the new normal.
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Betterment

Betterment is the most popular AI-powered robo-advisor in the U.S. and has more than $6 billion in AUM. The company does not require a minimum deposit and charges only 0.25% of AUM annually for its basics plan, making it accessible to even the newest investors. Betterment realizes that customer focus is key in the times of COVID-19, and has advisors readily available to help investors sort out questions and challenges concerning their retirement accounts.

Vanguard

Vanguard had about $6.2 trillion in global assets under management, as of January 31, 2020. Vanguard is good for low-cost investing, with a $0 stock trading commission, making it ideal for buy-and-hold investors and retirement savers. However, active traders may require a more robust trading platform.

Moneyfarm

Moneyfarm is a robo-advisor that operates in Italy and the United Kingdom, that is very convenient and low-maintenance. It will conduct research and invest money in the way it believes is best for each client's personal needs, and not just what is popular at the time. Customers can start a general investment account, or transfer their existing ISA account to the platform, and then simply watch their money work for them.
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Robinhood

Robinhood offers free stock options, exchange-traded fund (ETF) and cryptocurrency trades, and its account minimum is $0. It is a great choice for those looking for low limits or trade crypto, but does not offer mutual funds or bonds.

Advizr

Advizr was acquired by Orion Advisor Services, LLC (Orion), the premier portfolio management solution provider for registered investment advisors, in 2019. It is one of the least expensive options on the market, as their full package of financial planning software tools, client PFM portal, and account aggregation benefits are available for only $75 per month. Advizr is newer to the marketplace and is not as robust as some of the bigger players, but it is growing in popularity among smaller firms or advisors looking for an intuitive, easy-to-use platform. The company collects client data and runs tests to determine appropriate recommendations.
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Nutmeg

Nutmeg launched in the UK in 2011 and offers investors a cheaper alternative to traditional wealth management services by focussing on exchange traded funds (ETFs) and tracker funds that carry lower charges. They also specialize in import substitution industrializations (ISAs) and pensions, and are ideal for those looking for someone to manage their portfolio and help them make tactical decisions.

Wealthfront

Wealthfront launched the Wealthfront Cash Account in 2019, offering a 2.24% interest rate and FDIC insurance that covers balances up to $1 million. They offer a low 0.25% management fee, free management of accounts with balances under $5,000, and one of the strongest tax-optimization services to help those with taxable accounts enhance their tax efficiency.

Habito

Habito targets home buyers and tries to remove the friction of mortgage applications. The company is best known for offering transparency, an easy-to-use platform, and a quick application process. It may require clients to have some mortgage knowledge and is not well suited for those who have had debt issues in the past
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Hydrogen

Before launching in 2017, Hydrogen started as a product offering of consumer fintech company Hedgeable. Hydrogen launched as a standalone platform with the mission of allowing teams to deploy financial applications anywhere in the world.

Hydrogen has gained popularity due it's quick application process, straightforward website, and online-only approach that does not require clients to travel to a physical space. This is a good fit for more experienced investors, as some mortgage knowledge may be required and it is not ideal for those who have had debt issues in the past.

SigFig

SigFig is an robo-advisor backed by UBS, New York Life, Santander InnoVentures, Eaton Vance, and Comerica Bank. They offer low-cost portfolio management, with no fee for the first $10,000 invested, with a competitive rate of 0.25% going forward. SigFig's $2,000 minimum investment is higher than that of competitors, but many clients find that its unlimited free financial counseling and innovative portfolio tracking tools more than makes up for this.
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Scalable Capital

Scalable Capital started in Munich, Germany in 2016, and has since grown to be one of Europe's fastest growing digital wealth managers, investing over £1.3 billion of assets for about 50,000 clients. It provides the strongest and most consistent returns on low to medium risk portfolios, but is unlikely to be a top performers due to its heavy focus on risk management.

In contrast to services like Nutmeg and Moneyfarm, Scalable Capital has a minimum investment amount of £10,000, which has gotten them higher investments from the average client, but could scare away some newer investors.

Mint

Mint is a popular financial tool that was founded in 2009 by Inuit, the company that also created Quickbook for bookkeeping and accounting, and TurboTax for the completing, filing, and paying of taxes. Its mission is to keep individuals more informed about their financial health, whether they are looking for a general overview or want to explore its more robust features.
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Mint has impressive website and mobile app, which syncs with other accounts and categorizes transactions. Users can check their net worth, set budgets, and create goals. While there is no fee to sign up, users will encounter advertisements. In addition, some might have to adjust their settings to avoid frequent notifications.

Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple could be a good fit for investors of all ages looking to save money and take the next step in ensuring long-term financial security. They are a socially responsible investment option, and have live representative readily available to help clients. Wealthsimple's fees are higher compared to the average robo-advisor, but they offer an account minimum of $0, which is useful for investors who are just starting out.

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab is a well-known wealth management company that went public in January 10, 2003. It caters to investors beginner investors with its $0 account minimum, as well as to active traders with its $0 commission for stock, options and exchange-traded funds. The company also charges no annual or inactivity fees. They also have an above-average mobile app, and offer sophisticated tools and trading platforms.
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More to Learn

This comprehensive list of fintech companies merely scratches the surface of the fintech industry, which is growing in unprecedented ways.

And here are some related Financial Services reports that might interest you:

  1. The Banking-as-a-Service Report, which looks at five major BaaS providers, ranging from fintechs to 20-year-old legacy providers that we think represent a proper cross-section of approaches to offering BaaS.
  2. AI in Banking, which identifies the most meaningful AI applications across banks' front and middle offices.
  3. The Global Neobanks Report, which explores how the neobank market has grown rapidly, and what's in store as the industry pivots from hyper-growth to sustainability.
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