facebookThe Ultimate Robo Advisor Singapore Comparison Guide (2021): Autowealth vs Endowus vs Stashaway vs Syfe & More
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The Ultimate Robo Advisor Singapore Comparison Guide (2021): Autowealth vs Endowus vs Stashaway vs Syfe & More

profileKenneth Lou

If you’re an investor currently looking at the robo-advisor scene, here’s a detailed comparison of some of the major robo-advisor players in the market for your consideration.

Note: we’ve omitted FSM Maps PhillipCapital SMART Portfolio from this comparison as they both behave more like a risk-based unit trust portfolio recommendation than as a true robo advisor.

Disclaimer: This non-sponsored article is updated as of 14 Feburary 2021. Do note that the information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any investment product(s). It does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any person. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any investment product(s).


TL;DR: Which Robo Advisor Should You Use?

Robo advisors are a low-cost investment solution, but there’s more to choosing a robo advisor than just the lowest fees.

Here’s what else you should be looking out for when choosing a robo-advisor:

Robo AdvisorFeesMinimum Investment AmountCash, SRS, CPF Support
AutoWealth0.50% p.a. +
USD$18 p.a. (platform fee)
S$3kCash
CONNECT By Crossbridge Capital0.75% p.a.US$1kCash
DBS digiPortfolio0.75% p.a.S$1k or
US$1k
Cash
EndowusCash:
0.6% (up to S$200k)
to
0.25% (more than S$5 Mil)

CPF & SRS:
0.40%
$888 promo (now till 28 Feb 2021)

Will revert back to S$10k
Cash, SRS, CPF
Kristal.AI0% (up to US$10k)
to
0.3% (more than US$10k)
+
US$1 + taxes per trade for US-listed ETFs
NoneCash
MoneyOwlBetween 0% p.a. (first S$10,000 till 31 Dec 2021)
to
0.6% p.a. (next S$90,000)
and
0.5% p.a. for ($100k and above)
$50 (monthly RSP)
$100 (one off)
Cash and SRS
OCBC RoboInvest0.88%US$100Cash
SquirrelSave0.5%
+
10% of positive returns
NoneCash
StashAway0.8% (less than S$25k)
to
0.2% (more than S$1 Mil)
NoneCash and SRS
Syfe0.65% (first S$20k)
to
0.4% (S$100k)
NoneCash
UOBAM Invest0.8% p.a. (first S$25,000)
to
0.6% p.a. (above S$25,000)
S$1Cash
UTrade Robo0.88% p.a. (first S$50,000)
to
0.5% p.a. (>S$100,000)
S$5,000Cash

What Is A Robo-Advisor?

When it comes to wealth management, the only way you can do it in the past is through a mutual fund.

That’s where fund managers curate a list of funds with the ultimate goal of doing better than what the market returns.

Naturally, they would usually charge a hefty 2-3% per annum (p.a.) management fee to try to ‘beat the market’.

These exorbitant fees eat into your returns in the long run and the ones who benefit ultimately are the fund managers.

With the advancements made in technology as well as developments in machine learning, the advent of robo-advisors — digital platforms that made automated and algorithm-driven investment decisions — aims to change all of this by providing an option for low cost, diversified, passive investing.

The Promise: Low-Cost, Diversified, Passive Investing

  • Low Cost: Usually 0.3% to 1% fees are charged for the total amount managed. The costs are low because they are run by models and algorithms instead of an actual, human fund manager – hence the name ‘Robo’.
  • Diversified: Usually put into a basket of Global Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which exposes the fund to the global economy in different sectors, and usually diversified through a mix of equities and bonds in the portfolio. Note: some of these ETFs are not available to retail investors.
  • Passive Investing: Suitable for a longer-term approach (longer than 10 years) to growing wealth rather than high-frequency trading and taking short-term positions.

So Who Would Benefit From Robo Advisors?

Robo advisors are perfect for time-starved working adults who are looking to grow their money passively.

(Think: the majority of Singaporeans today, who are between 21 to 45 years old).

Instead of physically going down to a bank to look for a relationship or fund manager — who may or may not even have your interests at heart — why not opt for a more transparent method which only seeks to grow your wealth?

Roboadvisor Fees

Although most robo advisors charge a ‘so-called’ all-inclusive fee, there might be additional fees that you need to be aware of.

For example, if the underlying assets that the robo advisors picks are ETFs, there will be a fund management fee of about ~0.20% that is not included.


A Brief Introduction to the Robo Advisors in Singapore

AutoWealth

  • History: Started in 2015 by Ow Tai Zhi, an ex Investment Banker at Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, hedge fund and family fund and management consultant Noel Lee
  • Funding: Undisclosed but backed by high net worth angel investors.
  • Operation License:  AUTOWEALTH PRIVATE LIMITED – MAS Licensed Financial Advisor (Collective Investment Schemes + Securities).
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: Managment fee of 0.5% p.a. for assets under management (AUM) and a US$18 (S$23.85) p.a. platform fee
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash only.
  • Minimum Amount to Start: S$3,000.
  • Methodology: A rule-based investment approach and strategy which places a strong emphasis on diversification across major asset classes, geographical regions, and industries.
  • Investment Portfolios: Autowealth portfolios can span over 10,000 securities across 44 countries, providing maximum diversification.
  • Safety and Protection: AutoWealth clients’ monies and portfolio assets are held in a personal and segregated custody account at HSBC through Saxo Capital Markets, the company’s partnering MAS-licensed financial institution that is regulated to provide custody services. This means that monies and portfolio assets legally belong to the client and are fully segregated from AutoWealth or Saxo Capital Market’s own monies and assets. Clients enjoy full protection against the insolvencies of both AutoWealth and Saxo Capital Markets.
  • Miscellaneous: You can contact a dedicated wealth manager over WhatsApp for advice.


CONNECT By Crossbridge Capital

  • History: Crossbridge Capital was founded in 2008 by Tarek P. Khlat (former Managing Director and Group Head for the Middle East at Credit Suisse in London, where he helped build a significant wealth management portfolio) and Jean-Pierre Aoun (former director at Credit Suisse, where he was a core member of a three-person team credited with building a significant wealth management portfolio, representing a major portion of the Middle East activity of the London office). The company is an established wealth management firm serving ultra-high net worth investors globally.
  • Operation License: CROSSBRIDGE CAPITAL ASIA PTE. LTD. – MAS Capital Markets Services Licensee (Fund Management) and Exempt Financial advisor.
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: All-in management fee of 0.75% p.a. across all portfolios.
  • Minimum Investment Amount: US$1,000 (S$1,324).
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash only.
  • Methodology: CONNECT combines personalised advice and the latest technology and academic research from the Nobel Laureate Academics and scientists working with Dimensional Fund Advisors, so you can capture returns in the long-run.
  • Investment Portfolios: CONNECT’s portfolios are constructed based on varying levels of risk exposure, covering over 10,000 securities across 44 countries, providing maximum diversification.
  • Safety and Protection: Your assets are held in custody in your name, at BNY Mellon’s Pershing LLC. Pershing LLC (a member of FINRA, NYSE and SIPC), is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Clients’ assets and funds custodied with BNY Mellon’s Pershing LLC are protected by the Securities Investors Protection Corp (SIPC); this insures accounts up to US $500,000 (US $250,000 limit on cash).

However, Connect is only available to Accredited Investors (as defined by MAS) over the age of 18.

 

DBS digiPortfolio 

  • History: The DBS digiPorfolio is created by DBS Bank and its DBS portfolio management team. Chief Investment Officer Hou Wey Fook who oversees of the macro-overview strategy of the portfolio.
  • Operation License: DBS Bank Ltd.
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: Portfolio management fee of 0.75% p.a. for AUM.
  • Minimum Investment Amount: US$1,000 (S$1,324) for Global portfolio and S$1,000 for Asia portfolio.
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash only.
  • Methodology: Hassle-free, ready-made investment portfolio that offers a combination of human expertise and robo-technology. With it, you have an instant, cost-effective way to grow and protect your wealth through regional or global diversification.
  • Investment Portfolios:
    Mix of equities and fixed income assets based on risk exposure selection.
    The Asia portfolio’s underlying assets consist of Singapore listed ETFs with geographical exposure to Asia.
    The Global portfolio’s underlying assets consist of UK listed ETFs with geographical exposure to the broader world.
  • Safety and Protection: digiPortfolio is created and delivered by the Safest Bank in Asia and Best Digital Bank Globally. DBS Bank also enjoys the highest credit ratings from the three top credit rating agencies in the world. digiPortfolio’s investment process is completely integrated into the bank’s secure systems so you have peace of mind knowing you are not being redirected to a third-party platform to transact.


Endowus

  • History: Endowus was started in 2017 and is led by Samuel Rhee, former CEO and CIO of Morgan Stanley Investment Management Asia.
  • Funding: Undisclosed but seems to be independently owned and operated.
  • Operation License: ENDOW.US PTE. LTD – MAS Licensed Financial Advisor for advising on investment products (Collective Investment Schemes) and issuing or promulgating on investment products (Collective Investment Schemes).
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees:  All-in fund level access fee of 0.05% to 0.60% p.a.
  • Minimum Investment Amount to Start: $888* (from now to 28 Feb 2021) [Normal amount is S$10,000]
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash, CPF, SRS.
  • Methodology: Building of Global portfolio via Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) & PIMCO funds
  • Investment Portfolios:
    Six Portfolios that can be customised based on your investment objectives and risk tolerance. Broken down into percentage of equities and bonds.
    Endowus Fund Smart: A service where you can access a curated list of institutional funds to construct your portfolio and customise your fund allocations.
  • Safety and Protection: All your assets are custodised in a trust account in your own name with UOB Kay Hian, one of Asia’s largest brokerage firms. UOB Kay Hian is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and has a Capital Markets Services License to provide custodial services for securities.

Kristal.AI 

  • History: Founded by Asheesh Chanda and Vineeth Narasimhan in 2016; what started as an ambitious idea sketched out on a black-board, is now present and thriving in Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Dubai.
  • Funding: US$6M Series A funding led by Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures India) – total funding amount stands at $9.1M.
  • Operation License: KRISTAL ADVISORS (SG) PTE. LTD. – MAS Capital Markets Services licensee (fund management) and Exempt Financial Advisor advising on investment products like Collective Investment Schemes, Securities, etc.
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees:
    Between 0% p.a. (up to US$10,000) to 0.30% p.a. (over US$10,000) of AUM for retail Kristal Freedom account.
    US$1 + taxes per trade for US-listed ETFs
    At Actuals for non-US-listed stocks (Charges charged by Saxo Capital Markets)
  • Minimum Investment Amount to Start: No minimum.
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash only
  • Methodology: You can choose from more than 200 investment strategies (Kristals) to suit your investment requirements and risk profile. Every Kristal is carefully created and managed by combining the power of Artificial Intelligence and experience of professional money managers.
  • Investment Portfolios: Low-cost, customised portfolios comprising of curated ETFs called Kristals or individual ETFs.
  • Safety and Protection: All client monies/assets managed by Kristal.AI are held in separate accounts in the respective client’s name and are not mixed up with the companies’ assets. All clients monies/assets are custodised in a trust account in your own name with Interactive Brokers and Saxo Capital Markets.

MoneyOwl

  • History: MoneyOwl is a social enterprise and a joint venture between NTUC Enterprise Co-operative Limited and Providend Holding Private Limited that was started back in 2004. As Singapore’s first Bionic Financial Advisor, MoneyOwl fully utilises humans and technology to help customers develop a uniquely customised financial plan.
  • Operation License: MONEYOWL PRIVATE LIMITED – MAS Capital Markets Services licensee (fund management) and Exempt Financial Advisor advising on investment products and issuing or promulgating on investment products like Collective Investment Schemes, Securities, etc.
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: Between 0% p.a. (first S$10,000 till 31 Dec 2021) to 0.6% p.a. (next S$90,000) and 0.5% p.a. for ($100k and above) AUM.
  • Minimum Investment Amount to Start: Starting from S$50/month OR S$100 one-off
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash and SRS
  • Methodology: Evidence-based strategy to investing which is based on leading academic research. Diversifies globally to capture market-based returns.
  • Investment Portfolios available: Five portfolios with exposure to three funds managed by Dimensional Fund Advisors eg. Dimensional Global Core Equity Fund, Dimensional Emerging Markets Large Caps Core Equity Fund, Dimensional Global Short Fixed Income Fund.
  • Safety and Protection: All client monies/assets managed by MoneyOwl are held in separate accounts in the respective client’s name and are not mixed up with the companies’ assets. All clients monies/assets are custodised in a trust account in your own name with iFAST.

OCBC RoboInvest

  • History: OCBC RoboInvest is a collaboration between OCBC and a Fintech firm Planar Investments Pte Ltd (WeInvest).
  • Operation License: OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORPORATION LIMITED
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: Portfolio management fee of 0.88% p.a. for AUM.
  • Minimum Investment Amount: US$100 (S$132.50)
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash only.
  • Investment Methodology: Specially curated for you by OCBC’s leading wealth experts. Includes portfolio rebalancing opportunities as market changes.
  • Investment Portfolios: 34 portfolios across 6 markets for a range of risk appetites. Also, it is the only platform that allows investors to investors to invest in individual stocks within the curated themes.
  • Safety and Protection: OCBC RoboInvest is created and delivered by OCBC, a trusted financial institution recognised for its stability and wealth management expertise.

SquirrelSave

  • History: Led by Victor Lye, a Corporate entrepreneur with over 25 years’ cross-industry experience in investments, insurance and healthcare.
  • Operation License: PIVOT FINTECH PTE. LTD. – MAS Capital Markets Services licensee (fund management) and Exempt Financial Advisor advising on investment products and issuing or promulgating on investment products like Collective Investment Schemes, Securities, etc.
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: 0.50% p.a. (Management Fee) + 10% of any positive return (Performance Fee)
  • Minimum Investment Amount: No minimum
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash only.
  • Investment Methodology and Investment Portfolios: Based on your chosen risk level, SquirrelSave then trawls over 2,000 diversified Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) to design a personalized portfolio comprising a few selected ETFs whose combined risk prediction matches your chosen risk and gives the highest predicted return for the time horizon you chose.
  • Safety and Protection: Your money and investment assets are kept entirely separate from SquirrelSave’s operating finances and assets. Your Global ETF Portfolio(s) underlying ETF and cash investments are held by Saxo Capital Markets as the custodian. Your money deposited with SquirrelSave is received and held by UOB Bank Singapore as the custodian. Therefore, you will always have full access and claim to your cash and investment assets if SquirrelSave closes down, gets acquired, goes public or whatever happens.

StashAway

  • History: Started in 2016 by ex ZALORA Group CEO, Michele Ferrario, ex Nomura MD, Freddy Lim and CTO Nino Ulsamer.
  • Funding: US$36 million in five funding rounds, with the latest Series C round being led by Australian Venture Capitalist firm Square Peg Capital. In January 2021, it was reported that StashAway has over US$1 billion (SG$1.35 billion) in assets under management (AUM).
  • Operation License: ASIA WEALTH PLATFORM PTE. LTD. – MAS Capital Markets Services licensee (fund management + dealing in capital markets products) and Exempt Financial Advisor advising on investment products and issuing or promulgating on investment products like Collective Investment Schemes, Securities, etc.
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: 0.8% (first S$25,000) – 0.2% (>$1,000,000) based on your total AUM with StashAway. You will pay less the more you invest with StashAway.
  • Minimum Investment Amount: No minimum.
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash and SRS.
  • Investment Methodology: A proprietary investment strategy called the Economic Regime-based Asset Allocation (ERAA) which continually monitors economic and market cycles to rebalance accordingly.
  • Investment Portfolio: Stashaway construct portfolios based on varying levels of risk exposure. The underlying investment products are equities (ETFs from all over the world), fixed income assets as well as gold.
  • Safety and Protection: Even in an unlikely bankruptcy event, any money held in a trust or custodian account can’t be touched, as it belongs to you – not to StashAway.
    For General Investing and Goal-based portfolios, your deposits first go to a DBS trust account. Then, your purchased securities go to a custodian account through Saxo Capital Markets. For StashAway Simple™, HSBC Hong Kong holds your funds.
    However, your funds are held in a co-mingled account i.e. your funds are mixed with the funds of other users of the platform.
    On balance, StashAway does keep a detailed ledger of the names of their investors and the amount of securities under their name. Also, as one of the earliest and most popular (as evidenced by its US$1 billion AUM) robo advisors, StashAway is likely to have been audited and regulated more by MAS.


Syfe

  • History: Syfe is a digital wealth manager licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for retail fund management. The company was founded back in 2017 by current chief executive officer (CEO) Dhruv Arora. Arora was a former director at UBS and also founded Grofers: an Indian online grocery delivery service backed by Softbank and Sequoia.
  • Funding: Backed by Unbound, MPGI, David Rogers and Paul Redbourn
  • Operation License: SYFE PTE. LTD. – MAS Capital Markets Services licensee (fund management) and Exempt Financial Advisor advising on investment products and issuing or promulgating for Collective Investment Schemes.
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: 0.65% (first S$20,000) – 0.4% ($100,000) based on your total AUM with Syfe. You will pay less the more you invest with Syfe. Also, for anything above $500,000, the rate will vary.
  • Minimum Investment Amount: No minimum
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash only
  • Investment Methodology: Syfe takes a dynamic, risk-based approach to your portfolio’s asset allocation to deliver better returns.
  • Investment Portfolio:
    Equity100 (100% equities portfolio):
    Smart Beta strategy which uses an advanced multi-factor model to deliver better risk-adjusted returns than market cap-weighted benchmarks.
    Global Automated Risk-Management Investments (ARI™) portfolio: Allows you to invest in a blend of equity, bonds and gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). Our proprietary ARI™ engine automatically manages your portfolio to maintain your chosen risk level.
    REIT+ Portfolio: Access to the largest and most tradeable REITs in Singapore. Syfe’s new REIT+ portfolio is the first investment offering to closely replicate the performance of the SGX iEdge S-REIT Leaders Index.
  • Safety and Protection:
    When you transfer money to Syfe, your deposits are held in a Trust Account at DBS, kept separate from Syfe’s own accounts, and invested only in your portfolio assets.
    All assets bought on your behalf are held with Saxo Markets, whose sub-custodians are Citibank for securities and HSBC for any un-invested cash.
    However, your funds are held in a co-mingled account i.e. your funds are mixed with the funds of other users of the platform. On balance, Syfe keeps a detailed ledger of the names of their investors and the amount of securities under their name.

UOBAM Invest

  • History: UOBAM Invest was launched by UOB Asset Management Ltd (UOBAM) as a digital platform offering investors guided and personalised investment service.
  • Operation License: UOB ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD – MAS Capital Markets Services licensee (fund management) and Exempt Financial Advisor advising on investment products and issuing or promulgating on investment products like Collective Investment Schemes, Securities, etc.
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: 0.8% p.a. (first S$25,000) and 0.6% p.a. (above S$25,000).
  • Minimum Investment Amount: No minimum.
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash only.
  • Investment Methodology: Specially curated for you by UOB’s leading wealth experts with asset management experience of more than 30 years.
  • Investment Portfolios: Customised portfolios with underlying assets like ETFs, REITS and fixed income assets.
  • Safety and Protection: UOBAM Invest is created and delivered by UOBAM, a trusted financial institution recognised for its stability and wealth management expertise. UOBAM is also backed by the UOB Group.

UTRADE Robo by UOB Kay Hian

  • History: UTRADE Robo is a digital fund manager providing customized portfolio to suit the investment objectives of our clients. This robo advisor was launched by UOB Kay Hian: one of Asia’s largest brokerage firms and backed by the UOB group.
  • Operation License: UOB ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD – MAS Capital Markets Services licensee (fund management) and Exempt Financial Advisor advising on investment products and issuing or promulgating on investment products like Collective Investment Schemes, Securities, etc.
  • Management Fees / Platform Fees/ Advisor Fees: 0.88% p.a. (first S$50,000) – 0.5% p.a. (AUM >S$100,000) depending on your investment amount.
  • Minimum Investment Amount: S$5,000.
  • Cash. CPF or SRS Investment Support: Cash only.
  • Investment Methodology: Automated fund management service that maximizes investment return for each client’s risk profile, which is determined by their financial objective and risk profile.
  • Investment Portfolios available: Globally diversified multi-asset portfolios built using low-cost ETFs that grant access to 11,000 stocks and bonds.

Smartly Close Down

 

Note: All Smartly accounts will be closed from 8 April 2020 onwards. If you are an investor with Smartly, please reach out to the team for further details.

Smartly’s Closure and Steps For Investors To Take

Smartly has announced that it will be ceasing its operations.

Based on their latest email sent out to Smartly investors, all Smartly accounts will be closed from 18 April 2020 onwards.

For investors who would like to receive digital advice from another service provider, they have worked out an arrangement with StashAway.

All Smartly customers will enjoy a 50% management discount for the first six months, up to the first S$50,000.

Note: this is only applicable to new customers only.

And if you have any other questions, please contact Smartly:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: +65 6332 9081 or +65 6332 9084 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)

So… Which Robo Advisor Should You Use?

Need help deciding which robo advisor to go with?

Comparing Costs Based on Your Investment Amount

Besides the amount which you want to invest in a robo advisor.

You’ll also have to think about incurring any potential management, platform, or performance fees.

In most cases, the fees are relatively affordable.

With most robo advisor management fees ranging between 0.30% to 1% per annum.

Remember to keep these costs as low as you can so that you get to keep more of what your investments reap.


Here’s What Real Users Have to Say About the Various Robo Advisors

Would you prefer to hear from actual people and users who have used robo advisors, before making your decision?

Our Seedly community members have left honest reviews covering stuff like the pros and cons of each robo advisor as well as the returns they have made.


You can use this one-stop portal to compare ALL the robo-advisors on the market and see which is the one for you!

The Importance of Doing Your Own Diligence Before Investing

As with any other investments out there, there are bound to be risks aplenty.

Even if robo-advisors are arguably an easy way to get started on passive investing.

It is ultimately up to you as a retail investor to do your own due diligence when selecting which robo-advisor to go with as well as what kind of funds to invest in before executing!

If the ever-surging popularity of US-based robo-advisors like Wealthfront (led by an experienced management team) and Betterment (heavily funded and growing assets under management) is any indicator.

The era of low-cost investment options is here to stay and that’s great news for us as retail investors!

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