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TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Review 2021: A Hybrid Robo-Advisor

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is a robo advisor offering competitive fees, and goal-oriented portfolios made up of ETFs and mutual funds.

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With dozens of different robo-advisors and advisor-managed portfolio services out there, figuring out precisely which one works for your investing goals and budget can be a challenge.

Enter: TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios.

One of TD Ameritrade’s professionally managed investing services, Selective Portfolios, is a simple and straightforward way to help your assets grow. But, is it right for you?

In this TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios review, we’ll do a deep dive into the brokerage’s leading portfolio management service. We’ll clue you into everything from how it works to how much it costs so you can determine if it’s the best place to invest your hard-earned money.

TD Ameritrade Logo
4.0
4/5

on TD Ameritrade’s website

Quick Summary: TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is a robo advisory service offered by TD Ameritrade. The hybrid robo advisor offers competitive management fees and a wide range of mutual funds and ETFs to customize your portfolio.

Promotion: None

Pros:

Cons:

What is TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios?

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is one of TD Ameritrade’s managed portfolio service offerings. The service is a hybrid option that bridges the gap between a fully automated robo-advisor and an actively managed portfolio.

As a result, TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolio allows individual investors to get access to human insight to help direct their investing strategy. It also offers a quick and easy way for investors to put their assets on autopilot as they go about their day-to-day lives.

What is TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios?
Source: TD Ameritrade

See Also: 12 Best Robo-Advisors: Automate Your Investments

How Does TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Work?

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is a comprehensive managed portfolio service that uses both human and computer-powered investing strategies to manage your assets. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

Investing Account Types

If you want to invest with TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios, you’ll first need to figure out what type of account you’d like to open. Thankfully, TD Ameritrade offers a large selection of account types for you to choose from.

For individual and joint investors, you have quite a few options based on your financial goals and time horizon. These account options include:

  • Individual and joint taxable accounts
  • Traditional IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Custodial accounts (UTMA/UGMA)
  • Guardianships and conservatorships accounts
  • Coverdell education savings plans
  • 529 college savings plans
  • Personal trust accounts

Furthermore, the TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios service is also available for several business accounts that cater to businesses of all sizes, such as:

  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • Individual 401(k)
  • Small business profit-sharing plans
  • Money purchase pension plans

Opening an Account

Once you decide what type of account you’d like to have, it’s time to open your TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios account.

TD Ameritrade accounts are open to US citizens and residents as well as residents of a select number of countries. As the brokerage’s policy on non-US resident account holders can change at any time, though, it’s best to contact TD Ameritrade directly to see if your country of residence qualifies you to open an account.

The first step in opening your account is filling out a quick questionnaire where you identify your age, time horizon, initial investment amount, risk tolerance, and investing goals. Afterward, the brokerage will suggest a portfolio for you based on your investing profile. At this point, you will then review the suggested portfolio and approve or reject it.

During this step, TD Ameritrade also provides you with the ability to learn about different portfolio options with Selective Portfolios. So, if you’re not interested in the portfolio that the brokerage suggested for you, you can read through the different offerings to find the right one for your needs.

In fact, TD Ameritrade provides some of the most in-depth information about their portfolios and various asset allocations that we’ve seen in a robo-advisor or managed portfolio service. They don’t tell you precisely which mutual funds and ETFs you’ll invest in, but they give a fairly detailed breakdown of each portfolio’s target asset allocation, its investment aims, and its historical performance.

Once you decide on which portfolio you’d like to invest in, you’ll confirm your choice and continue on to the online application. If you’re approved to open an account, you’ll set up your first deposit and then sit back as TD Ameritrade manages your portfolio on your behalf.

How to Open a TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolio Account
Source: TD Ameritrade

See Also: 12 Best Roth IRA Accounts

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Features

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is a comprehensive managed portfolio service that’s jam-packed with features to help you make the most of your money. Here are some of the many features you can look forward to when investing with the service:

Minimum Investment $25,000
Fees 0.75%-0.90% for the first $100,000 (varies by portfolio and investment amount)
Investment Types Portfolios built from well diversified, low-cost index funds from six different asset classes.
Account Types Individual Taxable, Joint Taxable, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, Coverdell, 529, Trust, and Custodial
Assets Under Management $1.3 trillion
Advice Human Assisted
Promotion None
Socially Responsible Investing
Portfolio Rebalancing
Tax-Loss Harvesting
Support Phone, email and live chat

Low-Cost ETFs and Mutual Funds

Most TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios purposefully set out to invest in cost-efficient and tax-efficient ETFs and mutual funds to minimize your expenses and potential tax bill. 

While the brokerage doesn’t state precisely what ETFs and mutual funds they’ll invest your portfolio in before you open an account, most of the portfolio options you can choose from expressly set out to minimize your investment costs. 

Tax-Loss Harvesting

Tax-loss harvesting is available for most TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios types. Tax-loss harvesting is essentially a way to help minimize your tax burden by selling off some of your assets at a loss before replacing them with similar investments. This helps to balance out your capital gains to reduce your tax bill.

However, the Managed Risk Portfolio is the notable exception in the Selective Portfolios service as it doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting. 

That being said, the Managed Risk Portfolio is designed to rebalance less frequently. It is also meant to preserve capital over the long term rather than aggressively seek out gains. So, individuals investing in this portfolio type might not be as concerned with tax-loss harvesting as those with more actively rebalanced portfolios and aggressive asset allocations.

Portfolio Rebalancing

Unlike with completely automated robo-advisory services, TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios accounts are not automatically rebalanced. Instead, this is done as needed, based on the professional insight of your financial consultant and the brokerage’s advanced algorithms.

With that in mind, we should note that most portfolio types rebalance at least once annually. However, this can happen more frequently based on your contributions, withdrawals, and overall market trends. 

Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP)

TD Ameritrade accounts, including those managed as Selective Portfolios, offer access to the brokerage’s Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP). This plan allows you to reinvest your dividends automatically and free-of-charge into the majority of ETFs and mutual funds, including those found in Selective Portfolios.

As a result, you can elect to automatically reinvest your dividends with your Selective Portfolios account. Doing so helps you take advantage of the power of compound interest by using all or part of your dividends to buy more shares of your current holdings.

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios — Portfolio Types
Source: TD Ameritrade

See Also: 12 Best IRA Accounts

Personal Financial Consultant

One of the best features of TD Ameritrade’s Selective Portfolios is that the account gives you unlimited access to a personal financial consultant. 

This financial consultant can help you better manage your assets and re-evaluate your investment strategy to help you find a portfolio that’s right for you.

Portfolio Creation & Asset Allocation

With TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios, you can choose between five different portfolio types based on your goals. These portfolio types include:

  • Core ETFs: This portfolio type is made up entirely of index-based ETFs that are designed to be tax and cost-efficient. The ETFs are chosen to diversify your portfolio to a wide range of investment styles, market caps, geographic regions, and economic sectors.
  • Core Mutual Funds: These portfolios are composed of actively managed mutual funds. The funds in these portfolios are chosen to help diversify your portfolio into a range of asset classes, sectors, and geographic regions based on your risk tolerance.
  • Opportunistic Portfolios: TD Ameritrade’s Opportunistic Portfolios are crafted to try and take advantage of new market opportunities. They are composed of tax- and cost-efficient index ETFs that focus on specific sectors that have high growth potential.
  • Supplemental Income: Designed to preserve capital while generating additional income, the Supplemental Income Portfolios are composed of a diversity of actively managed mutual funds, most of which invest in fixed-income products.
  • Managed Risk: Managed Risk Portfolios are actively managed accounts that try to minimize volatility by investing in mutual funds that aren’t as sensitive to stock market downturns or interest rates. This makes them nice for investors with low risk tolerance.

Furthermore, within each portfolio type, you can choose a different asset allocation strategy based on your risk tolerance, goals, and investing time horizon. TD Ameritrade invests these portfolios in six asset classes including foreign and domestic stocks, fixed income instruments, and cash.

For Core ETFs and Core Mutual Funds portfolios, available asset allocations include:

  • Conservative: These portfolios invest less than 25% in equities to try to preserve capital.
  • Moderate: Moderate portfolios invest approximately 45% in stocks for a mix of growth and capital preservation.
  • Moderate Growth: With this option, your portfolio will invest in about 50% equities while the rest is in fixed-income and other asset classes.
  • Growth: Growth portfolios invest about 60% to 70% in stocks in the hopes of higher rewards.
  • Aggressive: Aggressive portfolios invest 80% to 90% in equities and they are designed for people with high risk tolerance.

Meanwhile, Opportunistic Portfolios investors can choose between two asset allocation strategies. This includes:

  • Moderate Growth Opportunistic: These moderate growth portfolios invest about 40% to 50% in equities.
  • Aggressive Opportunistic: Aggressive Opportunistic portfolios invest about 80% to 90% in stocks.

Additionally, for the Supplemental Income Portfolios, your potential asset allocation options include:

  • Conservative Income: This highly conservative option invests approximately 99% of your funds in fixed income instruments.
  • Moderate Income: For a mix of growth and asset preservation, this option invests about 80% in fixed income with the rest in predominantly domestic and foreign stocks.

Finally, for the Managed Risk Portfolios, there is just one asset allocation to choose from. This asset allocation invests approximately 60% in foreign and domestic fixed income, 20% in foreign and domestic stocks, and the rest in cash and cash derivatives

We should note, however, that you don’t get to choose which mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds, and other assets that your portfolio invests in—only the risk tolerance and portfolio type. 

But, TD Ameritrade does state that you can request what they call “reasonable investment restrictions” by calling a Selective Portfolios Specialist. This could include a request to exclude particular funds or asset classes from your portfolio.

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Performance
Source: TD Ameritrade

See Also: How to Invest in ETFs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Other Management Services

If you’re not sure that TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios account is right for you, the brokerage does have another asset management service for you to consider: Personalized Portfolios.

With Personalized Portfolios, you get many of the same features as with Selective Portfolios. But, Personalized Portfolios provides a more direct one-to-one relationship with a financial consultant who will craft a custom portfolio for your investments. 

However, as this service has a minimum investment of $250,000, it’s best for high net worth individuals that want a portfolio tailored to their unique financial needs. 

Additionally, It’s worth noting that since TD Ameritrade’s merger with Charles Schwab, the brokerage has started trimming back its managed portfolio offerings, like its once-popular Essential Portfolios. 

So, if you want a low-cost robo-advisor service from the Schwab-TD Ameritrade family with a relatively low minimum investment, the Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios is a potential option.

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Pricing & Fees

Before you invest with a service like TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios, you must understand all the fees involved.

With TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios, accounts have a $25,000 minimum investment. Furthermore, the brokerage charges an advisory fee of 0.75% to 0.95% depending on the portfolio you choose.

In general, the more aggressive asset allocation options with TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios usually have higher fees. However, the brokerage provides very clear details on the fees you’ll pay for a certain asset allocation when you open your account.

We should also mention that the brokerage offers discounted advisory fees available for accounts with higher balances. Discounts usually start at $125,000 but this varies based on the portfolio you choose.

Other than that, TD Ameritrade doesn’t charge commission fees on trades in Selective Portfolios accounts. So, your primary costs with this service will be the advisory fee on your account, as well as the expense ratio on any of your ETFs and mutual funds.

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Security

Investing your hard-earned money is serious business, so you need to know that your brokerage is going to do everything they can to protect your assets. The good news is that TD Ameritrade has high-end security features, including encryption and multifactor authentication.

Additionally, while it is possible to lose money while investing in TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios, the brokerage is a member of SIPC. That means that your assets are protected up to $500,000 per account ($250,000 cash) in the event of a brokerage failure.

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Tax Loss Harvesting
Source: TD Ameritrade

See Also: What are Short Term Investments: Grow your Money Now

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Pros

  • Extensive list of different account types
  • Invests in low-cost ETFs
  • Offers tax-loss harvesting
  • Many different portfolio types and asset allocations available
  • Portfolio rebalancing as needed
  • Provides extensive information about different portfolios before investing
  • Unlimited access to a human financial advisor
  • Comprehensive approach to goal planning and asset allocation
  • Access to automatic dividend reinvestment

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Cons

  • High minimum investment
  • Doesn’t invest in real estate investment trusts or commodities
  • Complex pricing structure
  • Charges a higher fee for more aggressive asset allocations
  • Doesn’t have socially responsible portfolios

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Alternatives

Not sure that TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is right for you? Here are two other alternatives to consider before investing:

Betterment

A pioneer in the world of robo-advisors, Betterment is a solid choice for investors who want to keep fees at an absolute minimum. With Betterment, you get a comprehensive money management service that uses artificial intelligence to manage your portfolio. 

Furthermore, Betterment charges relatively low advisory fees of 0.25% and has no minimum investment on most accounts. If you want unlimited access to a certified financial planner, however, you can opt for Betterment’s Premium Advice account. This has a 0.40% advisory fee and a $100,000 minimum investment.

When it comes to your investment strategy, the real difference between Betterment and TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios comes down to each brokerage’s investment strategy. With Betterment, your assets will be automatically allocated based on your financial profile. 

That means that you’ll have less of an opportunity to select your investment strategy with Betterment as you would with TD Ameritrade. But, Betterment does offer tax-loss harvesting and socially responsible investing. So, it’s a nice choice for investors that want lower fees and account minimums without sacrificing quality account management in the process. Read our full Betterment review to learn more.

SoFi Automated Investing

SoFi Automated Investing is a relatively new robo-advisor that’s designed for younger investors that want to make the most of their money.

The main feature of brokerage’s robo-advisory service is its simplified, low-cost fee structure. SoFi Automated Investing doesn’t charge any advisory or account maintenance fees. Accounts with the brokerage also have a minimum investment of just $1, so it’s an affordable option for any investor.

That being said, SoFi Automated Investing offers a relatively limited number of different portfolios for you to choose from. The brokerage invests solely in ETFs, many of which are managed by SoFi itself. So, while the brokerage does invest in a wider range of asset classes than TD Ameritrade, the actual securities that you’ll invest in are comparatively limited.

Nevertheless, SoFi Automated Investing does provide unlimited access to professional financial advisors, all at no cost to you. Therefore, it’s a solid robo-advisor for newer investors that want to keep their fees at an absolute minimum while also getting access to human-powered financial advice. Check out our full SoFi Automated Investing review to learn more.

TD Ameritrade Logo
4.0
4/5

Minimum Investment

$25,000

Fees

From 0.75%

Promotions

None

Advice

Human assisted

Tax-Loss Harvesting

Socially Responsible Investing

Portfolio Rebalancing

Assets Under Management

$1.3 trillion

SoFi Logo
4.5
4.5/5

Minimum Investment

$0

Fees

0.00%

Promotions

None

Advice

Human assisted

Tax-Loss Harvesting

Socially Responsible Investing

Portfolio Rebalancing

Assets Under Management

Unknown

Betterment Logo
4.9
4.9/5

Minimum Investment

$0

Fees

Digital — 0.25%/yr and Premium — 0.40%/yr

Promotions

1 year managed for free

Advice

Human assisted

Tax-Loss Harvesting

Socially Responsible Investing

Portfolio Rebalancing

Assets Under Management

$22 billion

Who Should Sign up for TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios and Who Should Avoid It? 

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is a suitable choice for investors that want to have a lot of control over their portfolio’s asset allocation and financial goals. It’s also a nice option for people that want to have frequent contact with a human financial advisor to discuss their portfolio and goals but that want to put most of their investing on autopilot.

However, TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is not great for people who are trying to start investing with smaller amounts of capital. The brokerage’s complex fee structure and relatively high fees also aren’t ideal for anyone that wants to minimize advisory fees. 

But if you can meet the minimum capital requirements, TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is a high-quality comprehensive managed portfolio service that’s suitable for investors with a wide range of financial goals.

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios FAQ

Here is our answer to your most commonly asked question about TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios.

Is TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios Good for Beginners?

TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios is a nice choice for new investors that want to take a hands-off approach to their finances. However, due to the high investment minimum with this service, it’s not ideal for people who want to start investing with a small amount of capital.

In A Nutshell

  • Account Minimum: $25,000
  • Fees: 0.75%-0.90% for the first $100,000 (varies by portfolio and investment amount)
  • Promotion: None at this time

on TD Ameritrade’s website

Final Thoughts

When it comes to comprehensive asset management, TD Ameritrade Selective Portfolios are hard to beat. Indeed, while Selective Portfolios accounts with the brokerage do come with relatively high minimum investment requirements and advisory fees, the overall quality of the service is top-notch. 

Ultimately, the service’s diversity of portfolio options, access to human financial advisors, and tax loss harvesting features make it a nice choice for investors with larger amounts of capital.

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by The Modest Wallet