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Eaton Vance leads a $40-million investment round in SigFig with an eye toward capturing some of its lightning to spark NextShares

For his millions, Eaton Vance's Tom Faust gets a seat at the SigFig table, which he hopes his firm can leverage

Author Lisa Shidler May 26, 2016 at 8:18 PM
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Tom Faust: I thought it would be an hour commitment and we'd move on.

Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy

May 26, 2016 — 11:27 PM

What a stupid investment decision on both sides of the aisle. To think there is any cross-selling opportunity (NextShares through SigFig) is an expression of pure hope; not a true strategy for success. No wonder Eaton Vance continues to lag the leaders in asset management.

I suppose this is how the game unfolds; second-tier robos partner with also rans in the traditional advisory space; kindly accepting their “hope” money and leaving the path wide open for someone visionary with a truly differentiated offering to go directly to the consumer again. (FWIW, the reason robl customer acquisition costs are so high is that to date they’re not really doing anything unique, or differentiated enough to lower their CAC!)

I think we’ll find that any pure mutual fund player (Eaton Vance, MFS, Putnam, etc.) that doesn’t have their feet already deeply in the ETF pool is in deep trouble – and they know it. They need to throw money around and hope some of it falls into things that work out. Second tier robos will gladly take your money.

Any mutual fund player with a solid ETF presence (perhaps Vanguard and Schwab) can sleep awhile longer.

This investment by Eaton Vance reaks of desperation on their side, and a hope of getting back in the game on the part of SigFig and Sha.

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