Roboadvisor Wealthfront reaches $50 billion in client assets

By Hannah Lang

(Reuters) -Digital wealth management provider Wealthfront, a pioneer in automated investing, now oversees more than $50 billion in assets and is set to grow revenue by more than 140% this year, the company said on Thursday.

The milestone comes more than a year after UBS and Wealthfront agreed to terminate the Swiss bank’s $1.4 billion acquisition of the robo-adviser after UBS reportedly faced pushback from shareholders over terms of the deal.

Since then, Wealthfront has become profitable, CEO David Fortunato told Reuters in an interview, and is focused on running the business “for the long term” for more than 700,000 customers. The main goal is organic growth and Wealthfront is not currently considering acquisitions, or an initial public offering.

New clients increased this year, which Wealthfront attributed to new products including automated bond portfolios tailored to each customer’s tax situation and designed to earn higher yield than savings accounts.

“We’re pretty excited about fixed income,” Fortunato said.

The company also said Thursday that its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margins are above 40%, a metric used to measure profitability.

Wealthfront was founded in 2008 by Andy Rachleff and Dan Carroll and launched automated investing services in 2011. It is a pioneer in using automation to craft low-cost investment portfolios for Americans. The company also uses elements of artificial intelligence in its financial planning software.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently proposed a rule aimed at managing how AI is used to provide investment advice. Wealthfront joined with brokers, investment advisers and hedge funds in urging the SEC to withdraw the proposal, calling it overly broad.

Fortunato emphasized that Wealthfront’s models are based on academically tested investment advice and are not like the generative AI services offered by tech companies like Google and OpenAI, which have drawn scrutiny from regulators.

“We’re trying to take the best investment advice that we can through academic research and make that available at low cost to as many clients as we possibly can,” he said.

(Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio and Sharon Singleton)