Amanda Ong
Head Of Client Engagement & Pr at Stashaway
Level 3. Wonderkid
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Head Of Client Engagement & Pr at Stashaway
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  • Asked by Anonymous

    Amanda Ong
    Amanda Ong, Head Of Client Engagement & Pr at Stashaway
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Updated 5d ago
    Hi there, That is a really good question! All dividends of US-listed securities are subject to 30% dividend withholding tax (WHT). They apply to US listed assets whether they were bought through StashAway or via a broker. The WHT is held at source and the rest of the dividends are redistributed back to your portfolio(s) and reinvested automatically. Under the QII (Qualified Interest Income) rule, some of the dividend WHT from US domiciled funds can be claimed back. At StashAway, our broker Saxo will do this on your behalf. We will do this once a year, and will notify you via email if you have any claimable WHT, which would be redistributed to your portfolio and automatically reinvested. We reimbursed clients their WHT refund for the year 2017 in October of 2018 and will do so again this year. The process is simple, we (Saxo and us) do the processing, you get the email. Every client will get the refund that they are entitled to. This is the case even if you closed your account. We will still send you an email (and if your account is not closed a push notification as well) to inform you of the refund. You can contact our support team via WhatsApp, email, Facebook or by calling us and we will manully withdraw it for you. For more details, you may like to view the Dec 2017 iShares report on QII ETFs. Some examples of QII ETFs that StashAway invests in are 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT) and 10-20 Year Treasury Bond (TLH). Our investment team has given serious consideration to the 30% WHT and have considered other exchanges that have lower or no withholding tax. However, at the end of the day, we have decided to stay with US-listed securities despite the tax implications due to the its deep liquidity, reputable fund management and most importantly, the lower tracking error. If you'd interested to see a comparison between US-listed securities and foreign securities, here is an article that presents its case. I have also shared our returns here, and I think it illustrates our point that despite the withholding tax, the pros do outweigh.
  • Asked by Anonymous

    Amanda Ong
    Amanda Ong, Head Of Client Engagement & Pr at Stashaway
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered 1w ago
    Hi there, While it might seem tempting to pick your entry and exit points, especially when markets are volatile, research has shown that market timing can be detrimental to your long term investment performance. As summarised by this article, almost all big stock market gains and drops are concentrated in just a few trading days each year. Missing only a few days can have a dramatic impact on returns. For example, between 1994 and 2013, just missing the 20 best days of the S&P500 would have eroded 67% of your returns. As the best days and worst days of the market are equally concentrated, timing the market can be a perilous proposition, and may be detrimental to your long term returns. Another academic study examined the probability that market timing can benefit investors' returns. Examining the Dow from 1900–2006 shows that "a few outliers have a massive impact on long-term performance. Missing the best 10 days resulted in portfolios 65% less valuable than a passive investment and avoiding the worst 10 days resulted in portfolios 206% more valuable than a passive investment. Given that 10 days represent 0.03% of the days in the sample, the odds against successful market timing are staggering ." A few more recent example can be seen here. At StashAway, you don't have to worry about where markets are heading because we manage your portfolios for you. ERAA and Re-optimisation Instead of timing the market, StashAway’s Investment Framework, Economic Regime Asset Allocation (ERAA), automatically re-optimises your portfolio, reallocating assets when there are substantial changes in the economy, or when asset prices deviate substantially from their economic fair value. By investing in assets which are undervalued and more likely to outperform in current economic conditions, we provide your portfolio with exposure to strong upsides. In addition, by reducing allocations into assets which are unsuitable for a particular economic regime, or are overvalued, StashAway’s portfolios can manage your portfolio risk actively, protecting your portfolio. If our investment team sees a fundamental change in economic conditions, we will re-optimize your portfolios for you. What these means is that, for example, if the economy were to go from “good times” to a “recession”, we will recommend a re-optimization that will reduce equity exposure and concentrate it in protective sectors (e.g., consumer staples), and increase allocations to asset classes such as government bonds, particularly for long maturity dates and gold. Our investment framework (ERAA) is risk-centric: the goal is to maintain your risk exposure constant across market and economic cycles while optimizing returns. Hope this helps! :)
  • Asked by Isaac Cheang

    Amanda Ong
    Amanda Ong, Head Of Client Engagement & Pr at Stashaway
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered 2w ago
    Hi Issac, Thank you for your question! We believe that investment returns should be looked at in the medium-to-long term, and that’s why we have never really shouted about our returns so far. We are however, not shy about talking about returns, and answering to our clients’ request in July 2018, we shared our performance publicly through our First Year Anniversary email. If you’ve attended one of our StashAway Academy seminars or sent in a WhatsApp to our support and asked about our returns, we’ve probably shared those numbers with you then as well. Our clients can also check their returns on a daily basis inside the StashAway App. On performance, we generally recommend clients to have a look at our long-term backtested results on our website instead. The reason is that this actually "stress tests" our portfolios across several market corrections, economic recessions and across a much longer investment timeline. For example, it shows you how we would have performed in the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, and our portfolios' drawdown versus a benchmark. StashAway Portfolios vs same-risk Benchmarks You cannot talk about returns, without first talking about risk: it’s very easy to increase short-term returns by increasing risk, if you get lucky! Below I have attached the returns for our lowest risk portfolio, for a balanced portfolio, and for our highest risk portfolio since inception, as well as in 2018. These are 6.5%, 14% and 36% StashAway Risk Index, respectively. The StashAway Risk Index is how we classify our portfolios. In itself, it is a measure of risk (Value-at-Risk at 99%) and you can read more about what it means here. We use public benchmarks to measure our performance on a “same-risk” basis. We base the benchmarks on 2 indices: the MSCI World Equity Index and the FTSE World Government Bond Index. The benchmark chosen for each portfolio is comprised of a mixture of world equity and world bond indices that have generated the same average volatility to the relevant StashAway portfolio between the 1st of January 2007 and the 31st of December 2017. This time period was chosen in July 2018 and we will periodically review it from the risk perspective. More importantly, this time period captures a range of economic scenarios and market conditions, such as the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, the European Market routs of 2011 and the taper tantrums of 2015, together with a long bull market. For example, the table above shows that the StashAway Risk Index (SRI) 6.5% portfolio has the same risk as a 10% MSCI World Equity Index and 90% FTSE Government Bond Index portfolio, the SRI 14% portfolio is equivalent to 40% MSCI World Equity Index and 60% FTSE Government Bond Index portfolio and, the 36% portfolio has the same volatility of the MSCI World Equity Index. Since inception on 19 July 2017, our portfolios have outperformed significantly their respective same-risk benchmarks at all risk points. Our lowest risk portfolio in particular, has returned 4pp more than its benchmark, the 14% SRI portfolio has overperformed a 40%-60% portfolio by 3.1pp and our highest risk portfolio has made 5.6pp more than the MSCI Equity World.This good performance is the outcome of intelligent diversification. The above table shows cumulative returns in a 21.5-month period, which means that annualized returns of the 3 StashAway portfolios have been 3.2%, 5.2% and 11.3%, from lowest risk to highest risk respectively. As requested, I have also shared below our returns and thoughts on 2018. 2018 was a negative market for most asset classes globally. In volatile times like this it’s important to have diversified portfolios to reduce losses, and it’s very positive to keep investing in order to benefit from “low prices”. If you have been a client of StashAway during 2018, you might remember that we wrote several times that the February, October and December market losses were temporary corrections, and we recommended to stick to one’s plan. The below table does not take into account the benefits of dollar-cost-averaging, as it assumes a lump sum investment on the 1st of January 2018. In 2018, the SRI 6.5% portfolio showed losses against its same-risk benchmark (1.9pp worse performance), while our 14% SRI balanced portfolio (equivalent to 40% equity, 60% bond portfolio) and our highest risk portfolio outperformed its same risk-benchmark by 0.7pp and 3.9pp respectively. Overall, clients who read our CIO Newsletter and watch our Weekly Market Commentary , already know Freddy’s advice to not overreact, and to stick to their investment plan. Those clients would have seen a great recovery year to date in 2019. When looking at returns, we believe it is important to consider a long-term horizon. Over the short term, market ups and downs are inevitable. If in 2018 the volatility of your portfolio(s) kept you up at night, perhaps it is time to relook the risk level you have selected and whether it is in line with your risk appetite. I will leave you with an excerpt from our latest CIO Newsletter: “Today, on the other side of the same coin, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is not to get over-excited about amazing returns YTD, to stay invested, and to keep dollar-cost-averaging by sticking to your plans. Don’t try to “sell at the peak”, but also don’t bet the house on the fact that the rally will continue. Just stick to your plan.”. You can read the full article here. See Important Notice & Standard Disclaimer at https://www.stashaway.sg/legal
  • Asked by Lai Chong Chao

    Amanda Ong
    Amanda Ong, Head Of Client Engagement & Pr at Stashaway
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 11 Apr 2019
    Hi Lai Chong, Just jumping in to help you with your question :) To clarify, all dividends of US-listed securities are subject to 30% dividend withholding tax (WHT). These taxes are applicable as long as you own US listed assets, regardless whether the assets were bought through StashAway, or via your own broker. The WHT is held at source and the rest of the dividends are redistributed back to your StashAway portfolio(s) and reinvested automatically. Under the QII (Qualified Interest Income) rule, some of the dividend WHT from US domiciled funds (e.g. US government bonds) can be claimed back. Our broker will do this on your behalf and there is no involvement on the customer's part. We will do this once a year, and will notify you via email if you have any claimable WHT, which would be redistributed to your portfolio and automatically reinvested. We reimbursed clients their WHT refund for the year 2017 in October 2018 and will do the same every year. For further illustration, you may like to view the Dec 2017 iShares report on QII ETFs (link: https://www.ishares.com/us/literature/tax-information/qualified-interest-income-qii-percentages-2017.pdf). Some examples of QII ETFs that StashAway invests in are 20+ Year Treasury Bond (TLT) and 10-20 Year Treasury Bond (TLH). Our investment team has given serious consideration to the 30% WHT and have considered other exchanges that have lower or no withholding tax. However, at the end of the day, we have decided to stay with US-listed securities despite the tax implications due to the its deep liquidity, reputable fund management and most importantly, the lower tracking error. If you'd interested to see a comparison between US-listed securities and foreign securities, here(link: https://www.stashaway.sg/r/etf-taxes-returns-and-tracking-errors) is an article that presents its case. I hope this does clarify some of your concerns. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]
  • Asked by Anonymous

    Amanda Ong
    Amanda Ong
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 09 Apr 2019
    Hi there, My name is Amanda and I am the Head of Client Engagement at StashAway. We do not generally comment on our competitors and do not engage in debates on this topic online or offline. We will provide you with all the information you need on StashAway to make an informed investment decision. We also recommend investors to do their own research before deciding on a robo-advisor or an investment product. With that said, there are a few inaccurate observations highlighted by Tai Zhi below that I would like to just clarify. 1) We completely agree with Tai Zhi's point on the fact that research has shown that active fund managers tend to underperform the market. It is true, there is a lot of data published by SPIVA that prove this point. In fact, this is something we have discussed extensively and advocate for in our seminars on investing. Let’s be clear of what this “active” vs “passive” comparison looks at: in this comparison, “active” means to participate in securities selection (buy and selling single names stocks or bonds for example), and “passive” means to buy an entire asset class through ETFs or Index Funds. We believe in passive investing: StashAway invests using ETFs which are an index-tracking investment vehicle listed on a major exchange. Moreover, research shows that 80%+ of differential returns among porfolios come from asset allocation. This is where it makes sense to have a dynamic, strategic approach, rather than a static one. If you've read the white paper on our Investment strategy (https://www.stashaway.sg/r/stashaways-asset-allocation-framework), this is the exact basis of our investment framework. It focuses on asset allocation and not individual security selection. When there is a fundamental change in economic conditions, StashAway will re-optimize your portfolios for you. What this means is that, for example, if the economy were to go from “good times” to a “recession”, StashAway will recommend a re-optimization that will reduce equity exposure and concentrate it in protective sectors (e.g., consumer staples), and increase allocations to asset classes such as government bonds, particularly for long maturity dates, and gold. Our investment framework (ERAA) is risk-centric: the goal is to maintain your risk exposure constant across market and economic cycles while optimizing returns. We will always be more than happy to share details about how we've performed. If you'd like this information, you can reach out to us via [email protected] or ask our Co-Founders during the Q&A of our Academy Seminars. We are more than happy to share that with you. 2) Contrary to the belief that it "may expose the investor to a lengthy court process to claim back the assets if the robo-advisor ceases operations for some unforeseen reasons", the process at which you can claim your assets back should StashAway go bankrupt is actually quite simple. We hold a Capital Markets Services License. We decided to get a license with stricter capital, team experience, compliance and audit requirements (vs a Financial Advisor one) as we felt that it was important to build StashAway on solid foundation that can provide the necessary peace of mind to our customers. You can read about our license on MAS website here. To clarify, Tai Zhi writes that “AutoWealth, on the other hand, adopts an even higher level of safeguard by opening personal segregated custody accounts for each individual investor in his/her legal name so that the legal ownership is 100% clear”: they do so through SAXO, and you can check SAXO’s license on MAS website here, so that you can drive your own conclusions: both StashAway and SAXO have CMS license for Fund Management and Dealing in Capital Markets Products. Unlike SAXO, StashAway does not have a custodial license, and that’s why our customers’ assets are protected by the custodian relationship with SAXO and their sub-custodian institutions (HSBC for cash and SG securities and Citibank for US securities), such that those funds are kept separate and un-mingled with StashAway’s finances. 3) Tai Zhi write that “Other robo-advisors like Stashaway are pure digital platform with little or no human touch.” This is incorrect. StashAway leaves the option to you- you can decide to have zero human interaction if you want, or talk with any of our Customer Engagement (CE) team members through a variety of tools. If you're a client with us, you would know that you are able to choose to upload your documents with us via WhatsApp. In that interaction, you are talking to a CE team member who is assisting you with your onboarding. This WhatsApp feature has been available since day one when we launched in July 2017. To make it easier for you to reach out to us, we have also started placing the WhatsApp chat feature in our mobile app last year. You will see a button at the corner of the app that allows you to quickly open up WhatsApp to speak to the CE team. When you send an email, WhatsApp, Facebook message or call us, you are speaking to an actual person from my team. For our clients, you would already know this. If you are not currently a user, you can contact us via any of the aforementioned channels, my team will be happy to answer any of your questions (https://www.stashaway.sg/contact) If you’d like to meet our team in person, we host weekly seminars in both Singapore and KL and we are always happy to stay back for Q&A sessions. You can find the calendar on our StashAway Academy page. I do hope the above has clarified some of the misconceptions or inaccuracies stated about us. If you'd like to learn more on any of the above points or on StashAway, please feel free to reach out to me or my team at [email protected]
  • Asked by Anonymous

    Amanda Ong
    Amanda Ong
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 15 Nov 2018
    Hi there, just thought I'd jump in to help you with your question. My name is Amanda and I work at StashAway. We keep it as flexible as possible for our clients- there is no minmum deposits, you can deposit anytime you wish, you can set a standing instruction with your bank to make monthly deposits or choose to stop your deposits anytime you'd like. We do however, recommend clients to keep investing through regular contributions in order to reap the rewards of dollar-cost averaging. You can read more about it here: https://www.stashaway.sg/r/dollar-cost-averaging. By investing a fixed dollar amount on a regular schedule, regardless of market conditions, you will purchase more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high. This ensures that you will invest at a reasonable price and exchange rate, and avoid investing at market tops, helping you to manage the risk of your investments. Therefore, reducing the probability of making a large investment at an unfavorable price/exchange rate, especially considering the volatile markets in recent months. With that said, investing steadily and consistently into a diversified portfolio, while maintaining a long-term perspective, will definitely have a bigger influence on your long term returns. I hope this helps! If you have any further questions, please feel free to drop us an email at [email protected], our team will be happy to help! :)
  • Asked by Anonymous

    Amanda Ong
    Amanda Ong
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 25 Oct 2018
    Hi! Thank you for your interest in StashAway! My name is Amanda and I am the Head of Client Engagement here at StashAway. Just to share, when you create an account with us, we will build for you a customized portfolio of USD-denominated ETFs, based on your goals, risk level and financial information. By investing in ETFs from different asset classes, our portfolios provide diversification . Metaphorically, as you do not "put all your eggs in the same basket", investing in diversified ETFs helps you to manage risks in the face of uncertainty. As we use fractional shares , you are able to achieve this diversified portfolio even with a relatively low capital outlay. Our portfolios are designed for medium to long term investment, managing risks and enhancing returns with our in-house investment framework. Our algorithms monitor your portfolios daily, and rebalance them regularly to precisely manage your portfolio's risk level. Our investment framework constantly monitors prices and economic indicators, and updates your portfolio allocation, helping you to navigate through changing economic cycles. You can read more about our investment strategy here: https://www.stashaway.sg/r/stashaways-asset-allocation-framework. By leveraging technology, we can be both time and cost efficient. We pass these cost savings on to you in the form of lower fees. If you would like to learn more about us, you can contact us at [email protected](mailto:[email protected]) or +65 6248 0889 (9am - 6pm, Monday - Friday, excluding public holidays). We will be happy to help! :)
  • Asked by Anonymous

    Amanda Ong
    Amanda Ong
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Updated on 08 Oct 2018
    Hi! Just to share, we have just reimbursed the witholding tax refund last week to all clients who are entitled to it for the FY2017. If you received a reimbursement, you would have received an email from us informing you of this :)
  • Asked by Anonymous

    Amanda Ong
    Amanda Ong
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 10 Sep 2018
    Hi there, We recommend that customers spread out large investments across several months, investing through dollar-cost-averaging and holding assets until your goal is reached By investing a fixed dollar amount on a regular schedule, regardless of market conditions, you will purchase more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high. This ensures that you will invest at a reasonable price and exchange rate, and avoid investing at market tops, helping you to manage the risk of your investments. Your risk level should depend on your risk appetite and not just on returns. You can read an article we recently posted here: https://www.stashaway.sg/r/debunking-high-risk-high-return. If you would like to get a better idea on expected returns of the different portfolios or if you have any further questions, you can contact us at [email protected](mailto:[email protected]) or +65 6248 0889 (9am - 6pm, Monday - Friday, excluding public holidays). We will be happy to help :) Best, Amanda