For our 2017 Robo-Advisor Review we assessed, rated, and ranked eight different firms. Instead of relying on website information and marketing materials as most editorials do, we opened and funded an account with each robo-advisor
to acquire a true client experience. Here, we will compare Betterment vs Merrill Edge Guided Investing to see which robo-advisor is best.
To start our comparison, we will take a look at the annual fees for both services. Cost is broken down into two separate buckets: the annual management fee charged for having an account and the annual fee charged for holding each ETF in the portfolio. Betterment is a better option with a 4.50 star rating over Merrill Edge Guided Investing's 3.00 star rating.
Exploring both robo-advisor feature sets, we can also find differences. Betterment offers tax-loss harvesting while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not. For running calculations on being ready for retirement, clients will want a retirement calculator. Betterment offers an advanced retirement calculator while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not. Some customers like to monitor their personal financial goals. Betterment has goal tracking, Merrill Edge Guided Investing doesn't. Finally, an attractive feature includes providing deeper account analysis thanks to the ability to import and aggregate third-party financial accounts. Both Betterment and Merrill Edge Guided Investing offer external accounts analysis.
Lastly, more web savvy customers may find it valuable to have access to customer service through phone, email, and live chat. However, not every robo provides live chat support as an option. Betterment and Merrill Edge Guided Investing both offer live chat support.
Overall, Betterment comes out on top with 4.50 stars over Merrill Edge Guided Investing's 4.00 stars. And, as far as individual category awards go, Merrill Edge Guided Investing finished with awards Best in Class - Customer Service in 2017, while Betterment came up with Best in Class - Cost, Best in Class - Investment Approach, Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Customer Service.