PayPal Enters the Robo-Advisory Business

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PayPal, the electronic payments firm, is entering the robo-advisory business. It has announced a new arrangement with Acorns, a robo-advisory firm focused on small investors, that essentially creates a two-way street for customers with accounts at both firms.

Customers will be able to transfer funds between the two accounts, including contributions and withdrawals, and they can use the PayPal website and mobile app to open an Acorns account and then monitor their investments.

The new feature is currently available to select U.S. PayPal customers and will be offered to all its U.S. customers by early next year.

(Related: Millennials Want Their Financial Advice Right Now, and It Better Look Pretty)

“PayPal and Acorns are both committed to helping the up-and-coming achieve their financial potential,” said Acorns CEO Noah Kerner in a statement. “Our strategic partnership with PayPal, support our shared mission to deliver next-generation financial solutions to our customers.”

PayPal is also mentioned among the many tech firms that could potentially step into the asset management business.

(Related:  Are Amazon, Apple and Google Coming for Asset Managers?)

The latest PayPal and Acorns partnership extends an existing relationship between the two firms. In April 2016, PayPal led a $30 million round of venture capital investment into Acorns, and its users can currently take advantage of the Acorns “Round-up” feature on their PayPal purchases.

That feature allows PayPal users to invest the spare change that would round up their purchases to the nearest dollar in an Acorns account.

PayPal has more than 218 million accounts, about 100 times more than the 2.3 million Acorns has. Roughly 1.3 million of Acorns’ accounts are discretionary, with $528.3 million in assets, according to its latest ADV filed with the SEC. That equates to about $407 per account. The firms charges $1 a month to manage accounts with less than $5,000 in assets and 0.25% per year for accounts with $5,000 or more, charged monthly. 

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