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Ellevest Review

Ellevest is a robo-advisor and wealth management company for women. Learn more about how it works in this review.

Ellevest is an advisory firm headquartered in New York City with a unique angle — to empower and provide financial advice to women. It seeks to be a resource for women, run by women. Delivering upon this promise, the company employs a female-majority team of investment management professionals and executive leadership. Founded in 2014 by Sallie Krawcheck, it offers many solutions, including a digital investing (robo-advisor) platform, private wealth management, and financial planning.

This article will review Ellevest in-depth, including an overview of the types of clients it serves, its services, and how much it costs. We’ll also provide an analysis of its investment philosophy when constructing client portfolios.

Assets Under Management

$1.9 billion

Number of Employees

104

Date Founded

2014

CEO

Sallie Krawcheck

Fee Structure

Fee-only

Headquarters Address

228 Park Avenue South, 94934

New York, NY 10003

Phone Number

(844) 355-7100

Pros and Cons of Ellevest

Pros

  • Seeks to empower women in an industry long dominated by men
  • Offers both a robo-advisor and private wealth management
  • Transparent and detailed investment philosophy
  • Zero disclosures
  • Upholds a fiduciary duty

Cons

  • Only offers discretionary management options
  • Average-net-worth clients don’t have access to full-service wealth management

Types of Clients

Ellevest primarily serves individuals, offering products specifically to regular clients and those with highly valuable portfolios. It also serves charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, and corporations. However, much of the company’s business involves providing automated investing services to female clients (although anyone can sign up), with over 140,000 of its clientele falling under this category. A much smaller amount of its clients — less than 300 at the time of this review — have a high net worth.

There is no minimum asset requirement to sign up for the company’s robo-advisor platform. On the other hand, to enroll in its private wealth management product, you must have at least $1 million in investable assets.

Financial Advisor Services

Though it’s largely a robo-advisory company, Ellevest is unique in that it also offers a substantial private wealth management branch. As a company devoted to helping women accomplish their financial goals, this enables it to help clients who are either just starting or those with more complex needs.

Below are detailed descriptions of the firm’s available services:

Digital Investing Plan

Ellevest offers an online investing plan for women who want to build a portfolio passively. Accessible via its website and mobile apps, this is a robo-advisor that automatically invests your portfolio and manages your investments.

To enroll, you must create an account using the onboarding section of the company’s website. After signing up, the firm will ask you to provide specific information about yourself, such as your gender, goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. This ultimately influences how it will construct your portfolio.

Next, the firm’s robo-advisor will recommend an allocation of assets for your portfolio. According to the firm, this may comprise up to 21 different asset classes, including mutual funds, low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fixed-income securities, and others. Per its website, there are two primary portfolio options available:

  • Ellevest Impact Portfolio is a customized portfolio that also includes a heightened focus on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing principles, as well as mutual funds that benefit women.
  • Ellevest Core Portfolio is a customized option like the above; however, it zeroes in specifically on your needs and goals. It doesn’t include the additional emphasis on ESG investing or female-centric securities.

It’s important to note that Ellevest’s automated investing platform takes a discretionary role when building your portfolio. This means it will be able to make trades on your behalf without consulting your approval. It will decide which securities best fit your strategy or portfolio allocation and, over time, will determine if it needs to rebalance. Therefore, before signing up, you’ll have to consider if you’re comfortable allowing the company’s software and, potentially, its representatives to invest for you effectively.

Private Wealth Management

Ellevest also offers a discretionary private wealth management service for high-net-worth women with more intricate portfolios and needs. Unlike the digital plan, this option is much more nuanced.

More like what a traditional advisory firm may offer, this service includes building a comprehensive plan and management strategy for your finances. You’ll meet with the company and discuss your goals and present circumstances. Then, the company’s financial advisor team, which is made up of professionals with high-quality credentials, will work with you to create a roadmap.

Below are the features of the wealth management service, according to Ellevest’s website:

  • Construction and management of a diverse portfolio tailored to your needs
  • Impact investing
  • Financial planning
  • Tax-loss harvesting

Financial Planning

Ellevest also offers a financial planning option, which is discounted for existing customers. This allows you to meet one-on-one with a certified financial planner (CFP) who will give you guidance on one or more aspects of your financial picture. It offers these in a variety of packages, depending on the needs you have. You also have the option of meeting with an expert in either a 60- or 30-minute session.

Fee Structure and Cost

Ellevest charges a flat $12 per month wrap fee for its digital advisor services and a typical advisory fee for private or personal wealth management. The former includes custodial, administrative, and trading costs that would otherwise be on your shoulders to pay. For the latter, the firm charges a percentage of assets under management (AUM), which scales according to the following:

AUMFee Percentage
Up to $2,000,0001.00%
$2 million to $3 million0.95%
$3 million to $5 million0.90%
$5 million to $7 million0.80%
$7 million to $10 million0.70%
$10 million to $15 million0.65%
$15 million to $25 million0.60%
$25 million to $50 million0.55%
$50 million to $75 million0.50%
$75 million to $100 million0.40%
Over $100 million0.35%

Investment Philosophy

Before working with a company that manages your portfolio on a discretionary basis, it’s critical to understand the investment philosophy it uses. Usually available on a company’s Form ADV Part 2A, Ellevest has taken it a step further and has published full methodology papers for both of its products. These tell existing and prospective clients exactly what to expect from the company’s advisors and technology regarding portfolio management.

Below are some combined key focuses the company uses while investing client portfolios:

  • Diversification across various asset classes
  • Impact investing (e.g., ESG and empowering women)
  • Tax efficiency
  • Invest to help clients reach specific goals
  • Using detailed research and customization, rather than simply serving generic portfolios and strategies.

While the above are some key points, we highly recommend reading the document about the service you’re considering enrolling in. This will give you a better idea of whether it’s right for you. Below are links to both:

Disclosures

Ellevest’s status as a registered investment advisor (RIA) with the SEC requires it to file an annual Form ADV, which is publicly accessible. This document ensures RIA firms stay as transparent and accountable as possible. In it, each firm must disclose any conflicts of interest or disciplinary actions involving it or any of its investment advisor representatives (IARs), including those not imposed by the SEC.

As per its most recent filing, Ellevest has no disclosures against it. For large firms, this is uncommon, giving credence to the firm’s high ethical standards while conducting its advisory business.

Customer Service and Becoming a Client

The most direct way to get support from Ellevest is to contact their team at support@ellevest.com. You may also call the firm at (844) 355-7100. For simpler or more common questions, the company provides an extensive help center, which provides useful documentation.

If you’d like to become a client, you can create an account by visiting Ellevest’s website. From there, you’ll need to fill out an onboarding form and select the services you require. Be aware that for private wealth management, you’ll need at least $1 million. All other offerings don’t mandate an account minimum, however.

Methodology

This review is based on publicly available information directly from Ellevest’s website and the SEC. Neither the firm nor its representatives have any say on what we’ve included on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Ellevest act as a fiduciary?

Yes, because of its registration with the SEC as an investment advisor, Ellevest must adhere to a fiduciary duty when managing your portfolio. This applies to both its technology and any representatives working in advisory roles at the company.

How much money do you need for Ellevest?

Ellevest doesn’t set an account minimum to use its robo-advisor services. It does, however, require at least $1,000,000 for its private wealth management offering.

Does Ellevest serve both men and women?

While it heavily markets itself toward women, Ellevest makes it clear on its website that it serves anyone who wants to become a client. Its mission statement, however, involves empowering women and giving them access to financial advice and resources tailored to their needs.