Betterment, which Barron’s recently declared the largest independent online financial adviser, is betting that the future of online investing includes a blend of robot and human advisers. And the plan is working, according to chief executive Jon Stein.
However, incumbents like Vanguard have leveraged existing strengths to move in to the market, and other startups like Robinhood have carved out swathes of the fast-growing market. In response, Betterment has launched a series of new high-touch features on the platform, including “advice packages” that its users can buy to receive one-time advice from professional human experts.
In the interview below, Stein shares new details on the company’s growth, its plans to fend off the rise of commission-free trading, an eventual bear market and the many other challenges in the space, and eventually going public.