Endowus Review: Investment At Low Fees | SingSaver

Endowus Review: Investing Your Cash, CPF And SRS Money At Low Fees

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With access to leading fund managers globally, Endowus allows the everyday investor to grow CPF, cash and SRS at a low cost. Here’s what Endowus has to offer amidst the competitive investment landscape.

What is Endowus?

Endowus is a Singapore-based financial technology company that allows you to invest your CPF, Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) money, and cash savings. With access to funds from leading global fund managers, Endowus curates your investment portfolio with institutional-quality financial products, at the lowest cost possible.

Here’s what you’ll find in this review:

Overview of Endowus

Product summary:

  • What you are investing in: Mutual funds/unit trusts
  • Minimum investment amount: S$1,000
  • Types of funds Endowus offers: Funds from reputable fund managers such as Dimensional Fund Advisors and PIMCO.
  • Management fee: 0.60% for first S$200,000 or 0.40% flat fee for any amount for CPF or SRS money
  • Endowus Cash Smart projected returns after all fees:
    • Core: 0.8% to 0.9% p.a.  
    • Enhanced: 1.2% to 1.4% p.a.
    • Ultra: 1.8% to 2% p.a.
  • What can you invest? Cash, CPF, and SRS

Here are the pros and cons of using Endowus for your investment needs.

Pros of investing with EndowusCons of investing with Endowus
Access funds from respectable fund managers otherwise only available to institutional investorsS$10,000 starting amount required
Invest not just cash, but also your CPF and SRS moneyMust be 21 years old to open an Endowus account
Low, all-in access fee that is 1/3 of the industry averageLarge investment amounts required to enjoy even lower fees
Cash management account available to store (and grow) your spare cash
Multi-asset ESG portfolios tailored to your risk tolerance

How does investing with Endowus work?

#1: Investments

Endowus Core Portfolios: Providing wealth accumulation solutions

With Endowus, you can choose from six different portfolios to invest your cash, CPF and SRS money, depending on your investment objectives and risk tolerance. Your funds will go into a portfolio that is globally diversified, offering the best-in-class mutual funds (also known as unit trusts) from leading fund managers globally, without spending any more than you should on fees (more below).

The portfolios you’ll be choosing from are broken down into a percentage of stocks versus bonds. 

Your investments come with automated rebalancing to ensure that your portfolio is aligned to your goals. You will also receive investment advice, and you have an option to set up recurring monthly investments. The cost of these transactions is factored into a single, all-in access fee. 

Endowus Fund Smart: Invest, your way

Endowus has recently introduced Fund Smart to the mix. With Fund Smart, you can now build and personalise your own portfolio, a solution that was sorely missing in the robo-advisory field. 

With Fund Smart, you get exclusive access to best-in-class institutional funds from the world’s top asset managers to make up your portfolio. This means that Endowus has done the heavy lifting by screening out the best funds available for that asset class or category. Much like the existing Endowus offerings, you also enjoy no sales fees, no transaction fees and 100% trailer fee rebates. 

You do the rest. Select the funds that make up your portfolio and customise your fund allocations. Currently, you can select up to 8 funds, choosing between equity, fixed income and multi-asset funds. 

You’re not all on your own when creating the portfolio. Upon selecting your funds, Endowus will provide you with an overview that includes your average annual return based on historical data, goal projection and total annual fee. 

Endowus ESG Portfolios: Sustainable investing

ESG investing is fast becoming one of the investment mega-trends globally. On 17 March 2021, Endowus launched Asia’s first multi-asset ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) portfolio, for investors that are looking to invest in a more sustainable future. This means making investments that play a part in fostering a positive environmental and social impact.

Made up of best-in-class ESG funds, this ESG portfolio allows investors to invest in for both equities and fixed income products from the top ESG fund managers. Like their other portfolios, Endowus has secured institutional share class funds with 100% trailer fee rebates for investors.

Similar to the Endowus Core Portfolio, you’d get a recommended portfolio based on your risk tolerance. If you’d like to customise your own ESG portfolio, you can do so with Endowus Fund Smart. Currently, Endowus ESG portfolios are not available for SRS or CPF investing just yet.

Do keep in mind that regardless of the investment portfolio type you choose, Endowus requires a minimum initial investment amount of S$10,000.

#2: Cash management accounts: Grow idle cash

Endowus also offers a cash management account — Cash Smart. Cash management accounts can be used to help grow your idle funds.

Unlike many high-yield savings accounts that require you to fulfill certain criteria to earn your interest, you can grow your money simply by keeping the money in your Cash Smart account. There is no lock-in period, no tiers to hit, no limit to the amount you can keep in the account and your interest returns are accrued daily. 

The cost? 0.05% per year (excluding fund-level fees).

The Endowus Cash Smart account is available not only for your cash, but also for your idle SRS funds. Here are the three different Cash Smart accounts available. 

Endowus Cash Smart Core: 

  • What is it: A diversified portfolio of cash and money market funds
  • Underlying funds: 50% Fullerton SGD Cash Fund, 50% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity
  • Projected return after all fees: 0.8% to 1% p.a.  

Endowus Cash Smart Enhanced: 

  • What is it: A diversified portfolio of money market and high quality short duration bond funds
  • Underlying funds: 50% UOB United SGD Fund, 50% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity
  • Projected return after all fees: 1.2% to 1.5% p.a.

Endowus Cash Smart Ultra:

  • What is it: A diversified portfolio of short duration fixed income and money market funds
  • Underlying funds: 27.5% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund, 25% Fullerton Short Term Interest Rate Fund, 25% LionGlobal Short Duration Bond Fund, 12.5% Nikko AM Shenton Income Fund, 10% PIMCO GIS Low Duration Income Fund
  • Projected return after all fees: 1.8% to 2% p.a.

Why should you choose Endowus as your Robo-Advisor?

#1: Access leading global funds at the lowest cost possible

Endowus opens the doors for retail investors to invest in funds that are typically only available for institutional investors. 

Their platform allows you to access Smart Beta and actively managed Fixed-Income products from reputable fund managers such as Dimensional Fund Advisors and PIMCO, at the lowest all-in cost. 

With access to the funds from these fund managers, Endowus uses evidence-based investing to give investors the highest probability of investment success over the long-term. This means selecting the investment products that have exhibited good long-term performance with proven track records, that are also offered at attractive institutional-level costs.

#2: Invest your CPF, SRS and cash in a single platform

You can invest your CPF money with Endowus under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS). To do so, you will need to open a CPF Investment Account. Once your CPF-IA is linked to your Endowus account, you can start investing and fund your Endowus investments with your CPF accounts.

While the money in your CPF Special Account (SA) earns a solid 4% p.a. interest, the money in your CPF Ordinary Account (OA) earns a modest 2.5% p.a. There is also an extra 1% you earn on the first S$60,000 of combined CPF balances, capped at $20,000 for the CPF OA.

While a 2.5% p.a. interest rate isn’t too shabby, there are investors who will feel like they can do much better by investing their retirement savings — specifically, by investing with the Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) or CPF OA.

Through Endowus, your SRS or CPF OA funds can access a globally diversified portfolio at some of the lowest costs for CPF-related investments.

Source: Endowus

To help users gain even more insight into their CPF funds, Endowus released the CPF Calculator feature in September 2021. Key in your age, salary, CPF account balances, and the calculator estimates how long your funds will last after retirement.

Additionally, the calculator will also be able to estimate the growth and decline of users’ CPF balances at different life stages. The estimates generated showcase two figures, one where 50% of your CPF-OA is invested and one where you don’t make any investments with your CPF funds.

Finally, users who utilise this tool will also be sent a personalised CPF Prepared Report to help them better prepare for housing purchases. The report will also recommend how users can take advantage of existing CPF schemes or invest to grow their account balances.

#3: Low, all-in access fee

Fees are amongst the top concerns when making investments. The reason is simple: fees eat into your returns. The less fees you pay, the more returns in your pocket. For example, if your fees add up to 3%, in order to earn a 7% return on your investments, the investments would have to reap 10% in returns before fees. 

Your returns would depend on other factors as well, such as your risk appetite, which determines the makeup of your portfolio. Not all portfolios are primed for high returns as risk-averse investors could choose to take on lower risk for modest returns. 

Rather than paying multiple different fees at different levels, Endowus employs a simple, all-in fee that covers all the costs involved. The only fee that isn’t included in the all-in access fee is the fund-level fee of 0.18% to 0.64% p.a.

#4: Grow your spare cash

With the present low interest rate environment, numerous banks have slashed the interest rates for their savings accounts. This means fewer avenues to grow your spare cash or emergency funds.

With their Cash Smart account, Endowus provides the opportunity to earn up to 1.4% p.a. on your idle cash, without bothering with criteria like minimum credit card spending or salary credit. You even have the option to choose between two different Cash Smart accounts depending on your risk tolerance and how soon you’ll need these savings.  

#5: Curate your own investment portfolio 

With their latest investment solution — Endowus Fund Smart, Endowus gives investors the opportunity to design their ideal investment portfolio with the click of a few buttons. Similar to the Endowus advised portfolios, you can invest your cash, CPF or SRS funds with Fund Smart. Investors looking for a robo-advisory option that allows you to customise the components of the portfolio and each individual allocation will find Fund Smart useful.

#6 Invest sustainably with ESG investing

With Endowus ESG Portfolios, retail investors now have an ESG focused portfolio to invest in. This ESG portfolio marries the two goals of reaping financial returns while generating positive environmental and social impact. Investors looking for an ESG solution can use Endowus ESG Portfolios to invest in both ESG equities and fixed income products.

Endowus is also offering this ESG portfolio at low cost, securing access to institutional funds while providing 100% trailer fee rebates.

#7: It’s secure 

What if the company ceases to exist? One major concern many investors have when it comes to new-age robo-advisors is the security and safety of keeping money with the robo-advisory company. 

When you create an Endowus account, Endowus creates a trust account in your own name at UOB Kay Hian, Singapore’s largest broker. This means that regardless of what happens to Endowus in the future, you will have full access and claim to your assets that are held in the UOB Kay Hian account under your name.

For whom is Endowus best for?

Endowus is best for investors looking to invest and maximise their ‘locked money’ – namely CPF funds. Where Endowus stands out is also their commitment in offering the lowest fee possible for institutional level funds. 

Unlike other robo-advisors that allow you to start investing with just S$1, Endowus is suitable for those with sizeable capital, with a S$10,000 minimum investment amount. 

However, this minimum investment amount can be made using different modes of funding across cash, CPF and SRS. For example, you can invest S$5,000 through cash and S$5,000 with your CPF OA in order to make up the S$10,000 minimum. 

Your subsequent investment amounts beyond the first S$10,000 are set at a minimum of S$100. The minimum for a new goal or transaction for Fund Smart is also S$100, with no minimum balance required.

What charges or fees should you look out for?

Endowus works with asset managers to access the lowest fees possible, ensuring that customers get 100% rebate of any trailer fees or sales commissions. As such, Endowus charges a single, all-in access fee that is based on your assets under advice (AUA), inclusive of GST. The more you invest, the lower the fees.

Investment typeFee details
CPF and SRS money0.40% flat fee for any amount
Cash (tiered, not stacked)Up to S$200,000: 0.60%
S$200,000 – S$1,000,000: 0.50%
S$1,000,001 to S$5,000,000: 0.35%
More than S$5 million: 0.25%
Cash Smart0.05% flat fee for any amount

However, do note that these fees exclude fund-level fees of 0.18% to 0.64%. These fund level fees are built into the cost structure of the fund and indirectly affects the fund returns.

What does this all-in access fee include? It includes the account and portfolio creation, investment advice, rebalancing costs, dividend withholding tax, FX transaction charges, transfers into and out of the account and brokerage fees. With a single access fee, this also means that there are no sales charges, no transaction fees and no hidden charges. To top it off, you enjoy a 100% trailer fee rebate.

How is this fee charged? The access fee is charged on a quarterly basis, based on your daily average total AUA for that quarter. To make this a seamless process, if you have cash in your account, your cash balance will be used to pay for the fees. Otherwise, Endowus will redeem part of your investment portfolio that is equivalent to your fees due for the quarter.

Endowus vs StashAway vs Syfe vs MoneyOwl

Underlying assetMutual fundsETFsETFsMutual funds
Management/advisory fees* (per annum)0.60% for first S$200,000 
0.40% flat fee for any amount for CPF or SRS money
0.8% for the first S$25,0000.65% for sum invested of less than S$20,0000.50% – 0.60% p.a. (0% fee for the first S$10,000)
Cash management account Endowus Cash Smart: 0.8% to 2% p.a.  StashAway Simple: Projected rate of 1.2% p.a. 
Syfe Cash+: Up to 1.75% p.a. MoneyOwl WiseSaver: 0.44% p.a. (5-day moving average as at 5 March 2021)
Minimum investment amountS$1,000No minimum amount (S$10,000 minimum required for Income portfolio)No minimum amountS$50 per month (or S$100 lump sum)
Cash, CPF or SRS?Cash, CPF and SRSCash and SRSCash and SRSCash and SRS

*Do note that besides management/advisory fees, other fees such as fund expense ratio apply

Eligibility criteria

To open an Endowus account:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • Minimum investment amount of S$1,000

To invest your CPF money under CPFIS:

  • are not an undischarged bankrupt;
  • have more than S$20,000 in your OA; and/or 
  • have more than S$40,000 in your SA.

From 1 October 2018, new CPFIS investors will also need to take the Self-Awareness Questionnaire (SAQ) before you can start investing under CPFIS

What promotions are available?

Endowus signup promotion: Enjoy S$20 off access fees when you apply for a new account on SingSaver and make a minimum deposit of S$1,000. Do note that this promotion is valid with corporate offers and Endowus’ own Personal Referral Program.

Overall summary

Endowus may feature a minimum investment amount of S$1,000, but this isn’t difficult to meet, considering it can be can be combined using different modes of funding — cash, CPF and SRS. Endowus also happens to be the only robo-advisor that you can invest your CPF OA funds with! If that’s not reason enough, their latest Fund Smart offering even allows you to curate your own investment portfolio using their approved funds.

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Read these next: 
Guide To Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) And Tips To Maximise It
Best Robo Advisors To Auto-Pilot Your Investments In Singapore
StashAway Review: Goal-Getting Investments Through ETFs
Syfe Singapore Review (2021): Multiple Portfolios For Various Investment Objectives
MoneyOwl Review: Investment, Insurance And Will Writing Rolled Into One

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.