Online Investment Companies – How to Find the Right One?
When you are a high-net-worth individual with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets, you probably don’t have a lot of time on your hands. You might have several businesses to look after or be involved in various philanthropic activities. Either way, all this might not leave you any time to look after your investments or even meet with an investment company. So, what should you do then? It’s simple. You can go to online investment companies. They can provide various investment services conveniently online, allowing you to go on about your life as you want. However, it’s also important to find the right company, and we suggest reading our guide to finding the best financial advisors for investors worth $10 million or more to learn more about it.
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In this blog, we’ll be discussing how you can find the right online investment companies, how you can meet them, and how much you should expect to pay them. Let’s get started.
Top 10 Online Investment Companies/Platforms
This ranking is provided by Top10.com. The following companies offer a range of trading options, research and education, automated trading analysis, customer service, and a mobile app. They serve investors of all levels of stock market experience.
1. Charles Schwab
At Schwab, online stock and ETF trades are commission-free. The Schwab Mobile app informs you about what’s going on in the markets with alerts and real-time information about trade opportunities that appeal to you. You can find your next trade idea with breaking news and interactive charts or get Schwab’s current market perspective from the Schwab Market Update daily podcast. Then place your order in just a few taps.
Fidelity offers $0 commissions for online US stock, ETF, and option trades, with margin rates as low as 8.75%. You can access a range of investments including stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, IPOs, and precious metals. You can take advantage of in-depth research from over 20 independent providers, as well as education and smarter trading technology like Active Trader Pro.
Fidelity’s mobile app provides a more streamlined experience. The home screen has all your accounts, investments, planning, and spending in one place. You can track investments and watchlists and see streaming quotes; browse mutual fund and ETF investment ideas by theme; and explore podcasts, webinars, and articles.
3. Merrill Edge
Merrill’s secure mobile app, Merrill Edge, keeps your accounts safe with reliable security features, such as a security meter, customized alerts, biometric login, and two-factor authentication. So, you can transfer funds between accounts and place your trades through Merrill with confidence.
With Merrill Edge, you can access both your Merrill investment and Bank of America bank accounts. You can review your portfolio, track its performance, and change or add new goals. Invest in what interests you.
Merrill Edge Idea Builder allows you to explore new ideas and uncover opportunities that align with your goals, as well as access investment insights from Bank of America Global Research.
Ameritrade has been rated #1 by various sites for its trading platform and tools. There are two apps: TD Ameritrade Mobile App and Thinkorswim mobile, which expands the capabilities of TD Ameritrade Mobile App.
The apps allow you to trade stocks, ETFs, and options with a streamlined interface; get real-time quotes, set up price alerts, and access watch lists; navigate market trends with ready-to-use charting; get daily market updates from experienced industry professionals; and view a quick snapshot of your portfolio.
The apps provide education and videos to guide your investing. You can learn about the market and even how to place your first trade.
Betterment is a fully automated online investment platform, or robo-advisor. Betterment offers a range of portfolio options, including Core, Innovative Technology, Broad Impact, Climate Impact, and Social Impact, which contain stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrencies. Your investments are automatically adjusted to reduce the impact of market volatility and keep you on track.
With Betterment’s mobile app, you can check your account on the fly, monitoring your balance, deposits, and transactions. The app allows you to make deposits and transfers, track your investment goals, and add new goals.
Fundrise allows you to invest in real estate, including multi-family apartments, industrial properties, and single-family rentals. The Fundrise Innovation Fund invests in private high-growth technology companies, with an initial focus on sectors such as AI and machine learning, modern data infrastructure, development operations, FinTech, and real estate and property technology. Fundrise also offers traditional and Roth IRAs.
Acorns offers banking and investment services bundled into subscription tiers, which means just one, transparent monthly payment, starting at $3/month.
Acorns products include an expert-built, diversified smart portfolio, a retirement account that auto-updates as you age, automatically investing a part of each paycheck, and sets recurring investments (e.g., $5 a day, week, or month). You can invest in a Bitcoin-linked ETF or an ESG portfolio, among others.
With Acorns,digital banking has no minimum balance or overdraft fees; it includes a Visa debit card, and is FDIC-insured up to $250,000; it allows for mobile check deposits and digital checks.
E*TRADE is Morgan Stanley’s online investment platform, with two mobile apps. E*TRADE Mobile allows you to invest in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options, with no commissions for online US-listed stock, ETF, and options trades.
With E*TRADE Mobile, you can manage cash with Transfer Money, check deposit, and Bill Pay, and view Bloomberg TV, third-party research, and breaking news.
The Power E*TRADE app adds features such as executing options and complex trades on a single ticket, discovering potential trades with interactive charts and the most popular technical studies, and viewing market movement with streaming quotes, news, earnings, and dividends.
Wealthfront offers 4.30% APY on cash accounts, with no fees, no minimum balance, and FDIC insurance up to $3 million.
With Wealthfront, there are two ways to invest, starting with just $1 and no commissions: automated, diversified, long-term investing and a discovery mode.
A Wealthfront automated investing account manages your risk, minimizes your taxes, and maximizes your returns automatically. Portfolios are built from up to 17 global asset classes; the software handles all the trading and rebalancing, and tax-loss harvesting can boost after-tax returns by approx. 1.8%. Automated investing is designed to help keep the cost of investing low.
The second option is to discover and buy stocks, investing in the stocks you know and discovering companies you don’t, with portfolios built around themes and opportunities. You can make smarter stock choices faster with built-in data and perspectives. Wealthfront offers over 35 stock portfolios for which you can weigh the pros and cons at a glance.
For your retirement, Robinhood offers a 1% match, with no employer necessary.
Robinhood offers a 4.4% APY on invested cash, with $1.5 million FDIC insurance.
Starting with $1, you can invest in stocks, options, and ETFs, commission-free, as well as try your hand at cryptocurrencies.
The Robinhood Cash Card is a Mastercard debit card with weekly rewards.
How Do I Find an Online Investment Company?
As a high-net-worth individual, if you are asking, how do I find an online investment company? You are making a big mistake and may be heading towards financial uncertainty. What you should be asking instead is, how do I find the right online investment company for me? There are lots of online investment companies out there.
You can simply look them up on any search engine, and you’ll get dozens of results. However, simply picking the first company that pops us can be a grave mistake. Your financial and specifically, investment needs, are already quite different from the average American, and they can be different from other affluent investors as well. Therefore, you need the best online investment companies that cater to your specific needs and goals.
Here are a few things you can evaluate online investment companies on to filter and find the right one for yourself.
1. Relevant Experience
One of the very first and most crucial things you need to check is the company’s experience. This can tell you a lot about their abilities. A company that has recently started offering investment services won’t be able to provide a lot of guarantees or build confidence in their services.
More importantly, when looking at experience, you need to consider their relevant experience. Even if they have been in the financial sector for a very long time, you need to consider their experience with investment and portfolio management specifically. Even with all their credentials and certifications, there is certain knowledge and skills that only come with time and experience.
Additionally, as an ultra-high-net-worth investor, you can’t afford to let inexperienced advisors experiment and learn with your wealth. When you’ve got $5 million to $500 million of your life’s earnings, you only want the best of the best to handle your investments and portfolios.
2. Track Record
You can also find the right online investment companies by assessing their track record. The company’s track record also matters a lot. It shows their success rate and consequently can reveal the level of their skills and abilities.
Moreover, when looking at their track record of success, it’s important to consider the right measures. For instance, many institutions boast about serving a large number of clients. This can be somewhat misleading because this doesn’t reveal a lot about their skills and how satisfied their clients.
So, what you should be looking at instead is how many clients they are able to retain every year. Consequently, you can also check other client reviews and testimonials to see what they are saying about a particular investment company.
The clientele of the online investment company also matters a lot. Different companies cater to different types of clients. Even if you go to private banks, while they claim to only serve high and ultra-high-net-worth investors, some banks can also cater to clients with $100,000 or $500,000. Such individuals have very different needs and financial challenges.
Therefore, an online investment company that deals with such clients may not be able to serve affluent clients like yourself with effective results. Furthermore, certain financial institutions also tend to take on a lot of clients, and this makes it hard for them to provide dedicated services to each one.
At Pillar Wealth Management, our wealth managers provide our services exclusively to affluent clients with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets. Moreover, we only take on a limited number of clients per year so that we can entirely focus on their needs and goals and serve them with our full attention and dedication.Start chatting with our wealth managers today to get started on your investment management.
4. Standard of Care
When it comes to online investment companies or any other financial institution, they usually follow two standards of care. They either follow the suitability standard or fiduciary standard. When choosing an online investment company that is right for you, you need to choose one that follows the fiduciary standard.
Companies that follow a suitability standard are only obligated to suggest investments that are suitable for you. This means that they don’t necessarily have to be the best options out there, but as long as they offer some benefit and are suitable, they are okay. In comparison, fiduciary companies and advisors are obligated to offer you the best advice or investment options.
Such advisors are always committed to helping you meet all your goals. They always disclose all relevant information, be it positive or negative, so that you can make an informed decision.
5. Compensation Model
Similar to the standard of care, you should also consider the online investment company with the right compensation model. Most commonly, you will find companies following either a fee-based or commission-based payment model.
Companies such as brokerage houses often follow a commission model. In such a case, the agents or advisors earn a commission every time you buy or sell a security. As you can probably imagine, this often creates a conflict of interest as the brokers might be tempted to push forward products that earn them better commission rather than those products that best align with your investment goals.
That’s why you should stick with fee-based advisors and companies, such as Pillar Wealth Management. Our fiduciary and 100% fee-based advisors are always striving towards your best interests. Click here to start chatting with our fiduciary advisors.
6. Comprehensive Planning and Adjustments
The right online investment companies also prioritize comprehensive planning and adjustments. They don’t just make an investment plan as a formality or for it to be left in some drawer somewhere. Rather, they spend a lot of time with you to develop a holistic plan that best accomplishes all your goals.
Furthermore, they also make sure that they constantly keep revising and adjusting the plan as well as your goals change, as your financial circumstances change or as the market changes. Go through our excellent guide to learn other ways to improve your portfolio performance and achieve your goals.
7. Tax Management
Online investment companies should also provide various tax management services. Taxes are one of the easiest ways for high-net-worth individuals to lose hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Moreover, their investment activities can be the biggest contributor to their tax bill. Therefore, since there’s such a strong connection between the two, any good online investment company should focus on tax management as much as investment management.
At Pillar Wealth Management, we provide a range of financial services for holistic wealth management. These services include investment management, tax planning, insurance planning, and much more.
8. Risk Reduction
You should also choose the online investment company that focuses on risk reduction and employs effective strategies for it. For instance, the company should employ smart asset allocation strategies to spread out your risk along with portfolio diversification. This is a mistake that many investment companies.
They would diversify their investments along with several companies but within the same type of asset, and this doesn’t help reduce risk. For example, you might invest your wealth in the stocks of 30 different financial companies and assume that you are safe from risk. However, if a market fluctuation or even overall economic condition suddenly affects the whole financial sector, you will be facing a lot of losses.
Therefore, you need to diversify across different types of assets as well. Learn how else you can protect your wealth from our extensive book, The Art of Protecting Ultra-High-Net-Worth Portfolios and Estates – Strategies for Families Worth $25 million to $500 million.
9. Balance Between Active and Passive Management
The investment company should strike a balance between active and passive money management to control expenses while still allowing clients to benefit from high returns. Active management often relies on numerous transactions within a year, capitalizing on hot buys and trends and basically timing the market.
While this does bring high returns, it also leads to expensive fees and tax bills. Passive management relies on the market index and focuses on long-term returns. Read more about why this matters from our handy guide on portfolio growth strategies for families worth $5 million to $500 million.
At Pillar Wealth Management, we utilize the optimal balance of active and passive management in our investment strategies to help our clients attain high returns at low costs.
How Much Should I Expect to Pay an Online Investment Company?
Before thinking, how to meet with online investment companies? What you should first consider is how much you will have to pay them. Most online investment companies will charge a fixed percentage based on the assets under management (AUM). Typically, this percentage is around 1 to 2%.
However, don’t assume that this will be the only cost you will have to bear. There will be various other expenses such as transaction fees, taxes, manager charges, etc. The right financial advisor will help you manage and control all these extra costs so that you can retain the maximum amount of your wealth. Learn more from our ultimate guide.
Choosing the Right Online Investment Companies
Investments and portfolios make up a big part of any high-net-worth individual’s financial plan and wealth management strategy. That’s why it’s so crucial to choose the right online investment companies that help you sustain your wealth while protecting all your assets. Check out our guide for investors worth $10 million or more to discover how to find the right financial advisor for your needs.
Pillar Wealth Management is considered to be one of the best wealth management and investment management companies. Our wealth managers and advisors have been working with affluent clients and solving their investment problems for more than three decades now. We are well aware and familiar with the unique challenges faced by such high-net-worth investors and ultra-high-net-worth families. Therefore, we are able to provide effective and customized solutions so that our clients can attain true financial serenity. Schedule a free conversation with us today to discuss your investment needs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Investment Companies
An online investment company typically offers securities trading online, once you have an account with the company. You can monitor your investments online, as well as use research tools for support.
Online investment companies use computer software to build investment portfolios based on the goals of the investors, but may also perform automated investing using the investor’s funds.
Online investment companies are safe as long as they are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You can use FINRA’s BrokerCheck to vet the company.
Online investment companies may charge account management fees, commissions on trades, and other advisory fees, but these tend to be much lower than paying for a human advisor’s services.
Online investment companies typically offer the same products as human advisors. Check their documentation to confirm they can provide what you need.
Some online investment companies require no account minimums, and some ask for $1 to open an account.
Some online investment companies offer the option of working with an advisor virtually or in person.
Consider your investment account like a bank account, so you can withdraw funds at any time. You have total control of the money you deposit.
Most investment companies are SIPC-insured to protect investments in brokerage accounts. Investors are insured for up to $500,000. The SPIC is federally mandated and member-funded.
To find an online investment company that is right for you, look at the scope of the investments it offers, as well as the research and performance evaluation and monitoring tools.
To be 100% transparent, we published this page to help filter through the mass influx of prospects, who come to us through our website and referrals, to gain only a handful of the right types of new clients who wish to engage us.
We enjoy working with high net worth and ultra-high net worth investors and families who want what we call financial serenity – the feeling that comes when you know your finances and the lifestyle you desire have been secured for life, and that you don’t have to do any of the work to manage and maintain it because you hired a trusted advisor to take care of everything.
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