What is a Robo-Advisor? Here Are 5 You Should Consider (2019)

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As the world moves on to higher advancements in technology, the wealth management industry can’t help but to cope with it as well.

One thing that stems out from this is what is now called “Robo-Advisors”.

Robo-Advisors are undeniably becoming more and more popular in the investment industry. That is why it is not a surprise that one of the growing financial centres in the world is joining in on this: Singapore.

If you have no idea what this is about, then count yourself lucky. We are here to provide you the necessary information about it.

But most importantly, who are the 5 Robo advisors in Singapore that you should consider. 

What is a Robo-Advisor?

But before that, let us first define what a robo advisor is.

Robo-Advisors are digital platforms that provide automated and algorithm-driven financial planning services like investing. This service boasts in its ability to require little to no human supervision.

A Robo-Advisor collects information from clients about their financial situation as well as their future goals. To do this, you are asked to answer a survey or a couple of online questions. From this, they use the data you have entered to offer advice.

They also recommend a suitable portfolio for you and/or automatically invest client assets.

You can choose to send them money from which they take to automatically invest for you according to the portfolio you choose every month.

1. AutoWealth

AutoWealth is one of the top three frequently mentioned robo-advisors in Singapore. If you have researched about this topic before, then we are positive that you have come upon AutoWealth.

AutoWealth is a licensed digital financial advisor that uses a proprietary algorithm to provide financial advice and investment management only.

They gather the data from a three-minute questionnaire that customers take. Thus, being a robo-advisor.

What is special about AutoWealth is that it provides customers precise recommendations about their investments minus the processing time and middleman profits. These recommendations include:

  • The ideal composition of their investment assets
  • The initial sum to invest
  • The periodic investment installments

AutoWealth started out in 2015 through the ex Investment Banker at Government Firm and ex Management Consultant, Ow Tai Zhi and Noel Lee respectively. Its operation is under MAS Financial Advisor License (FA100064-1).

Its current funding is undisclosed however it is projected to have a high net worth angels and is currently incubated in NUS Enterprise.

The pricing of AutoWealth is from a minimum of S$3,000 to start or flat 0.5% of total invested + USD18 platform fee per year.

2. Smartly

Through Smartly, individuals can invest in a globally diversified portfolio or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that are selected by Smartly base on the investor’s risk profile.

Just like how robo-advisors work, Smartly requires investors to provide some basic information through an online survey, which they will gather the data from.

And through their propriety algorithms, they will recommend a personalized investment portfolio.

Smartly is a service in collaboration with VCG Partners Pte. Ltd.—a licensed MAS fund manager in Singapore. It started, like AutoWealth, in 2015 by ex start-up professional, Keir Veskivali and Investment Analyst, Artur Luhäär.

Its funding is also undisclosed but with a high net worth angels and Expara Ventures.

The pricing of Smartly allows investors to open an account with an investment of just S$50 per month in globally diversified portfolio of ETFs.  

Clients pay very affordable fees of 0.5%-1% per year* together with the underlying ETF fee charged by the ETF provider, which is between 0.1% to 0.25% per year. 

*1% per year for investments less than S$10,000; 0.7% per year for sums over S$10,000; and 0.5% per year for S$100,000.

3. Stash Away

Another one of the top three robo-advisors together with the ones above, StashAway is also an automated digital wealth manager platform that gives clients a personalized, rebalanced, and optimized portfolio.

They do this by getting the following from their online questionnaire:

  • Salaries
  • Monthly Savings Capacity
  • Risk Preferences
  • Time Horizon

The same with the ones above, StashAway designs an optimized portfolio of ETFs and a monthly investment strategy for clients. It also manages the portfolio by rebalancing and re-optimizing according to the conditions of the market and economy.

But unlike the rest, StashAway has no minimum balance required. It has low management fees that range from 0.2% to 0.8%. StashAway also lets the clients withdraw their money any time.

StashAway is relatively new with its establishment in 2016 and being granted a Capital Market Services License only in May 2017. It came from ex ZALORA Group CEO, Michele Ferrario and ex Normura MD, Freddy Lim.

The pricing goes between 0.8% for S$10,000 to 0.2% for S$1,000,000 of total invested per year.

4. Bambu

Bambu adopted a different approach through the B2B route to market its robo-advisory products. It is marketing its robo-advisory platform through financial service companies to their customers.

It is a business-to-business robo –advisory company that offers wealth management digital platforms to financial as well as non-financial firms in Asia.

It does this through the same method of creating a personalized portfolio and risk profile according to the goals of each investor.

Bambu aims to improve the efficiency of relationship manages by offering a unified view of the market and house view. Through this, investors can easily find the most suitable investment strategies for them.

5. Pivot Fintech

Though launched by China’s fintech company Pintec Group in early 2017, Pivot Fintech is a Singapore venture that offers wealth management and robo-advisory technology to financial institutions in Southeast Asia.

Pintec’s technology also runs the robo-advisory services for known Chinese companies like Minsheng Securities and Anbang Insurance Group.

Its goal is to provide sophisticated and dynamic investment strategies that will help diminish risk by taking into consideration market volatility and economic changes.

Furthermore, aside from this, the group also offers other several businesses such as an online insurance broker, a consumer lending app, and an online fund distribution company.

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