DBS digiPortfolio, StashAway, and OCBC RoboInvest are among the most popular Singapore-based robo-advisors of today.
DBS digiPortfolio is comparatively newer (launched near the end of 2019) than StashAway (founded in 2016), and OCBC RoboInvest (founded in 2018), the first bank in Southeast Asia to launch a robo-advisor investment service.
Though the purpose of every robo-advisor is universal— to allow clients to passively invest hassle-free— DBS digiPortfolio, StashAway, and OCBC RoboInvest each have unique advantages that may make one of the robo-advisors a better fit for you over the others.
Here, we provide an in-depth comparison of these platforms to help you decide which one is the best for you.
StashAway’s Investment Strategy
StashAway uses an advanced framework called Economic Regime-based Asset Allocation (ERAA) to devise its investment strategies. StashAway defines the Economic Regime as the state of the economy. There are four levels including, Recession, Stagflation, Inflationary Growth, and Good Times.
The ERAA framework re-optimises asset allocation based on three events: an economic regime change, uncertain risk, and a change in the valuation of assets. Re-optimisation minimises risk and maximises returns for clients’ portfolios throughout various economic cycles.
According to their investment strategy, StashAway analyses your financial circumstances and risk selection using live and historical data. StashAway risk assessment goes beyond classifying clients as the standard “low”, “medium”, and “high” risk.
Their risk index has detailed tools that clients can use to determine their risk tolerance more accurately. Regardless of the risk level you choose, StashAway sets portfolios that will capture gains.
StashAway involves 5 different portfolios. They are as follows:
General Investing Portfolio:
This portfolio is based on your selection of risk exposure you are willing to take on, with portfolios ranging from most conservative (6.5% risk index) to most aggressive (36% risk index).
Goals-based Investing Portfolio:
This portfolio is designed to strategise investment based on your life goals. It helps you to gain returns that meet your real-world needs.
This portfolio generates passive income to supplement your income over the long run and through changing market trends.
While other income-generating investment approaches entail more risk to achieve higher returns,
StashAway’s portfolios use a combination of bonds, REITs, and stocks to mitigate risk and help your portfolio endure fluctuating markets.
This portfolio requires a minimum of SGD10,000.
Responsible Investing (ESG) Portfolio:
This ESG portfolio enables you to generate returns without having to invest in companies and industries that are not in line with your values.
With it, you can invest in ethical, responsible, and sustainable businesses, thereby doing your part to provide the world with positivity while making a profit.
By investing in the ESG optimised portfolios, you do not have to worry about compromising returns.
Returns are generally similar to the standard general investing portfolios.
StashAway’s Thematic Portfolio is a relatively new addition.
It is suitable for long-term investment to maximise your income by investing in innovative and globally impactful industries.
Thematic investing can produce excellent returns in the long run, but the strategy is also very risky.
StashAway portfolios include ‘balancing assets’; these are non-thematic assets that help to mitigate risk.
The proportion of balancing assets in each portfolio depends on your risk tolerance.
Invest Your SRS
StashAway offers portfolios that exclusively invest Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) funds.
Your benefits include saving on taxes and earning investment returns to get the most out of your savings.
Currently, you can only invest in the StashAway SRS portfolio through the General Investing portfolios.
DBS digiPortfolio Investment Strategy
DBS digiPortfolio investment strategy is relatively simple, offering just two portfolios to choose from; the Asia Portfolio and the Global Portfolio with the overall goal of achieving returns over an investment cycle of 3 to 5 years while managing the market risk by rebalancing quarterly or as needed.
The Asia Portfolio intakes SGD, with a focus on Singaporean and general Asian markets.
The Asian Portfolio is ideal for those with little investment background and clients that specifically want to invest in their home markets.
This portfolio is also the easiest to invest in as no pre-qualifications are required.
The Global Portfolio, on the other hand, allows you to invest in global markets with ETFs listed in the UK.
Investments are done in USD, and you must pass the qualifying assessment. This portfolio is a good match if you are willing and able to invest in USD or if you want to geographically diversify your investments.
Each portfolio is carefully constructed by financial experts to optimise risk-return trade-offs and rebalance portfolios based on the macroeconomic environment.
The DBS portfolios do not take individual risk into account to the same degree that StashAway does.
Unlike StashAway which offers 12 different risk indices to choose from, DBS digiPortfolio only offers 3 risks to choose from for each portfolio— ‘Slow n Steady’, ‘Comfy Crusin’, and ‘Fast n Furious’.
Therefore, DBS digiPortfolio may not be a good fit if you are after a more personalised investment portfolio.
OCBC RoboInvest Investment Strategy
OCBC RoboInvest offers a whopping 37 investment portfolios to choose from, and are likely to add to the list in the future.
The portfolios are categorised by returns (ranging from <5% to >20%), geographic focus (global, USA, Australia, Asia Pacific, Europe), and risk profiles (low to high).
You can select profiles based on focused themes or risk profiles. The portfolio names are not only creative, but they also effectively summarise the contents of each portfolio.
Here are the current offerings:
These portfolios have a higher proportion of bonds/fixed income (49.2% to 73.8% fixed income).
- All Weather
Medium Risk Portfolios
- Singapore Cash Is King (top performer)
- Singapore Stable REITs
- Stable Aussie Giants
- Stable Singapore Giants
- Stable US Consumer Giants (top performer)
- Electric Vehicle
- Cyber Security
- Future World
- Gen-Z Winners
- Impact Investing
- Precious Metals (top performer)
- Cloud Computing
- Dogs of the Dow
- Resurgent Industrial s
- Stable US Giants
- Stable US Healthcare Giants
- Stable US Industrial Giants
- US Financials (top performer)
- US Tech Leaders
- Yummy (top performer)
- Asia Tech
- China Growth
- Hong Kong Consumer
- Hong Kong Technology
- Australian Financials
- Australian REITs
- Mainland Europe Financials
- Mainland Europe Healthcare
All portfolios accept lump-sum payments, and selected portfolios allow you to enrol in automatic monthly investments.
DBS digiPortfolio, OCBC RoboInvest, and StashAway invest in exchange-traded funds.
The difference between the 3 is the asset classes and individual components of their selected ETFs.
Let’s discuss their asset allocation policies related to all their main portfolios.
StashAway’s Asset Classes
StashAway’s portfolios are focused on 7 main asset classes.
The proportion of each type of asset in each portfolio is balanced based on your specific risk index. The portfolios are balanced as follows:
|Lowest risk index of 6.5%||Medium risk index of 22%||Highest risk index of 36%|
DBS digiPortfolio Asset Classes
Each DBS digiPortfolio investment portfolio includes up to 7 ETFs, each containing up to 13,000 different individual holdings.
The Slow n Steady risk portfolios are constructed with 15% equities, 80% bonds, and 5% cash.
The Comfy Cruisin risk portfolios comprise 50% equities, 45% bonds, and 5% cash.
The highest risk portfolio, Fast n Furious, comprises 75% equities, 20% bonds, and 5% cash.
The Asia Portfolio invests in Singapore-listed ETFs only (provides access to Singapore, China, and India holdings) and consists of Excluded Investment Products (low complexity investment products), making this portfolio a beginner-friendly option for new investors.
If you put in a little bit of effort or you are a more experienced investor, you can easily replicate the Asia Portfolio by buying the locally listed ETFs on your own, as most of the ETFs are listed on the SGX.
The Global Portfolio invests in UK-listed ETFs providing investors with a high level of diversification and exposure to markets in the USA and Europe.
The Global Portfolio also includes certain Asian markets that are not available in the DBS digiPortfolio Asia Portfolio.
As mentioned before, this portfolio must be bought using USD, so you must be ready to take on the additional layer of risk that comes with trading in a foreign currency.
OCBC RoboInvest Asset Classes
OCBC RoboInvest portfolios consist of fixed income (bonds), equity (stocks), commodities, and cash.
However, OCBC portfolios are unique in the sense that each portfolio cannot be adjusted for a specific risk level. They come as they are.
For example, the Stable US Consumer Giants Portfolio, one of OCBC RoboInvest’s top 5 portfolios, comes with an allocation of 98.46% equities and 1.54% cash.
The portfolio is not offered on a sliding risk scale.
But the OCBC RoboInvest provides informative and transparent breakdowns of how each portfolio is balanced and which ETFs are included to help you understand which portfolios might be a good fit for you.
There are 4 low risk portfolios with fixed income assets ranging from 49.2% to 73.8%, 7 medium risk portfolios in which the proportions of equities range from 68.9% to 98.46%, and 26 high risk portfolios in which the proportions of equities are all above 98.39%.
All 3 robo-advisors offer a variety of asset allocations to accommodate varying levels of risk tolerance.
StashAway offers 7 different types of assets including real estate and commodities while DBS digiPortfolio and OCBC RoboInvest only offer equities, bonds and cash.
OCBC RoboInvest has a standard cash allocation of 5%, even in the highest risk tier.
Some investors may prefer that OCBC RoboInvest cash allocations be allocated to a different asset such as more equity so they wouldn’t have to pay for fees on 5% cash.
DBS digiPortfolio, StashAway, and OCBC RoboInvest all charge a portfolio management fee, on top of other industry and market fees charged by the ETF managers.
StashAway’s Fee Structure
With Stashaway, all investors must pay are the annual management fees, but they don’t charge any maintenance fees, withdrawal fees, or platform fees.
Management fees are charged on a sliding fee scale. The more you invest, the lower the management fees.
The fees are broken down into monthly payments and are paid with the 1% cash allocation in the clients account.
Here’s the detailed fee structure of StashAway:
|Investment Amount (SGD)||Annual Fee|
|$25,000 to $50,000||0.70%|
|$50,000 to $100,000||0.60%|
|$100,000 to $250,000||0.50%|
|$250,000 to $500,000||0.40%|
|$500,000 to $1,000,000||0.30%|
DBS digiPortfolio Fee Structure
DBS digiPortfolio’s fee structure is simple. Investors pay a flat annual management fee of 0.75% no matter their total investment amount.
If you invest the minimum value required for the Asia Portfolio, S$1,000, you will only have to pay S$7.50 that year.
DBS deducts management fees once a year, and goes towards funding research, monitoring, and rebalancing.
They don’t charge any maintenance fees, withdrawal fees, or platform fees.
OCBC RoboInvest Fees
OCBC RoboInvest charges a 0.88% annual management fee per year regardless of the total amount of money you invest. They don’t charge any maintenance fees, withdrawal fees, or platform fees.
The minimum investment deposit required varies from portfolio to portfolio, starting at a minimum of $100, with some portfolios requiring a minimum of up to $10,000.
One strategy to maximise your investment profits is to prevent petty platform fees from draining out your returns.
If you plan on investing less than S$25,000 then DBS digiPortfolio may be your cheapest option as it charges 0.75% fees compared to OCBC RoboInvest’s 0.88% fees and the fees for StashAway portfolios with investments valued at less than S$25,000, which is 0.80%.
But if you plan on investing above SGD25,000, or even the long term, then StashAway is the cheapest option, as the fees will reduce to 0.20%.
One of the main reasons we invest is so we can grow our wealth. Although they do not tell the full story, investment returns are an insightful indicator of how well an investment strategy will perform, and subsequently how much money it can make.
Let’s look at the potential returns for the 3 robo-advisors.
Potential Returns with Stashaway
For each portfolio, StashAway calculates an annualised return since inception; an average of 9.80% with the highest risk index portfolios (August 2018-February 2022) and 2.40% with the lowest risk index (July 2017-February 2022).
StashAway claimed an impressive return of 24.10% with the highest risk index portfolios and 5.20% with the lowest risk index, in 2020 alone.
Potential Returns with DBS digiPortfolio
Since its inception, the Global Portfolio has performed well, producing an annualised return (2019-April 2021) of 22.8% (Fast n Furious).
In 2021, the Fast n Furious Global Portfolio had a 10.60% return rate.
The Comfy Cruisin has a 6.50% return rate, and the Slow n Steady had a 1.50% return rate.
Potential Returns with OCBC RoboInvest
OCBC RoboInvest return rates vary widely based on the specific portfolio.
According to OCBC, the top 5 portfolios— Precious Metals, US Financials, Singapore Cash is King, Yummy, and Stable US Consumer giants— have 1-year return rates ranging from 4.7% to 31.16% (February 2021-February 2022).
In general, OCBC RoboInvest portfolios with annualised return rates of over 20% are all high risk.
In terms of returns, StashAway and OCBC RoboInvest seem to be ahead of DBS digiPortfolio.
StashAway and OCBC RoboInvest have more low-risk options and therefore both a wider range and higher values of potential returns compared to the DBS low risk (Slow n Steady) portfolio which offers an average return of 1.7%.
When it comes to investing your money, credibility, expertise, and reputation is of the utmost importance. StashAway, DBS digiPortfolio, and OCBC RoboInvest are all well-known and well-respected in the Singaporean investment world. Though they each have their own unique histories.
Founded in 2016, StashAway is one of the most popular robo-advisors in Singapore, with expansions in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates.
The fintech investment company is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), a national capital, compliance, and audit agency.
Furthermore, StashAway keeps its operational funds separate from your investment funds.
This means that in the event of bankruptcy, your money cannot be touched.
DBS digiPortfolio Safety
Founded in 2019, DBS digiPortfolio is the new robo-advisor on the scene compared to StashAway.
Unlike StashAway and many other robo-advisors in Singapore, which are mostly independent fintech companies, DBS digiPortfolio is created and fully operated by DBS Bank, one of the safest and most reputable banks in Asia.
DBS digiPortfolio does not use third-party services to operate the investment platform, the robo-advisor is completely integrated into DBS bank’s secure system.
OCBC RoboInvest Safety
Founded in 2018, OCBC RoboInvest was the first bank in Southeast Asia to launch a robo-advisor investment service.
Like DBS digiPortfolio, when investing with OCBC RoboInvest you have peace of mind knowing that OCBC is a trusted and stable institution.
Unlike DBS, the OCBC RoboInvest platform is operated by a third party fintech firm, Planar Investments Pte Ltd (WeInvest).
OCBC RoboInvest is a leader in terms of investment transparency, revealing valuable information such as the specific constituents that make up each portfolio.
Funds Deposit and Withdrawal
To invest with StashAway you must deposit funds from your personal bank account into your StashAway simple account or General, Goal-Based, and Income Portfolios, this takes up to 4 business days.
The StashAway simple account earns you a project 1.0% p.a, regardless of your balance. Withdrawing funds is free and takes up to 2-4 business days.
StashAway allows you to invest using your Supplementary Retirement Scheme.
To invest in the DBS digiPortfolio, you need to have one of the following DBS multi-currency (SGD and USD) accounts:
- My Account
- eMulti-Currency Autosave
- eMulti-Currency Autosave Plus
- Multi-Currency Autosave Plus
- Multiplier account
Do not fret if you do not already have one of these accounts, DBS makes it super easy and convenient to open a multi-currency account via the DBS digibank online platform.
Once you are all set up, the investing process is easy. You just visit the DBS online banking website or app and enter the digiPortfolio platform by clicking the invest button.
To invest in the Global Portfolio, you will need USD. You can apply for USD through the DBS online banking platform. Investors must also complete a pre-qualification assessment before investing in the Global Portfolio.
DBS has no lock in period, you can withdraw your money at any time.
When you invest a minimum of SGD1,000 in the DBS digiPortolio, you are eligible for a DBS Multiplier Account, which has a 3.0% p.a.
Investing using Supplementary Retirement Scheme or Central Provident Funds is not available.
To invest in the OCBC RoboInvest, you need an existing OCBC savings account or current account. Once you have an account you can access the investment portal through the OCBC internet or mobile banking platform.
To invest, you simply deposit funds from your OCBC deposit account to your investment account. Funds are transferred to Saxo Capital Markets, the OCBC RoboInvest custodian, and arrive within an hour of initiating the transaction.
It can then take another 2 days for the funds to be invested in your portfolios of choice. You can withdraw your funds at any time, the process typically takes 3 to 5 business days.
Currently, OCBC RoboInvest only allows fund transfers in SGD. For global portfolios, your SGD will be transferred to foreign currency based on the exchange rate from Saxo.
Investing using Supplementary Retirement Scheme or Central Provident Funds is not available.
So Which Should I Choose?
To recap, robo-advisors are innovative investment technologies that automatically invest for clients based on data provided by the client including risk tolerance, investment horizon, and long-term financial goals.
Robo advisors often use passive investment assets such as unit trusts/ETFs, enhanced with period rebalancing according to macroeconomic trends.
DBS digiPortfolio, StashAway, and OCBC RoboInvest are some of the best robo advisors in the business. Which one you choose will ultimately come down to your personal preferences and investment goals.
Here are the final takeaways to help you decide which robo-advisor is best for you.
Best for those looking for different risk levels
If you are after an investment portfolio that matches your risk tolerance to a tee, then StashAway is probably the best option for you.
It has 12 different risk indices that portfolios can be adjusted to, while DBS digiPortfolio only has 3.
OCBC has a wide range of different risk level portfolios, however, OCBC portfolios are mostly thematic and come as they are.
You cannot adjust the risk level for individual portfolios like you can with StashAway.
Best for asset diversity
If you are on a mission to diversify your investments across different assets and global markets, which robo-advisor should you choose?
In terms of assets, StashAway is the most diverse— offering real estate and commodities in addition to stocks and bonds.
Best for market diversity
When considering geographic diversification, StashAway provides an excellent mix of international equities and bonds with significant coverage of European and North American markets.
While DBS digiPortfolio has an impressive Global Portfolio, there are a few barriers to entry that may put you off if you are after a seamless investment process. DBS will require you to undergo a pre-qualification assessment for you to invest in its Global Portfolio.
OCBC RoboInvest has portfolios covering several of the world’s top markets in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia.
But unlike StashAway, many of OCBC RoboInvest’s portfolios cover a single market, rather than spreading the equities across different markets.
For example, the Singapore Cash is King (Singapore only), Electric Vehicle (US only), Australian Financials (Australia only) among others.
This means you may need to invest in multiple portfolios if you are after hyper-diversification.
Taking all this into consideration, StashAway seems to be the most effortless option of the three for geographic diversification of investments.
Best for the highest returns
Assuming you want to maximise your returns (who doesn’t?) you should select the robo-advisor with the best profit margins after taking into account both fees and returns.
DBS digiPortfolio has the lowest fees, but it also has slightly lower returns compared to StashAway and OCBC Roboinvest.
StashAway has a sliding fee structure, with fees decreasing incrementally as the amount you invest increases. Sounds great right?
Yes, but only if you have a massive chunk of money to invest each year, and the stone-cold reality is that most retail investors do not. If you are investing small amounts, you needn’t be distracted by StashAway’s promise for decreasing fees.
OCBC RoboInvestor seems like the most expensive option at first glance, due to its 0.88% management fee. But, when you take a close look at the returns for individual portfolios, you will see that many of OCBC RoboInvest’s thematic portfolios have very lucrative returns.
If you are risk-tolerant, investing in a few of OCBC RoboInvest’s groundbreaking portfolios could be worth the extra management fees in the long run.
Best for minimal investments
StashAway has no minimum balance required to start investing in SGD. However, if you wish to deposit funds into StashAway in USD, you will have to deposit a minimum of USD10,000.
DBS digiPortfolio has a minimum of SGD1,000 for the Asia Portfolio and USD1,000 for the Global Portfolio.
OCBC RoboInvest’s minimum investment requirements vary based on the portfolio from U$100 to U$10,000, though clients do not have the option to deposit in dollars themselves.
If you are planning to invest in SGD only, then StashAway is hands down the cheapest option upfront. StashAway doesn’t provide much incentive for depositing cash in dollars.
If you have USD you want to invest, DBS digiPortfolio is the cheaper option.
I hope that this post was helpful in helping you make a better decision between these 3 robo-advisors.
Despite us choosing the best based on certain categories, we still prefer Syfe.
We compared Syfe, StashAway, and Endowus, the most popular robo-advisors in Singapore and it shows why.
Syfe has lower overall fees, more flexibility in portfolio selections, and better diversity.
But that’s just our opinion.
Choosing Syfe? Sign up here: Syfe.com
Choosing StashAway? Sign up here: Stashaway.sg
Choosing OCBC RoboInvest? Sign up here: Ocbc.com
Choosing DBS digiPortfolio? Sign up here: Dbs.com.sg