Acorns (company)

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Acorns
Acorns logo.png
Type of site
Private
HeadquartersIrvine, California
Key peopleNoah Kerner (CEO)
IndustryFinancial services
ProductsInvestment management, investment portfolios, stock portfolios, stock trading
URLwww.acorns.com
Launched2012; 10 years ago (2012)

Acorns is an American financial technology and financial services company based in Irvine, California that specializes in micro-investing and robo-investing. According to Fortune's Impact 20 list for the year 2020, Acorns had 8.2 million customers and $3 billion in assets under management.[1]

History[edit]

The company was launched in 2012 by father and son duo Walter Wemple Cruttenden III and Jeffrey James Cruttenden to promote incremental and passive investing.[2][3] It launched in 2014 with an app for iOS and Android devices.[4] The portfolio options a user can select from were designed in partnership with paid advisor Harry Markowitz, a Nobel laureate.[5]

Since its inception, the platform has expanded to include checking account services and retirement IRA products.[6] This was made possible following an acquisition of Portland, Oregon fintech retirement startup, Vault.[7]

In 2018, behavioral economist Shlomo Benartzi was appointed chair of a behavioral economics committee at Acorns, working on an initiative termed the Money Lab to conduct field experiments focused on consumer spending.[8][9]

Since its founding, the company has raised approximately $100 million in venture capital funding.[3] As of August 2019, notable investors in Acorns included Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Bono, Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Durant. PayPal, BlackRock, and NBCUniversal also have a stake in the company.[10][11]

In May 2021, Acorns planned go to public through a merger with a blank-check company Pioneer Merger Corp.[12] These plans were canceled in January 2022, citing market conditions.[13]

Services[edit]

Upon registering with Acorns, a user selects from among several portfolios of varied asset allocation. A credit or debit card is linked to the account, whereafter each purchase made with the card is rounded up to the next whole dollar, and the difference is added to the Acorns investment portfolio;[14] one also manually may make contributions to one's account. On launch, Acorns charged a $1.00 fee for its service, which offer was ended on September 21st of 2021.[15][16] As of February 21st, 2022, Acorns offers personal accounts for the flat rate of $3.00 per month ($36.00 per year); this, for instance, equates to a 0.36% (thirty-six basis-point) fee on a $10,000.00 account, or, a 3.60% (360 basis-point) fee on a $1,000.00 account.[17]

Acorns's flat-fee structure can be highly significant for clients who rely solely upon the firm's round-ups for investing into their accounts: for example, if making one purchase on every day of a calendar year, the highest sum an account-holder theoretically could contribute (at ninety-nine cents of change on each of three hundred and sixty-five purchases) is $361.35; minus her annual fee, she would forfeit 9.96% of her money, with only the remaining 90.04% available to her investment portfolio; this difference becomes further exaggerated whenever a transaction yields less than ninety-cents in change, or when fewer than one purchase is made per day. As is the case with most robo-advisor investment platforms, Acorns portfolios are composed of third-party passively-managed exchange-traded funds (E.T.F.s), which additionally charge their own underlying expenses. As of February 21, 2022, the company's portfolios comprise combinations of seventeen predominantly stock or bond E.T.F.s, owned by either Vanguard or BlackRock.[18]

Regulatory action[edit]

In 2017, Acorns was censured and fined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for failing to maintain proper customer records.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Impact 20: Acorns". Fortune. 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  2. ^ O'Brien, Sara (15 April 2015). "Acorns is an 8-month-old app that makes investing spare change dead simple, and it just raised $23 million". CNN Business. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b Rudegeair, Peter; Krouse, Sarah (9 May 2018). "BlackRock Backs a Startup to Find Out What Young Investors Want". Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  4. ^ Hubbard, Amy (30 May 2014). "Acorns app taps bank account, invests your money $5 at a time". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  5. ^ Lapowsky, Issie (28 August 2014). "Every Time You Buy Something, This App Invests a Few Pennies on Wall Street". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  6. ^ DeFrancesco, Dan (28 January 2019). "Investing app Acorns nabbed $105 million in funding and now has a higher valuation than robo giant Betterment". Business Insider. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Acorns to launch new retirement accounts after buying Portland fintech startup, Vault". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  8. ^ Shell, Adam (20 September 2018). "Acorns savings app: Why saving $5 a day is easier than committing to $150 a month". USA Today. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  9. ^ Neal, Ryan (21 September 2018). "Shlomo Benartzi to chair Acorns behavioral economics committee". Investment News. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  10. ^ Rudegeair, Peter (19 August 2019). "Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez Are Investing in Fintech Firm Acorns". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  11. ^ Berdychowski, Bernadette (21 August 2019). "Star power? Athletes and actors join fintechs as A-list investors". Financial Planning. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  12. ^ Rooney, Kate (May 27, 2021). "Acorns to go public through a blank-check merger valued at $2.2B". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  13. ^ Bary, Emily (2022-01-19). "Acorns no longer plans to go public through SPAC merger". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  14. ^ Eneriz, Ashley (September 24, 2019). "How the Acorns App Works and Makes Its Money". Investopedia.
  15. ^ Dyer, Jonathan (June 6, 2018). "Acorns Announces Acorns Spend Checking Account, Debit Card". Dyer News.
  16. ^ "Acorns Assist Subscription - $1 Tier". Acorns. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  17. ^ "Pricing". Acorns. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  18. ^ "Where Is My Money Invested?". Acorns. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  19. ^ "FINRA Disciplinary Actions Online | FINRA.org". www.finra.org. Retrieved 2021-02-10.