Regions launches investment advisory service for young clients

Regions Financial aims to provide personalized financial planning online to young clients who are just starting to invest.

As part of a new advisory service that blends automation with personal interaction, Regions clients only need $5,000 to open an account. They will choose from five portfolio strategies based on their risk tolerance and the length of their financial goals, according to the $164 billion asset bank.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Regions decided to create the service after company executives began noticing that many clients were turning to competitors for digital investing services, said Jim Nonnengard, who leads the Regions Investment Services Wealth Management Group.

Regions charges InvestPath clients a 0.70% annual fee for digital account access and on-call management advice from a financial advisor.

“It was enlightening,” Nonnengard said in an interview on Tuesday, recalling that her own daughter had set up an online account in less than 10 minutes. “We have to get on the bus here and offer that to our customers.”

Regions are competing in an increasingly crowded market for digital consulting services. Large and medium-sized banks are rushing to bolster their online offerings as more fintechs gear their services towards younger customers.

Ally Financial recently launched a new wealth management offer which adds human advisors to the Detroit company’s existing robo-advisory service.

The Regions offering, known as InvestPath, represents a new “cornerstone” in the bank’s approach to client relationships, Nonnengard said.

The platform is designed for “new start-up type investors” who are typically under 40 and have less than $50,000 in assets, he said.

“We think it will appeal to a clientele that is not yet investing,” Nonnengard said.

Regions charges clients an annual fee of 0.70% for digital access to their accounts and on-call management advice from a specific financial advisor.

One of Regions’ 260 financial advisors is assigned to each InvestPath account, depending on how close the branches are to where clients live. Regions, which operates 1,300 banking offices mostly in the southeastern United States, sees InvestPath as a way to offer the ease of digital services alongside the option of in-person support.

“It’s not an efficiency game,” Nonnengard said. “Clients come all the time for advice and guidance. People also love face-to-face interactions.

Regions, which provides other online services to clients of the bank’s wealth management and trust groups. worked with broker-dealer Cetera Investment Services to develop the InvestPath platform.