20 Leading Robo-Advisor Profits & Fees Compared

Get the lowdown: Robo-Advisor Returns & Fees - Top 20 Comparison!

Our research into robo-advisor fees and returns shows that M1 Invest, SigFig, and Wealthfront are innovative industry leaders. There are many robo-advisors available now, and the list is growing.

☆ Research You Can Trust ☆

My analysis, research, and testing stems from 25 years of trading experience and my Financial Technician Certification with the International Federation of Technical Analysts.

The automated provision of portfolio management tools and services is a fast-expanding industry, but do they provide great performance?

Robo-Advisors Typically Do Not Beat The Market

The simple fact is that most robo-advisors, whether actively managed or passive funds, seldom beat the underlying reference benchmark. Reviewing the excellent benchmarking performed by the team at BackendBenchmarking, one can see that the average 2-year performance of robo-advisors was 0.87% lower than comparable benchmarks.

The worst performer was -2.05%, and the best performer was -0.01%. The facts speak for themselves; most robo-advisors do not beat the market on performance. But they do offer many advantages over investing your money yourself.

Typical Robo-Advisor Fees Are Reasonable

Robo-advisors typically offer their services for a fraction of the cost traditional advisors charge. Fees range from 0.25% to 0.50%, depending on the size of your account and additional services requested. This is significantly lower than a full-service financial advisor’s charge – often 1% or more of your assets under management — and even lower than an automated investment service like Betterment.

Lower Fees Lead to Higher Returns

The less you pay in fees, the more money stays in your account and can be invested. Lower fees also lead to higher returns over time as more of your money compounds without being eroded by high costs. This is particularly beneficial for long-term investors looking to maximize their returns over the long haul.

Tax Efficiency

In addition to lower fees, online brokers also offer tax efficiency for your investments. Many offer electronic tax documents such as 1099s and can help you track your cost basis for when it comes time to pay taxes on your investments. This is a huge benefit compared to traditional financial advisors providing only manual or paper forms. Furthermore, some brokers can even provide you with tax-loss harvesting tools to help lower your taxes and maximize your returns.

Overall, online brokers provide superior cost savings and tax efficiency compared to traditional stockbrokers and are the best option for investors looking to maximize their returns while paying minimal fees.

14 Benefits of Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors typically do not beat the market – but here are the other advantages:

  1. Many robo-advisors are tuned for optimal tax-loss harvesting – saving you money.
  2. Robo-advisors are tuned for automatic portfolio rotation & adjustment – saving you time.
  3. Automatic balancing of a portfolio based on your risk profile – reducing your risk
  4. Provision of low-cost access to ETFs & Mutual Funds – reducing trading costs
  5. Some robo-advisors provide model portfolios for socially responsible investing.
  6. Robo-advisors allow for gender or life-stage-specific portfolios – providing a personalized portfolio.
  7. All robo-advisors provide instant access to your investment performance – transparency.
  8. Hybrid robo-advisors allow you to talk to a human account manager – the human touch.
  9. Robo-advisors provide access to professional financial advice – giving you peace of mind.
  10. Valuable investing insights can help you make better decisions – boosting your returns.
  11. Access to sophisticated algorithms helps manage risk & maximize returns – smarter investing.
  12. Robo-advisors are available 24/7, allowing you to adjust your portfolio anytime, anywhere – convenience.
  13. For those looking to invest with a social conscience, robo-advisors offer portfolios for socially responsible investing  – making a difference. With these portfolios, you can make investments that align with your beliefs while still earning solid returns.
  14. Robo-advisors are here to stay and will only keep getting better – the future of investing is now.

Are Robo Advisors Good? Pro and Cons Uncovered!

[Related Article: Are Robo-Advisors A Good Idea? 8 Advantages Uncovered]

List of Robo-Advisor Performance & Fees

Robo AdvisorProsCons% Fee AUMClaimed ReturnsOverall Rating
M1 Finance★ Commission Free automated investing.
★ Allows you to buy fractional shares of any stock or fund.
★ American accounts are insured up to $250,000 by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
★ M1 Securities are insured for up to $500,000 by SIPC.
★ Military grade 4096-bit encryption and two-factor authentication for security.
★ Offers lines of credit.
★ Low minimum accounts balance of $100.
✘ Focused on US customers Only.
✘ No hybrid advisors available.
0%9.87% rate of return.
+/- 2% of the Benchmark
SigFig★ Tax Loss Harvesting
★ Tax Optimized Sales
★ Investment Advisor Included
★ Sync to Investment Accounts
★ Solid 3 Year Returns
✘ Limited Platforms Supported0.25%+/- 1% Underlying Benchmark★★★★
 Wealthfront★ Offers free financial planning.
★ Easy to Use App
★ Allows Passive Investing
★ Offers tax-loss harvesting and other loss-mitigation strategies.
★ One low fee.
★ Low $500 minimum investment required.
✘ No hybrid advisors available.
✘ No human financial planning advice available.
✘ Completely automated strategies.
✘ No details of security arrangements available.
0.25% Typically 1% lower than
Betterment★ Offers hybrid advisor services.
★ No minimum investment needed.
★ Offers a variety of products including Trust Accounts.
★ Special services like tax-loss harvesting and socially responsible investing available.
★ Focused on smaller investors.
★ Focuses on retirement.
✘ Focuses on index funds rather than individual stocks.
✘ Could place some serious limits on investor choices and behavior.
✘ Claims to use “guardrails” to protect investors from themselves.
✘ No details of security arrangements available.
0.25%5% higher returns than
the average US investor.
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services★ Offers both hybrid investors and robo advisors.
★ Clear fee schedule
★ Custom Financial Plans available.
★ Low Fees
★ Phone support available to US customers.
✘ $50,000 minimum investment required.
✘ Charges higher than average fees.
✘ Owned by a mutual-fund operator. So Vanguard has an incentive to push mutual funds.
✘ No details of security arrangements available.
0.30% + Fund FeesUS stock funds 7.51%
rate of return
Personal Capital★ Harry Markowitz (Nobel Prize Winning Portfolio Manager)
★ Tools to Connect Your Different Financial Services
★ Personal Support & Financial Advisors
★ Social Impact Portfolios
★ $250 minimum investment required.
✘ High Fees< $1M - 0.89%
>$10M - 0.49%
+/- 1% Underlying Benchmark★★★
Zacks Advantage★ Tax Loss Harvesting for Balances > $50K
★ Actively Managed Fund
★ Very Broad Diversification
★ Full Consultation & Advice Included
✘ Higher Than Avg Fees
✘ $25K Min Balance
<$100K - 0.7%
>$250K - 0.35%
Within 1% of the
underlying Index
TIAA★ Banking & Loans Available
★ Investment Advisor Included
✘ No Tax Loss Harvesting
✘ Additional ETF Costs
0.3% + Fund FeesAll Portfolios 1% +/-
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios★ No advisory fee and commissions on some accounts.
★ Hybrid advisors available.
★ A portion of the funds is held in an FDIC insured account at Schwab Bank.
★ A variety of accounts including IRAs, custodial accounts and trust accounts are available.
★ Schwab claims its robo advisor can automatically re-balance accounts to lower risks.
✘ $5,000 minimum investment required.
✘ Tax-loss harvesting only available on portfolios over $50,000.
✘ Schwab admits to making money off sales ETFs and other investment products.
✘ No details of security arrangements available.
ETF FeesNo Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
Fidelity Go★ No Minimum balance required to open accounts.
★ Hybrid advisor services available.
★ Open to any US resident over 18 years of age.
★ Fidelity will offset some additional fees with a variable fee credit.
★ You can start investing with as little $10.
✘ Higher than average fees.
✘ The day-to-day investment trading decisions are made by 3rd party "Strategic Advisors LLC"
✘ May automatically invest in fee charging accounts like the Fidelity Government Reserves Fund.
✘ No banking services available.
✘ No details of security arrangements available.
0.35% + Fund FeesNo Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios★ Hybrid advisors available through professional Portfolio Management.
★ Socially aware investing available.
★ Personalized portfolios available.
★ Free tax-loss harvesting on all accounts.
✘ $5,000 minimum deposit required.
✘ No banking services or insured accounts available.
✘ No details of security arrangements available.
0.30%No Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
Ellevest ★ $0 Minimum investment
★ Claims to be designed by women for women.
★ Female CEO Sallie Krawcheck
★ Claims investment algorithms are designed for women.
★ No penalty for withdrawals.
★ Offers algorithms that are supposedly tailored for a customer’s salary, gender, and lifespan.
★ Some hybrid services available on all accounts.
★ Private wealth management services available.
✘ Charges additional fees for hybrid advisory services.
✘ It is not clear if tax-loss harvesting is available.
✘ No details of security arrangements available.
✘ Does not reveal the actual costs of the private wealth management services.
0.25%No Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
Robinhood★ Offers cryptocurrency investment.
★ Offers option and ETF investment.
★ Claims to be commission free.
★ Offers Stock Investment.
★ No minimum investment required.
✘ No hybrid advisors offered.
✘ No details of security arrangements available.
✘ Robinhood shut down its cash management services in 2018 after critisicm accounts were not insured.
✘ Serious lack of transparency.
✘ Claims cash management services are coming soon
0%No Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
Motif Impact★ Offers curated selection of portfolios
★ Next Wave Portfolio 0% Commission
★ Thematic Portfolios 0.25% AUM
★ Social Impact Portfolio 0.5% AUM
★ $250 minimum investment required.
✘ Additional Trading Costs
✘ Cash Withdrawal Costs
✘ Many Other Fees
0.25% + Trade FeesNo Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
Building Benjamins★ 6 different portfolios offered
★ Claims Good Performance at Lowest Risk
✘ $50,000 Minimum Balance
✘ $800 per Consultation
✘ Additional Planning Costs $100/m
0.45%No Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
Sustainfolio★ 100% Sustainable Portolio
★ IRA, 401K, Joint & Trust Acocunts Avilable
✘ No Fund Performance Details
✘ Very Few Details of Methodology
0.5%No Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
United Income★ Goals Based Portfolio Allocation
★ Design for Retirees
★ Tax Loss Harvesting Included
★ Full Service Includes Human Advisor for 0.8% AUM
★ Monthly Paychack Service Available for Retirees
✘ No Fund Performance Details
✘ Expensive for The Sevrices Offered
0.5% - 0.80%No Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
Morgan Stanley Access Investing★ Offers a detailed investment plan.
★ Bases portfolios on an investors’ risk tolerance.
★ Algorithm runs thousands of simulations to forecast portfolio performance.
★ Hybrid advisors available.
✘ Higher than average fee.
✘ $5,000 minimum investment required.
✘ Simulations could offer unrealistic pictures of market performance
✘ No details of security arrangements available.
0.35%No Performance
Data Provided
Not Available
Table 1. List of Robo Advisors 2019 - Robo Advisors Performance & Fees Comparison Table

[Related Article: Top 10 Robo-Advisors Compared]


Learn More About Robo Advisors With Our 12 Part Q&A Series

1★ What is a Robo Advisor & How Do They Work? 7★ Are Robo Advisors A Good Idea? 8 Advantages Uncovered
2★ Hybrid vs. AI vs. Robo Advisors 8★ Are Robo Advisors Worth It? What Are The Alternatives?
3★ How Do Robo Advisors Really Work? In 7 Steps 9★ Do Robo Advisors Beat The Market? Fund Performance Uncovered
4★ A Hybrid Robo Advisor- What Is It & How Do They Work? 10★ Are Robo Advisors Safe? Security of Assets Examined
5★ Robo Advisors vs. Human Advisors 11★ Top 10 Best Robo Advisors [160 Point Review & Comparison]
6★ Top 20 Best Robo Advisor Returns & Fees Comparison 12★ Review Winner M1 Finance