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BofA unit to launch robo adviser services

Bank of America Corp.'sMerrill Edge discount brokerage unit plans to launch robo advisory services, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The company plans to combine Merrill Edge's online brokerageplatform with the wealth-management expertise of human advisers at Merrill Lynch,through a new service, Merrill Edge Guided Investing.

BofA, which announced its plan to consider an automated adviceservice last year, is launching the product in response to investors' demands oflow-cost advice. The U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule, among other regulatorychanges, also favors low-cost advisory services operating in the clients' best interests,the news outlet added.

The firm plans to initially launch the service for existing clientsand then expand it across the U.S. during the first quarter of 2017.

Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge told the news outlet that theproduct will be managed through Merrill Lynch's CIO office. The firm requires aminimum investment of $5,000, and will charge a 0.45% annual fee, excluding underlyingfund fees.

Following the launch, the company does not plan to cut any jobsamong human advisers.