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Positioned as the elephant in the room at Invest West, Ric Edelman (Edelman Financial Services) and John Bunch (Financial Engines) discussing how they have joined forces to build the USA’s largest RIA advice service. Self-proclaimed as the first of the robo solutions in the market, the proposition was built to help shift workplace 401K pensions from DB to DC plans and to help with fund selection and rebalancing. 330 registered financial advisers are currently serving more than 10million clients with an impressive 36 billion held in assets. With some advisers serving up to 500 clients each (which includes a diverse mix of low investors and millionaire clients) they have had 150,000 potential new clients reach out to them for help this year. The financial planning element is based on automated “robo” algorithms which are not standardised or off the shelf like some others. They currently have 883,000 personalised portfolio algorithms available which have been developed over the last 20 years. Their view is that they are still a few years off being able to deliver a fully automated holistic advice service. However, from what we are seeing currently being developed in the UK market, we may disagree. Ric and John have a great ethos which states that everybody deserves financial help. Although they typically have a $5,000 entry AUM per household, they will take clients who have less to invest and will often work on a pro-bono basis. They state that these may not be the ideal or best client today - but might be in future. What a refreshing approach to offering affordable financial planning to all. All clients are treated the same regardless of the amount of money they have to invest. There is a flat fee of $800 for the financial planning, and all clients go through the same financial planning process. They do not run TV adverts or structured marketing plans. They do have financial planning education though, which they offer through all channels - which is free to all consumers. Ric has just published a children’s book to address financial literacy aimed at 4-8yr olds (The Squirrel Manifesto, which is available on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Squirrel-Manifesto-Ric-Edelman/dp/1534441662/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1544153861&sr=8-1&keywords=the+squirrel+manifesto