BlackRock acquires robo-advice firm

Asset management firm BlackRock has acquired US digital advice firm FutureAdvisor as it targets expanding into robo-advice.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will allow BlackRock to offer corporate clients personalised advice, portfolio management and web and mobile apps to clients.

BlackRock says the acquisition will allow it to help financial institutions grow their own advice businesses, particularly in the mass market.

A spokeswoman says the US market will be the initial focus but the investment manager plans to expand the service globally, including the UK, over time.

BlackRock head of retail technology Tom Fortin says: “As demand for digital wealth management grows, we believe that our combined offering will accelerate our partner firms’ abilities to serve the mass affluent in a convenient, scalable way.”

FutureAdvisor chief executive and co-founder Bo Lu says: “BlackRock has dedicated enormous effort over the years to improving financial outcomes through its leading active and passive investment offerings as well as innovative retirement planning tools.”

As part of Project Innovate, the FCA is to expand initiatives to encourage innovation across financial services through a series of themed weeks, beginning with sessions on robo-advice.

In May, Money Marketing revealed LV= was planning to launch an online retirement advice service.

In August, the mutual announced it had taken a majority stake within robo-advice firm Wealth Wizards.