The world of investment and stocks can be very challenging and intimidating for beginners. Thankfully, robo advisors are here to guide starting investors from start to finish. Using their advanced knowledge base, robo advisors will consider your investment goals and give portfolio recommendations that will highly likely increase your profits.
Autowealth and Stashaway are two of the most popular robo advisors in Singapore, but we’ll get to them later. First, let’s talk about robo advisors — what are they, really?
What are Robo Advisors? How Do They Work?
A robo advisor is an online investment management system that is designed to help you make investments. They provide a variety of financial services like financial planning, portfolio management, retirement planning, and investments.
Robo advisors combine a variety of mathematical and statistical models in order to predict future events. The algorithms are updated periodically with data from the markets, and their predictions are updated in real-time.
As of 2020, there are over 12 million users of these advanced investment platforms worldwide, including Singapore. This figure attests to the efficiency and dependability of these platforms’ investment portfolios. Read more on Robo-Investing in Singapore
The Advantages of Using Robo Advisors
Robo advisors may sound too good to be true, but its number of users and profits from previous investments prove otherwise. If you plan to use this platform, you’ll surely enjoy the following benefits.
1. Get Lower Fees and Charges
Robo advisors, unlike financial managers, don’t charge fees or commissions. This allows them to offer lower costs than their human counterparts. Plus, these platforms aren’t always required to be licensed in the same way as financial managers.
2. Quickly Create a Diversified Portfolio
Robo advisors can help you quickly create a portfolio by using a lot of the same functions that a financial advisor would use when working with you one-on-one. The platforms use algorithms and your input to create a personalized portfolio based on your risk tolerance and investment amount.
3. Receive Effective Professional Suggestions
A dedicated wealth manager is always paid to recommend a certain asset allocation strategy. On the other hand, Robo advisors use algorithms to recommend assets based on the investor’s goals and risk tolerance, which has the highest likelihood to increase your profits.
4. Automate Your Investments
To automate your investments, robo advisors use algorithms to analyze your financial information and make automated investment decisions. While you will still have to approve its recommendations manually, it’s a great way to evaluate and then invest your money for potential growth.
Who Can Make Best Use of Robo Advisors?
Starting investors need a simplified means of investing at a low cost, making these platforms an excellent choice. Beginners stand to benefit from a robo advisor’s automated investing recommendations and want to invest in specific asset classes with the lowest risk and highest yields possible.
Autowealth vs. StashAway
Now that you know all about robo advisors, let’s talk about two of the most popular ones among other robo advisors, Autowealth and StashAway.
Below this table, we’ll discuss their respective proprietary investment strategy, details about their retail fund management, portfolio assets, and more.
|Annual Management Fee
|0.20% for investing more than a million
0.80% for investing less than a million
If you’re looking for a MAS-licensed robo advisor, you can’t go wrong using Autowealth. Serious and experienced investors greatly consider Autowealth because of its high-quality risk investment allocations, which cater to every kind of risk appetite, long-term goals, or financial situation.
Autowealth has been around for five years. It has built its reputation as an intuitive and useful platform with over thousands of stocks and hundreds of bonds. Its portfolio includes Vanguard, iShares, and other US and international assets and bonds.
While it’s a greatly useful platform for building wealth, many starting investors may most likely get turned off from its high S $3,000 minimum deposit and 0.5% management fee charge every year. Let’s take a closer look at each benefit Autowealth provides.
As of writing, Autowealth has over 8,000 stocks and 600 government bonds. The company focuses on low volatility and stability on consumer goods, oil, and gas assets.
Here is a sample list of the assets listed in its portfolio.
- Vanguard Total Stock Market
- Vanguard FTSE Europe
- Vanguard FTSE Pacific
- Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF Emerging Market Equity
- iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF U.S. Government Bonds
- iShares International Treasury Bond ETF
- And more
How it Works
Just like other Robo Advisors, it provides you with four risk profiles after you answer a starting survey that assesses your risk appetite. You can view each portfolio’s assets, focus, and potential returns using AutoWealth’s features.
According to AutoWealth, it uses a “passive market returns portfolio investment approach,” focusing on diversification and portfolio allocation.
- Fees: S $3,000 minimum deposit, 0.5% annual commission
- Investment Allocation (Bonds/Assets)
- Preservation (80%/20%)
- Conservative (60%/40%)
- Balanced (40%/60%)
- Long-term Growth (20%/80%)
Pros and Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons of using Autowealth.
- Get an assigned wealth manager
- Have an objective-based investment strategy
- High minimum deposit
- Few risk level selection
Who Can Maximize Autowealth?
If you’re an investor focused on the growth of the U.S. economic market, you will find this platform a great addition to your portfolio if you can manage its high minimum deposit requirement. Plus, if you’re okay with risk profiles that provide you recommendations for conservation or higher exposure without having a chance to handpick stocks that you would like, then Autowealth is an excellent choice.
What We Think of Autowealth
Many Singaporeans will find this advisor’s investment portfolio an excellent starter for growth. Plus, a dedicated financial advisor on the line can give you pointers from maximizing the platform and knowing which areas can portfolio assets legally belong to and generate growth for you. We believe that this account is an excellent complementary investment account alongside your already-existing portfolio.
StashAway is another MAS-regulated platform with multiple risk profiles that virtually automate investing. It’s been around since 2016 and has always focused on investors who deposit and invest large sums.
The huge minimum deposit is one of the biggest obstacles investors have to overcome with Autowealth before trying its features and seeing if it works out for them. StashAway, on the other hand, focuses on relatively higher management fees but with zero minimum deposit requirements.
However, you’ll get charged a bigger 0.8% management fee annually if your holdings amount to less than a million, making it imperative to have more than a million in holdings to enjoy its 0.2% annual management fee.
StashAway’s portfolio focuses on US-listed exchange-traded funds (ETF), a collection of common stocks with exceptional performance during trading. Like Autowealth, Stashaway focuses on the US market, upon your registration with each of its risk profiles investing in corporate bonds, REITs, equities, and more, to name a few.
Here’s a sample of what their portfolio looks like.
- iShares Core S&P 500 ETF
- Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF
- iShares MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan
- iShares MSCI Australia
- iShares MSCI Canada
- iShares MSCI Japan
- SPDR® Portfolio Emerging Markets
- iShares Core S&P Small-Cap
- And more
How it Works
StashAway will ask you a few questions to assess your risk profile. Then, it will recommend a risk index from 11 profiles that are most suitable to your goals. Just like Autowealth, you can’t handpick stocks and bonds you’d like to invest in, but it will send you recommendations to rebalance and optimize your portfolio to help you reach your goals.
- Fees: 0.20% for investing more than a million, 0.80% for investing less than a million
- Investment Allocation (Bonds/Asset)
- StashAway Risk Index 6.5% (95%/5%)
- StashAway Risk Index 8% (90%/10%)
- StashAway Risk Index 10% (80%/90%)
- StashAway Risk Index 12% (72%/28%)
- StashAway Risk Index 14% (67%/33%)
- StashAway Risk Index 16% (60%/40%)
- StashAway Risk Index 18% (55%/45%)
- StashAway Risk Index 20% (47%/53%)
- StashAway Risk Index 22% (40%/60%)
- StashAway Risk Index 26% (25%/75%)
- StashAway Risk Index 30% (10%/90%)
- StashAway Risk Index 36% (100%/0%)
Pros and Cons
- Zero maintaining balance and minimum deposit
- No platform fees
- High starting management/annual fee for starting investors
- US-focused portfolio
Who Can Maximize StashAwayStashAwayke Autowealth, Stashaway will benefit investors who are focused on the US market’s potential at any given time. In addition, having enough funds to invest in REITs and ETFs, which require huge capital, is a must if you plan to use Stashaway. Lastly, investors must be willing to comply with the 0.8% annual management fees for investments lower than a million.
What We Think of Stashaway
Having zero minimum investment requirements is a huge appeal for many investors in Singapore because it allows them to see Stashaway’s potential before going all-in. The enormous 0.8% management fee is easy to overcome for any investor because ETFs, REITs, and corporate bonds require huge capital to gain any traction. However, it will keep small and conservative investors at bay. Therefore, unless you’re knowledgeable about the asset classes that Stashaway trades, you can’t maximize its features without proper financial advice.
For beginners, we believe that Autowealth is the best starting point.
While both advisors focus on the US market, Autowealth has far less risk involved because the S $3,000 minimum investment requirement is much smaller than the hidden million deposit requirement in Stashaway that will bypass its 0.8% annual management fees.
Autowealth’s assets help small and conservative investors have just enough exposure, unlike Stashaway’s REIT and ETF-focused portfolio that requires massive investment to gain any profits from the start.
How Do I Find The Most Compatible Robo Advisor?
Good robo advisors will offer a number of services like investing, banking, and insurance services to offer you convenience. You will also want to find a robo advisor that offers free financial planning and education. Autowealth and Stashaway’s blogs offer effective introductory investment education for free and provide specialized financial education once you’ve signed up for either service.
Plus, make sure to compare the fees and other features to determine which robo advisor is the best for your needs. Using review articles, such as this post, can help you have insight on your prospective robo advisor and their potential to provide you with the results that you need.
We’re Answering Some Of Your Most Asked Questions
Let’s answer some frequently asked questions to learn more about these advanced investment platforms.
1. Do Robo Advisors Operate Under the MAS?
All robo advisors must operate and have regulation from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is the central bank of the country. Its main responsibilities include managing the country’s monetary policy and regulating financial institutions. They ensure fair trading and business between customers and banks, and other financial institutions.
If you encounter a trading firm or robo advisor not under MAS’ regulation, you may face an enormous risk of criminal activity, such as scamming, withheld payments, and more.
2. How Much Should I Invest in a Robo Advisor?
As with any trading venture, it should be an amount that you’re already willing to lose, to begin with. However, some platforms ask for higher minimum deposits — and some do so in indirect ways.
For example, Autowealth has an upfront S $3,000 minimum deposit requirement and a 0.5% annual management fee requirement. It might seem much bigger than Stashaway’s zero minimum deposit requirement. However, if you look at Stashaway’s asset classes, portfolio, and 0.8% annual management fee for any holdings below a million, it suddenly has a bigger minimum deposit requirement than the latter.
Consider all these details carefully to determine the actual amount you should invest in an advisor.
3. Is a Robo Advisor Much Better Than Using a Broker and Manually Investing?
A platform is a program that can invest your money for you, and it can be very helpful for someone who does not want to spend the time researching the market or investing options by themselves.
The difference between a robo advisor and manual investment is that a robo advisor will automatically invest your money based on an algorithm, whereas manual investing requires you to actively research to learn where to best invest your money.
4. What Are The Common Limitations of Robo Advisors?
Robo advisor platforms are limited in their ability to provide personalized advice to the average investor because of the need for strict adherence to rules and regulations by the authorities. They can be helpful in maintaining and potentially improving your investment portfolio while considering your risk profile and can easily compare assets and bonds, and recommend the best choice that can grow your profits.
5. What Are The Advanced Capabilities Robo-Advisors Have?
Robo advisors have many automated capabilities. Here are two of the best ones that have made them helpful for many investors.
Robo advisor rebalancing is when an automated investment adviser makes changes to their portfolio in order to stay in the intended mix of risk that has been set.
Rebalancing is a “process of periodically moving the weightings of an investment portfolio, in order to maintain the desired asset allocation and manage risk.”
Rebalancing is used to ensure that the risk of each asset in the portfolio remains the same.
For example, if a typical portfolio has 60% in equities and 40% in fixed income, then one year after the portfolio is created, a rebalancing would move 20% of its assets from equities to fixed income. Therefore, you can easily see the benefit of automating this process to save time and take advantage of enormous opportunities.
Tax Loss Harvesting
Tax-loss harvesting is a strategy that allows investors to sell securities they no longer own at a loss and use the loss to offset their gains and lower their tax liabilities.
When you sell shares in a company, you can take a tax loss on the sale. If you want to buy more shares (and therefore incur a capital gains tax), you can use the capital loss from the sale to offset the capital gains taxes that you would otherwise owe.
Robo advisors offer this service, so if you have a high-risk portfolio and want to reduce your taxes, you can sell your shares and use the loss to buy more shares at a lower price.
Our Final Thoughts
Between Autowealth and Stashaway, we believe that Autowealth is a better choice for starting investors. It might seem to demand a large deposit because of the S $3,000 minimum deposit requirement, but its budget-friendly assets make investing with virtually any amount possible.
- Both Autowealth and Stashaway focus on the US market and use risk profiles to determine the investor’s risk appetite.
- Autowealth has a minimum deposit requirement of S $3,000 while Stashaway has none. Both charge 0.5% and 0.2-0.8% annual management fees respectively.
- Autowealth is a beginner-friendly option versus Stashaway because of its relatively lower minimum deposit requirement and accessible assets.
If you want to get started on either Autowealth or Stashaway right away, you’ll need to meet their respective minimum deposit to gain profits. Thankfully, you can apply for a six-month personal loan immediately through Instant Loan.
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