Feminist robo-advisor wants to make women rich

By David Tuckwell on Wednesday 30 August 2017

Savings and Investment

Ellevest has a different take on robo-advisory

There is no such thing as a men's-only robo-adviser. But that’s part of the problem says Ellevest, the feminist robo-advisor.

Most robo-advisors don’t talk about gender. They think that high profits and low fees are what their clients care about, and any talk about gender misses the point.

But Ellevest is not most advisors.

Launched in 2014 by Wall St high-flyer and “financial feminist” Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest is shaking up digital wealth management by doing something unique: pitching investing to women.

“My work is all about how to get women more power,’” said Ms Krawcheck in a LinkedIn post.

“But, to be more direct, my mission is to get women more money, by closing their gender investing gap and their other gender money gaps. After all, money is power. And greater financial security in turn gets women more power.”

Women face a rougher ride in finance as their salaries peak lower and at a younger age, Elevest says.

Lower incomes mean women are generally poorer than men and have different investment expectations. It’s this difference in wealth and expectations that Ellevest wants to fix.

“Eighty-six percent of investment advisors are men, with an average age of 50+,” the company’s website says.

“So the ‘gender neutral’ investment industry defaults to men’s salaries, career paths, preferences and lifespans.

Almost all the company’s C-suite employees are women.

Ellevest’s gender-segregated businesses model makes it unique among robo-advisors and it recently completed a $32 million equity funding round.

The company has declined to comment on the source of the funding. But previous investors have included Venus Williams and Mohamed El-Erain, both of whom have publicly-stated feminist sympathies.

Women wanting Ellevest’s services will have to be prepared to pay – as with any robo-advisor. Ellevest is more expensive than average, however, with annual fees of 0.50 percent.

Its fees are double Betterment and much higher than Charles Schwab, which offers digital wealth management for free.

This article first appeared on www.roboadvicenews.com

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