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Wealthfront: Buried or Breakthrough? The Story of a Robot Investment Advisory Company  
Product Ref: 17/593C Company: Wealthfront

Product Type: Case Industry: Consumer Finance

Related Product(s): Teaching Note
Authors: Yanfeng Zheng   
The case describes how Wealthfront, a financial technology (ˇ§Fintechˇ¨) start-up, aims to disrupt the financial advisory field with a novel approachˇXfully automated robot advisers. The core value introduced by Wealthfront is to drastically improve the delivery efficiency and effectiveness of financial advisory services. It is a classic example of process innovation, for which leading economists such as Joseph Schumpeter and many others have developed theoretical models and empirical studies. The instructor can extend the fundamental economic rationale to other phenomena such as driverless cars or robot reporters. From a practitionerˇ¦s perspective, the instructor can stimulate discussion on how the recent wave of Fintech differs from previous financial innovations.?The instructor can also ask students to examine how contextual factors such as early adopters and competitive dynamics separately or jointly influence company decision-making and outcomes. The instructor can connect this case to popular phrases such as ˇ§innovatorˇ¦s dilemmaˇ¨ and ˇ§crossing the chasm.ˇ¨
Functional Area : Strategy & General Management

Learning Objective: After reading and analyzing the case, students will be able to: ˇE Understand robo-advisory services, especially the theory and operations supporting such services
ˇE Describe the issues present in the existing financial advisory field, and explain how robo-advisory services solve or alleviate these issues
ˇE Compare the different approaches of robo-advisory services; evaluate the strengths and weaknesses associated with each approach
ˇE Identify key factors that influence company decision-making and competitive dynamics
ˇE Relate robo-advisory services to other fields that are undergoing similar changes, and apply conceptual and practical discussions to other contexts
ˇE Develop a nuanced understanding of the uncertainties and challenges facing start-ups that have the vision to develop breakthrough innovations
ˇE Integrate conceptual knowledge of process/breakthrough innovation with practical applications, such as team formation and product development
Length: 26 pages Country: United States of America

Pub. Year: 2017 Level of Difficulty: 2
This product type is available in the following language(s):      English
Related Information: N/A
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