StashAway Review: Goal-Getting Investments Through ETFs

Ching Sue Mae

Ching Sue Mae

Last updated 06 September, 2022

One of the first robo-advisors in the now crowded space, StashAway is a name well-known by many. Here’s what you can expect if you decide to invest your cash or SRS funds with StashAway. 

What is StashAway?

As one of the early players in the robo-advisory space in Singapore, StashAway has made a name for themselves and is widely known amongst both investors and non-investors. With their intelligent investment framework, StashAway pairs two important components — personalised wealth management and financial planning. 

StashAway makes investment decisions that are data-driven, using macroeconomic indicators to find changing economic conditions long before the markets respond. They also rely on data and research to select the asset classes that comprise your investment portfolio. This all boils down to StashAway’s ERAA® (Economic Regime-based Asset Allocation) investment strategy.

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

Overview of StashAway

  • What you are investing in: Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • Minimum investment amount: No minimum required
  • Management fee: 0.2% to 0.8% p.a. depending on your investment amount
  • StashAway Simple projected returns: 1.2%
  • What can you invest? Cash and SRS

How does investing with StashAway work?

StashAway allows you to start investing by funding your portfolio with either cash from your personal bank account or funds from your SRS account. Based on your financial situation and financial goals, StashAway will curate and recommend an investment portfolio that suits you. You always have the option to alter your goals, to withdraw or deposit money into the account, all with no additional fees 

Investing in StashAway portfolios

StashAway offers three different types of portfolios: General Investing, Goals-based Investing, and Income Portfolio. 

#1 General investing

You select the risk exposure you are willing to take on. This risk exposure is broken down into two categories: Core or Higher Risk.

Within these categories, you can further select your risk level, which will change the percentage breakdown of the assets in the portfolio. These portfolios can consist of government bonds, fixed income, equity sectors (US), international equities, commodities and cash. StashAway will then build and manage a portfolio that endures economic changes in the long term. 

#2 Goals-based investing

Retirement, home ownership, buying a new vehicle, starting a business – StashAway allows you to invest based on these goals and curate a portfolio that is tailored as such. 

Select a goal that you are investing for and fill in the required details, such as your goal target and the number of years you have to achieve your goal. StashAway will use this information to detail how much you’ll need to invest. You will then get a tailored portfolio that consists of different asset classes. StashAway manages the risk of this portfolio based on the time horizon you indicated.

#3 Income portfolio

A Singapore-focused portfolio, the objective of this portfolio is to earn reliable income. It consists of government bonds, corporate bonds, international equities, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and cash. This income portfolio is the only portfolio with a minimum investment of S$10,000. 

All three types of portfolios can be funded by either cash or Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) funds, and this setting cannot be changed once you start making deposits into the portfolio. 

Your investment portfolios with StashAway will consist of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). StashAway chooses the best-in-class ETFs that are the largest, most liquid, most tradable and most cost-effective ETFs with the lowest tracking error to the index and have a sufficiently long track record. You also enjoy automated and free rebalancing for your portfolio.

#4 Thematic portfolio

Like its fellow robo-advisor Syfe, StashAway now allows users to invest thematically through its Thematic Portfolios. As a start, it has three themes available for users to choose from, but it's highly likely that more will be added in the future. These are:

Technology Enablers
Investing in artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, cloud computing, robotics, and semiconductors.

The Future of Consumer Tech
Investing in e-commerce, fintech, video games, social media, the Internet, and the future of mobility.

Healthcare Innovation
Investing in biotech, genomics, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals.

StashAway doesn't reveal the exact ETFs that are in each thematic portfolio, but the fund managers behind the ETFs include ARK Invest, VanEck, and more.

Furthermore, you can tailor these thematic portfolios to suit your risk appetite. Adjusting the StashAway Risk Index's percentage when setting up your thematic portfolio changes its composition by adding in balancing assets.

These balancing assets do not fit the portfolio's theme and help hedge against risk when the themes are impacted. These include government bonds and cash, among other assets.

Apart from that, StashAway's Thematic Portfolios work exactly like their General Investing counterparts. Fees are identical and there's no minimum deposit required either.

StashAway Simple: Grow your cash at up to 1.9% p.a.

What is StashAway Simple? This is StashAway’s cash management account — an account meant for your savings.

StashAway Simple helps customers earn a projected 1.9% p.a. (even if you’re not investing with StashAway). StashAway Simple does not impose a minimum balance and there is no limit to the amount that can earn the projected 1.9% p.a.

  • Underlying funds: 30% in LionGlobal SGD Money Market fund, 70% to LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund SGD
  • Fees: No management fee charged by StashAway, but approximately 0.205% fee charged by underlying fund manager, embedded in projected rate
  • Projected return after all fees: Up to 1.9% p.a.

If you are looking for a platform that can reap higher returns at low risk, you can consider these insurance savings plans or a high-yield savings account. 

StashAway Simple™ Plus: Earn potentially higher returns up to 2.7-3.2% p.a.

If you're willing to bear slightly more risk, StashAway Simple™ Plus is another option to grow your savings. The projected rate is calculated based on yield from underlying funds and rebates from fund managers, excluding fees. With no minimum balance or cap on balance for earning returns, there's flexibility in that you can withdraw your funds anytime.

That said, due to the allocation to short duration bonds and underlying funds, it is recommended to hold your cash for at least 12 months to reap the full benefits of higher rate while managing your risk.

  • Underlying funds: 20% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund, 35% Nikko AM Shenton Short Term Bond Fund, 45% LionGlobal Short Duration Bond Fund
  • Fees: No management fee by StashAway until 30 June 2023, after which it will be 0.05% p.a., and approximately 0.19% fee charged by underlying fund manager, embedded in projected rate
  • Projected return after all fees: Between 2.7-3.2% p.a.

Both options are suitable for storing your emergency fund or to prepare for upcoming expenses such as a holiday, wedding, or for future investments.


SingSaver's Exclusive Offer: Enjoy waiver of management fees on up to the first S$40,000 invested in the first 6 months. No minimum deposit required. T&Cs apply.


What are StashAway's fees?

StashAway charges an annual management fee that ranges from 0.2% to 0.8% p.a. Here’s the breakdown of the annual fee based on the total investment amount you have with StashAway.

Total investment (SGD)Annual fee rate (incl. GST)
First S$25,0000.8%
Any additional amount above S$25,000, up to S$50,000 0.7%
Any additional amount above S$50,000, up to S$100,0000.6%
Any additional amount above S$100,000, up to S$250,0000.5%
Any additional amount above S$250,000, up to S$500,0000.4%
Any additional amount above S$500,000, up to S$1,000,0000.3%
Any additional amount above S$1,000,0000.2%

What does this fee include? This fee includes rebalancing costs, transaction fees and re-optimisation costs. You also enjoy unlimited, free withdrawals and free transfers between your portfolios. There is also no account setup or exit fees. 

How is this fee charged? You will automatically pay this fee with the 1% cash allocation in your account. This annual fee is charged monthly on a pro-rata basis, which means if you invested on the 15th of a particular month, you will not be charged for the first 15 days.

On top of these annual fees, you should also take note of:

  • Expense ratio charged by ETF manager: Approximately 0.2% p.a. to 0.4% p.a. 
  • Currency conversion fee charged by vendor for non-USD deposits to USD portfolios: 0.08% on the spot rate 

Pros of choosing StashAway

#1 Easy to get started with no minimum deposit

Some robo-investors require minimum investment amounts of S$1,000 to S$10,000, often proving to be a barrier to entry for new investors. With StashAway, you can start investing even with just a single dollar; there is no minimum investment amount required and no minimum balance you have to maintain in your investment account.  

There is just one exception: the Income portfolio that requires a minimum account balance of S$10,000. 

#2 Invest and achieve goals that matter to you 

We all invest with a goal in mind, whether it’s for a comfortable retirement, for our children’s education, for financial independence or for multiple different goals. 

With their goals-based investing portfolio, StashAway allows and encourages customers to invest in as many portfolios as they want. They can craft a different portfolio for each different goal.

Alternatively, the income portfolio is aimed at helping customers earn income through investing.

#3 Build knowledge on personal finance, investing with StashAway Academy

StashAway goes one step further when it comes to investor education. It offers a wide range of personal finance and investing courses and events that you can access with the StashAway app. Catering to every type of investor, courses are split into Basic, Intermediate and Advance courses. You can read articles, watch videos, sign up for webinars and even listen to their podcast (titled ‘In Your Best Interest’) on Spotify. 

The best part? All StashAway Academy materials are completely free, even for those who are not investing with StashAway.

#4 Safety first

Enjoy peace of mind knowing that your money with StashAway is safely stored in a separate custodian account. This means that your funds in the custodian account under your name will remain yours even in the unlikely event StashAway becomes bankrupt. 

StashAway also requires Two-factor authentication (2FA) at every important step, where you will have to enter a One-Time-Password (OTP) sent via SMS. You will also receive email notifications with every transfer and withdrawal made from your account. 

Pros of investing with StashAwayCons of investing with StashAway
Start investing with no minimum investment amount required (except for the Income portfolio)Management fee between 0.2% - 0.8% p.a., with larger investment amounts required to enjoy lower fees
Invest using either cash or SRS fundsMinimum of S$10,000 required for Income portfolio
Get a diversified portfolio of ETFsOnly invest in ETFs
Earn up to 1.2% p.a. on idle cash

For whom is StashAway best for?

An account for all investors, StashAway meets the requirements for those looking to start small. With no minimum investment amount, the barrier to entry is low. You also have the option of using SRS funds to invest, which means you won’t have to part with your hard-earned cash. It’s also ideal for those looking to set up multiple different portfolios within the same robo-advisor account. 

To help you get started, StashAway doesn’t limit their educational materials or StashAway Simple account only to those that have invested with them. New investors just embarking on your investment journey can tap on the resources StashAway provides (for free!). 

Eligibility criteria to open StashAway account

When investing with StashAway, you’ll first have to share your financial situation and financial goals. This will allow StashAway to help customise an investment plan that suits your goals and risk preferences. Before that, you’ll have to meet the following criteria:

  • Age: The minimum age required to open an account with StashAway is 18 years old, by birth date at the time of account creation
  • Nationality: All Singaporeans, Permanent Residents (PRs) and foreigners can open an account with StashAway

You can verify your details using MyInfo, or prepare the following required documents: 

  • Singapore citizens: Front and Back of National Registration Identification card
  • Foreigners: Passport (minimum validity 6 months) and Proof of residence in form of utility bill/ phone bill/ bank statement dated within 3 months.

How do you sign-up with StashAway?

StashAway's signup procedure can either be done on your desktop or by downloading the mobile app. The StashAway app also allows you to start investing in just 15 minutes. You can also use the app to adjust your risk preferences, financial goals, check on your portfolios, get market updates and more. 

While you’re add it, don’t forget the sign-up promotions on offer!


SingSaver's Exclusive Offer: Enjoy waiver of management fees on up to the first S$40,000 invested in the first 6 months. No minimum deposit required. T&Cs apply.


StashAway vs. Syfe: Which to choose?


StashAwaySyfe
Underlying assetETFsETFs, REITs, Equities
Management / advisory fees (per annum)0.8% for the first S$25,0000.65% for sum invested of less than S$20,000
Cash management accountStashAway Simple: up to 1.2% p.a.Syfe Cash+: Projected return of 1.5% p.a.
Minimum investment amountNo minimum amount (S$10,000 minimum required for income portfolio)No minimum amount
Cash, CPF or SRS?Cash and SRSCash and SRS

Since there is no minimum investment amount for both platforms, the barrier to entry is practically non-existent. For those who do not have much cash to park under investments, Syfe will be a much better option since the management fee of 0.65% for funds under S$20,000 is significantly lesser than StashAway’s 0.8% management fee for the first S$25,000.

Syfe also fares better in terms of a higher interest rate at 1.5% p.a. for its cash management account, as compared to StashAway’s projected returns of up to 1.2% p.a.

In terms of variety, Syfe also has a wider range of underlying assets, with portfolios specifically targeting REITs and Equities - great for tapping into different asset classes and diversifying portfolios.

StashAway vs. Endowus: Which to choose?


StashAwayEndowus
Underlying assetETFsMutual funds
Management / advisory fees (per annum)0.8% for the first S$25,0000.6% for S$200,0000.4% flat fee for any amount using SRS or CPF money
Cash management accountStashAway Simple: up to 1.2% p.a.Cash Smart: 0.7% - 2.1% p.a.
Minimum investment amountNo minimum amount (S$10,000 minimum required for income portfolio)S$1,000
Cash, CPF or SRS?Cash and SRSCash, CPF and SRS

In terms of fees, Endowus that charges a lower management fee at 0.6% p.a. for funds up to S$200,000 compared to StashAway’s 0.8% p.a. for the first S$25,000. 

However, do keep in mind that Endowus has a minimum investment amount of S$1,000. The strongest appeal of Endowus is also the fact that you can invest your CPF funds with them — the only robo-advisor that has been given this approval from the CPF. Investments made with your CPF Or SRS also incur a low management fee of just 0.4% p.a. regardless of the investment amount. 

Aside from that, you can enjoy higher gains with Endowus’ cash management accounts that boast projected returns of up to 2.1% p.a. (with slightly higher risk) as compared to StashAway Simple that only offers up to 1.2% p.a. 

StashAway vs. AutoWealth: Which to choose?


StashAwayAutoWealth
Underlying assetETFsETFs
Management / advisory fees (per annum)0.8% for the first S$25,0000.5% + US$18 platform fee regardless of investment amount
Cash management accountStashAway Simple: up to 1.2% p.a.Not available
Minimum investment amountNo minimum amount (S$10,000 minimum required for Income portfolio)S$3,000
Cash, CPF or SRS?Cash and SRSCash

Between StashAway and AutoWealth, Stashaway offers more flexibility in terms of deciding how much money you would like to invest. StashAway has no minimum amount required, while AutoWealth requires customers to put at least S$3,000 in order to create an account. Unfortunately, those who are cash-tight do not have other options of funding their accounts aside from cash.

On top of that, StashAway beats AutoWealth in terms of offering a separate cash management account that lets you enjoy a decent interest rate but yet is still relatively safe. StashAway Simple has projected returns of up to 1.2% p.a., giving you the utmost convenience of monitoring your investments on the same platform.

AutoWealth’s flat 0.5% p.a. plus US$18 platform fee makes it attractive for investors as they’ll only enjoy 0.5% p.a. management fee on StashAway if they invest amounts above S$100,000. Read more about Autowealth here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is StashAway safe?

All investments come with risks, so while StashAway can’t guarantee risk-free investment portfolios, they are still regulated by MAS. This means that StashAway is compliant and has met the criteria of the highest standards. Not only have they been audited, but they also provide full disclosure.

Also, rest assured knowing that your money is kept separate from StashAway’s finances. StashAway also uses a custodian account to hold your money (be it in cash or securities). Currently, the custodian bank for deposits is DBS Bank, while Saxo Markets holds the custodian account for investable cash and securities.

By using custodian accounts, the assets are in your name and you will have access to them regardless of what happens to StashAway.

What does Stashaway do with dividends?

If you are holding Goal-Based or General Investing portfolios, dividends are automatically reinvested for you. 

For Income portfolios, you can either choose to reinvest the dividends or have them be automatically credited to your personal bank account or SRS account (if you funded the portfolio with the same SRS account), and this will be reflected in your ‘Transactions’ tab.

What is the minimum deposit for StashAway?

There is no minimum deposit requirement for SGD deposits. However, if you want to make your deposits in USD, there is a minimum requirement of US$10,000 per deposit.

On top of that, there is also no minimum requirement for monthly investments. This means you have full flexibility on how much you want to deposit, when you want to invest and how much you want to invest each month (or not), without incurring any additional charges.

How to sign up for StashAway?

Simply sign up for an account by filling out your personal information manually or by retrieving your details using SingPass. Singapore citizens will need a picture of the front and back of their NRIC while foreigners will need their passport and proof of residence to sign up.

You can also download the StashAway mobile app to explore their features, portfolios, and how you can create or add goals to learn more about StashAway before signing up.

What is StashAway’s investment methodology?

StashAway makes investment decisions using macroeconomic indicators to discover economic conditions before the markets respond. They also rely on data, research and testing to select the asset classes that comprise your investment portfolio. When your portfolio strays away from the optimal asset allocation for any risk point, a re-optimisation of the portfolio is triggered. Read more about StashAway’s investment strategy, ERAA® (Economic Regime-based Asset Allocation) on their site.

Can I withdraw my money in StashAway anytime?

Yes. You can choose to withdraw any amount of money at any time without incurring any charges or penalty fees. Just think of it as your regular bank account with 100% cash liquidity.


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Read these next:
5 Best Robo Advisors To Auto-Pilot Your Investments In Singapore
Investing In Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): A Newbie’s Guide To Getting Started
Endowus Review: Investing Your Cash, CPF And SRS Money At Low Fees
Syfe Singapore Review (2021): Multiple Portfolios For Various Investment Objectives
Regular Savings Plan (RSP): What They Are And The Best Ones To Invest In

A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. Sue Mae enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.