With an account minimum of $100,000, Rebalance 360 (formerly Rebalance IRA) makes its pitch to well-heeled investors who are looking for more comprehensive and personalized wealth management, those who might also like hybrid robo-advisors Vanguard Personal Advisor Services or Personal Capital. With higher fees than most robo-advisors, Rebalance is less a discount broker and more a full-service financial planner using automated investing technology. With new fees that now hit 0.7% for balances under $300,000 but reduces to 0.25% for accounts over $5 million, Rebalance is attractive only to upper-crust investors.
Rebalance 360 is best for:
- Wealthy investors
- Investors who need more guidance
- Access to human advisors
- Hands-off investors
Rebalance 360 at a glance
|Account management fee||
|Investment expense ratios||ETF expense ratios average 0.15%|
|Account fees (annual, transfer, closing)||$250 one-time account setup fee per account|
|Portfolio mix||ETFs from 10 asset classes|
|Accounts supported||IRA, taxable trusts, 401(k) accounts are supported|
|Automatic rebalancing||Rebalance twice per year, on average. Trading costs average $35 per rebalance.|
|Human advisor option||Unlimited access to a financial advisor and service representative|
|Customer support options (including website transparency)||Phone support Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Eastern; email support. Live meeting once per year.
|Promotion||No promotion currently offered|
Where Rebalance 360 shines
High-touch service: Rebalance’s biggest strength is its focus on providing personal service with real advisors to comprehensively handle clients’ wealth management. This approach positions Rebalance as a hybrid robo-advisor, combining human expertise with the efficiency of preselected, diversified exchange-traded funds. And that’s a key difference from “pure” robo-advisors such as Wealthfront, which are cheaper but also less comprehensive. So Rebalance is competing more with traditional brick-and-mortar financial advisors and higher-end hybrid robos such as Schwab Intelligent Advisory and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services.
Rebalance assigns each customer a retirement investment advisor and a service representative, and clients have “no limit” access to them. The advisor sets your game plan, examining all your assets and developing an investment program that takes into account your future needs and risk tolerance. Meanwhile, the service rep oversees the logistics of that plan. A key goal of this personalized approach is to handle the tougher, retirement-related issues that arise, not just the relatively simple “buy this ETF” decisions. In addition, the advisor will check with you annually to see how your life or goals have changed and whether your financial plan needs to adjust.
Portfolio mix and fund expenses: Rebalance builds its portfolios using passively managed ETFs, those that track a preset index of companies. That keeps expense ratios down, leaving more money in your pocket. The advisor uses high-quality ETFs created by the largest players in the industry — Vanguard, State Street and iShares. The average portfolio has an expense ratio of around 0.15%, somewhat better than at rivals.
Like typical robo-advisors, Rebalance uses your risk tolerance and goals to fit you with a portfolio. For example, if you have a long time until retirement, Rebalance can make your portfolio more aggressive, focusing on growth. If you’re closer to retirement, you’ll probably want more stable income and less chance of capital loss. Most of the firm’s portfolios contain 10 asset classes to achieve broad diversification, while more narrowly focused portfolios, including “all income” or “all growth” portfolios, typically have about five asset classes.
The funds cover a wide swath of the market, including American stocks, foreign stocks, real estate, small companies and bonds, so your portfolio can have exposure to a variety of investments, based on your needs.
Where Rebalance 360 falls short
Account management fees: Rebalance’s rebranding in October 2018 also included management fee changes. New and existing clients with balances under $300,000 are now charged 0.7% per year; balances of $300,000 or more continue to pay the old across-the-board rate of 0.5%, while clients with $5 million or more now pay only 0.25%.
Rebalance’s fees for clients with less than $5 million are on the higher end compared to peers like Vanguard Personal Advisor Services (0.3%) and Schwab Intelligent Advisory (0.28%), or the premium offerings at Ellevest (0.5%) and Betterment (0.4%). Rebalance’s fee is much better, however, than Personal Capital’s sliding scale of 0.89% for balances below $1 million and 0.49% for balances $10 million or above.
Open account fee: Robo-advisors are rushing to establish relationships with clients as quickly as possible and slashing all kinds of fees that might dissuade investors from opening an account. Yet Rebalance IRA charges a $250 fee to open an account. Investors at virtually any rival can set up an account at no charge.
Rebalancing costs money: While other large rivals charge no fees for rebalancing if your portfolio deviates from its target allocation, Rebalance IRA says that will cost about $35 each time. The robo-advisor rebalances your portfolio on average twice a year.
No tax strategy: Rebalance does not offer tax-loss harvesting, a service that rivals offer, many of them for free.
Account minimum: Rebalance’s minimum account size is $100,000, a stiff entry for many investors. Meanwhile, the rest of the industry has been rushing to cut minimums, and many allow clients to open an account with no minimum deposit at all. While Rebalance’s minimum is in the ballpark with some higher-end players such as Personal Capital, it’s higher than at Vanguard and Schwab Intelligent Advisory.
Is Rebalance IRA right for you?
If you’re not particularly cost-conscious and need more personalized and comprehensive advice (from an actual human), Rebalance might be an interesting option. Getting a pair of representatives — including an investment advisor dedicated to you — really provides peace of mind for many investors and could help you make smarter investing and wealth-management decisions. But many investors may find a similar level of service with smaller and fewer fees at robo-advisors such as Schwab Intelligent Advisory and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services.