BEST ROBO-ADVISORS – (UPDATED MAY 2024)

What are Robo-advisors?

Robo-advisors are digital platforms that provide automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services with minimal human supervision. They are typically more cost-effective than traditional human financial advisors, offering lower fees and making investing accessible to a broader audience with lower minimum investment requirements. Robo-advisors help make investing in the stock market simpler, providing a good starting point for beginners getting into investing.

This does not mean that humans are not involved. Several services will also offer human advisors that can answer user queries on investing through their platform. However, they are meant to provide broader direction, and automation performs the majority of portfolio management.

As with any other provider, robo-advisors will take into account your financial goals, investment timeframe, and risk appetite in order to create the right portfolio for you. These robo-advisors will manage your investments and rebalance your portfolio when needed, such as when the market changes.

As of 2021, Robo-advisors are managing about S$2.15 billion in Singapore

Barely 0.01% of the S$4 trillion asset management industry.

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Widest funding options, CPF, SRS and Cash: Endowus
Best for REITs: Syfe & Endowus & OCBC Roboinvest
Best for tight budgets: UOBAM Invest & Syfe & StashAway & SqSave
Best for short-term investments: Endowus Cash Smart Ultra
Best for ESG-focused investments: Endowus
Best for customisable portfolios: Endowus & Syfe & StashAway

Comparing robo-advisors

Robo-advisorMinimum investment amountUnderlying investmentsFunding optionsManagement fees“Build Your Own Portfolio” option
AutoWealth

AutoWealth Flexi Cash USD: S$1,000

AutoWealth Starter: S$3,000

AutoWealth SRS Portfolio: S$3,000

ETFs, Stocks, BondsCash, SRS

AutoWealth Flexi Cash USD: 0.1% p.a.

Autowealth Starter: 0.5% + US$18 platform fee p.a.

AutoWealth SRS: 0.4% p.a.

No
EndowusInitial: S$1,000
Subsequent: S$100
Funds, REITsCash, SRS, CPF(OA)0.15% to 0.60% p.a.Yes
DBS digiPortfolioSaveUp: S$100
Income: USD/S$1,000
Asia: S$1,000
Global: USD$1,000
Retirement: S$1,000
Equities, ETFs, Unit trusts, Bond unit trustsCash0.25% to 0.75% of portfolio value p.a.No
Kristal.AIDependent on specific portfolioCommodities, ETFs, Equities, Fixed IncomeCash0.54% p.a. + Safe Keeping Fee: 0.162% p.a. + Brokerage fee of USD1Yes
OCBC RoboInvestUSD$100Commodities ETFs, Equity ETFs, Fixed income ETFs, REITsCash0.88% of total investment value p.a.No
Philip SMART Portfolio

General Investing: S$300

US Equity: S$3,000

Bonds, Commodities, Equities, Fixed IncomeCash, SRSGeneral Investing: 0.5% p.a.
US Equity: 0.8% p.a.
No
SaxoWealthCareS$25,000ETFs, Equities, BondsCash0.45% – 0.75% p.a.No
StashAway

Zero Minimum Investment

SGD Deposit: None

USD Deposit: USD$10,000

ETFs, BondsCash, SRS0.2% to 0.8% p.a.Yes
SyfeS$0 – S$5,000ETFs, Equities, Bonds, Commodities, REITsCash0.25% to 0.65% p.a.Yes
SqSaveNoneETFsCash0.5% p.a.No
UOBAM InvestS$1Bonds, Equities, ETFsCash0.6% to 0.8% p.a. + underlying fund-related fees dependant on fundYes
UTrade Robo (UOB KayHian)S$5,000
Subsequent: S$500
Equities, Fixed Income, Commodities, ETFsCash0.5% to 0.88% p.a.No

All information is taken from their official websites and is accurate as of May 2024. 

The Singapore government will levy a Goods and Services Tax (GST) on all the above fees at a rate of 9% with effect from 1 January 2024.

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What are cash parking solutions?

Cash parking solutions are safe, low-risk investments, suitable for idle cash to be invested in for a short period of time.

These solutions are ideal for keeping funds liquid while awaiting better investment opportunities, managing short-term expenses, or earning returns on surplus cash without long-term commitments.

They prioritise low-risk, high-liquidity, and nearly guaranteed returns. 

Comparing cash parking solutions – non-guaranteed capital options

Robo-advisor / FundMinimum investment amountProjected returns less feesUnderlying investmentsFunding optionsManagement fees
Endowus Cash Smart SecureS$1,0003.4% to 3.7% p.a.50% Fullerton SGD Cash Fund
50% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund
Cash / SRS0.15% p.a.
Endowus Cash Smart EnhancedS$1,0004.2% to 4.5% p.a.50% UOB United SGD Fund
30% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity
20% Fullerton SGD Cash Fund
Cash / SRS0.15% p.a.
Endowus Cash Smart UltraS$1,0004.4% to 4.7% p.a.35% UOB United SGD Fund
20% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund
15% Fullerton SGD Cash Fund
10% Fullerton Short Term Interest Rate Fund
10% LionGlobal Short Duration Fund
10% PIMCO Low Duration Income Fund
Cash / SRS0.15% p.a.
StashAway SimpleNone3.7% p.a.70% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund
30% LionGlobal SGD Money Market Fund
Cash / SRS0.15% p.a.
StashAway Simple PlusNone4.5% p.a.60% LionGlobal Short Duration Bond
20% Nikko AM Shenton Short Term Income Fund
20% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund
Cash / SRS0.19% p.a.
Syfe Cash+ Flexi (SGD)None3.75% to 3.85% p.a.70% LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund SGD
30% to LionGlobal SGD Money Market Fund
Cash0.05% to 0.15% p.a.

All information is taken from their official websites and is accurate as of May 2024.

The Singapore government will levy a Goods and Services Tax (GST) on all the above fees at a rate of 9% with effect from 1 January 2024.

These solutions run on similar underlying financial instruments. In our opinion, using one from a preferred provider will make it easier to manage. For now, most robo-advisors are fee-less, or have minimal fees, in order to gain market share.

These could be good options to park part of your emergency fund as the volatility is low. This means the chances of losing capital are also lower than the higher-risk funds above. However, note that these returns are projected and not guaranteed.

For capital-guaranteed options 

Some people are risk-averse and prefer investment options that promise to protect their principal. Here are some options that ensure the safety of your initial investment:

Comparing cash parking solutions – Capital-guaranteed options

Robo-advisor / FundMinimum investment amountProjected returns less feesTermUnderlying investmentsFunding optionsManagement fees
StashAway Simple GuaranteedNone3.5% to 3.75% p.a.1, 3, 6, 12 monthsFixed deposit at MAS regulated banksCash / SRSNone
Syfe Cash+ GuaranteedNone3.6% to 3.75% p.a.3, 6, 12 monthsFixed deposits (via SG Banks)CashNone

All information is taken from their official websites and is accurate as of May 2024.

 

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We lay out the many options for you.

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Pros

  • Low cost of investing
  • Relatively passive
  • Minimal capital to start

Cons of investing in Robo-advisors

  • Individual portfolio customisation is limited as most portfolios are managed collectively according to the provider’s set approach.
  • As most robo-advisors currently operate on venture capital funding, the longevity of their business is not proven.
  • Limited investment options as compared with trading platforms

Bonds, banks or robo-advisors?

Details
Singapore Saving Bonds (SSB)
Fixed Deposit Account
Robo-advisors
Non-guaranteed capital portfoliosGuaranteed capital portfolios
Underlying InvestmentsSingapore Government issued bondsBank fixed depositBonds, fundsBank fixed deposit
Projected returns less fee3.26% to 3.54% p.a.2.50% to 3.50%* p.a.3.4% to 4.75% p.a.3.5% to 3.75% p.a.
TermUp to 10 yearsVary with banksNone1 to 12 months
WithdrawalAnytimeEnd of termAnytimeEnd of term
Minimum Investment amountS$500S$500 to S$50,000S$0 to S$5,000None
Capital GuaranteedYesYesNoYes
SDIC InsuredNoUp to S$100,000NoNo

*Based on various bank websites.

All information is taken from their official websites and is accurate as of May 2024.

Should you use Robo-advisors?

Robo-investing is an easy way to start your investment journey and provide a great starting point to grasp the general inner workings of investing.

Some reasons you should consider Robo-advisors

  • You are a new investor
  • You do not have the time to research and execute your investment plans
  • You are starting with a small capital sum

It is important to remember that Robo-advisors are not a one-stop solution to all things investment! There are still some qualities that robo-advisors lack when it comes to planning and growing your money in the long run. 

Read more: A Beginner’s Guide to Investing with Robo Advisors in Singapore

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do robo-advisors compare to traditional online trading brokers?

Online brokers are ideal for those who prefer a hands-on approach, to make their own decisions and do their own research. They are best suited for individuals who have some knowledge or experience in the financial markets and want control over their investment decisions and strategies.

Robo-advisors are best suited for those looking for a low-cost, hands-off approach to investing, those with smaller portfolios, or those who prefer not to manage their own investments. They are also a great option for investors seeking professional management with minimal effort, and for new investors who want to start investing without needing extensive market knowledge.

2. How do robo-advisors handle market volatility and downturns?

Robo-advisors build diversified portfolios across various asset classes and geographies.

Diversification reduces the impact of any single asset’s poor performance on the overall portfolio. This can help cushion losses during market downturns as different asset classes may react differently to market conditions.

Portfolios are also automatically rebalanced by adjusting asset allocation. This helps align investment strategies with investors’ goals and adapt to changing market conditions.

3. What security measures are in place to protect my personal and financial information with robo-advisors?

Robo-advisors operating in Singapore are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). MAS sets guidelines and standards for the custody and protection of client assets, ensuring that robo-advisors comply with stringent regulations to safeguard investors’ interests.

Some robo-advisors employ advanced encryption protocols to secure personal and financial information transmitted between your device and their servers. This encryption ensures that your data remains confidential and protected from unauthorised access during transmission.

Robo-advisors typically offer two-factor authentication as an additional layer of security for accessing your account. By requiring a secondary verification method, such as a unique code sent to your mobile device, 2FA helps prevent unauthorised access even if your password is compromised.

4. What if the robo-advisor I’m using closes down?

Robo-advisors are required to keep client assets separate from their own operational funds. This means that your investments are held by a custodian or brokerage firm, not by the robo-advisor itself.

In the event of a closure, your assets are still safely held by this custodian.

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