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It looks like JPMorgan is building a robo adviser

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 00:16

[NEW YORK] If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

In the summer of 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon said his firm could give clients a free, automated investment service as part of a future bundle of digital-banking products. Well, he just revealed the bank is following through on that promise and building one.

"We are currently developing some exciting new products and services, which we will be adding to our suite and rolling out later this year," he wrote in his annual letter to shareholders.

"Online vehicles for both individual retirement and non-retirement accounts, providing easy-to-use (and inexpensive) automated advice, as well as enabling our customers to buy and sell stocks and bonds, etc (again inexpensively)," he added.

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Previously, Mr Dimon had said that he wanted to make his firm a one stop shop for all things finance, much like Amazon.com Inc has continued to add services for its Prime customers.

"If you're a good account, it's no different than (Amazon CEO) Jeff Bezos doing the US$99 Prime and adding services to it, so you're always making the clients satisfied," Mr Dimon said at the time.

Other banks have started to dive into the automated investing space, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc purchasing retirement savings startup Honest Dollar last summer, Bank of America Corp's Merrill Lynch launching one this year, and the venture arm of Citigroup Inc investing in funding rounds for the largest independent robo-adviser Betterment LLC.

While Mr Dimon didn't say how much money the bank has devoted specifically to building its robo-adviser, he did say roughly US$600 million was devoted to "emerging fintech solutions" last year and that technology is an extremely important part of the company's future strategies.

A spokesman for JPMorgan, Darin Oduyoye said it will be "an innovative take on automated advice."

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