Betterment pushes into student loan debt with new tools

Betterment, the leading independent robo-adviser, is continuing its expansion into new product lines with the announcement Wednesday of new retail tools to help clients combat student debt by planning and managing college loans. 

The company’s first foray into the 529 space, the Student Loan Management platform, allows workers with a Betterment 401(k) to view their loans alongside their other financial accounts, receive personalized recommendations and deduct loan payments directly from their paycheck, according to a release.

The platform will be housed within the newly rebranded Betterment for Work business line, which automates retirement plans for small and midsize businesses, including personalized recommendations, paydown options and employer matching tools. 

Known previously as Betterment for Business, the platform uses the firm’s robo-advice technology to offer in-house 401(k) plans. The tech automates the sign-up process and takes on the fiduciary responsibility for employee accounts, according to the release.

“Employees are asking for more cohesive and comprehensive financial planning,” Kristen Carlisle, general manager of Betterment at Work, said in a statement. “Providing unique and sought-after benefits that align with retirement or healthcare savings programs can provide a great competitive advantage to recruit and retain talent.”

The deal marks the second acquisition for Betterment in February alone. Earlier this month, the company announced the acquisition of the cryptocurrency manager Makara Inc., and it plans to offer crypto to clients in the coming months. The company did not previously offer exposure to digital assets.

The New York City-based robo-adviser has leaned into its institutional business models in recent years. Betterment has made it clear under the leadership of CEO Sarah Levy, who took over at the end of 2020, that it’s prioritizing growth, and the platform has been busy rolling out new offerings. 

Along with the new tools, Betterment also announced a deal with Gradvisor, a 529 benefit consulting company, to acquire its customer and partner relationships. That will provide Betterment at Work customers with the opportunity to offer a college savings plan to employees as part of their benefits packages.

The recent push to expand into multiple business lines, like its business-to-business arms, has led to explosive growth at Betterment, including a 116% year-over-year increase in account openings in the first quarter of last year. 

To date, Betterment manages $33 billion in assets for nearly 700,000 users, according to the company. 

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The post Betterment pushes into student loan debt with new tools appeared first on InvestmentNews.

Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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