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I had various rollovers here for my IRAs that I consolidated. Overall, in the course of 5 years, I had a reasonably aggressive investment mix geared toward stocks with some bonds. The S&P was up quite a bit during that time. My returns with them were not-5% annualized-pretty marginal. Yes, they may have low fees but then that may not matter if they have low returns. I mean, if a fund has, say, a 1% fee and returns 7% that is objectively better than a .5% fee and a 5% return.
Anyway, they force you to hold your money with TD Ameritrade which is an issue - another cook in the kitchen to potentially mess things up (which actually happened - I got notification that my funds had been converted to cash and then a couple of days later they were converted back to funds! What?). When I went to rollover into another IRA vehicle their rollover process was arduous - it took over a full month which is just unacceptable.
At least it was better than an IRA I had with Betterment, one of their competitors, which took 6 weeks! By comparison, I did the same type of rollover with Fidelity and it took 3 days - all electronically - no phone calls, no e-mails whatsoever. Finally, the communication via e-mail and phone calls left we cold-e-mail responses were too slow - sometimes it would take days to get a reply. Frankly, like many financial companies they need a chat option. Hard to fathom that they don’t have one from a customer service standpoint.
I have been a satisfied FA customer for several years now. If you have never used a RoboAdvisor, you should seriously consider doing so for your 401(k) and personal investment accounts. First of all, FutureAdvisor acts as your fiduciary - they never try to sell you stocks for the commission fees. Instead, they take a fixed percentage of the money that they manage for you. If you have a large amount of money to invest, feel free to ask if they will accept a lower fee. They did so for me. Secondly, FA automatically monitors and rebalances your account to keep your stock/bond ratio true to your comfort level - whether it is conservative, moderate or aggressive. Thirdly, they work with many major brokerage houses - so you don't have to open new accounts.
Their customer service is superb. I recently decided to pay off a small mortgage that I had and asked them to sell some stock funds to do so. They automatically sold off my long term investments to reduce my capital gains tax, and they called me before executing the trade to let me know what my capital gains would be so that I wasn't surprised at tax time. You will sleep better at night knowing that Future Advisor is looking out for you.
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I decided to try FutureAdvisor. I was supposed to get free try with no charges for 3 months. I ended up with lots of charges. My portfolio was going down (it was in stock market) when the market was going up. It was impossible to get an answer with customer service. I LOST MORE THAN I INVESTED. DISHONEST COMPANY. DO NOT DEAL WITH THEM.
They're nice, pleasant. They answered every single question I had. There wasn't a long wait. They were literally sweet and able to walk me through and the call wasn't ended too fast. Everything was nice and brilliant. They made sure my needs were met. They made sure my account was set up properly. They made sure I didn't have any questions before hanging up. There wasn't too many additional fees and if they were, they weren't too overbearing. Maybe here and there or for small things like a dollar or two. Nothing too extreme. Everything was very easy. The website, the 1-800 number, the customer service, my account. I was definitely impressed and if it wasn't, they'd 100 percent help you completely.
I would have to say that the customer service experience with this company leaves a little bit to be desired. It's not absolutely terrible, and in the end you get the answers or assistance you need, but it could be better. It offers the best customization packages I've ever heard of, and in my personal situation was able to provide exactly what I was looking for and suited my needs perfectly. Now this is one area I did have a bit of a problem with in the form of fees popping up that no one could properly explain (and granted, that may have had more to do with the specific customer service representative I spoke to than the company itself). This service is very easy to use and requires very little effort from the customer. Nothing is confusing or difficult, and it's an overall painless experience.
Easy to use and a variety of ways to get help. Customer service is very helpful and thorough. If you have any issues it's easy to get assistance. I'd happily recommend. You can put minute details in to get the results you want. I can put my salary and outgoing bills to help determine expenses. It's reasonably priced. Additional fees are extremely reasonable. You may want certain details that they can provide. It's totally reasonable and worth the extra fees. It's so easy... fun even! If you ever have any questions customer service is always there for you! The FAQ section is perfect for all your needs. It's so easy there should never be any issues.
It was acceptable and the trade occurred as scheduled per my request. Very similar to my requests for Fidelity in trade transactions and their timing. Further the software was simple and easy to use and made for quick instruction and direction. There are several options and paths to execute your instructions. The one I chose was a simple point and click. Once the task was complete you would receive a detailed report. There are additional fees and potential wait times for completing and executing any trades on these exchanges where the investor must choose between two options. Either one is challenging. The system or the software design is relatively easy to use. With self-descriptive menus and drop down options to choose from each option. The speed of transaction is dependent on the complexity and makeup of the instructions and the directions.
Their customer service is not too bad. It could be better however. It would be nice to be treated like I was special and not just someone else they were making money off of. I am overall very happy with the different customization options that they give you for making your investments. There are many different options to choose from no matter how much you want to invest. I am overall satisfied with their additional fees. It could always be worse. There is always a company that is going to charge less and there is always going to be a company that charges more. Overall I am pleased with the ease of use that I get. It makes it easy to invest without having to listen to a representative trying to talk me into an investment I don't want.
I opened a Future Advisor premium account in June 2016 with the understanding that I will be able to decide on the investments they make with my money. Based on their advice, I opened an account with Fidelity Investment under the management of FutureAdvisor. It was mentioned that I can make a choice of any 3 out of the 4 investment options offered to me. Ever since I made my investment, FutureAdvisor refused to even discuss my portfolio. The portfolio started to degrow and I reached out to them as similar portfolios with other advisors were growing. I wrote the following to FutureAdvisor on Nov 12, 2016: "I am concerned to see the performance of my future advisor managed account with Fidelity. I have similar amount invested with other advisors and they are all in the positive. All the investment category in Future Advisor investment is in the negative."
I had a call with FutureAdvisor on Nov 16, 2016. The advisor (Nick) told me that this kind of portfolio will degrow and I need to open a separate retirement account, if I need to see profitable growth. On complaining and requesting closure, they terminated the account management with Fidelity and left it on me to withdraw the money by putting in trades to sell my holdings. They wrote to me that "While we're sad to see you go, we certainly understand that the FutureAdvisor Premium Service is not for everyone. Your FutureAdvisor Premium Account has been canceled. FutureAdvisor has been delinked from your accounts at Fidelity Investments, and you will retain the same account number. Your FutureAdvisor Basic Service account will remain open, and you can re-initiate your Premium application at any time by simply sending us an email."
On talking to Fidelity, I found out that I have to pay money to Fidelity (in terms of trade charges) to withdraw the money. The minimum courtesy that I had expected from FutureAdvisor was to close the account and refund the amount and not leaving a client high and dry. When I called FutureAdvisor back on Nov 21, 2016, they agreed to re-open the account and provide me with another advisor who can help me with the funds. I submitted a new application and completed the entire process.
I suddenly get a mail from FutureAdvisor on 22nd November, 2016 as follows: "Based on your previous conversation with our Financial Advisor team which led to the cancellation of management on your account last week, we feel we are not a good fit for your investment goals. Thus, we will not be moving forward with your reapplication to our services. We are not linked onto your account at Fidelity and those assets remain solely under your control. Please contact Fidelity with any further questions or requests regarding your account."
The customer service is prompt, informative, professional, and friendly. However one thing I would like to note is whenever I call I always have to wait for at least fifteen minutes before I am able to speak to a live representative. I would also like to add that the brand representatives are very helpful at explaining the nuances between the plans. Overall I was very satisfied with the overall absence of any additional hidden fees. This service was extremely easily to use. Not only was the online and mobile access extremely accessible and very convenient to use, the support I received over the phone was one of the most elucidating experiences with customer services I have ever experienced.
FutureAdvisor author review by Barbara Friedberg
FutureAdvisor is an investment advisory firm that manages investors’ existing IRA, Roth, taxable and other investment accounts that are held at Fidelity and/or TD Ameritrade. They use modern portfolio theory to build and manage diversified and tax efficient investment portfolios.
Portfolio dashboard: The FutureAdvisor dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of the investor’s past performance, a timeline of all trades and investment activities and account-by-account portfolio holdings. The dashboard also shows the health of the overall portfolio with regard to performance, fees, tax efficiency and diversification.
Fees: After a free three-month trial, the investment management fee is 0.5 percent of AUM with possible additional commission charges. As is the case with all mutual and exchange traded funds, there are low underlying fund management fees.
Investment portfolios: FutureAdvisor manages the consumer’s investments holistically to minimize taxes and maximize returns. The automated algorithm uses modern portfolio theory to create investment portfolios with the best returns at each risk level. FutureAdvisor rebalances the portfolio when necessary.
Licensed advisors: Their financial advisors and service specialists are available for information and guidance.
No Fee, DIY Option: Consumers not interested in the management option can sign up for FutureAdvisor for free to receive their personalized account-by-account recommendations. Ultimately, the consumer may implement the recommendations or not, on their own.
Tax-loss harvesting: FutureAdvisor continually seeks opportunities to harvest losses to be offset with the consumers gains and/or ordinary income for lower overall tax payments.
FutureAdvisor questions and answers
- What problem is FutureAdvisor trying to solve?
- Middle-class households have been unable to access unbiased financial advice for decades because the industry imposes high minimums on net worth and only serves wealthy clients.
- What sets your company apart from the competition?
- We manage brokerage and retirement accounts directly at custodians like Fidelity and TD Ameritrade, maintaining a balanced asset allocation that lowers their investment fees, optimizes their taxes, and diversifies their risks. We do so for a fee that is between one-sixth and one half what traditional advisors charge. We also offer consultations with our registered investment advisors free to our premium clients.
- What needs do your products and services fulfill, and how do you fulfill those needs better than your competition?
- FutureAdvisor is bringing the same high-quality financial services that wealthy families have always relied on to the rest of America. We are managing the investments of hardworking families so they can send their children to college, reach their financial goals and retire well.
- How does FutureAdvisor measure success?
- We measure our success by how likely our clients are to recommend us to others. We track this metric via our Net Promoter Score.
- What’s the most common misconception consumers have about your industry? Your company?
- Many people have been rejected by traditional financial advisors, burned by bad advice from untrustworthy firms, or have paid too much for small returns. They no longer believe that they can find reliable advice at a low cost.
Some investors believe that robo-advisors lack a human touch, or only offer asset allocation. In fact, we have a team of registered investment advisors that can help our clients with all their financial questions.
- How has your industry changed in the last 5 to 10 years?
- The financial advice industry has undergone tremendous upheaval in the last 10 years as it began to adopt software for investment management. About 10 years ago, human financial advisors who practice passive investing began automating portfolio management using in-house software. About 3 years ago, several firms including FutureAdvisor brought those software tools directly to consumers via Web applications, which has allowed us to offer financial advisory services for a fraction of the price that human advisors charge. It has also allowed us to basically eliminate the minimum that human advisors use to filter their clientele. The average minimum in the industry is about $500,000. FutureAdvisor asks that our clients have at least $10,000; any less and we recommend they buy a low-fee index fund.
- What is something you wish every consumer knew about FutureAdvisor?
- FutureAdvisor is the most convenient and fastest-growing financial advisory firm in America. We help families invest well automatically so they don’t have to worry about it, and we minimize their taxes in the process.
- Has your business received any awards or recognition for its products or services that your customers would like to know about?
- FutureAdvisor was named one of the top five financial sites in late 2013 by CNNMoney.
In 2014, we won the Euromoney prize for "Best American non-bank for innovation in wealth management”.
FutureAdvisor has been featured by the New York Times, and our CEO Bo Lu has contributed articles to notable publications such as the Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch. We are also regular contributors to Forbes.
In 2015, we were recognized as one of the five fastest-growing YCombinator startups that have raised their Series B.
We’re also featured on Breakoutlist, a curated list of the fastest-growing startups in Silicon Valley.
- How has your company grown?
- FutureAdvisor has grown its assets under management by more than 3000% since it began managing investments in late 2013. We now have more than $400 million under management, and we’re growing by about 25% month on month. We have tripled our staff since that time from 15 to 45 people, including a number of registered investment advisors who serve our clients.
FutureAdvisor Company Information
- Company Name:
- Year Founded:
- 580 Market St, Suite 500
- San Francisco
- Postal Code:
- United States
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