How likely is it that three investors, one with $35,000, another with $100,000, and the third with $400,000, at different ages, in different situations, will all want the same types of online investment advice and traditional guidance? Not very, according to consultants who spoke last week at a forum presented by Cerulli Associates. That's why firms are being pressured to develop and offer what Cerulli calls, "scalable advice."

By scalable advice, Cerulli means multiple levels of advice, integrating online and high-touch human guidance, within one investment manager. That encompasses everything from automated, free research and online tools to customized accounts with reps acting as portfolio managers.

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