The value that consumers place on traditional portfolio managers seem to be rapidly changing. A growing number of consumers are opting for pre-packaged, low-cost portfolio managers. Portfolio-to-go companies can, at least nominally, provide many of the same services as full-service brokerage firms, since the companies are registered as either investment advisors or broker-dealers. Minimal overhead and services allow portfolio managers flexibility to offer those services without the “high” price tag at brick-and-mortar institutions. Portfolios-to-go have seen a surge in popularity recently, bringing in over $3 billion in assets over the past three years. In a world where post-recession fears have almost everyone bargain shopping, are online portfolios-to-go the Walmart of investing, set to dominate the market and phase out traditional wealth managers? Or are these pre-packaged portfolios an opportunity in disguise?
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