Like many full-service financial planners, Mark Cortazzo felt bedeviled by the so-called robo advisor rivals that were springing up and promising low-cost asset management with web-based interfaces.

But instead of complaining, Cortazzo decided to join the fray: Three years ago, he launched the Flat Fee Portfolios website as an alternative to Macro Consulting, his Parsippany, N.J., planning firm.

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