We’ve always advocated tapping on Robo-advisors to invest, especially for the time-starved.
For a relatively small fee, one can gain access to practical portfolios with which to grow your wealth, generate passive income, or manage your spare cash.
The benefits don’t stop there. Most Robo-advisors have access to institutional-grade funds (lower fees), and also frequently circulate financial tips through a user-friendly platform designed with us retail investors in mind.
If you’re keen on investing through Robo-advisors, then read on. As there is some foundational knowledge which you should know before diving in.
Nearly all Robo-advisors invest in Unit trusts and ETFs. They can invest in many different regions, but most choose to put the bulk of their money in US equity. Other common regions include China and Singapore stocks. REITs and Commodities (Gold) are also offered in some portfolios.
Most of them accept deposits through local bank transfers (FAST), Paynow, Cheques, and Wire transfers. Likewise, withdrawals will be deposited back into your preferred bank account. This process is not immediate however, and can take 3 working days, up to a week, depending on the Robo-advisor.
You can expect to pay some sort of management fee for the Robo-advisor's services. This will likely be a pre-determined portion of your AUM (Assets Under Management).
You should also know that the Unit trust or ETF manager who runs the fund, will also charge a annual fee, also known as the TER (Total Expense Ratio).
Generally speaking, Unit trusts tend to be more expensive, around 1% to 1.8% of AUM, while ETFs tend to be cheaper, around 0.10% to 0.25%. However, some Thematic ETFs charge higher fees, in the range of 0.40% to 0.75%.
There may be other fees associated with your Robo-advisor, which we'll lay out below.
Here is a compiled a list of all the Robo-advisors operating in Singapore.
Bet you didn’t know there were so many Robo-advisors around!
When assessing the respective Robos, we took into account various factors such as variety, fees, minimum sum required, and ease-of-use.
We’ve previously done a 3 month field test on performance for the various portfolios for Endowus, Syfe, and Stashaway. Check out the results here.
Best Robo-Advisor With Lowest Fees
Kristal AI charges the lowest overall fees of the lot. Investors are not charged any fees for portfolios below US$10,000. For larger portfolios, their flat fee of 0.30% is also the lowest. This Robo-Advisor also invests using low-cost ETFs, making it an all-in-one package for money-pinchers.
With that said, know that Kristal’s minimum sum for it’s pre-set portfolios is quite sizable, at US$1,500. Such a large inital sum might not sit well with beginner investors.
We know that many of you are intrigued by this lesser known Robo! Check out our piece on it here.
Other Good Options For Low Fees
SquirrelSave charges a flat fee of 0.50% for investing through it's platform. On top of that, they also charge a performance fee of 10% of your positive returns, provided it breaches the last highest point in your portfolio.
Because SquirrelSave portfolios are managed by machine learning AI, this motivates SquirrelSave to constantly develop it's system to grow your portfolio value consistently.
More about it's performance fees here.
Like SquirrelSave, AutoWealth also sticks to a flat fee of 0.50%. Additional fees come in the form of a annual platform fee of only US$18.
This covers all custody fees & transaction fees resulting from managing your investments.
Do note that AutoWealth's minimum sum to start is S$3,000.
Best Robo-Advisor For ETFs
Not only does Syfe use ETFs extensively throughout it's portfolios, it also allows investors to choose their own ETFs as well. You get to choose from a wide range of options from most of the prominent brands in the space. Syfe also offers various portfolios covering other themes as well.
It also has really competitve fees. You start at a base rate of 0.65%, which drops to 0.50% once your portfolio reaches S$20,000 in value. The TER for it’s ETFs are around 0.15% to 0.24%.
It’s policy of no minimum sum for starting should also appeal to beginner investors, or those who need to invest sparingly.
Other Good Options For ETFs
Investors who are more investment savvy might wish to try out Kristal AI's platform instead.
You can review and purchase singular ETFs through this platform, while enjoying it's low management fees as well. Or simply choose a pre-determined one.
Options come from some of the common names in the space such as Vanguard, Ark, and Blackrock.
AutoWealth takes a passive investing stance, allowing investor to benefit from market returns. Investors can select from four different portfolios to suit their goals.
They keep their strategy is transparent and easy-to-understand. Pretty low fees as well.
Best Robo-Advisor For Unit Trusts
Endowus stands out for it's extensive range of Unit trusts on offer. Like Syfe, it also allows investors to customize their own portfolios. While it's not the cheapest for Unit trusts, it's fees are still very reasonable, at 0.60% for the first S$200,000 in value.
Apart from your cash, you can also invest using your CPF and SRS funds. Investors would need to start with at least S$1,000 in funds. Subsequent investments can be as low as S$100.
Other Good Options For Unit Trusts
Philip's SMART Portfolio keeps things simple, and offers three different portfolios for investors to choose from. This is determined through your investing goals and risk-tolerance.
They are backed by an experienced brokerage, and charge a flat fee of 0.50% on your portfolio value.
Best Robo-Advisor For Passive Income
Passive income needs are addressed by the REIT+ portfolio. Investors get to choose from a 100% REIT portfolio, or a mix of Fixed Income and REITs. The latter helps to minimize volatility by holding a portion of bonds in it's portfolio, while still generating a degree of income.
For those who prefer fixed income instruments, they can also tap on Syfe’s Global Income Portfolio. This Portfolio holds high-yield and investment grade bonds, and is relatively diversified across various countries.
Furthermore, investors get to enjoy Syfe’s low fees, with no minimum investment amount.
Other Good Options For Passive Income
Endowus comes up pretty close in the passive income segment. Apart from it's three main Income Portfolios, they also have options focused on REITs, China bonds, and other fixed income instruments as well.
The Robo-Advisor space is really competitive in Singapore, with so many parties offering a variety of portfolios for the masses.
When choosing a Robo-Advisor, you’d wanna make sure you’re comfortable with it’s investment strategy, fees, and UX design. Other factors, such as range of portfolios, and customer service should also play a part.
In return, Robo-Advisors provide a straightforward and effortless way for people of all ages and skill levels to invest.
If you know someone who doesn’t invest at all, or is searching for a solid platform, do consider sharing this post with them!