Robo advisor software maker SigFig releases product to make human advisors more efficient

  • Robo software start-up SigFig is rolling out a product financial advisors can use to make their humans more efficient.
  • So-called robo advisors have upended the traditional brokerage industry, with digital products aimed at making investing easy, low-cost and streamlined for consumers.
Lluís Real | Age Fotostock | Getty Images / Jose Luis Pelaez | Iconica | Getty Images

Robo software start-up SigFig is rolling out a product that financial advisors can use to make their businesses more efficient.

The San Francisco company is introducing CoPilot through an existing arrangement it has with the wealth management division of New England-based Citizens Bank. But it expects to make it broadly available to other financial advisors over the next few months. Citizens already offers its clients SigFig's consumer-oriented digital investing platform called SpeciFi.

So-called robo advisors have upended the traditional brokerage industry, and even established e-trading operations, with digital products aimed at making investing easy, low-cost and streamlined for consumers. They have contributed to the explosion in investing in index-based exchange traded funds through simplified and semi-customized portfolios of funds. A.T. Kearney has estimated these digital advice services will gather $1 trillion of assets by 2020.

Some robo advisors focus directly on consumers and others have been developing services advisors can use. The trend has caught fire not just among start-ups, but at financial giants Fidelity, Vanguard, Charles Schwab and even Goldman Sachs.

SigFig has been working with Swiss banking giant UBS' wealth management division in the United States, offering its wealth advisors digital platforms to manage customer relationships. It also has an offering used by Wells Fargo's advisors. CoPilot is a way for it to draw in more advisors by allowing them to automate and streamline paperwork and functions that used to take up a lot of time advisors could otherwise use to work with clients, SigFig CEO Mike Sha says.

"That's where I think our technology could really be transformative," he said.