There has been a change to Ally Bank’s website. Ally’s top navigation bar now includes an “invest” link that opens up an investment menu. Ally issued a press release today describing the launch of Ally Invest and its new integration of its brokerage services with its banking services:
In April 2016, Ally announced they had agreed to acquire the brokerage TradeKing. The move was seen as Ally wanting to expand its services to include trading and investing. ING Direct (which is now under Capital One) did this in 2012 when it acquired the brokerage Sharebuilder.
Both brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions have also been doing this. Large banks have their own wealth management businesses while small banks and credit unions have been partnering with brokerage firms. These integrations haven’t always been seen favorably by banking customers. Over the years, many readers have reported going into their bank or credit union to renew a CD and being referred to a financial advisor to discuss non-bank investment ideas.
If you’re an Ally Bank customer who also wants to invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investment products, Ally Invest may appeal to you. It’s designed to appeal to both the hands-on investor who wants to do self-directed trading and to the hands-off investor who wants managed portfolios. Ally is advertising low fees for both. In addition to low fees, Ally is touting the integration advantages in which you can access all of your online banking, brokerage and wealth management accounts via ally.com. In addition, you can transfer money between these Ally accounts.
For Ally Bank customers who already have brokerage accounts at places like Vanguard and Fidelity, I’m not sure if the current advantages of Ally Invest will be enough to make them want to move their investments. I can see Ally Invest being attractive to Ally Bank customers who are wanting to start investing. This gives them an easy way to start investing without having to open an account at another financial institution.