Robo Advisor Reviews

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Review 2019 – Returns, Funds + More

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Expert Review

Best known as one of the top online banking platforms, Ally Bank acquired TradeKing in 2016, forming Ally Invest. The new division serves as Ally’s investment arm, offering a robo-advisor platform along with self-directed investing that includes stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, Forex and futures.

The TradeKing robo-advisor was restructured into Ally Invest Managed Portfolios (originally named Ally Invest Advisors). But Ally Invest Managed Portfolios isn’t simply TradeKing Advisors renamed.

Ally Invest has revamped nearly every corner of the original platform, essentially creating a new robo-advisor.

All Invest Managed Portfolio Review Latest News: 

  • Minimum fee lowered to $100
  • Tax-loss harvesting coming soon!
  • Socially Responsible investments coming soon!

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Robo-advisor Features at a Glance

OverviewAutomated investment management robo-advisor platform
Minimum Investment Amount$100
Fee Structure0.30% of AUM
Top FeaturesGoal-based robo-advisor with access to Ally Bank and Ally Invest, two of the very best platforms in their respective fields. Plus extensive diversification with ETFs. Tax-loss harvesting + income portfolios.
Free ServicesNone
Contact & Investing AdviceAvailable 24/7 by phone or email
Investment FundsLow-cost index stock and bond ETFs. Includes diversified market cap stock and global and mortgage backed bond funds.
Accounts AvailableIndividual and joint taxable accounts; traditional, Roth and rollover IRAs; custodial accounts.
PromotionsNone for the robo-advisor. Self directed investors have promotions at Ally Invest.

What is an Ally Managed Portfolio?

So, you may be wondering “How do Managed Portfolios Work?”

Before we get into the Ally Managed Porfolios Robo-Advisor Review, it’s helpful to understand managed portfolios.

An investment portfolio is simply the stocks, bonds, mutual and exchange traded funds that you own. If you select these financial assets on your own, then you are managing your own portfolio.

Yet, if you prefer to have your investments selected and managed for you, then Ally Managed Porfolios will take care of everything.

“When you work with us, you’ll get a tailored investment approach carefully monitored by a team of specialists – all for a low, affordable fee that never changes,”  ~Ally website

Read this Ally robo-advisor review and learn all about how managed portfolios work, and who Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is best for.

What Differentiates Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Robo-Advisor From Competitors

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is distinct in its investment fund offerings. The Ally robo-advisor offers excellent diversification with just nine funds. We like the addition of three market cap stock funds; large, medium and small cap ETFs. Additionally, their bond ETF offerings are outstanding with access to mortgage backed bonds and a global bond ETF in addition to the typical fixed funds.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios will offer tax-loss harvesting soon. This is beneficial for taxable accounts and may reduce taxes and maximize returns.

Further, Ally Invest Managed Portfolios departs from standalone robo-advisors in its inclusion as part of the Ally family, which has become one of the most diversified financial services platforms on the internet. This places Ally Invest Managed Portfolios in a similar camp with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Fidelity Go.

Ally offers an entire suite of financial services:

  • Ally Invest. Ally Invest is a do-it-yourself investment platform, enabling you nearly unlimited investment options. They also offer one of the lowest trading commissions in the industry, at $4.95 per trade for stocks, ETFs and options. If you are a high-volume trader, the commission drops to $3.95 per trade.
  • Ally Bank.The Bank offers some of the very highest interest rates for online savings accounts and certificates of deposit. They even offer an interest-bearing checking account – with an ATM card – which is uncommon among online banks. The Bank is frequently cited as one of the best alternatives to brick-and-mortar banks. Ally Bank earned a “Best Online Bank” ranking from Money Magazine in 2018.
  • Ally Bank also makes loans. They offer a Visa card through TD Bank and provide home mortgages. But on the lending side, their specialty is auto loans. As the successor to General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), Ally Bank offers a wide range of both loans and leases. One of the most innovative is their Ally Pre-Owned SmartLease program that enables you to lease used cars.

If you’re seeking a one-stop financial management portal with managed account access and a best banking and trading services, Ally should be considered.

Who Benefits from the Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Robo-Advisor?

If you’re wondering, “Who should consider Ally Managed Portfolios,” here’s your answer.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is an excellent choice for any investor who lacks either the experience or the motivation to manage their own investments. It gives you the ability to have professional investment management at a fraction of the cost for traditional human investment managers.

With an advisory fee of 0.30%, a $100,000 portfolio can be professionally managed for just $300 per year. This is in the low- to mid-range of the robo-advisor fee spectrum.

And beyond the robo-advisor service itself, working with Ally gives you direct access to Ally Invest for self-directed investing, or Ally Bank, for both high interest savings accounts and innovative loan programs.

We love the 24/7 customer service! Who hasn’t been frustrated at limited customer service hours while looking at a financial account late at night or on a week-end?

So, if you want a one stop shop for both managed robo-advisor investing and access to DIY investment tools, you need to study this Ally robo-advisor review.

Sign up for best investment and money management software. It’s free!

Is Ally Invest good for beginners?

The Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is ideal for beginning investors. You can start by using the managed Ally invest robo-advisor to oversee your investments.

As you become more experienced, you can try your hand at investing on your own with the Ally Invest stock, bond and fund investment options.

Just be aware that for robo investing, there are other platforms with lower management fees such as M1 Finance, Schwab, Betterment and Wealthfront.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Robo-Advisor Features

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios provides a professionally managed, fully automated investment service. Your portfolio is based on your specific needs, risk tolerance, investment goals and time horizon. Portfolios are constructed from a number of diversified low-cost index funds.

You also have the ability to influence your asset allocation. You can do this by making changes in your investor profile at any time or adjusting the risk vs. return slider. As is the case with most robo-advisors, you cannot place any trades within your account.

Your asset allocation is the percent invested in stock funds vs. bond funds and other investments.

Ally joins Schwab Intelligent Portfolios in a commitment to a small cash position, so, in addition to ETFs, between 1% and 2% of your portfolio will be held in cash. A small cash position is seen as a form of diversification and acts as a buffer for rebalancing. We support maintaining a cash position as a stabilizing influence on your portfolio.

The Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Investments

The Ally robo-advisor offers five basic investment portfolios, determined by your risk tolerance and time horizon. At sign up (discussed below) you’ll answer a few questions which will guide the recommended portfolio.

Ally managed portfolio choices:

  • Conservative
  • Moderate
  • Moderate Growth
  • Growth
  • Aggressive Growth

The portfolios are suitable for all types of investors from the most risk-averse, conservative folks to those who are willing to withstand some added volatility while pursuing higher returns.

The most conservative – Income Portfolio is designed to preserve your capital and provide income. This option is ideal for retirees or those seeking cash flow from their investments.

Another aspect we like is that you can change your asset allocation at any time, should your needs or risk tolerance change.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios – Investment Funds

As is the case with many robo-advisors, Ally Invest Managed Portfolios uses ETFs from Vanguard and iShares.

The funds are low-fee, liquid (that means that they’re easy to buy and sell), and issued by well-regarded investment companies.

This diversification of funds and asset classes in Ally’s managed portfolios helps to minimize losses should one sector fall out of favor.

Funds are chosen to represent the following asset classes:

  • US Stocks
  • International Stocks
  • US Bonds
  • International Bonds
  • Cash

A very low risk portfolio (Conservative) will hold 19% in stocks, and 81% in bonds and cash. A very aggressive portfolio (Aggressive Growth) will hold 93% in stocks, and 7% in bonds and cash.

For those interested in cash flow, the conservative taxable account includes municipal bonds and will offer tax-loss harvesting soon to minimize tax payments.

We like the asset allocation options at Ally.

Of the digital advisors, the Ally robo-advisor offers among the most conservative option for investors with only 19% invested in stock funds. This is great for older retirees and those seeking cash preservation over growt

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios offers the following funds in their best managed accounts.

US Stocks

  • iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV)
  • iShares Core S&P Midcap ETF (IJH)
  • iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF (IJR)

International Stocks

  • Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA)
  • Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)

US Bonds

  • iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (IEF)
  • iShares Intermediate Credit Bond ETF (IGIB)
  • Vanguard Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF (VMBS)
  • iShares National Muni Bond ETF (MUB)

International Bonds

  • Vanguard Total International Bond ETF (BNDX)

Socially Responsible Investing – Coming soon

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios maintains a small cash position to further stabilize returns and minimize the need to sell investments should you need to withdraw funds from your account.

Take a look around the platform and find out your recommended investment portfolio with no sign up obligation.

Automatic Rebalancing

Automatic rebalancing is key feature of all robo-advisors, including Ally. When your investment mix deviates from your preferred asset allocation percentages, the robo-advisor sells the over-performing assets and buys more of those that have fallen in value.

That will return your investment mix to the one you originally selected.

What are the Ally Invest Managed Portfolio Fees?

The advisory fee is 0.30% of assets under management and is charged within the first 10 days of the month for the previous month. There are no trading fees charged for buying and selling asset positions.

As is the case with most exchange traded funds, there is a small management fee that is charged by the specific fund. This fee is generally quite low and less than .10%. This fee doesn’t go to Ally, but to the ETF.

The Ally Invest Managed Portfolios fee is a bit higher than competitors.

Ally Mobile App

Ally has one general app that enables you to access your accounts with Ally Bank, Ally Invest and Ally Invest Managed Portfolios. There is no mobile app specific to Ally Bank Managed Portfolios.

The app is available for Apple iPhone, iPad, Touch ID and Apple Watch, as well as for Android and Windows Phones. You can make deposits, move money between accounts, pay bills and access cash through your Ally Bank account.

Are Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Safe?

You can be confident that your investment at Ally is safe and follows all of the legal requirements of financial institutions. Plus, they have additional insurance to cover broker failure.

Clearing agency. Ally Managed Portfolios are offered by Ally Invest Securities, LLC. Apex Clearing, Inc. clears and settles trades. Both agencies are members of FINRA and SIPIC.

Account protection. Accounts are protected against broker failure by SIPC, which provides coverage of up to $500,000, including $250,000 in cash. Apex Clearing also maintains additional insurance through a group of London underwriters, for up to $37.5 million in aggregate, including up to $900,000 in cash.

Of course, all investments are subject to the market volatility which means that your investment returns will go up and down.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Tax Loss Harvesting

Ally robo-advisor will be offering tax-loss harvesting soon. Tax loss harvesting is more tax efficient than the Core Portfolios which currently offer Municipal Bond investment options. Tax loss harvesting will lower taxes while maintaining your preferred returns and asset allocation.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Robo-Advisor Sign-up Process

The Ally robo signup is easy.

In order to open an account with Ally Invest Managed Portfolios you must:

  • Be a citizen or a legal permanent resident of the United States (accounts are not available for nonresident aliens)
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a Social Security number or, if you’re opening a bank account, your Taxpayer Identification number
  • Have a U.S. street address

The sign-up process starts with the “Tell us about yourself” input screens. By answering several questions, you’ll get your portfolio allocation. This is done before you even begin the actual sign up process.

This is an excellent feature, because it gives you a chance to see exactly what the service will do for you before actually committing to using it.

The drop-down menu includes:

  • Prepare for retirement
  • Save for a major purpose
  • Build wealth
  • Generate income from my investments

This first question answers the “Why are you investing?” question and drives the sign up process.

2nd sign up question - tell us about yourself

The second question is where you select your primary investing goal.

We selected that we want to prepare for retirement with a goal of  amassing $1,000,000 for retirement.

3rd sign up question. Asks about timeline and risk tolerance

The next question delved into our time horizon – how long until we need the money and how much risk we can tolerate. We’re opening this account for retirement savings, decades into the future.

The risk tolerance is a self-report, although if you’re not sure about your risk tolerance, then click on “Learn about each risk tolerance”.

We indicated that we’re long-term investors with a moderate risk tolerance.

Next are questions about our current financial picture and expected investment amounts.

3rd Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Question

We indicated that we have $50,000 in stocks, bonds and cash or liquid assets.

We’re going to start investing with $3,000.

The final screen before viewing the recommended investment portfolio asks,

What type of managed account are you looking for?

This screen explains the two account choices are Taxable or Retirement Account with detailed descriptions of each type.

After you choose either Taxable or Retirement Account you’re able to view the recommended investments.

Given our inputs, Ally Managed Portfolios recommends a high-risk tolerance portfolio with 78% stocks and 22% bonds.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios High Risk Tolerance Growth Portfolio Asset Allocation

Once this screen appears, you can use the slider on the bottom to adjust the portfolio recommendation. This is a handy feature, to explore alternate asset allocations.

Once you’re satisfied with the allocation presented, you can proceed with the signup process.

The sign-up is a six-screen process:

  1. Name and email address
  2. Select account type
  3. Address, Social Security number, phone number and general information
  4. Employment information
  5. Financial information (annual income, net worth, liquid net worth, and tax bracket)
  6. Beneficiary information

After your account is established, you can fund it by check, wire, or direct transfer from a linked bank account.

Click on the image, to begin check out the Ally Invest Robo-Advisor features:

Ally Managed Portfolio Performance

As would be expected, The Ally robo-advisor returns vary based upon the type of portfolio selected. The conservative portfolios yielded lower returns, with less risk. The Core Conservative and Core Moderate portfolios had 3.92% and 4.82% annualized returns respectively for the previous eight years.

The Core Aggressive Growth and Core Growth portfolios had 6.98% and 6.44% annualized returns respectively from 2011 through 2018.

We appreciate the transparent Ally Managed Portfolio performance data.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolio Performance Graph

  • Orange – Core Aggressive Growth
  • Purple -Core Growth
  • Blue – Core Moderate Growth
  • Green – Core Moderate
  • Yellow – Core Conservative

Ally Invest Managed Portfolio returns by:

  • Year
  • Annalized
  • Cumulative
  • Standard Deviation

We appreciate the transparent return data for each of the five risk adjusted portfolios. Notice that the standard deviation, which measures the portfolios volatility is lower on the conservative investments and higher on the more aggressive portfolios. While the returns are lower on the conservative portfolios and higher on the riskier portfolios.

Ally Managed Portfolios Robo-Advisor Returns Chart

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Robo-Advisor Pros and Cons

Ally Invest Robo-Advisor Pros

  • The diversified ETF selection is superior to some competitors’ more vanilla fund choices.
  • The low $100 minimum investment amount makes it easy to get started investing.
  • Coming soon! The addition of tax-loss harvesting and socially-responsible investing increases the competitiveness of the Ally Managed Portfolios platform.
  • If you also have an account with Ally Invest, you can have part of your portfolio professionally managed, while still maintaining a self-directed portfolio.
  • The Ally Bank tie-in is tough to beat. Hands down, it’s one of the very best online banks available.
  • 24/7 customer service is a welcome bonus.

Ally Invest Robo-Advisor Cons

  • There are lower fee stand-alone robo-advisors with more features. Betterment and Wealthfront charge just 0.25%. Among competing large broker robo-advisors, Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios has no management fee at all.
  • The Ally Managed Portfolios doesn’t have its own app, but is part of the Ally Invest app.

How Ally Managed Portfolios Compares

Ally Managed Portfolios Robo-Advisor vs. DIY Self-Directed Investing

If you’re an experienced investor and enjoy choosing your stocks, bonds and funds, then investing on your own might be the best path for you. The only fees you pay with investing on your own are small trading commissions and the low underlying ETF fund management fees.

If you prefer the hands-off approach to investing, then let the Ally robo-advisor do the investing for you. You’ll pay a small management fee, but enjoy the comfort that your investments are aligned with your goals, time-line and risk tolerance.

Whichever approach you prefer, Ally offers the tools. You can even have part of your investments in Ally Managed Portfolios and the rest in your own investment brokerage account.

Ally Managed Portfolios vs. Betterment

The Ally Robo-advisor has many similarities and a few distinctions with Betterment

Look at this Ally vs Betterment comparison chart to see how these two robo-advisors match up.

 BettermentAlly Invest Managed Portfolios
OverviewA goals based automated investment advisor. Betterment bills itself as, "Investing Made Better." Offers a variety of human financial planning options.Automated investment management robo-advisor platform
Minimum Investment AmountThere is no minimum investment amount required for Digital. $100,000 required for Premium. $100
Fee StructureDigital-0.25% AUM up to $2 million.
Premium-0.40% AUM up to $2 million
Reduced fees above $2 million.
Zero fees for investment management. Per service charge for mailed statements, account closure etc.
Top FeaturesGoal-based ETF investment portfolio. Rebalancing. Tax-loss harvesting. SRI, smart beta + income portfolios. Human financial advisor access.Goal-based robo-advisor with access to Ally Bank and Ally Invest, two of the very best platforms in their respective fields. Plus extensive diversification with ETFs. Tax-loss harvesting + income portfolios.
Free ServicesSee promotions.None
Contact & Investing AdvicePhone and email support, 7 days per week. Available 24/7 by phone or email
Investment FundsLow-cost, commission-free ETFs.Low-cost index stock and bond ETFs. Includes diversified market cap stock and global and mortgage backed bond funds.
Accounts AvailableSingle + joint taxable brokerage. Roth, traditional, rollover + SEP IRA. Trust.Individual and joint taxable accounts; traditional, Roth and rollover IRAs; custodial accounts.
PromotionsFree management fee promotion in effect (time limited)None for the robo-advisor. Self directed investors have promotions at Ally Invest.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios Robo-Advisor Review Wrap Up

As a relative newcomer on the robo-advisor scene, Ally Invest Managed Portfolios’ is competitive with other robo’s with broad ETF choices, tax-loss harvesting (coming soon) and a $100 minimum investment amount.

The opportunity to change your asset allocation at will is useful should your goals change.

The most compelling feature of this Ally Invest robo-advisor review is access to the broad suite of Ally products. Ally Bank offers some of the best in online banking services, including very high interest rates on savings products (in fact, the Ally Bank interest rates are superior to most other banks and investment firms) and a full suite of auto loan leasing programs.

Ally Invest Managed Portfolios may be best suited for investors who already work with either Ally Invest or Ally Bank, to take advantage of the crossover services. Alternatively, it will work well for those who want a robo-advisor service, and plan to take advantage of Ally’s other product offerings.

If you’d like more information, or to open up an account, visit the Ally Invest Managed Portfolios website.

Updated; June 5, 2019

*Disclosure: Please note that this article contains affiliate links which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you sign up or buy through the affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t believe is valuable.

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Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

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