For MoneyOwl and EndowUs, my advisor also distributes DFA funds. What would be the biggest difference going through him and him overseeing my portfolio rather then going through MoneyOwl or EndowUs? - Seedly
 

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Asked by Anonymous

Asked on 03 May 2019

For MoneyOwl and EndowUs, my advisor also distributes DFA funds. What would be the biggest difference going through him and him overseeing my portfolio rather then going through MoneyOwl or EndowUs?

He mentioned these funds a few weeks ago and drafted me a portfolio using the funds. I understand that MoneyOwl has a lower barrier to start and EndowUs doesn't only use DFA. But if he charges me the same fee of 0.5% pa, will there be any difference?

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Dear Anonymous

Thank you for your question. As a start, let me just say that it is good that your adviser has offered you Dimensional. Not many would as advisers get paid lower using Dimensional than actively managed funds. This is because Dimensional do not pay any trail commissions to advisers at all.

I think that if you feel that you are comfortable with your adviser and that he is more than competent to craft a good financial plan for you, as well as he is able to coach you during market volatility, you can trust your adviser with your financial life. I will just share some of the plus points about MoneyOwl here including how we manage clients during market volatility. Please allow me to reproduce an answer that I gave previously.

At MoneyOwl, we believe that in order to have a good investment experience, one should not try to guess where the markets are going, time it by getting in and out of them. Instead, one should stay invested for the long term as scores of evidence have shown that stock markets always go up in the long term.

The problem is, the head may understand this especially during “peace‘ time but when markets start tumbling, the heart may not follow what the head knows. So how do we align the head and the heart?

To do that, a lot of things need to be done even before a downturn. Some of the things we do at MoneyOwl are:

Education: We continuously publish our professionals thoughts and guidance here at advice.moneyowl.com.sg. Through education not just on investment matters, but also on insurance, estate planning and general financial planning issues, we hope to help our clients make correct financial decisions. Progressively, we will educate our clients even more via infographics, videos and educational events such as the investment symposium that we will be holding in the morning on 25th of May. If you participate in all the above, it would be like attending a financial literacy university. In fact, at MoneyOwl, we already have a team of financial literacy trainers providing education to investors.

Financial Planning: In helping the head make the right investment decisions through our robos, we ascertain and help our clients strengthen their ability to take risk. This is done by ensuring that your financial health is strong, that you are sufficiently well covered by insurance, and that you have enough time horizon. We also help you know your need for returns from your investment based on the financial goals you want to achieve. We ascertain your willingness to take risks through our simple but yet accurate risk questions. Once we understand your need, ability and willingness to take risk, we would be able to recommend a suitable investment portfolio for you with the risk and return characteristics that you need, able and willing to stay invested. The robo will also regularly rebalance your portfolio to reflect the risk that you should take. While you can do many of the above through our investment robo now, we would be able to help you do all the above when our comprehensive financial planning robo is rolled out in a few months time.

Bionic Advisory: As you might know by now, MoneyOwl is not a pure investment robo. We have currently launched 3 robos (insurance, will writing and investments). As mentioned, in a few months time, our 4th robo, the comprehensive financial planning robos will be up. But beyond advice via technology, we are really a bionic financial advisory firm. What that means is that after you have gotten your first level advice through our robos, we have a team of competent & conflict-free (as they are all salaried and do not receive commissions) advisers, using their wisdom to complete the advice if you wish to consult them. An example of what these advisers can do for you is to confirm your risk appetite decisions. While we have a good set of risk questions to ascertain that, your willingness to take risk is really a matter of the heart, influence by many factors that are complex enough that a robo might not fully empathize. Our advisers will be there to provide the judgement so that you can make the correct investment decisions that will help you stay invested when markets become volatile.

If we do all the above well and together with you, the chances of you staying invested will be much higher when the markets start to become rough. But when the “shit really hits the fan”, besides doing more education through articles, videos, and events, you can be sure our advisers will be on hand to guide you through the storm. You always have access to them.

One of our parent companies is Providend, a home-grown financial advisory firm who have been around since 2001 and have gone through the Glocal Financial Crisis of 2008. In that crisis, markets fell almost 40% in 3 months. They have learnt through experience that by doing the above, the chance of helping clients stay invested is higher. MoneyOwl now adopts the same process.

We know that financial decisions are often emotional. Robots may be good in many things. But they don’t understand human emotions. That is why MoneyOwl is bionic.

So in a nutshell, when you engage MoneyOwl, you are not just engaging an individual. You are in fact having the advice from the entire organization as all our advisers operate the same way. Also, the investment and financial planning philosophy are not adviser-based but institutional based. The philosophy comes from 2 decades of experience from one of MoneyOwl's parent companies, Providend, whom has managed monies through the GFC in 2008. You also have the assurance that MoneyOwl is here to stay as the other parent company of MoneyOwl is NTUC Enterprise.

Hope the above is helpful for you.

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