Fisher Investments vs. Betterment: what’s the difference?

1 min readLast updated June 18, 2024by Unbiased team

Explore Fisher Investments and Betterment contrasting approaches to investment management.

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  • Betterment provides robo-advisors and automated portfolio management. 

  • Fisher Investments offers traditional financial advisory services targeted at wealthy investors. 

  • Betterment's fees are tiered based on plan options and account balance. 

  • Fisher Investments charges fees based on Assets Under Management (AUM). 

Betterment vs. Fisher Investments: what’s the difference? 

BettermentFisher Investments
Pros Automated services Exceptional support
Competitive fees Ongoing advisory
User-friendly Bespoke portfolios
Cons Limited customization No brokerage platform
No face-to-face meetings High minimum investment
Algorithm reliance Higher fees
Strategy Automated management Research-driven
Goal-based investing Long-term growth
Fees 0.25%-0.40% AUM 1.00%-1.25% AUM
No trading fees No trading fees
Service Email, chat, phone support Dedicated advisor
CFP access (Premium) Personalized support
Technology Advanced algorithms User-friendly interface
Intuitive platform Portfolio tracking
Adaptability Tech-driven adjustments Research-driven updates
Customer Service Various channels Exceptional support
CFP for Premium Tailored recommendations

Betterment is an online financial advisory firm specializing in robo-advisors, which automate portfolio management and provide personalized investment advice. Betterment financial services’ platform caters to a wide range of investors, from beginners to seasoned professionals, offering a user-friendly interface and goal-based investment strategies.  

In contrast, Fisher Investments is a traditional financial advisory firm renowned for its portfolio management and investment strategy guidance. Fisher Investments targets wealthy investors seeking comprehensive financial planning and research-driven investment strategies.  

What are Fisher Investment and Betterment’s specific investment strategies? 

Fisher Investments’ approach emphasizes research-driven decision-making and long-term growth, with portfolios curated based on individual client goals and risk tolerance levels. Fisher Investments advisors leverage financial methods established by its founder, Ken Fisher, to optimize returns while mitigating risks. The firm caters to clients seeking comprehensive financial planning and sophisticated investment strategies. 

Betterment's investment strategy revolves around automated portfolio management and goal-based investing. It leverages algorithms to create diversified portfolios aligned with client goals and risk profiles.  

What fees can I expect from Fisher Investments and Betterment? 

Fisher Investments fees are charged on an Assets Under Management (AUM) basis, calculated as a percentage of the total value of assets managed. The fee percentage decreases as the portfolio size increases, typically ranging from 1.25% for portfolios up to $1 million to 1% for portfolios exceeding $5 million.  

While Fisher Investment fees do not impose additional trading fees or commissions, clients should be aware of other potential fees associated with investment firms, such as inactivity fees and non-trading charges. 

Betterment fees are tiered based on the plan option chosen by the client. The Betterment Digital plan starts with an annual fee of 0.25% of assets under management or a flat monthly fee of $4, with no minimum balance requirement.  

Betterment also offers a Premium plan with a higher fee of 0.40% annually, providing access to certified financial planners (CFPs) for personalized advice.  

Betterment fees cover portfolio management and advisory services with no additional trading fees or transaction costs.  

Is Fisher Investments or Betterment better? 

Recognizing that both firms have distinct strengths and weaknesses, catering to different investor preferences and financial goals is essential.  

Pros of Fisher Investments  

  • Exceptional customer service 

  • Ongoing advisory support 

  • Bespoke portfolio design based on well-researched investment strategies  

Cons of Fisher Investments 

  • The absence of a brokerage platform 

  • Steep minimum investment requirement of $500,000  

  • Relatively higher fees compared to industry averages 

Pros of Betterment 

  • Automated services utilizing advanced algorithms for portfolio management 

  • Competitive fees 

  • User-friendly platform for novice investors  

Cons of Betterment 

  • Limited customization options 

  • Lack of face-to-face interactions with Betterment financial advisors  

  • Potential overreliance on algorithms for investment decisions.  

Fisher Investments or Betterment: which should I choose? 

Depending on your circumstances, Fisher Investments or Betterment financial services may suit your needs better than the others, considering factors such as investment preferences, financial goals, and desired level of advisor interaction. 

Having looked at fees, investment strategy, and various pros and cons, here are some other questions you should ask yourself when choosing between Fisher Investments and Betterment:

How do Fisher Investments and Betterment remain competitive and adapt to changing market conditions? 

Fisher Investments adapts to changing market conditions by employing a research-driven approach and leveraging its extensive experience in portfolio management. It continuously monitors market trends, economic indicators, and geopolitical events to identify opportunities and potential risks.  

Betterment adapts to changing market conditions through its sophisticated algorithms and technology-driven approach. The platform utilizes advanced algorithms to monitor market trends, economic data, and geopolitical events in real-time. These algorithms automatically adjust portfolio allocations and investment strategies to optimize performance and mitigate risks based on prevailing market conditions.  

Which platform provides better customer service and support? 

Betterment customer service offers various channels for clients to reach support representatives, including email, live chat, and telephone during business hours. Premium subscribers gain access to Betterment financial advice via certified financial planners (CFPs), who provide personalized guidance and advice.  

Fisher Investments' customer service is exceptional, setting it apart in the industry. Each client is assigned a dedicated financial advisor who provides ongoing support and guidance. The firm’s commitment to personalized advisory support ensures that clients receive tailored recommendations aligned with their unique needs and circumstances.  

Can I access my Fisher Investments or Betterment accounts through their websites and mobile apps? 

Fisher Investments provides a user-friendly website and mobile app interface that allows clients to access their accounts, track portfolio performance, and communicate with their financial advisors.  

Betterment's website and mobile app enable clients to set up accounts, make contributions, track progress toward financial goals, and access diversified investment options. Betterment's intuitive platform caters to investors of varying expertise levels, offering a seamless experience for managing investments on the go.  

Get expert financial advice 

The choice between Betterment and Fisher Investments boils down to a balance between automated efficiency and personalized guidance. Betterment's robo-advisor platform offers convenience and low fees, making it an attractive option for those who prefer a hands-off approach to investing. On the other hand, Fisher Investments' advisor's traditional advisory services cater to investors seeking tailored strategies and comprehensive financial planning.  

Whether you prioritize cutting-edge technology or human expertise, by considering factors such as investment style, fees, and the level of support you require, you can select the platform that best aligns with your financial aspirations and preferences.  

Let Unbiased connect you with a professional SEC-regulated financial advisor to help you navigate your financial and investment goals with confidence. 


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.

Looking for a financial advisor?

We can connect you with an SEC-regulated financial advisor suited to meet your needs.