I'm watching this space like a hawk. One area of great concern for me so far is pricing.
Many of these firms, like Wealthfront, are coming in with extremely low prices. Example, Wealthfront charges 0.25% of assets under management. So far, they have $700M+ of AUM. That's about $1.75M in revenue. In order to be truly disruptive they will need a few trillion dollars under management like Vanguard (which also uses a passive investing strategy with low fees.).
Many people tend to think large financial firms are these big dumb oafs who are clueless that the world is going digital. Some of these people have short memories. Take a look back to the 1990s & early 2000's and see how quickly Fidelity, Schwab and others adjusted to the rise of online discount trading. Sure, some got caught with their pants down but they have deep pockets and aren't afraid to invest in technology if it means making more money or protecting their business.
While it is true that much of the current market offerings are a result of limited desire to disrupt their own very profitable business models there is also the very real challenge of regulatory constraints. And who drives/controls the regulators...the big financial firms do.
I think there are some amazing opportunities for disruption in the financial services space, and some of them do involve low price strategies through efficiency, but much of it will happen behind the scenes where the end consumer doesn't see it.