BlackRock, the investment manager behind the low-fee iShares exchange-traded funds, is buying the US firm FutureAdvisor.

On Aug. 26, Blackrock announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to purchase FutureAdvisor, a so-called "robo-advisor" company that provides wealth management advice to clients over the Internet.

Blackrock says it believes the acquisition of FutureAdvisor will help it meet the needs of a range of financial institutions including banks, insurers, large and small broker-dealers, and other advisory firms that want to use digital advice to increase customer loyalty and gain new assets. FutureAdvisor offers a range of services to its clients through both mobile and web applications, including online account enrollment and multi-custodian support.

"The combined offering will enable financial institutions to grow their advisory businesses by leveraging technology to meet a growing consumer trend of engaging with technology to gain insights on their investment portfolios, including when making critical decisions around retirement," says Blackrock. "This need is particularly acute among the mass-affluent – a large segment accounting for 30% of total U.S. investable assets."