Josh Brown On His New Robo Advisory ‘Liftoff’

October 08, 2014

‘Reformed Broker’ launches automated advisory firm for the younger crowd.

Josh Brown, CEO of wealth management firm Ritholtz Wealth, and known on the Street and Twitter as “The Reformed Broker,” has expanded his reach into the quickly growing automated advisory segment with the launch of Liftoff earlier this month.

The firm, which requires only $5,000 in initial investment for the program, and which charges 0.40 percent a year for its services, is designed to offer investors automated portfolio solutions that combine the attributes of financial planning with classic low-cost asset allocation through the use of ETFs.

Liftoff in no way sets out to replace traditional advisors such as Ritholtz Wealth and other RIAs, Brown told; rather, it offers younger generations of investors the opportunity to get their investment goals on track until they grow into the need for more finely tuned financial advice in their later years. At the end of the day, his message is clear: Investors’ biggest asset is time, so the younger you start investing, the better. Tell me about Liftoff.

Josh Brown: The general idea behind is that we’ve been getting inquiries from people for years who don’t need full-blown financial planning. The idea was that if we had something we could do for them, somewhere we could send them where we knew they would get a good solution, that’d be a perfect world for us as a practice.

We just didn’t have the resources to do anything about it for years. We are six people, we are a one-year-old firm—not the kind of thing that we were going to staff up and hire developers and programmers.

Upside Software came across our path and they were working on a solution that would allow an advisory firm like ours to deliver at a scale that kind of service to people. If we didn’t have a lot internal demand for it, we probably would not have been that interested, but we repeatedly received questions from people.

As soon as got a sense of how the technology worked, we knew we had to do it. We devoted some time and resources internally to build up the portfolios and the technology, and here we are.


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