Robo Advisor Singapore

Best Robo Advisor Singapore: How to choose the Best One 2022 Guide

A Robo advisor is a data-driven digital financial advisor, giving advice and managing your portfolio. Robo investing can date back to 2008 in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

When you input your personal information into the artificial intelligence system, the Robo advisor calculates, analyzes, and tailor-makes investment solutions for you. 

Many financial institutions offer the Robo investing service in Singapore. You may feel overwhelmed by current Robo advisor services. In the following, the article will cover some outstanding Robo advisors in Singapore and compare their pros and cons so you may know their charges and services.

 

9 Best Robo Advisors in Singapore

1. AutoWealth

Portfolios: Stocks, ETFs, and bonds

Key Features

  • AutoWealth is a Singapore-based auto Robo advisor. Using a direct investing approach, the broker deals with clients directly rather than through brokers.
  • If you are a client, AutoWealth will assign a wealth manager to serve you personally. The company uses various social media, like WhatsApp, to communicate with you besides face-to-face interactions.
  • AutoWealth states, using the index-tracking approach, to have outperformed other market peers in products, such as unit trusts.
  • The company places your assets in a custodian account, so your assets will stay safe when you invest.
  • The company accepts online applications only and does not support the Central Provident Fund or other public retirement schemes.
  • The investments cover global stocks and Government bonds.

 

2. DBS DigiPortfolio

Portfolios: ETFs

Key Features:

  • Being a major financial institution in Singapore, DBS offers 2 automated investing services: Asia Portfolio and Global Portfolio. The portfolios comprise Singapore-listed and London-listed ETFs. The stock trading service is also available.
  • The bank accepts online applications only. The Robo investing service cannot support CPF, SRS retirement systems.

 

3. EndowUS

Portfolios: ETFs, Stocks

Key Features

  • EndowUS works with funds from CPF and SRS retirement systems
  • The company has transparent fee structures of rebating most fund and trade commissions up to 100% to clients.
  • The Robo advisor also partners with UOB, UOB Kay Hian to speed up the link-up of a client’s account and the company’s custodian account.
  • You can apply online with MyInfo support.
  • EndowUS also offers tailor-made investment portfolios to clients 

 

4. Kristal.AI

Portfolios: Stocks, ETFs, REITs, Unit Trusts, Bonds, and Commodities

Key Features

  • Kristal.AI has the most comprehensive product range. 
  • The Robo advisor has tailored-made portfolio offers. The Core portfolio consists of ETFs tracking major indexes, e.g., S&P 500, while the Satellite portfolio is an active management style fund containing high-risk investments.
  • You can create an online account with MyInfo.
  • The company does not work with CPF or SRS.

 

Stock Market Graphs

5. OCBC RoboInvest

Portfolios: Stocks, ETFs, REITs, Commodities

Key Features:

  • The OCBC RoboInvest has 36 thematic portfolios across 6 markets available to clients.
  • You can apply online but not using MyInfo.
  • The Robo advisor doesn’t work with CPF, SRS.

 

6. Philip SMART Portfolio

Portfolios: Unit Trusts only

Key Features:

  • Phillip is one of two traditional financial institutions with solid backgrounds to offer Robo investing services.
  • It works with SRS but not the CPF system.
  • The Robo advisor accepts online applications only but not MyInfo.

 

7. SquirrelSave

Portfolios: ETFs only

Key Features

  • SquirrelSave’s ETF portfolios(DAAS) contain broad investment scopes like stocks, bonds, commodities, and currencies.
  • It doesn’t work with CPF and SRS.
  • The company accepts applications online but not MyInfo.

 

8. StashAway

Portfolios: Stocks, ETFs, Bonds, Commodities, REITs

Key Features

  • The Robo advisor offers the most flexible investment options. Tailor-made portfolios consist of 1. Goal-based portfolios in US dollars; 2. Income portfolios in Singapore dollars; and 3. A cash management portfolio with an interest rate of 1.9% per annum.
  • StashAway works with SRS but not CPF.
  • It accepts online applications with/without MyInfo.

 

9. Syfe

Portfolios: Core, Cash+, REITs, Select, Bonds, Commodities, and Unit Trusts

Key Features:

  • StashAway has the most comprehensive REIT portfolio covering the largest 20 real estate investment trusts(REIT) in Singapore. 
  • The Core portfolio invests in stocks, bonds, and gold across countries like the US, China.
  • The Cash+ portfolio holds liquid investments and earns 1.5% per annum.
  • The company provides securities services.
  • StashAway doesn’t work with CPF and SRS.
  • You can apply online with or without using the MyInfo system.

The CPF’s full name is the Central Provident Fund; the SRS’s full name is Supplementary Retirement Scheme.

 

Investing Online

Why do you need a Robo advisor?

1. You have no time to invest.

If you are busy with your work or family, you may need a Robo advisor to invest for you. A Robo advisor provides a one-stop-for-all service, including investment portfolio consulting to monitoring. The hands-free or hassle-free investing style is suitable for busy people with little time to manage their investments.

2. You are a beginner investor.

You are new to investing and do not know how to begin. A Robo advisor makes an investment proposal according to your goals, time, and risk tolerance. Besides, the algorithm-driven robot will carry out and monitor your portfolio. You save time and effort on learning to invest.

3. Professional investment planning

A Robo advisor is a fully automated investing platform where you can access the investing tools and know-how in one place. After you give it the personal data, it will produce several proposed investing solutions available. Besides, it reviews and rebalances your portfolio so that it keeps pace with your objectives. 

4. You are investing-lazy

With the technological advancements, the once high-net-worth service is now available to the mass market at a meager cost. Most Robo advisors charge less than 1% and a low-to-none minimum investment amount. Therefore it isn’t surprising a Robo investing is a popular investment service.

5. Multi-Product offers

In the investment platform, you may be bewildered by the tons of investment products for reaching your aims. They range from exchange-traded funds, unit trusts, stocks, financial, commodities futures, and derivative contracts. If you like to DIY, you may face difficulty understanding the product risk and characteristics or paying a fee to a financial advisor doing the job. A Robo advisor can make an investing solution appropriate to your financial circumstances, and you may spare your time on your work or family.

6. People who are shopaholics

We all know the principal at school: buying the best products at the lowest prices. A Robo advisor is a shopping website to select the best products. You should shop for the best Robo advisor in Singapore, then select the best products with returns appropriate to your risk level. Or you may read our blogs to get a clear understanding of the Robo advisors in Singapore.

7. Diversifications

You may think investments are risky. A Robo advisor uses exchange-traded funds and index funds to reduce risks. By tracking the performance of an index, ETFs reduce risks brought by individual stocks. Moreover, the returns of an ETF diversified portfolio are better than many unit trusts most of the time.

8. You are an innovative investor.

Robo investing is an integrated system where the technology combines with investment theories. Financial institutions use innovative approaches in investing for retail clients. If you are receptive to this investing style, you may have to examine how a company invests and performs.

 

Robo Advisors in Singapore: Fees and Minimum Investment Amounts

Robo advisors Fees per annum Minimum investment amounts
AutoWealth 0.5% + US$18 S$3,000
DBS DigiPortfolio 0.75% S$1,000 or US$1,000
EndowUS 0.60% US$10,000
Kristal.AI 0% S$100
OCBC RoboInvest 0.88% S$100
Philip SMART Portfolio 0.5% S$5,000
SquirrelSave 0.5% S$1
StashAway 0.8% 0 for USD, S$10,000 for the Singapore dollars
Syfe 0.65% 0

 

Pros and Cons of Robo Investing

Pros

1. Low cost of investing

Robo Investing provides an affordable way for retail investors with access to tailored-made financial services for high net worth investors. Retail investors may reduce the risks and the chance of loss if they get advice from professionals. In other words, the possibility of making a return may increase.

2. Professional services

Clients benefit from the regular monitor and rebalance by all-around computer, so the portfolio asset mix and performance align with clients’ goals. 

3. Saving time

Robo Investing is a passive-managed investment model. Most investments are index funds and exchange-traded funds. Clients may focus on other priorities and let the Robo-Advisors do the rest. 

4. Fit for most of the investors

Though the investing style may not fit everyone, it can complement an investor’s investing style.  For example, active investors can use a Robo-Investing to reduce portfolio risk, particularly during market turmoils.

5. No human bias

Robo-Advisors use the investing model developed by Nobel prize winners in investing. It is a scientific model with no human bias involved. Investors can keep an eye on their portfolio performance more objectively.

 

Cons

1. No human contact

An advantage can be a disadvantage sometimes. A cold machine may not know a client’s entire financial situation. A human financial advisor may understand more through interactions with clients about their emotions and what they want personally from investing. It makes a human advisor better tailored for a client’s needs.

A computer system may not fully understand why parents try hard to maximize their assets for disabled children and want to preserve the hard-earned money from any loss. So the computer may not provide the best solutions to the parent’s financial circumstances.

2. Simple investing technique

Robo-Advisor may not solve clients’ sophisticated financial goals by using one set of investing formulas. Suppose a client wants to do active investing like stock or futures picking within his portfolio. The Robo-Advisor may not cater to a client’s sophisticated demands.  

3. Outdated technology

Technology is forever evolving. Older versions are quick to be obsolete after new ones are in place. What if your Robo-Advisor cannot catch up with the changes?

4. Lack of close contacts 

A Robo-Advisor cannot act in a proper and all-round response to changes in aggressive clients’ financial conditions in place of a human financial advisor. Regular and humanized interactions are necessary ingredients to the process of successful financial consulting.

 

What to know before using a Robo-Advisor?

Automated investing is a part of financial planning. If you decide to make it in your planning process, you should know things before pushing the button.

Compare the packages from financial institutions: While different service providers offer the same service, they differ in cost and structures(previously stated).

Before choosing the right one, more information is available to you regarding several brand names.

Financial Institutions Advantages Disadvantages
Autowealth Standard charges regardless of investment amounts A minimum amount of S$3,000 and a platform fee of USD18
DBS DigiPortfolio Strong financial background Fewer products

It cannot work with CPF and SRS

Endowus
  1. Access to actively managed mutual funds, e.g., bond funds
  2. Higher returns offered by cash management accounts
  3. Able to invest through Central Provident Fund — Ordinary accounts
A required minimum deposit of S$1,000
Kristal.AI
  1. Low fees
  2. You can have more options to build up a portfolio of your choice
Not transparent fee structures
OCBC Roboinvest More fund choices regarding asset class, thematic investing like industry sectors, ESG, Ethic investing Standardized charges regardless of the investment amount
Philip Smart Portfolio A traditional finance company Few asset classes: only unit trusts are available
SquirrelSave Low minimum investment amount of S$1  Not transparent fee structures
StashAway Popular name; No minimum investment amount; Life insurance coverage offers High fees compared to other products; minimum investment amount for income portfolio – S$10,000
Syfe Numerous fund choices, including REIT and Exchange-traded funds Paid extra professional advice available for clients of S$20,000 or above

 

Besides the information above, you should know more about the backgrounds, operating history, and customers’ comments on the services offered by financial institutions.

 

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When should I use a Robo-Advisor?

A Robo-Advisor cannot do all-around things for clients. You should review the following before using a robot for investing.

  • Suppose you plan to retire in one to five years. In that case, you may need a human financial advisor to review your financial situations and integrate your non-investing and emotional factors into your plans before and after retirement.

Rather than focusing on investing, a human financial advisor handles and reviews a client’s emotional and other economic factors. The advisor integrates all elements and produces a comprehensive financial plan for a client in the end.

A Robo-Advisor cannot sort out all things for a client’s every life stage.

  • If you face market selloffs and unstable investment markets, you may need professional advice in navigating the stress caused. A human financial advisor knows how to handle situations more than a robot. 

If you need more consulting during an unsteady market, you may have to find a human advisor helpful.

  • Technology for investing sometimes may not suit traditional investors. 

Traditional investors may trust their instincts and other investing techniques when facing opportunities.

If you consider using a Robo-Advisor in investing, you may need to set some trade-offs.

  • Personal stress may have an impact on your investing style. Robo-Advisor is a formula investing platform and does not consider a human factor in investing. 

If you face stress caused by the investment market or other factors, your investment plan may change because of emotional and abrupt decisions. 

A human financial advisor may help smooth a client’s stress and keep an investing strategy on track to its goals, while advising an emotional client is not a Robo-Advisor’s job.

 

Should I use a Robo-Advisor instead of a human one?

  • Convenience and Efficiency

A Robo-Advisor is a popularized platform providing professional investing services once reserved to high net worth investors. It streamlines some processes and makes them more efficient and convenient for clients.

You, as an investor, have more investment options than before. Besides, you can monitor your portfolio performance or change asset mixes easier by finger-touching your cell phone, tablets, and computer screen. 

 

Is Robo a solution for all?

The commitment to investing in schedule is a necessary part of success. New and young investors are more subject to modifying their portfolios due to market changes.

Robo-Advisors cannot take the place of a human financial advisor in helping new and young investors commit themselves psychologically.

Robo-Investing cannot cater to sophisticated investors’ needs. Therefore, standardized investing services are the selling point of Robo-Advisor services. As a result, the lack of portfolio personalization results.

Can you beat the market using a Robo-Advisor?

If outperforming the market is one of your goals, you will be disappointed as they are, for the most part, index funds and ETFs.

You can have both of “the worlds.”

The best ways are going both ways at the same time! You benefit most if you have a human advisor picking stocks and bonds and consulting on other financial matters like taxes, estate, retirement, and insurance.

On the other hand, a human advisor will work with a Robo-Advisor to allocate and monitor parts of your assets. Therefore, two sources work hand in hand to realize your financial goals.

In a word, a financial advisor can play a part in managing your financial affairs in broad scope, including considering emotional factors, aggressive investment management, and monitoring the Robo-Investing on implementing the relevant investment strategy, asset allocations, and rebalancing.

 

What if a Robo-Advisor goes out of Business?

Singapore has comprehensive laws and regulations to protect investors as a regional financial hub and rule-of-law country.

Like other professional industries, a financial institution is required by laws to keep their clients’ funds safe, and they must set up an account for clients only. Clients’ money will stay there separate from a financial institution’s capital and will not be allowed to be commingled with a company’s assets for any purposes.

Besides, the client’s investment assets are kept in a custodian account. That means a financial institution cannot dispose of assets other than under a client’s instructions. Investors can rest assured of their asset safety.

But you should note you cannot transfer your assets from one custodian account to another. You must sell them before you withdraw, even if the financial institution is in trouble mode.

Some of the Robo-Advisors in Singapore have set up statutory capital beyond the authority’s legal requirements to assure investors’ confidence.

 

How to Evaluate Robo-Advisor Services?

You are interested in Robo-Advisor services but perplexed by many digital investment service providers. Here are some guidelines you may find helpful in selecting a Robot-Advisor that suits you:

  • Identify Robo-Advisor Services

Among the financial institutions providing the services, they differ in product offerings. 

Endowus and Kristal.AI promote product diversity, e.g., clients can build up investment portfolios of their choice. Besides, actively managed funds are also available for more sophisticated investors pursuing market outgrowth. 

Other Robo-advisors focus on low-cost and easy-to-operate strategies to lure new and inexperienced customers.

Like OCBC and DBS, traditional banks emphasize their brand names and edges in selling their services. The services are more popular among traditional customers alike.

 

How to Apply & Start Investing

Most Robo advisors, except a few ones, have the same application procedures. The requirements include 1. Apply online; 2. Provide your risk appetite and investment goals; 3. Choose your portfolios; 4. Fund your account; 5. Start investing.

The information you will get ready is:

  • A copy of your NRIC(The applicant must be 18 aged or above)
  • One of the latest 3-month documents: 1. bank statements; 2. utility statements; 3. tenancy statements; 4. Government or its agency statements.

Some brokerages allow MyInfo to apply, while other Robo advisors only use typical procedures. You should clarify this before applying.

FAST, PayNow, and Telegraph Transfer are standard funding methods used for funding methods. You should consult the financial institution you are dealing with for more information.

After funding your account, you can invest in your mobile phone or desktop computer applications anywhere and anytime. Know more on how to start investing in Singapore here.

 

Final Thoughts

Traditional and wealthy investors may prefer brand names like DBS, OCBC, and Phillip. Young and aggressive investors are fond of the technology investing approach and low-cost structures like Syfe, StashAway, SquirrelSave, and Endowus. Because of broad investment choices, investors may choose AutoWealth, Kristal.AI, StashAway, and Syfe.

3 takeaways:

  • The Robo advisory platforms are becoming popular due to their convenience and easy-to-use technology. However, Robo advisors differ in their fees and services. 
  • Robo-Advisors cannot take the place of a human financial advisor in helping new and young investors commit themselves psychologically.
  • A Robo advisor provides a one-stop-for-all service, including investment portfolio consulting to monitoring. 

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