Another web-based competitor to advisors has popped up — “a women-centered company with the mission of educating readers about money and how it affects all aspects of her life, from where to shop, what to buy and how to save. LearnVest publishes information about personal finance, time management, organization, career and relationships to enable every woman to lead a full life.”
Most advisors will dismiss LearnVest as low-quality, saying it does not even approach the depth of their client relationships.
That’s how disruption works. The business being disrupted doesn’t know it is happening.
LearnVest is targeting investors that the vast majority of advisors are not interested in as clients: ranging from women just starting a career to working moms and who may have as little as a few thousand dollars to invest. Most of LearnVest’s membership would not be able to meet a $250,000 minimum investment requirement that most investment advisors would impose.
However, LearnVest — and those that will copy it if it’s successful — will become adept at serving this market and eventually move to more upscale clientele, and then it will clearly encroach on advisors. Advisors might not realize these services are competitors for another five or 10 years, but the cycle is under way.
LearnVest is part of a growing wave of disruptive innovation unfolding across the financial advice business. Another example comes from Wealthfront.
To succeed despite growing competition from Web-based financial advice apps like LearnVest, Wealthfront, and the online brokers, advisors might want to think about embracing these tools. Why not create a solution that works with these new markets?
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