News, Vision & Voice for the Advisory Community


Wealthfront CEO flames Betterment's 'outrageous' fees and 'abhorrent' ways; Betterment strikes back labeling the screed a Trumped-up PR play

In all-out blog war, Adam Nash accuses Betterment of 'payday lending' and Jon Stein decries Wealthfront's cynical 'hatchet job'

Author Lisa Shidler July 9, 2015 at 12:57 AM
no description available
Jon Stein: I'm loath to play this game, but my PR team insisted that I set the record straight.



July 9, 2015 — 4:20 PM

Well, I 100% agree that charging anything over 1% fee to any investor is just wrong. Let alone on the small guys. Should be 0.25% fee all around, no matter what.

Pete Giza

Pete Giza

July 9, 2015 — 7:36 PM

Hey Biz,

This is rather amusing. Its “Robobashapalooza 2015” :D Soon robos will be charging negative 1% to grab marketshare. John Q will be elated.


James Nasium

James Nasium

July 10, 2015 — 11:56 PM

I like Rock’em Sock’em Robison better :-{)



July 20, 2015 — 8:33 AM

Wealthfront sounds desperate. Understandable given that Nash doesn’t have experience in providing personal financial advice, but good at raising VC money. He didn’t exactly quit his job at LinkedIn in order to follow his passion of changing the world of personal finance for common-folk. Rather, he was a VC at Greylock Partners before jumping into an unprofitable robo-mess.

Anyone remember Ka-Ching? That was the company Andy Rachleff started before that game-based venture became Wealthfront. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the company that proceeded Ka-Ching. While Ka-Ching was all about active money management, if your company fails then just reinvent yourself and borrow more money.

It might not be unusual to hear a Valley CEO preach growth over profit, according to Wealthfront’s press releases they have raised in excess of $130M in VC money. So they are burning through other people’s money and now owing $130M is a good thing??? Luckily, VC firms are notoriously reasonable – maybe Wealthfront will only have to pay them 200-300% in return. Ka-Ching.



March 10, 2016 — 8:51 PM

I think betterment is an amazing service. The argument that was made about their three dollar fee is just outrageous. You only have to contribute $100 a month and that is non existent. If you cant invest $100 a month you probably ought to be contributing to a emergency fund before an investment account.

Related Moves

Jon Stein ousts himself as Betterment CEO and taps Sarah Levy, who joins an exclusive club of top women executives, with a mission -- an IPO

The co-founder of the New York robo-advisor headhunted the ex-Viacom brass through Harvard professors on the down low to ostensibly scale operations.

December 8, 2020 at 5:27 PM

UBS bets its 'wealth' future on ex-Schwabbie Naureen Hassan, a corporate digital A-lister, who analysts give a fighting chance to transcend PaineWebber's ossified culture

Still a $2-billion cash-flow cow, the Swiss bank's 6,000-broker, US-based wirehouse is milking aging broker relationships with aging investors but needs a new kind of human presence, empathy, mindset and smarts to draw in Gen Z.

July 16, 2022 at 1:35 AM

Wealthfront cedes to four years of investors clamoring for crypto by taking on expensive third-party vendor that Betterment rules out

The Redwood City, Calif., robo-advisor turned a hard 'no' into a soft 'yes' by dealing with Grayscale and its 200 basis-point-plus fees, which its robo rival in NYC -- also without a crypto path -- finds ludicrous.

August 14, 2021 at 2:20 AM

Second Betterment exec departs as new CEO Sarah Levy orients to her first month on the job and is confronted by personnel matters

Chief operating officer Dustin Lucien is the latest to leave the New York City robo-advisor, one of at least eight positions open as it prepares a push across multiple business lines to ignite growth.

January 19, 2021 at 6:32 PM

See more related moves

Mentioned in this article:

Portfolio Management System
Top Executive: Andy Rachleff

Betterment, LLC
Financial Planning Software
Top Executive: Jon Stein

Financial Planning Software
Top Executive: Rich Cancro

RIABiz Directory

The Industry Sourcebook for RIAs

   |    LISTING

RIABiz Directory sponsored by:

Directory Sponsor Logo