Are Robo-Advisors for me?
With the advances made in technology over the past decade, some of our day-to-day tasks have become automated to make daily living easier. For example, you can now buy an intelligent robot for under $500 that can vacuum and mop your floor, thus saving you the effort and time to do it yourself.
In some countries, it’s even possible to buy a robot to walk your dog. So, given the strides with which financial technology is evolving, it should come as no surprise that today, you can acquire the services of a robot to provide you with financial advice.
Actually, a robo-advisor does more than give you advice – it does the investing for you. Most major banks and financial institutions offer their customers their own robo-advisory service, which in effect are computerised systems that use algorithms and advanced software to build and maintain an investment portfolio for you based on your financial situation, risk profile, investment horizon and stated investment objectives.
Just like buying a robot cleaner, one advantage of using a robo-advisor is that you don’t have to spend time and effort, in this case searching for suitable investments.
Another advantage is cost savings – the typical robo-advisor’s fees are less than 1%. However, take note that these fees can vary greatly.
Third advantage is the low entry amount required to open an account, it can start from $1,000, whilst some does not require a minimum amount.
Given that there are many plus points, does this mean that using a robo-advisor is for everyone? Certainly, given the rising popularity of the service, many people are making use of robo-advisors.
However, they are not necessarily suitable for every one of us. If you are a passive investor, one who is happy to let someone else do the work for you for a fee, then maybe signing up with a robo-advisor is worth considering. Otherwise, it may be better off for you to look at other options.
Also, even though robo-advisors can be configured or programmed to meet the needs of many investors by allowing you to set and edit your goals using their financial planning software, they don't consider that you may have money-related issues and concerns, and that you may benefit from conversations with a human being.
In other words, if you’re the type of person who prefers face-to-face meetings with a financial advisor and has many questions when it comes to money, then robo-advisors may not be for you.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that a human advisor can help provide explanations when markets drop sharply or when things don’t go your way, as well as provide you with a holistic approach to financial planning that includes advice on other, non-investment matters like insurance and estate planning.
To summarise, robo-advisors1 likely to work well for people who have little knowledge about investment and want to get started on their investment journey with limited capital. This said, it’s best to think things through first before taking the plunge.
Note. There are several examples of robo-advisors in the market. These include Autowealth, Endowus, FSM MAPS, Kristal, MoneyOwl, StashAway, Syfe. Banks like DBS, OCBC and UOB also offer robo-advisory platform for investment.
The information presented here is to provide general awareness and educational purposes and does not constitute specific financial advice. Any mention of private or public organisations, reference to products or numbers used, are for the purpose of providing illustrations to help in understanding concepts being presented.
You are always encouraged to consult a licensed financial advisor, relevant government agencies and/or your family before making any major financial decisions.
Credit Counselling Singapore
Published 09 September 2022.