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 Merrill Edge Guided Investing vs Schwab Intelligent Portfolios 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. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios received a rating of 5.00 stars over Merrill Edge Guided Investing's 3.00 stars.
Exploring both robo-advisor feature sets, we can also find differences. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios makes tax-loss harvesting available to clients, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not. For running calculations on being ready for retirement, clients will want a retirement calculator. Neither Merrill Edge Guided Investing and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offer an advanced retirement calculator. Some customers like to monitor their personal financial goals. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios 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. Merrill Edge Guided Investing makes external accounts analysis available to clients, while Schwab Intelligent Portfolios does not.
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. Both Merrill Edge Guided Investing and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offer live chat support.
Overall, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios 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, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios finished with awards Best in Class - Cost, Best in Class - Investment Approach and Best in Class - Platforms & Tools in 2017, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing came up with Best in Class - Customer Service.