Dear Adam Nash: God Called…He Wants his Soap Box Back

Dear Adam Nash: God Called…He Wants his Soap Box Back

July 8, 2015 $voo
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(Last Updated On: July 8, 2015)

Wealthfront’s CEO recently posted a hard-hitting blast against Betterment. The core argument was against Betterment’s fees charged to small accounts ($3 / month for accounts with less than $10k and no auto-deposit turned on). If you turn on auto-deposit of $100 per  month,  the fee is 35bps.  Last time I checked, 35 bps is pretty darn cheap for customized financial advice…

A sample:

“During Betterment’s most recent fundraising, I was shocked to learn through investor due diligence that the company brags about how much of their revenue comes from this $3 fee. Almost one-third. It’s really disappointing that Betterment has decided to build their business preying on those who can least afford it…”

Much of what Adam says is super reasonable and I imagine all independent, client-friendly advisors believe in the same credo:

The world doesn’t need another Wall Street.

We believe in our clients, and we’re willing to align our future with theirs.

Vanguard took the right path.

But why the angst?

Can’t we all just get along and focus on financial advisors/brokers with serious conflicts of interests?


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Wesley R. Gray, Ph.D.

After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Gray earned a PhD, and worked as a finance professor at Drexel University. Dr. Gray’s interest in bridging the research gap between academia and industry led him to found Alpha Architect, an asset management that delivers affordable active exposures for tax-sensitive investors. Dr. Gray has published four books and a number of academic articles. Wes is a regular contributor to multiple industry outlets, to include the following: Wall Street Journal, Forbes,, and the CFA Institute. Dr. Gray earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude with a BS from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.