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Robo-advisors are increasingly popular among younger investors. But with more choices than ever in Singapore, which should you choose and why? Here are SingSaver’s top picks.
It’s clear as day that robo-advisors are gaining serious traction in Singapore. According to German market research firm Statista, these automated investing platforms are projected to have assets under management (AUM) worth over S$4 billion by 2025.
Although this is only a fraction of the Lion City’s S$4 trillion asset management industry, their growth is promising. Furthermore, they are increasingly becoming part of the ‘standard’ investment menu – especially among the younger, more tech-savvy generation.
But their growing popularity also means that investors today have quite a few robo-advisors to choose from. As part of SingSaver’s mission to simplify personal finance for our readers, here are our picks for the best robo-advisors in Singapore – each being a leader in their own way.
Note: Not sure what robo-advisors are all about? Check out our complete guide to them here.
- How do I choose a robo-advisor?
- Most well-known and user-friendly robo-advisor
- Best robo-advisor to start small with
- Best bank-run robo-advisor
- Robo-advisor that allows for custom portfolio creation
- Robo-advisor with the widest range of portfolios
- Robo-advisor with thematic investment portfolios
- Best robo-advisor for investing CPF and SRS funds
- Most holistic robo-advisor
- Best robo-advisor for low and fixed management fees
- A comparison of each robo-advisor’s pros and cons
- Frequently asked questions
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How do I choose a robo-advisor?
All robo-advisors in Singapore appear identical at a glance because of their app-based nature and the fact that they’re all essentially investing in a combination of ETFs. However, each robo-advisor has its own set of USPs to attract potential clients, whether through their unique fee structure or portfolios on offer.
Here’s what to look out for when selecting a robo-advisor to invest in.
One investing principle would be to prevent fees from eating into your returns as much as possible. Therefore, take a look at the fee structure of each robo-advisor you’re considering and determine whether the charges levied will take a huge chunk out of your portfolio annually.
Another important selection criteria would be how well a robo-advisor meets your needs. If you’re flush with cash in your CPF-OA for example, consider a robo-advisor that’s authorised to invest the funds there. Or if you’re keen on financial advisory services, find out which robo-advisor offers that in addition to its usual set of investment portfolios.
Although a robo-advisor’s returns are something to take into account before you put your money down, it’s not the be-all and end-all. Remember, they are still pre-pubescent as compared to established stock market indexes or even the ETFs they invest in.
Do note that it’s about how long you stay invested rather than simply going with a robo-advisor who’s on a hot streak.
StashAway: Most well-known and user-friendly robo-advisor
Year established: 2016
Fees and charges: An annual management fee of 0.2% to 0.8% applies for General Investing, Goal-based Investing, and Income portfolios, depending on investment amount. For StashAway Simple, no annual management fee is charged. However, you’re still charged the net expense ratio of 0.217% p.a. for this portfolio’s underlying funds.
Minimum investment amount: No minimum investment is needed for StashAway’s General Investing, Goal-based Investing, and Simple portfolios. However, its Income Portfolio requires a minimum initial investment of S$10,000.
When it comes to robo-advisors in Singapore, StashAway is one of the most well-known names out there. The company was founded in 2016 before formally launching in July 2017. Since then, it has expanded to Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the UAE.
As of January 2021, the robo-advisor manages assets of more than US$1 billion and has undergone four rounds of funding. The latest injection was a S$33.4 million one led by Sequoia Capital India. The venture capital firm has backed other notable start-ups, including Carousell, GoJek, and Tokopedia.
As for how user-friendly StashAway is, it’s clear as day. It takes just a single tap on the main menu to select your desired portfolio and start investing and the robo-advisor tells you every single one of its fees upfront.
These include charges such as ETF fees and currency conversion fees – something you might take time to find out on other robo-advisors’ websites.
As you can see, there are four main portfolios that you can invest in:
- General Investing
- Goals-based Investing
- Income Portfolio
- SRS funds portfolio
Users have exposure to 33 global ETFs for regular investments, including the iShares Core S&P 500 and SPDR Portfolio Emerging Markets ETFs. The six Singapore/Asia-focused ETFs for its Income Portfolio include the NikkoAM Straits Times Index and Lion-Phillip S-REIT ETFs.
Lastly, for its cash management portfolio, dubbed StashAway Simple, there are two money market funds available from LionGlobal, granting users a projected return of 1.2% p.a.
On the other hand, StashAway is one of the more expensive robo advisors in Singapore, with annual management fees starting from 0.8% for an AUM of S$25,000 and below. Furthermore, it features a stacked fee structure rather than a tiered one.
Despite its less competitive fees, it has enjoyed strong popularity among investors in Singapore. And its expansion overseas makes this even more convincing.
Read this review for more information: StashAway Review: Goal-Getting Investments Through ETFs.
Promotions: Enjoy a six-month management fee waiver on up to your first S$40,000 invested when you sign up through SingSaver. No minimum deposit required. Terms and Conditions apply.
SquirrelSave: Best robo-advisor to start small with
Year established: 2017
Fees and charges: A 0.5% annual management fee applies for AUM below S$500,000 and a performance fee of 10% on any positive returns. However, the latter fee comes into play only if the portfolio exceeds its highest net asset value recorded.
Minimum investment amount: Just S$1 is required, but SquirrelSave recommends S$15,000 instead in order to fully benefit from the way it invests.
Although SquirrelSave is more under the radar as compared to its competitors in Singapore, the robo-advisor is actually one of the oldest in the business. It touts an investment process that solely utilises machine learning AI to create unique portfolios for each investor.
Likewise for portfolio rebalancing, which is automatically decided on by SquirrelSave’s AI.
The robo-advisor’s backers include Nasdaq-listed Pintec Technology Holdings and private investment firm Pacific Century Group. If the latter rings a bell, that’s because it owns insurance company FWD and PCCW Limited, the creator of video streaming service Viu.
Staying true to the ‘SquirrelSave’ name, the minimum initial investment that users need to make would be just S$1. Ad-hoc top-ups thereafter aren’t subject to any minimum sums, encouraging users to make smaller investments but on a regular basis. However, SquirrelSave mentions that an initial investment of S$15,000 would be optimal due to the way it invests.
This leads to the robo-advisor’s downsides. Firstly, the platform does say that it selects from over 2,000 ETFs across several asset classes listed on US stock exchanges to craft a user’s portfolio. However, it does not specify what those ETFs are. Ditto for the S$15,000 initial deposit, where there is no elaboration on why that would be the ideal starting point for users.
Although there’s an air of mystery to SquirrelSave regarding its investment methodology, its fees are easy to understand. A blanket 0.5% annual management fee is applied if your AUM is below S$500,000. SquirrelSave dangles a special rate for AUMs above that, although it does not reveal the exact percentage.
There’s a performance fee of 10% on positive returns as well, although this only kicks in when your portfolio exceeds its highest net asset value recorded. This prevents fees from cutting into your base capital, especially when markets are performing poorly during a recession or global crisis like the initial COVID-19 outbreak.
Promotions: No promotions for SquirrelSave are being run at the moment.
UOB UTRADE Robo: Best bank-run robo-advisor
Year established: 2018
Fees and charges: An annual management fee of 0.88% applies if your AUM is S$50,000 and below. This drops to 0.68% if your AUM is between S$50,000.01 and S$100,000. Maintain an AUM of more than S$100,000 and you’re looking at an annual management fee of 0.50%.
Minimum investment amount: S$5,000 is required per portfolio. If you wish to make ad-hoc deposits thereafter, they have to be S$500 at least.
The shuttering of robo-advisor Smartly in March 2020 has no doubt created some scepticism in Singapore surrounding the industry. Competition in the space is intense and it was the reason why Smartly could no longer sustain operations.
It’s also why we are listing out fundraising numbers where available; the more well-capitalised a robo-advisor is, the lower its chances of being forced to close. And as the industry matures, you can expect regulations to become more stringent.
But if you want the highest degree of safety possible when using a robo-advisor, then your best bet is to go with a bank-run one. With a history spanning 85 years and over S$30 billion in market capitalisation, Singaporean bank UOB is not likely to go out of business any time soon.
And out of all the bank-run robo-advisors, UOB’s UTRADE Robo has the most competitive fee structure – hence their position on this list. However, their fees are relatively high as compared to other robo-advisors, starting at 0.50% p.a. and capping out at 0.88% p.a.
Additionally, its transparency leaves much to be desired, like SquirrelSave above it. UOB UTRADE Robo does not tell you upfront which ETFs it invests in. However, it does elaborate on its investment methodology and which asset classes it invests in.
That said, this is something that all bank-run robo-advisors have in common. In short, if you would only feel comfortable with a bank-run robo-advisor, go with UTRADE Robo.
Promotions: No promotions for UOB UTRADE Robo are being run at the moment.
Kristal.AI: Robo-advisor that allows for custom portfolio creation
Year established: 2016
Fees and charges: Kristal.AI has a different fee structure for its Freedom and Private Wealth accounts. However, the fees that they do share include an FX Conversion fee of up to 0.20%, a Funds Deposit fee if you aren’t making a deposit in Singapore or Hong Kong dollars, and a Funds Withdrawal fee of up to US$50 if you’re making withdrawals in US dollars.
Minimum investment amount: Both Kristal Freedom and Private Wealth do not require a minimum investment. However, the latter recommends US$50,000 to start with and is available only for Accredited Investors.
Kristal.AI easily offers the best cost structure and greatest control among all the robo-advisors in Singapore. With no management fees up to US$10,000 and only 0.3% p.a. thereafter, investors focusing on expenses should have no issue choosing Kristal.AI immediately.
Furthermore, it also offers the greatest control. While Kristal.AI’s algorithm can create portfolios for you, you can also choose to go ‘DIY’ and construct your own portfolio out of individual ETFs (over 100 options available). There’s the usual asset classes of equities, fixed income, and commodities alongside cryptocurrency, venture capital, and real estate.
Kristal.AI is highly transparent there, listing not just the asset classes you can invest in, but the exact ETFs too. These include the NikkoAM Asean Equity Fund, Digitrackers Bitcoin SP mutual fund, and Carlyle Asia Partners Growth II venture capital fund.
Despite the undisputed upsides that this robo-advisor has, there are several downsides as well. For one, Kristal.AI is not the most user-friendly or transparent, with several fees and charges that would frustrate users. For instance, exceeding 25 transactions will incur a broker fee – the amount of which it does not disclose.
Furthermore, its FX conversion fee of 0.2% is also higher than most robo-advisors. Finally, while a S$0 minimum balance is technically true, individual ETFs may have their own respective minimum balances. This can vary greatly, from S$1,000 all the way to S$100,000.
There are also deposit and withdrawal fees to take note of if you aren’t transacting in Singapore or Hong Kong dollars.
According to Crunchbase, Kristal.AI has raised US$9.1 million in funding so far – with its last round being a Series A led by Chiratae Ventures, an Indian venture capital firm. Hence, the company is also newer, less-tested, and less-capitalised.
Read this review for more information: Kristal.AI Review: Freedom To Design Your Very Own Portfolio
Promotions: Enjoy a US$20 cash reward when you apply for a Kristal.AI account. Valid till 30 September 2021. Terms and Conditions apply.
Syfe: Robo-advisor with the widest range of portfolios
Year established: 2019
Fees and charges: An annual management fee of 0.65% applies if your AUM is below S$20,000. AUMs between S$20,000 and S$99,999 attract an annual management fee of 0.5%.
Have an AUM between S$100,000 and S$499,999 and this fee drops to 0.4%.
Finally, an AUM of S$500,000 and above sees an annual management fee of just 0.35%.
Minimum investment amount: Syfe does not impose a minimum investment amount.
Among all the robo-advisors available in Singapore, Syfe might be the one with the widest range of preset portfolios for users to choose from. Each of the seven in its lineup is meant to plug a specific gap in your existing investment portfolio or simply allow you to start from scratch.
However, Syfe has one unique portfolio up its sleeve that sets it apart from the rest: REIT+. This portfolio allows you to easily get exposure to Singaporean real estate. While it’s true that you can purchase individual REITs yourself, Syfe’s REITs portfolio tracks the SGX iEdge S-REIT Leaders Index, which covers the top Singaporean REITs.
This is a huge boon because it’s difficult for retail investors to gain exposure to this index themselves. You can also opt for automatic risk management for this REIT portfolio, just like its other solutions.
Another advantage of using Syfe is its ability for you to get exposure to factor-based equity portfolios. The robo-advisor’s Equity100 portfolio, composed of 10 ETFs, is weighted according to three different factors that will increase the weighting toward a specific type of stock – large-cap growth stocks with low volatility.
This is similar to what Dimensional Funds does, except that Syfe does this all by itself.
You can also consider their newest portfolio — Syfe Core — which is designed to maximise long-term risk adjusted returns, featuring 18 ETFs across stocks, bonds, and gold.
Their cash management account Syfe Cash+ is also another stand out product, offering projected returns of 1.5% p.a., the highest amongst all robo-advisors. It also doesn’t incur any management fees, which is highly beneficial if you’re just saving a large amount of cash for an upcoming big ticket purchase.
Syfe gets the thumbs-up for transparency too, allowing potential users to view what ETFs it invests in. These include the Invesco QQQ Trust, SPDR Gold Shares, iShares MSCI EAFE ETF, and Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund ETF Shares.
Other than those advantages – and a complimentary call with a financial advisor – Syfe is akin to any robo advisor in Singapore, having competitive fees that get lower with larger investment amounts. However, regular access to their wealth experts is limited, requiring a minimum investment sum of S$20,000 for full access.
Till date, Syfe has raised S$70.7 million, with its S$40 million Series B funding in July 2021 led by Valar Ventures. At the same time, the robo-advisor pledged that every employee will become a shareholder.
Read this review for more information: Syfe Singapore Review (2021): Multiple Portfolios For Various Investment Objectives
Promotions: SAFRA members and National Service personnel stand to receive a six-month annual fee waiver for an investment amount of up S$50,000 when keying in the promo code SAFRABONUS when signing up. Terms and Conditions apply.
OCBC RoboInvest: Robo-advisor with thematic investment portfolios
Year established: 2018
Fees and charges: A 0.88% annual management fee is charged, no matter your investment amount.
Minimum investment amount: This starts from US$100, depending on the investment portfolio that you have selected. Expect subsequent top-ups to hover around 10% of your initial investment amount.
From Gen-Z Winners to US Cloud Computing, Hong Kong Technology, China Growth and Impact Investing, OCBC RoboInvest offers 34 different and unique portfolios for investors to choose from. And never say never to more thematic investment portfolios being added over time.
Their portfolios target different industries and sectors, with varying purposes and goals.
If thematic investing sounds exciting to you, OCBC’s RoboInvest could be your robo advisor of choice. No other robo-advisor in Singapore currently offers this and it would be quite the hassle to manually mimic their portfolios on your own due to the costs involved.
Additionally, OCBC bucks the trend of opacity when it comes to revealing much-needed information for potential users. Portfolio performance and a full list of constituents are published where possible. If not, at least the top constituents are highlighted.
Take Gen-Z Winners for example, which invests in ETFs like ARK Next Generation Internet and VanEck Vectors Video Gaming and eSports.
While 0.88% p.a. is on the higher side compared to the fees charged by other robo-advisors, OCBC sticks to a fixed fee structure that encourages those with little capital to invest. Even if you were to invest a smaller amount, you pay the same percentage of management fees as larger portfolios.
The best part of this fixed fee structure is how easy it is to understand, as compared to robo-advisors which might levy multiple fees or opt for a more complex fee table.
Coupled with their low minimum investment of US$100, new investors looking to try out OCBC RoboInvest’s unique portfolio types could find this attractive. And like most robo-advisors on the list, you aren’t charged for withdrawals, be they full or partial ones.
Promotions: No promotions are being run for OCBC RoboInvest at the moment.
Endowus: Best robo-advisor for investing CPF and SRS funds
Year established: 2017
Fees and charges: When investing your CPF or SRS funds, a 0.40% annual management fee applies.
For cash investments, a 0.60% annual management fee applies for an AUM up to S$200,000. You’re looking at 0.50% p.a. for AUMs between S$200,001 and S$1 million. This drops to 0.35% if your AUM is anywhere between S$1,000,001 and S$5 million. Finally, AUMs above S$5 million attract a fee of 0.25% p.a.
Cash Smart portfolios are levied a 0.05% annual management fee for any amount.
Minimum investment amount: An initial deposit of S$1,000. Each deposit thereafter needs to be S$100 at least.
Endowus has two unique advantages over the other robo-advisors in Singapore. The first is that you can invest your CPF Ordinary Account (OA) funds and do so at a flat, affordable management fee of 0.4% p.a. This rate applies to your SRS funds too.
Secondly, it allows you to invest with passive asset allocations (that are globally diversified in a market cap weighted manner), through funds that may be actively managed. It has access to ‘active-passive’ funds, namely from the famous Dimensional Funds.
Instead of merely tracking established indices, Dimensional Funds constructs its own portfolios using ‘dimensions’ based on research-backed factors (i.e. value, profitability, small cap).
You can also curate your own portfolio with Endowus Fund Smart. Endowus Fund Smart allows you to create your own portfolio, selecting up to eight funds. You can choose between equity, fixed income, and multi-asset funds. You can also focus on sustainable investing by putting your money in the ESG funds that Endowus has available.
If you’re looking for a place to store your idle cash, their cash management account — Endowus Cash Smart — offers projected returns that range from 0.8% to 2% p.a., depending on the choice of Cash Smart Account (Core, Enhanced or Ultra).
Endowus takes into account other hidden costs such as FX charges and dividend withholding tax, so that the total ‘all-in fees’ may be lower than other robo advisors that use tax-inefficient U.S. ETFs.
Because all funds are SGD-denominated, there are no currency conversion fees. Furthermore, Endowus also explicitly refunds any ‘promotional commissions’ – known as trailer fees – that the fund manager might pay to Endowus.
It doubles down on its commitment to transparency by posting a full list of funds it invests in. This list includes what asset class the funds belong to, historical returns, and other important information for potential investors. It’s a sterling example that other robo-advisors in Singapore should follow.
Previously, the downside of investing with Endowus was the high minimum investment and account size of S$10,000. However, they’ve since lowered it to S$1,000 to make it more accessible and less daunting to get started. Additional top-ups aren’t scary either, at S$100 a pop at least.
Finally, Endowus released a nifty feature in September 2021 that allows users to better manage their CPF funds. Dubbed the Endowus CPF Calculator, users will need to key in their current age, salary, CPF account balances, desired retirement age, and desired retirement income.
From there, the CPF Calculator will project how your CPF funds will grow and decline across various life stages. You’ll also receive a personalised CPF Prepared Report, which will help you prepare better for home purchases.
Additionally, advice will be given regarding how you can grow your CPF account balances by investing your funds or utilising existing CPF schemes.
Read this review for more information: Endowus Review: Investing Your Cash, CPF And SRS Money At Low Fees
Promotions: Enjoy a S$20 management fee waiver when you sign up through SingSaver. Terms and Conditions apply.
MoneyOwl: Most holistic robo-advisor
Year established: 2018
Fees and charges: For Dimensional portfolios, annual management fees are not charged on AUMs of S$10,000 and below. AUMs between S$10,000.01 and S$100,000 are charged 0.60% p.a. Lastly, 0.50% p.a. is charged for AUMs above S$100,000.
WiseIncome portfolios can expect an annual management fee of 0.30% for AUMs of up to S$100,000. This is reduced to 0.25% p.a. for AUMs above S$100,000.
WiseSaver portfolios are not charged an annual management fee. However, a fund level fee of 0.15% p.a. has been baked into the fund’s price.
Minimum investment amount: Dimensional portfolios require a monthly investment of S$50 or a one-time deposit of S$100. WiseIncome portfolios function identically, except that it requires either S$100 per month or a standalone deposit of S$1,000. WiseSaver on the other hand, just needs a S$10 deposit to get going.
If you’re a new investor seeking out a robo-advisor in Singapore that sports lower fees, you can’t go wrong with MoneyOwl. For its Dimensional portfolios, no fees are charged for an AUM of S$10,000 and below.
If you’re planning to invest smaller amounts on a regular basis, the robo-advisor makes it easy too, requiring a minimum monthly deposit of just S$50.
Its retirement-focused portfolio WiseIncome works similarly, charging an advisory fee of just 0.3% p.a. for an AUM of up to S$100,000. Minimum monthly investments are pegged at S$100, which is competitive when compared to other robo-advisors in Singapore.
As WiseIncome is meant to complement CPF LIFE in your golden years, this is a portfolio that you might want to invest early in and fund on a regular basis.
MoneyOwl’s third portfolio, dubbed WiseSaver, is its cash management solution. It functions similarly to other cash management portfolios that almost all robo-advisors offer, with 0% advisory and platform fees charged.
The historical performance of the portfolio’s underlying fund since inception would be 0.73% p.a. This isn’t the best but considering that the purpose of cash management portfolios would be to safeguard your money for a short period of time, is honestly negligible.
Although MoneyOwl has shored up its previous weakness, which would be the lack of portfolios to invest in, its true strength lies in how holistic it is. Additional services such as will-writing and financial planning are offered to users, either for free or a nominal fee.
This is coupled with the fact that it offers insurance plans too, whether it’s critical illness or hospitalisation plans.
Read this review for more information: MoneyOwl Review: Investment, Insurance And Will Writing Rolled Into One
Promotions: NTUC members enjoy 0% annual management fees till 31 December 2021 for WiseIncome when keying in the promo code NTUC60 upon signing up. Terms and Conditions apply.
AutoWealth: Best robo-advisor for low and fixed management fees
Year established: 2015
Fees and charges: A platform fee of US$18 applies annually. On top of that, there’s a flat annual management fee of 0.50%.
Minimum investment amount: S$3,000. However, subsequent top-ups are not subject to a minimum amount.
If you’re not a fan of the tiered pricing structures that most robo-advisors in Singapore utilise, you can consider AutoWealth for its fixed fees. Regardless of your investment amount, you’ll be paying 0.5% p.a. plus a US$18 platform fee.
While the US$18 platform fee would be high for those with a small portfolio size, investors looking to grow their portfolio with AutoWealth will be glad to know that the 0.5% p.a. and platform fee remains unchanged regardless of your portfolio size.
This puts it ahead of OCBC RoboInvest, which charges 0.88% p.a. instead.
This US$18 would become a relatively small amount when you’ve amassed a sizable portfolio. 0.5% p.a. is also a highly competitive rate when compared to the fees charged by other robo-advisors.
Additionally, you also get an assigned wealth manager and access to their exclusive (AutoWealth users only) Telegram channel to help you with your investment-related queries.
AutoWealth invests in a range of ETFs depending on your portfolio type. However, it strictly does not invest in commodity ETFs as it believes the asset class’ downsides outweigh the diversification it provides to a portfolio.
Unfortunately, AutoWealth does not provide a full list of ETFs that it invests in, simply stating that it has screened over 6,000 to select the best ones.
With regards to deposits, you have the option to input your financial goals and set up a recurring investment into your portfolio at no additional cost. However, do note that the minimum initial investment is S$3,000.
This is a much higher bar than Endowus, although there aren’t any requirements for subsequent top-ups once you cross this hurdle.
Lastly, AutoWealth has a friends and family referrer programme that entitles you to a S$20 top-up into your AutoWealth account when you sign up using a referrer. If you know of someone that uses AutoWealth, do get their full name before you submit your application form to enjoy the S$20.
Read this review for more information: AutoWealth Review: ETF Investments With Straightforward Fees
Promotions: No promotions for AutoWealth are being run at the moment.
A comparison of each robo-advisor’s pros and cons
|StashAway||Well-established with large AUM and widely popular|
No minimum investment amount required
Offers term life insurance coverage via StashAway Term Life, capped at S$500,000
|Fees are on the higher side for smaller investment amounts|
Income Portfolio requires a minimum investment amount of S$10,000
|SquirrelSave||Small minimum investment of S$1|
Unique portfolios assigned to every investor based on age, investment horizon, and risk tolerance
|Lack of transparency regarding the ETFs you can invest in|
10% performance fee has the potential to eat into your returns during a bull market
|UOB Utrade Robo||Run directly by a bank, much lower chance of business failure|
Most competitive fee structure among bank-run robo advisors
|More expensive than non-bank robo-advisors|
Does not tell you the ETF options upfront
|Kristal.AI||Attractive fee structure|
Gives you the option of building your own customised portfolio
|Not so transparent or user-friendly|
Additional charges that you need to be aware of
|Syfe||7 unique portfolios that give exposure to specific asset classes|
Exposure to 20 of the largest and most tradeable Singapore REITs in one portfolio
|Regular access to wealth experts requires a minimum investment sum of S$20,000|
|OCBC RoboInvest||Choose from 34 different thematic portfolio types, such as Gen Z Winners, US Cloud Computing or China Growth||0.88% p.a. management fee regardless of investment amount|
|Endowus||Allows you to access Smart Beta and actively managed fixed income products like Dimensional, PIMCO at the lowest all-in cost|
Allows you to invest your CPF Ordinary Account funds at competitive rates
Highest projected returns for their cash management account (Cash Smart Ultra)
|Minimum investment amount of S$1,000|
|MoneyOwl||Best for new investors with less than S$10,000|
Low minimum monthly starting amount of S$50
|Only three funds from Dimensional Fund Advisors make up the portfolios|
|AutoWealth||Same pricing structure regardless of your investment amount||Platform fee of US$18|
Min. investment amount of S$3,000
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Frequently asked questions
How much should I invest in a robo-advisor?
Although most robo-advisors in Singapore don’t have a minimum initial investment, they trumpet the virtue of dollar-cost averaging. Invest regularly on a monthly basis after deducting your household expenses. This ensures that you develop the habit of investing while allowing your portfolio to provide better returns over time.
If you’re a self-employed individual, robo-advisors work to your advantage as well. You can invest on an ad-hoc basis whenever you receive a payment from your clients.
Robo-advisors in Singapore don’t mandate when you invest and will simply purchase ETF units on your behalf during trading hours after you have made a deposit.
Are robo-advisors regulated by the MAS?
Yes, robo-advisors in Singapore are regulated by the MAS and they have to explicitly state that they are licensed. There are a set of guidelines that they have to follow, pertaining to areas like technology risk management and the prevention of money laundering, amongst others.
In practice, robo-advisors have to create questionnaires for users to ensure that its services and portfolios are suitable for them. If they are deemed unsuitable, they will not be allowed to make an investment.
Expect these guidelines to be refined and enhanced over time, especially as the industry becomes more mature and robo-advisors receive a greater inflow of capital.
What happens if a robo-advisor goes out of business?
Due to how nascent the industry is, each robo-advisor has gone to great lengths to assure potential clients that their funds are secure even if they wind up. For one, a client’s funds are kept in a separate bank account to prevent the robo-advisor from potentially misusing it.
This applies to your holdings as well, which are kept in a custodian account. However, you might need to liquidate your holdings instead of being allowed to transfer them to another robo-advisor. As you can guess, this isn’t ideal during a bear market or when markets are volatile.
Several robo-advisors have even gone on to acquire additional licensing that requires a minimum capital level, among other requirements. This decreases the likelihood of them going out of business, even when events such as stock market crashes or global pandemics occur.
Should bankruptcy occur, the MAS will be notified and proceedings will occur from there. Rest assured that it’s not the wild west if a robo-advisor in Singapore needs to cease operations.
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By Ian Lee
Ian is a former investment banker turned freelance financial and investment writer. He specialises in creating versatile finance content for the attention economy on topics ranging from personal finance and investing to fintech and cryptocurrencies.
By Ching Sue Mae
A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. This Manchester United fan enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.