© 2019 SourceMedia. All rights reserved.

Why this robo is diving into client tax returns

Self-directed taxes, meet robo advice.

Wealthfront's latest partnership with Intuit's TurboTax aims to further embed itself with independent millennial investors and give it another lever to pull in new clients.

The partnership aggregates data from a prospective client's TurboTax return and automatically prefills that data into account applications. The streamlined process can onboarding time in half, according to the firm, meaning more clients get signed up faster.

“Clients get on their way to saving and investing much faster than manually entering those fields,"says Kate Wauck, vice president of communications at Wealthfront.

The information includes income, employer data and housing records, Wauck says, adding that Intuit has 80,000 fields of data to pull from. Prospective clients can choose to use the automated process or opt out, she says. “The goal is really to deliver a tech-based solution that helps more Americans understand and manage their finances.”

Andy Rachleff Wealthfront IAG

The data sharing agreement is the first phase of the Intuit partnership, Wauck says, but would not comment on future initiatives, specifically if additional tax planning services could be offered through the partnership in the future.

Wealthfront chose to align itself with Intuit in part because both firms service a similar millennial clientele, Wauck says. The average age of a Wealthfront client is 32 with an account average of $60,000, according to the firm. “Taxes are a really important part of their financial advice,” Wauck says.

The firm also connects to third parties to pull in mortgage data to get estimates on how much house a client can afford or data on tuition costs around the country to plan for college savings, Wauck says.

Like other automated investment platforms, Wealthfront bolstered its offerings in recent months to expand its reach into a larger swathes of the population. The Redwood City, California-based firm is looking into offering its customers checking and savings and ultimately wants to handle all financial needs on a single platform, according to the firm’s CEO Andy Rachleff.

Wealthfront offers services to plan for retirement, save to buy a home, save to send your child to college and even take time off to travel the world.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.