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Refinitiv is in the robo game. Now what?

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Refinitiv is breaking into digital advice with the help of SigFig.

The market data provider will leverage SigFig’s robo advisor technology for institutional clients on their custody and clearing platform Beta. The offering includes account opening, automated investment management, money movement and a client portal, according to the firm.

The partnership between Beta and the SigFig makes “eminent sense,” according to The Rudin Group CEO, April Rudin.

“The data that Refinitiv holds can be used for SigFig clients to better understand their wants and needs,” she says in an email. “For Refinitiv, it gives them another revenue stream for their existing clients. This is a valuable distribution channel.”

Refinitiv has deep client relationships with enterprise firms globally. The market data giant is best known as a leading provider of financial data and infrastructure, serving over 40,000 institutions in over 190 countries.

Founded in 2007 by CEO Mike Sha, SigFig is a fintech company catering to banks, advisors and consumers. The company’s wealth management platform includes partnerships with financial institutions including major banking institutions like Wells Fargo, UBS and Citizens Financial.

“It was only natural that Refinitiv would be the platform that would be mutually beneficial for us to connect into,” says Sha.

Due to client demand, Refinitiv is investing heavily in digital strategies for clients and pushing further into wealth management, says Joe Mrak, the firm's global head of wealth management.

"[Clients] want something that's simple," Mrak says. "And that's something that SigFig has done well. They've got a nice workflow, they're easy to use and I think it's gonna get widely adopted."

For Craig Iskowitz, founder and CEO of Ezra Group, it’s about what comes next. Both companies have “a lot of capabilities and a lot of potential,” he adds, but what they do with it could set them apart from competitors.

“Now they’ve got to deliver the product,” he says. “That’s the hard part.”

The Refinitiv roll out comes on the heels of Vanguard’s robo announcement in September. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, a hybrid platform that quickly surged to over $100 billion in assets, is the largest digital platform AUM in the market to date.

As the trend of robo advisors rises, permeating even the most traditional firms, the technology behind them has become commonplace, Iskowitz says. He would want to see something more interesting than a self-directed advice channel.

Until then, Refinitiv’s venture into the robo realm is nothing more than table stakes, according to Iskowitz.

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