Morgan Stanley is getting in on the hottest trend in investing

Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesChairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley James P. Gorman participates in a panel discussion at the New York Times 2015 DealBook Conference at the Whitney Museum of American Art on November 3, 2015 in New York City.
  • Morgan Stanley announced Monday the launch of its own roboadviser.
  • Access Investing will help the New York-based bank reach a wider-net of clients, according to a statement.

Morgan Stanley is going after the youngsters with a shiny new roboadviser.

The New York-based investment bank announced Monday the launch of Access Investing, an online roboadviser designed to capture a younger clientele.

Roboadvisers deliver financial advice through web platforms and mobile apps and use algorithms to design portfolios, not humans. Roboadvisers are growing fast with assets under management by such platforms expected to reach $US1 trillion by 2020, according to research by Aite Group. That would be up from approximately $US166 at the end of 2017.

The goal of Morgan Stanley’s new offering is to serve as a stepping stone, so to speak, for younger savers who one day might want to tap into the bank’s broader suite of wealth-management services when they are wealthier and older.

“Morgan Stanley Access Investing is an opportunity for financial advisors to grow their book of business by making connections with prospects earlier and eventually establishing full service relationships when clients are ready,” Naureen Hassan, chief digital officer, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, said in a statement.

Roboadvisers were first introduced to the market just after the 2008 financial crisis by financial technology companies such as Wealthfront and Betterment, which today manage around $US10 billion a piece. But larger firms have been leaning into the space with some success. For instance, Charles Schwab which launched its first roboadviser in 2015, manages $US23 billion for its roboadvisory services.

“As digital advice technology becomes more pervasive, the lines are blurring between traditional advisory services and robo advisors,” a recent report on roboadvising by BackendBenchmarking noted.

As for Morgan Stanley, the firm has already partnered with Twilio, a financial technology firm, to enable financial advisers to text clients, for instance. Also, the firm announced a machine-learning overhaul of its 16,000 financial advisers to help them more effectively interact with clients.

This post has been updated to reflect Charles Schwab’s most up-to-date robo assets.

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