Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Review 2024 (2024)

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Who Should Choose Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor

As with most robo-advisors from financial giants, Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor works best for those who already have a relationship with Wells Fargo and are looking to get into automated portfolio management without having to shuffle money around to different services.

Advanced investors may also appreciate Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor’s tax-loss harvesting, which automatically sells floundering investments to offset taxable gains, as well as its smart beta portfolio options. A relative rarity among robos, smart beta aims to offer market-beating returns by taking on a higher level of risk. Most other robos only offer portfolios built to minimize risk while matching overall market performance with index funds.

These higher-end features, however, carry a higher annual management fee: 0.35%, compared to 0.25% at leaders like Betterment and Wealthfront or even 0% on platforms like Ally Invest Robo Portfolios. Existing Wells Fargo clients with Portfolio by Wells Fargo can cut their fees to 0.30% by linking their checking and investment accounts, which makes the pricey platform slightly more appealing to those looking to keep their finances under one roof.

That high fee might be more palatable overall, however, if the financial advisors Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor advertises as available to all clients could provide financial planning services, like Betterment’s Premium tier or Personal Capital. But Intuitive Investor financial advisors can only answer relatively simple questions about portfolio performance and risk.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor requires a minimum investment of $500. If you’re after an automated investing experience with unlimited access to financial planners and an incredibly low minimum, check out SoFi Automated Investing.

How Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Works

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor users get customized portfolios of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tailored to their financial situation and personal goals. But there’s one major caveat with this robo-advisor platform: The registration process is tricky for new customers.

To even peruse the available portfolios, you must create an account with Wells Fargo (if you don’t already have one). That requires entering your Social Security number and other personal information before you can take the questionnaire and see your managed portfolio options.

Competitors like Fidelity Go and SigFig give you a good look at your portfolio options before you need to create an account or share any personal information. New investors may prefer this approach, as it gives them a chance to shop around and get a better feel for their options on different platforms.

Once you’ve created a Wells Fargo account, the questionnaire process is fairly standard. Responses to basic questions about your finances, risk tolerance and goals determine which type of portfolio you get. If you don’t like what you see, or your needs change down the road, you can retake the questionnaire to adjust your portfolio’s asset allocation.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor offers nine model portfolios, stocked with up to 11 ETFs each. The portfolios range from conservative to aggressive—conservative options allocate a greater proportion of your balance to bond funds and cash while aggressive portfolios put more of your money in stock funds.

Available account types will cover almost all investors’ needs, unless they’re saving specifically for a child’s education and want a 529. Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor account types include:

  • Individual and joint taxable brokerage accounts
  • Trusts and custodial accounts (UGMA/UTMA)
  • Traditional IRA or Roth IRA
  • Inherited IRA

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Fees and Costs

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor charges an annual fee equal to 0.35% of your account balance, billed quarterly. This management fee is slightly above average for competing robo-advisors, though customers who link their Wells Fargo Bank Portfolio account benefit from a slightly more competitive 0.30% management fee.

All ETFs charge their own annual expense ratio fees. These small fees are paid directly to the fund manager and are almost unavoidable. You’ll never receive a bill for them—they’re automatically subtracted from your fund’s returns—but they’re still worth keeping in mind as excessively large expenses ratios can drag down your performance. Depending on your Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor portfolio, expense ratios range from 0.07% to 0.15%, with the higher fees primarily found in factor-based and smart beta ETFs, discussed more below.

Other fees include:

  • IRA closure: $95
  • Outgoing account transfer fee: $95
  • Outgoing domestic wire transfer: $30
  • Outgoing international wire transfer: $40

How Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Invests Your Money

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor invests your money in one of nine different portfolios. Your answers to the initial onboarding questionnaire determine which portfolio the platform decides is best for your investing goals.

The portfolios range from low-risk, low-growth conservative allocations that invest most of your money in fixed income and cash to aggressive growth portfolios that are mostly in stocks.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Review 2024 (1)

The moderate growth and income portfolio, for instance, allocates 56% to stock ETFs, 42% to fixed-income ETFs and 2% cash. That’s a pretty standard profile for a low-risk income portfolio. Contrast that with the aggressive growth portfolio, which allocates 93% to equities, 5% to fixed income and 2% to cash. This choice is appropriate for an aggressive focus on growth for investors with a high tolerance for volatility.

While most of the ETFs are standard broad market funds, Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor also makes use of smart beta funds. Smart beta or factors investing weights the investments within a fund based upon factors such as good value, strong momentum, high quality and low volatility.

More advanced investors may appreciate the inclusion of smart beta ETFs in their Intuitive Investor portfolios as they aim to beat market index returns. Most other index funds robo-advisors employ simply are trying to match the market’s performance, though competitors Betterment, Marcus Invest by Goldman Sachs and Personal Capital also offer smart beta portfolios.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor’s ETFs are low-cost, well-diversified funds from Goldman Sachs, Vanguard, Xtracker and Blackrock’s iShares and come from eight asset classes:

  • Large-cap U.S. stocks
  • Mid-cap U.S. stocks
  • International developed market stocks
  • Emerging market stocks
  • Taxable U.S. fixed income
  • Taxable high-yield fixed income
  • Emerging market fixed income
  • Cash alternatives

The portfolios contain between seven and 11 funds, depending upon the asset allocation. Your portfolio is monitored daily and rebalanced when it deviates from its target allocation. Taxable brokerage accounts are eligible for tax-loss harvesting.

Other Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Features

Banking and Brokerage Services

Wells Fargo is one of the biggest financial institutions in the U.S., and Intuitive Investor is well integrated with its other product offerings, allowing for easy transfers between accounts. Because Intuitive Investors must open a Wells Fargo account to sign up for the platform, that also means they have access to all of the financial behemoth’s resources.

In addition to standard banking offerings, this includes self-directed trading through an online brokerage account. Wells Fargo customers have access to commission-free stock and ETF trading, options, mutual funds, investment research tools and education resources.

Live Financial Advisors

All users have access to a team of licensed financial advisors that can be reached by phone between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm ET, Monday through Friday. Just be aware that these advisors can only answer basic investing questions like “How do I understand my risk level?” or “What should I do when the market declines?”

While this kind of information is undoubtedly helpful for new and inexperienced investors, it’s not the level of financial advice more sophisticated investors may seek as they embark on financial planning. Those investors may prefer Betterment Premium, Personal Capital or even SoFi Invest Automated Portfolios.

Mobile App

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor lacks a dedicated mobile app, which may be a sticking point for those who prefer investing on the go. Users can log into the standard Wells Fargo mobile app to access some basic information about their Intuitive Investor account, however.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Advantages

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor provides a convenient, relatively advanced platform for those already banking or investing with Wells Fargo. Its tax-loss harvesting and smart beta ETF options help it stand out in an increasingly crowded field of traditional financial institutions trying to break into the robo-advisor scene.

In addition, as part of the Wells Fargo brand, it provides access to comprehensive banking and investment resources as well as more than 7,000 branches around the country for those who prefer face-to-face interactions.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Disadvantages

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor charges an annual management fee that’s above average for comparable robo-advisor platforms. Even with the discount for existing Wells Fargo customers, it’s still more expensive than leading competitors.

It’s also not exactly beginner friendly. Because of the personal information it requires to even view sample portfolios, there’s no way to test drive this robo-advisor. The $500 account minimum isn’t particularly steep, although competitors like Ellevest and Betterment have no minimum at all.

More advanced users may be frustrated by the level of financial advice available to them and the lack of customization they can do on their portfolios. Unlike Wealthfront or Axos Invest Managed Portfolios, you can’t add ETFs to your portfolio or tailor your holdings to environmental, social, governance (ESG) or socially responsible investing (SRI) standards. And outside of the smart beta funds, Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor’s portfolios offer no special advantages beyond what you get at a run-of-the mill robo-advisor—albeit at a higher price point.

As an enthusiast with deep knowledge of robo-advisors and financial platforms, let me dive into the concepts and information presented in the article about Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor.

1. Trustworthiness of Forbes Advisor:

The article begins by highlighting that Forbes Advisor earns a commission from partner links but asserts that this doesn't influence editorial opinions. This disclaimer is common in financial articles, ensuring transparency about potential conflicts of interest.

2. Target Audience for Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor:

The article suggests that Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor is best suited for individuals with existing relationships with Wells Fargo, emphasizing the convenience of having all financial services under one roof. It also mentions that advanced investors might appreciate features like tax-loss harvesting and smart beta portfolios.

3. Smart Beta Portfolio Options:

Smart beta, a key feature of Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor, aims to provide market-beating returns by taking on a higher level of risk. This is contrasted with most other robo-advisors that primarily offer portfolios built to minimize risk while matching overall market performance with index funds.

4. Management Fees and Fee Structure:

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor charges an annual management fee of 0.35%, slightly higher than competitors like Betterment and Wealthfront. Existing Wells Fargo clients can reduce this fee to 0.30% by linking their checking and investment accounts.

5. Account Types Offered:

The platform supports various account types, including individual and joint taxable brokerage accounts, trusts, custodial accounts, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, and inherited IRA. However, it doesn't offer specific support for 529 accounts.

6. Investment Portfolios and Asset Allocation:

Users receive customized portfolios based on their financial situation and goals. There are nine model portfolios, ranging from conservative to aggressive, each comprised of up to 11 ETFs. Portfolios are diversified across large-cap U.S. stocks, mid-cap U.S. stocks, international developed market stocks, emerging market stocks, taxable U.S. fixed income, taxable high-yield fixed income, emerging market fixed income, and cash alternatives.

7. Fees Beyond Management Fees:

In addition to management fees, the article details other fees such as IRA closure fee, outgoing account transfer fee, outgoing domestic wire transfer fee, and outgoing international wire transfer fee.

8. Smart Beta and Factor-Based Investing:

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor employs smart beta funds, which weight investments based on factors like good value, strong momentum, high quality, and low volatility. This contrasts with most robo-advisors that aim to match the market's performance.

9. Monitoring and Rebalancing:

Portfolios are monitored daily and rebalanced when they deviate from their target allocation. Taxable brokerage accounts are eligible for tax-loss harvesting.

10. Integration with Wells Fargo Services:

The article highlights the integration of Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor with other Wells Fargo services, offering seamless transfers between accounts and access to banking, brokerage, and investment resources.

11. Access to Financial Advisors:

Users have access to licensed financial advisors who can be reached by phone, but their capabilities are limited to answering basic investing questions.

12. Mobile App and Accessibility:

Notably, Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor lacks a dedicated mobile app, but users can access basic information through the standard Wells Fargo mobile app.

13. Advantages and Disadvantages Summarized:

The article concludes by summarizing the advantages, such as convenience for existing Wells Fargo customers and access to comprehensive resources, and disadvantages, including a higher-than-average management fee and limitations in customization.

In essence, the article provides a comprehensive overview of Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor, covering its features, fees, target audience, and potential pros and cons.

Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor Review 2024 (2024)


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