Regions launches investment advisory service aimed at young customers
Regions Financial is aiming to bring personalized financial planning online to younger customers who are just starting to invest.
Under a new advisory service that mixes automation and personal interaction, Regions customers need just $5,000 to open an account. They will choose from five portfolio strategies based on their risk tolerance and the timespan of their financial goals, according to the $164 billion-asset bank.
Birmingham, Alabama-based Regions decided to build the service after company executives started noticing that many customers were turning to competitors for digital investing services, said Jim Nonnengard, who heads Regions’ investment services wealth management group.
“It was illuminating,” Nonnengard said in an interview Tuesday, recalling that his own daughter created an account online in less than 10 minutes. “We need to get on the bus here and offer this to our clients.”
Regions is competing in an increasingly crowded marketplace for digital advisory services. Large and midsize banks are rushing to boost their online offerings as more fintechs gear their services toward younger customers.
Ally Financial recently launched a new wealth management offering that adds human advisors to the Detroit company’s existing robo-advisory service.
The Regions offering, known as InvestPath, represents a new “cornerstone” in the bank’s approach to client relationships, Nonnengard said.
The platform is designed for “first-time, startup-type investors” who are typically under 40 years old and have less than $50,000 in assets, he said.
“We think this will appeal to a customer base that is not yet investing,” Nonnengard said.
Regions is charging customers a 0.70% annual fee for digital access to their accounts and on-call management advice from a specific financial advisor.
One of Regions’ 260 financial advisors is assigned to each InvestPath account, depending on the proximity of branch locations to where customers live. Regions, which manages 1,300 bank offices, mostly in the Southeast U.S., sees InvestPath as a way to offer the ease of digital services alongside the option for in-person support.
“This is not an efficiency play,” Nonnengard said. “Customers come in for advice and guidance all the time. People like face-to-face interaction too.”
Regions, which provides other online services to customers of the bank’s wealth and trust management groups. worked with the broker-dealer Cetera Investment Services to develop the InvestPath platform.