Goldman Sachs launches wealth management for retail investors

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Microsoft trying to spend $50B

So relatable... You don't need $20M and a yacht registered in the Maldives to invest with Goldman Sachs anymore. The OG Wall Street firm just unveiled "Marcus Invest," a robo-advisory platform that can get you started with $1K. For a small fee, customers can get their money robo-managed according to Goldman's investment strategies. The $$$ is allocated across stock and bond ETFs.

  • It's all part of Goldman's push into mainstream banking, which is seen as more stable/reliable than its riskier Wall Street trading biz (though the upside potential is lower).
  • In 2020: Goldman made $1.2B in consumer-banking revenue, up 40% from 2019. But it's still a tiny fraction of Goldman's $44.6B total 2020 revenue.

Trading the AP for a Timex... Goldman has slowly been expanding its digital consumer banking suite "Marcus," which launched in 2016 with savings accounts and loans. Last year, it shipped an app and added financial insights. It also plans to launch checking accounts. Marcus Invest is the next step toward Goldman's goal of becoming the only banking app on your phone. But the competition is steep.

  • Thirteen years late: Goldman is lagging behind Wealthfront and Betterment, which pioneered robo-advisory services in 2008.
  • Dozens deep: Most big US banks and brokerages offer some type of automated-investing. And unlike delivery apps which can be easily switched, brokerage accounts tend to be "stickier."

The retail investor is too big to ignore... and big banks want in before it's too late. In 1975, the average fee to place a stock trade was $49 — and investment banks wouldn't pay much attention to you unless your net worth ended in "ion." The rise of commission-free trading apps, pioneered by Robinhood (which owns Snacks), spurred major brokerages like Vanguard and Schwab to cut fees. The rest is history: during the first half of 2020, individual investors accounted for 19.5% of all trades, nearly double from 2010. Now everyone from JPMorgan Chase to Citi has raced to offer retail investing — and Goldman is the latest.