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After outcry, Betterment 86's (but not on purpose) a blog post inflaming advisors

BrightScope and Josh Brown lead charge against up-and-coming web-based investment management companies for their bad-itude against advisors

Author Kelly O'Mara May 4, 2012 at 4:37 AM
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Pig ugly? The offending image on Betterment's blog post

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Mentioned in this article:

Consulting Firm
Top Executive: Michael Kitces

Betterment, LLC
Financial Planning Software
Top Executive: Jon Stein

Michael Kitces

Michael Kitces

May 4, 2012 — 5:06 AM

The irony is that Betterment’s ignorance of the difference between brokerage salespeople and real fiduciary advisors is the same reason they don’t actually understand why their comments are so insulting.

The fact that their comments are based on an egregiously flawed and non-representative study just exacerbates the problem: http://www.kitces.com/blog/archives/303-How-The-Advisor-Sting-Study-Completely-Missed-The-Mark.html

Steve Swicegood

Steve Swicegood

May 4, 2012 — 4:35 PM

Most of Betterement’s clients are coming from companies like Fidelity, Vanguard, or E-Trade

The most interesting (and telling) sentence in the article.

Mr. J.L.Livermore

Mr. J.L.Livermore

May 4, 2012 — 6:39 PM

Ms. O’Mara

The lemmings (John Q) are lead along by the power of the Schwartz. Online financial self-management systems will proliferate as long as the lemmings are willing to outsource their most important financial decisions to an impersonal and bucket of technology.

I think it is unfortunate that certain RIAs responded with banter that really didn’t move the ball to their advantage. Why didn’t the RIA industry respond in whole and use the power of the Schwartz? Probably because Betterment’s little piggy wasn’t worth responding to. However, it does make one ponder the lack of marketing misinformation countermeasures as noted above.

Yours truly,


Justin Wisz

Justin Wisz

May 5, 2012 — 4:55 AM

“Finally, a Financial Advisor you don’t have to talk to.”

That’s a direct quote from a Wealthfront advertisement.

We all identify closely with this article at Vestorly. Vestorly is using advanced tech to help people find better investment help, but we aren’t going so far as to assume a computer can manage someone’s wealth. This is something the folks at Betterment, Personal Capital, Wealthfront, etc. just “don’t get.” It’s kind of lazy and rather ignorant for folks of our generation to assume advisory services can be replaced by passive algorithms, especially after market volatility like ’08.

Justin Wisz

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