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1) WisdomTree Hires UK Institutional Sales Director from the World Gold Council

ETF Stream  |  3/3/2021

Because… Besides WisdomTree, Robeco appointed a new Head of U.K. Wholesale a week ago and a new Head of U.K. Institutional Sales in December 2020. These firms’ hiring decisions indicate the importance of the U.K. fund market. According to the Investment Association (IA), U.K. fund assets reached £1.4 trillion as of 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 9.5% over the 10-year period. 2020 was the second best-selling year in the past decade with inflows of £30.8 billion, which tripled their 2019 intake of £10.0 billion. Equity funds raked in £10.0 billion, a dramatic reversal from outflows of £2.9 billion in 2019. Mixed Asset, the best-selling asset class in 2019 with £7.3 billion, raised £9.2 billion last year. Sales of Fixed Income also improved, albeit at a slower pace. Strong sales show that the unprecedented pandemic did not dampen investor enthusiasm for allocating more assets to investment funds. Although the official exit from the EU brings about uncertainties, the U.K. market still holds much growth potential for both domestic and foreign asset managers.

2) Study: Record Number of Women Dealing with Financial Stress; Fidelity Launches Month-Long Virtual Pop-Up of Special Events and Action Plans to Jump Start a Healthier Financial Future

Fidelity  |  3/3/2021

Because…Fidelity’s initiatives coincide well with International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Besides Fidelity, other firms also found that women are feeling stressed. A New York Life report published last November showed that nearly two-thirds (64%) of women cared for both an aging parent and children. According to study released last September by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 52% of women workers experienced one or more impacts to their employment situation as a result of the pandemic. Therefore, asset management companies need to do a better job of empowering women and guiding them to more effectively manage their finances. Firms could segment women investors into sub-groups based on their age, wealth, and level of investment knowledge in an effort to provide more targeted and relevant education; prepare marketing materials geared towards specific cohorts; and stress particular values that women care about when developing marketing strategies.

3) Betterment Acquires Wealthsimple’s U.S. Investment Advisory Book of Business

PR Newswire  |  3/4/2021

Because… The Canada-based Wealthsimple was the first foreign robo advisor to enter the U.S. market when it rolled out its platform in January 2017. The startup just secured a $87 million funding last October and hoped at the time to expand its product suite with the new capital. Its sale of assets and client accounts shows how challenging the U.S. robo advisory industry is. The deal also reveals Betterment’s aggressive approach to get bigger. The fintech firm is now planning to grow Betterment for Advisors to become its largest business. Last month it provided RIAs with access to its portfolio management software to construct their own portfolios. Prior to Goldman Sachs unveiling its own robo advisor in February 2021, UBS cut the minimum investment for its hybrid robo-advice offering from $10,000 to $5,000 in November and Fidelity dropped its annual advisory fee for robo-advice to zero on accounts with less than $10,000 in July. Clearly, Betterment is facing fiercer competition from financial powerhouses. With the appointment of a CEO with experience leading large public companies and the enhanced support for RIAs, Betterment is moving steadily towards an IPO down the road.