Choosing the right robo advisor to invest with can be daunting, especially if you are new to these platforms.
You need to know the fees you pay to the platform, the potential returns to expect, the different asset classes, and, most importantly, the investment strategies.
And while many people bucket all robo advisors together, they are all different. Each platform uses different strategies to allocate risk-tolerance and goal-oriented portfolios.
So, you should compare them to find your best fit before settling for one.
Today, we compare 3 popular Singapore-based robo advisors – MoneyOwl, Endowus, and StashAway.
Read on to find out more.
MoneyOwl Investment Strategy
The MoneyOwl robo advisor builds its investment strategies based on the risk profiles, which come with different asset allocations.
These investment strategies are well-researched, and diversified, and are designed to provide proper support to your financial plans and aid them in realising your life goals.
The investment strategies fall under 2 broad classes:
- Savings, and
Under these broad categories, there are 4 portfolio classifications, which include:
Dimensional portfolios are built on Nobel prize-winning economic theories. They aim to help you grow your money reliably based on your risk appetite and financial goals.
According to MoneyOwl, these dimensional portfolios approach the market from a more objective point of view, which evaluates the market based on scientific and financial insights rather than making predictions.
In short, these portfolios take the guesswork out of the investment equation.
Under Dimensional portfolio, you can choose one of the standard 5 portfolios built on Dimensional Fund Advisor’s Funds. The classification is done based on asset allocation.
These include Equity, Growth, Balanced, Moderate, and Conservative portfolios which will be explained further in detail.
This portfolio presents a 100% equities investment. The 100% combines 88% investment in equities from developed markets and 12% from emerging markets.
It is also a long-term investment plan, with a return period of 15 years or more, and is suitable for anyone looking to accumulate long-term wealth and willing to take risks.
Next, the Growth portfolio has an 80:20 ratio between equities and fixed income.
Here, the equities from emerging markets make up only 10%, while those from developed markets constitute 70%.
The investment period on this portfolio is also long-term, with return periods ranging from 12-14 years.
The Balanced portfolio has a payback period of 8-11 years. This medium-term investment strategy also balances equities and fixed income in a 60:40 ratio.
Emerging markets contribute 7% of the assets, while 53% of equities come from developed markets.
The fixed income share is divided between the global core and global short markets in a 30:10 ratio.
As its name suggests, the Moderate portfolio is meant for those with moderate risk appetites.
The strategy combines fixed income and equities at a 60:40 ratio in a 6-7 year investment period.
Equities from developed markets take on the largest share of assets, at 35%, while fixed income from the global core and global short take second place, tied at 30%.
The emerging market contributes 5% of the equities.
The Conservative portfolio aims to help those with minimal risk tolerance preserve their wealth in the short term – 4 to 5 years.
You can invest your capital in the 80% fixed income and 20% equity portfolio.
WiseIncome is another flexible income solution for anyone looking to grow their wealth or supplement their income.
This fund aims to provide users with a long-term, steady stream of passive income.
With WiseIncome, users get a diversified pool of global equities that can help boost their returns or grow their capital.
At the same time, they can invest in REITs – both in Singapore and overseas.
MoneyOwl’s WiseIncome also gives users access to investment-grade corporate bonds from Asia-based companies and US/Singapore government-issued bonds.
Unlike WiseIncome and Dimensional, which give options for investing in SRS and Cash, WiseSaver is a cash-savings portfolio that invests in Singapore Dollar fixed bank deposits.
The platform works with Singapore’s dollar bank deposits – like cash management accounts – which earn higher returns given their daily interest.
More importantly, the funds are ready for withdrawal whenever you need them.
WiseSaver also comes with other added advantages, such as
- Having low to no risk,
- More liquidity since there is no lock-in period for deposits, and
- Higher returns compared to traditional retail fixed deposits.
Most of your retirement income will probably come from your CPF, which should be used cautiously.
So, why should you invest your nest egg with Moneyowl – specifically CPF portfolios?
Well, that’s because CPF portfolios at MoneyOwl lets you grow your retirement money at the risk level you desire.
There are different types of CPF portfolios available at MoneyOwl. These include
- CPF Balanced: Allocated 60% equities and 40% bonds
- CPF Growth: Allocated 80% equities and 20% bonds
- CPF Equity: This is a 100% equity portfolio
These CPF portfolios combine the LionGlobal infinity global stock Index Fund (Share Class C) and the UOBAM United SGD Fund (Share Class D) for the best profitability.
Endowus Investment Strategy
Endowus centres its investment strategies around providing you with wealth accumulation solutions.
The strategies are constantly monitored and optimised to achieve the best risk-adjusted returns while keeping costs low.
The platform uses a strategic passive asset allocation (SPAA) investment strategy.
The integrated investment strategy aims to build holistic investment portfolios that meet your risk appetite, timelines, and goals.
This SPAA framework is a strategy that focuses on market indices that represent the overall condition of the market. The strategy is:
- Passive in implementation: Endowus does not actively change your asset allocation depending on the market conditions.
- Strategic top-down: The asset allocation is based on the overarching goal of the portfolio.
- Curation of bottom-up portfolio design: The platform selects the best funds representing goals.
From this, the platform offers globally diversified portfolios with strategic passive asset allocation. These include:
The Endowus core portfolios allow users to invest their cash, CPF, and SRS money with an investment objective. The risk tolerance also varies from one portfolio to another.
The core portfolios offer unit trusts (best-in-class mutual funds) from fund managers.
The portfolios also come with automatic risk adjustments that align with your goals.
There are 3 kinds of core portfolios from Endowus which include:
Flagship is the most popular portfolio with up to 6 risk levels, the lowest being 100% fixed income (Very Conservative) and the highest being 100% equities (Very Aggressive).
Here, you can invest with cash, CPF, or SRS.
Since it is a long-term investment, you can expect to earn 12.18% in 10 years with its top-down SPAA investment strategy.
ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance)
Endowus ESG portfolios come with ready-made portfolios with the best ESG, sustainable, and climate funds.
Similarly, ESG portfolios vary in risk levels with the same 6 classifications.
You can invest in this portfolio using cash or SRS.
Factor portfolios offer users diversified cash and SRS investment options – with risk levels ranging from 2.7% to 11% and a 10-year return period.
Factor portfolios are built on Dimensional’s structure to provide solutions to all levels of risk. It considers all proven factors that drive expected premiums, some of which include:
- Profitability and Size in equities, and
- Credit & Term in fixed income
The Endowus Income portfolio is another product that allows you to draft and execute passive income solutions.
The key factor of these portfolios is that they offer a monthly payout to you while they continue to grow your capital.
Under income portfolios, you can choose one of the 3 sub-classifications that focus on income, dividends, or stability.
The Stable Income is a cash-based portfolio with minimal risk as it comes with 100% fixed-income assets.
This portfolio is meant to maximise monthly payouts while still growing capital.
It comes with a 20:80 ratio of equities:fixed income asset allocation, and according to Endowus, it’s best suited if you are a working individual with higher living expenses.
This is because the higher payouts will cover those big-ticket expenses like your mortgage, childcare and parents’ healthcare.
The 20% will then continue to grow for your future use.
Finally, you can choose to go with the Future Income portfolio, which is of the highest risk given its 40:60 equities:fixed income distribution.
The risk you take is also proportional to the gain, and it is more suitable for young adults with long-term life goals.
Endowus’s Satellite portfolios aim to provide you with select market exposure, given its focus on regions, themes, trends, and asset classes.
It does so by using optimised best-in-class strategies that target specific market factors.
Under this, there are 6 portfolios to choose from, which include:
Global Real Estate
This portfolio allows users to enter the global real estate market while growing their capital.
And due to its distribution of cash to 100% equities, it also comes with a high dividend income.
Technology is another aggressive investment strategy from Endowus.
Here, you get exposure to the world’s best technologically innovative companies while investing your cash in 100% equities.
If you want to cash in on China’s extensive development and growth, you can invest in 100% equities in China’s onshore and offshore companies.
China Fixed Income
The China Fixed Income portfolio is ideal for those who do not wish to take as much risk as putting their money in China Equities but still want to participate in China’s growth.
This invests in 100% fixed-income assets such as onshore and offshore corporate and government bonds.
Some people have a knack for innovations that can potentially change the world.
If this describes you, you can go with a megatrend portfolio from Endowus.
Here, you get the chance to get ahead of innovations in future-driven themes such as healthcare, clean energy, and AI fields while taking on 100% equities.
Low Volatility Fixed Income
As the name suggests, this investment strategy features a low-volatility portfolio.
The strategy is more defensive than traditional fixed-income portfolios, thus, you receive enhanced downside protection from market volatility.
Endowus Cash Smart is a cash management account for anyone with cash to grow their yields by 2.2%-3.8% annually.
The investment options come with 3 risks and return options, in which you can use cash or SRS to invest.
The Cash Smart portfolios allow you to grow your investment by giving you access to short-duration bonds, money markets, and cash funds.
Compared to a regular savings deposit account, the 3 portfolios under Cash Smart can make you:
- Secure: 2.2%-2.4% p.a.
- Enhanced: 2.9%-3.2% p.a.
- Ultra: 3.5%-3.8% p.a.
Plus, the interest accrues daily, and you can withdraw your funds any day with unlimited transfers.
StashAway Investment Strategy
StashAway markets its services as simple solutions.
The robo advisor uses in-house algorithms to create portfolios depending on your:
- Financial situation,
- Desired risk levels, and
- Financial goals
With these 3 factors in mind, StashAway uses the ERAA (Economic Regime-based Asset Allocation) investment strategy to create portfolios that bring together assets like REITs, commodities bonds, and equities.
The ERAA is an investment strategy based on real-time market data rather than prediction and human emotions.
This way, the robo advisor keeps risks constant while optimising expected returns.
With this investment strategy, StashAway provides 3 types of portfolios. These include:
General Investing is a portfolio for those with long-term investment goals. The strategy keeps the risk level constant. So, if you choose this portfolio, you should expect occasional market deviations.
According to the platform, some of the benefits you get from using the general investing portfolios include:
- Diversification across many asset classes,
- Optimal risk-adjusted returns, and
- Cost-effective ETFs
When you go with general investing portfolios, you can also choose a Core or high-risk portfolio.
The Core portfolios have a risk index of 6.5%-22%, while the high-risk portfolios index is between 26%-36%.
Saving with a goal-based investment portfolio requires you to set your financial goals, after which StashAway defines the path to follow to achieve your goal.
The platform recommends the appropriate portfolio with a risk-adjustment feature with their algorithm.
Once you are nearing your goal, the platform automatically adjusts the risk index to match your timelines.
Sometimes, you may envision a product in the market changing the world.
If these excite you, a thematic portfolio may be just what you need.
Thematic portfolios from StashAway allow you to invest in long-term trends while staying within your risk limits. The SRI for thematic portfolios ranges from 20% to 45%.
At StashAway, Thematic portfolios come in 3 themes:
- The Future of Consumer Tech: e-Commerce, Gaming, Fintech, Internet, etc.
- Technology Enablers: Blockchain, Cloud Computing, robotics, semiconductors, etc.
- Healthcare Innovations: Biotech, Genomics, Pharmaceuticals, etc.
You can customise your risk level for each theme, and StashAway builds a portfolio based on it. It also optimises asset allocation based on the ERAA investment strategy.
Other investment options available at StashAway include:
- Income portfolios: They are meant to build a dependable income stream to supplement your income in the future.
- Responsible investing (ESG) portfolios: They allow you to invest with profit and purpose in mind. Long-term investments like this do not sacrifice returns and are more suitable for growing core wealth.
MoneyOwl Asset Classes
MoneyOwl focuses on unit trusts. And like any other robo advisor in the market, it bases its asset classification on the client’s risk profile and the investment periods.
Therefore, you can expect quarterly changes in your asset distribution due to MoneyOwl rebalancing your portfolio to keep the risks constant.
MoneyOwl uses Dimensional funds, broadly diversified, market-based, and low-cost for users.
These Dimensional funds come in 2 different asset classes:
- Fixed income/bonds.
These assets become available as S-REITs, US/Singapore bonds, and Asian fixed income.
Based on risk appetite and time of investment, the platform curates 5 levels of investment tiers, depending on the asset allocation. These tiers include
- Equity – 100% equities
- Growth – 80% equities and 20% fixed income
- Balanced – 60% equities and 40% fixed income
- Moderate – 40% equities and 60% fixed income
- Conservative – 20% equities and 80% fixed income
These asset classifications will then dictate the type of portfolio users get.
Endowus Asset Classes
Unlike platforms like StashAway, which focus on ETFs, Endowus portfolios, like MoneyOwl, feature mutual funds.
Some of the most common funds in the cash/SRS portfolios include the Dimensional Emerging Market Large Cap Core Funds and the Dimensional Global Core Equity Fund.
From the names, you can tell that these unit trusts (mutual funds) are stock-based or fixed-income-based.
Now, out of these asset classes, the platform comes up with a 6-tier asset distribution list, which goes hand in hand with the client’s investment horizon and risk tolerance.
These asset distribution tiers are very similar to the tiers at MoneyOwl, and include:
- Very Conservative – 100% fixed-income/bonds
- Conservative – 20% equities, 80% bonds
- Measured – 40% equities and 60% fixed income
- Aggressive – 80% equities and 20% bonds
- Very Aggressive – 100% equities
As you can see, Endowus offers a locked asset distribution. This means that you will either be investing in bonds or equities.
However, the platform also offers the opportunity to invest in global real estate and infrastructure. The assets go beyond residential and commercial properties in Singapore and offer diversity with several globally listed REITs.
For this, the risk tolerance is very aggressive, with the top fund allocations being:
- 50% at Janus Handerson Horizon (JHH) Global Properties Equities Fund
- 40% at BlackRock BSF Global Real Assets Securities Funds
- 5% JHH Asia-Pacific Property Income Fund
StashAway Asset Classes
StashAway comes with 4 main asset classes based on their ERAA policy, which studies the economic regime and comprises Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)s. These include:
- Equity Sector (US)
- International Equities
- Real Estate
These assets are then allocated to each portfolio automatically by ERAA, depending on the current or future regime, while maintaining the risk preference. They also
Whenever there is a change in the economic regime, a re-optimisation happens, which could be triggered by:
- An asset class valuation change and/or
- An economic regime change and/or
- Uncertainty in the market conditions
All these asset classes have a specific risk index, which determines their balance.
This balance is a product of 4 main pillars, which dictate the asset allocation per portfolio.
- Regime-based asset allocation,
- Risk Control,
- Valuation gaps, and
- Managing asset-specific risks
Each platform charges its services differently. Among the 3 platforms, Endowus is the cheapest, followed by MoneyOwl, while StashAway comes in last.
Their platform fees are as follows:
MoneyOwl is a cheaper platform than StashAway but still charges more than Endowus.
The platform has 0 platform fees, but the advisory and fund-level fees differ depending on the portfolio and the amount invested.
The fees are as follows:
|Dimensional||Up to S$100,000
Cash & SRS
Cash & SRS
|WiseIncome||Up to S$100,000
Cash & SRS
Cash & SRS
|CPF||0% till 31-Dec-2023||0.40%-0.42%|
True to its operating principle, Endowus has kept costs low while maximising returns. That is probably why it is the cheapest in this comparison list.
It is also notable that they do not have upfront or transactional fees.
However, the platform has an annual fee, which claims to be half of what other robo advisors offer.
These fees are based on your asset value, also known as Assets Under Advice (AUA).
You also pay trailer fees, for which you get a 100% rebate in cash. The fees are charged quarterly and are calculated based on the average daily AUA.
In addition, the amount depends on the portfolio type.
The fees for the different portfolios are as follows:
|Portfolio Type||Asset Type||Fees|
|Core, Satellite, Income||CPF, SRS||0.40%|
|Fund Smart||Cash, CPF, SRS||0.30%|
|Cash Smart||Cash, SRS||0.05%|
Different investment amounts attract different fee rates for the Core, Satellite, and Income portfolios. The tiers are:
|Up to S$200,000||0.60%|
|S$1M – S$5M||0.35%|
|S$5M and above||0.25%|
StashAway is the most expensive robo advisor among the 3. However, they keep their pricing transparent and simple.
The platforms offer their clients:
- Zero account setup or exit fees
- Unlimited free transfers of assets between portfolios
- Unlimited free withdrawals.
- Cashback guarantee on rebate fees.
StashAway also charges its users a management fee ranging from 0.2% to 0.8% of their investment value. The tiers are as follows:
|Total Investment (SGD)||Annual Fees (GST included)|
|Up to $25,000||0.8%|
|$100,000.01 – $250,000||0.5%|
|$250,000.01 – $500,000||0.4%|
|$500,000.01 – $1,000,000||0.3%|
|$1,000,000.01 and above||0.2%|
In addition to these management fees, the platform invests in ETFs with an expense ratio of 0.2% p.a., while the Income portfolio’s expense ratio is about 0.4% p.a.
StashAway also includes an expense ratio on underlying funds for certain portfolios. These fees include:
|Portfolio||Underlying Fund Manager Fees||Rebate Fees||Net Expense Ratio|
On the bright side, StashAway does not charge any platform fees.
You must remember that the sole purpose of robo-advisors is to pool funds from many smaller investors to create a large diversified portfolio.
So, even if you invest a small sum of money, you could still earn a passive income, decent returns, and achieve diversification using robo-advisors – all whilst incurring lower fees than using other investment platforms out in the market.
But take note that each of these robo advisors comes with different returns fitted to different risk profiles, which can be time-weighted, money-weighted, or both.
So, it depends on what you are comfortable with.
MoneyOwl’s Potential Returns
MoneyOwl has a time-weighted and risk-weighted calculator for their returns.
These returns are as follows:
|Portfolio||Type||Allocation||Annualised Returns (from January 2012 – December 2021)|
|Equities||Bonds||5 years||7 years||10 years|
Other portfolio types have different annual returns, as shown in the table below:
|Portfolio||Type||Allocation||20-year Annualised Returns|
Endowus Potential Returns
The potential returns from Endowus are as follows:
|Portfolio||Type||Risk Profile||Investment Type||10-Year Annualised returns||Duration|
|Core||Flagship||Very Aggressive (100% equities)||Cash/SRS or CPF||9.09%||10 years|
(60% equities, 40% bonds)
(40% equities, 60% bonds)
|Income||Stable Income||100% Fixed Income||Cash||3.5%-7.0%||10 years|
|Higher Income||20% Equities
|Cash||3.5% – 9.0%|
|Future Income||40% Equities
60% Fixed income
|Cash||4% – 10%|
|Satellite||Global Real Estate||Very Aggressive||Cash||9.4%||10 years|
|China Equities||Very Aggressive||11.9%|
|China Fixed Income||Very Conservative||3.6%|
|Low Volatility Fixed Income||Very Conservative||3.2%|
|Cash Smart||Secure||A diversified portfolio of cash and money market funds||Cash||3.3% – 3.6%||As of December 2022|
|Enhanced||A diversified portfolio of money market and high-quality short duration bond funds||4.0% – 4.3%|
|Ultra||A diversified portfolio of mainly high-quality short duration bond and money market funds||4.5% – 4.8%|
StashAway Potential Returns
StashAway’s investment strategies aim to keep risks minimal while optimising returns. The value of the return depends on the time and amount under management.
In addition, the potential returns the platform offers are subject to your risk appetite.
And despite having a rough year in 2019 during the COVID-19 pandemic, StashAway showed impressive returns with up to 24.10% for a 36% risk index.
As mentioned, the returns vary depending on the risk index. For instance, a 20% risk index could earn 7.31% annualised returns, while a 6.5% risk index gets only 2.06% returns.
|StashAway Risk Index||Benchmark||Annualised Returns||Difference|
These returns are as of March 2022, inclusive of fees.
Why, that was certainly a highly-detailed breakdown for each of these robo advisors.
So, what’s the main takeaway?
Well, out of the 3 listed robo advisors, it is evident that StashAway offers the best portfolio diversity.
However, if your priority is the fees you would be paying, Stashaway certainly loses out since it has a high fees compared to Endowus, which is the cheapest.
On the other hand, MoneyOwl has little barrier to entry, having the least entry restrictions and minimum investment amounts – which could provide you more freedom in investing if that’s what you’re looking for.
So depending on what you’re looking for, either of these platforms might be better for you.
I suggest reading our following guides first:
- Endowus Review: Best for SRS & CPF Investments!
- MoneyOwl Robo Advisor Review: Portfolio, Fees, Returns
- StashAway Review: Let’s Take A Deeper Look 👀
To summarise it for you, we think Endowus is the best robo advisor if you’re investing using your SRS funds or CPF Investment Account.
StashAway would be best if you have more than $1,000,000 to invest.
However, if you’re looking to invest using cash and don’t have $1,000,000 to take advantage of StashAway’s fees, we recommend Syfe instead.
I suggest taking some time to read why we prefer Syfe.
Ultimately, MoneyOwl, Endowus, and Stashaway are still great platforms that offer the opportunity to get a continuous stream of income and the chance to grow your wealth.
As usual, our opinion remains the same – always invest wisely, no matter your chosen platform.