Goldman building robo-adviser to give investment advice to the masses


By Olivia OranMarch 20 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N>, known
for advising the world's richest and most powerful, is building
a so-called robo-adviser geared to mass affluent customers,
according to a job listing posted Monday on the bank's website.
    A Goldman spokesman declined to comment.
    The job posting for employees to help build the platform(
 comes as Goldman is looking at ways to broaden its customer
base outside the super wealthy, including making deeper inroads
into new consumer-focused businesses.
    The bank last year launched Marcus, its first major foray
into consumer lending, as well as a complementary deposit-taking
platform after acquiring GE Capital's online bank. It also
acquired Honest Dollar, an online retirement savings platform
for small businesses and startups.
     The robo platform would sit within the bank's rapidly
growing investment management division, according to the ad. The
unit, which Goldman has been trying to build out in recent years
to diversify its revenue, posted a record $1.38 trillion in
assets under supervision at the end of 2016.
    Goldman has for years grappled with how to tap into the mass
affluent segment, broadly defined as those with less than $1
million in investable assets, without diluting the brand of its
private wealth business which is considered a jewel within the
bank, according to people familiar with the matter. Goldman's
U.S. private wealth business typically advises clients with an
account size of around $50 million.
    Goldman has in the past considered expanding Ayco, a wealth
advisory firm it purchased in 2003, as a way to push more deeply
into the mass affluent segment, the people added.
    While the robo-advice market was initially developed by
startups such as Wealthfront and Betterment with ambitions of
upending the traditional financial advice sector, large firms
such as Charles Schwab Corp <SCHW.N> and Vanguard have launched
similar services.
    Other large firms are partnering with or buying existing
    UBS Group AG <UBSG.S> and Wells Fargo & Co <WFC.N> are
partnering with online financial adviser SigFig Wealth
Management, while BlackRock Inc <BLK.N> acquired FutureAdvisor.
    Morgan Stanley is launching its own robo-advisor later this
year, primarily for the children of its existing clients. CEO
James Gorman has said that firms which combine digital and human
advice will be more successful in the future [nL1N1F70TG].

 (Reporting by Olivia Oran; additional reporting by Anna Irrera
in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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Referenced Symbols: BLK , GS , SCHW , UBSG , WFC

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