Goldman Sachs on Tuesday unveiled Marcus Invest, a robo-advisory service that allows customers to open an account, with an annual fee of 0.35%, for as little as $1,000.
The launch comes amid a swell of interest in investing among the general public. Trading app Robinhood, for example, doubled its customer count to 20 million in 2020. Unlike Robinhood and its ilk, however, Marcus Invest won't let its users buy and sell individual stocks. Rather, customers can put money into one of several automated portfolios that feature exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The platform will monitor and automatically rebalance customers' wealth daily across portfolios to align with their long-term goals. The portfolios were based on models developed by Goldman Sachs's investment strategy committee.
Marcus Invest offers individual and joint investment accounts, and three types of individual retirement accounts, the bank said. Marcus will evaluate a customer's risk tolerance and investment timeline and recommend a conservative, moderate or growth portfolio. Customers can customize their investments by choosing one of three investment strategies, including one that tracks market benchmarks while supporting sustainable business practices, the bank said.
"You'll have exposure to a range of industries and economies so you have multiple opportunities for growth and won't be tied to the fate of a single stock," Marcus Invest said on its website.
Stephanie Cohen, global co-head of Goldman Sachs's consumer and wealth-management division, told The Wall Street Journal the launch of Marcus Invest, combined with the anticipated advent of Marqeta-partnered checking accounts later this year, brings Marcus "to the point where we can be someone's primary banking relationship, meaning we can be the digital bank on your phone."
The seed of Marcus Invest may have been planted in 2016, when Goldman Sachs bought online retirement-savings venue Honest Dollar for about $20 million. But the platform was never fully integrated with the bank's larger suite of services. Honest Dollar accounts have been transitioned to Marcus Invest, whose launch was delayed by several months, The Wall Street Journal reported, partly because Goldman Sachs reassigned engineers on the project to Apple Card ahead of that project's 2019 rollout.
With Marcus Invest, Goldman could help itself to a piece of a digital investment advice sphere that's set to manage up to $449 billion in assets by the end of the year, according to research firm Cerulli Associates. The platform could also help Goldman expand upon the $1.2 billion in consumer-banking revenue the bank generated in 2020, a 40% improvement over 2019.
Just because Marcus is not offering stock trading and other brokerage features now doesn't mean it won't at some point in the future, Cohen told The Wall Street Journal. "We like trading at Goldman Sachs," she said. "It just wasn't first on the list."