Asked by Anonymous
Asked on 22 May 2019
My name is Greg, Co-CEO of Endowus. A broad index fund ETF is lower cost than Endowus. If you choose to go down this route, we encourage clients to buy ACWD (UCITS - 40bps) through a low cost broker (Interactive Brokers for example) and try not to be caught by a bid-ask spread. I would highly discourage buying US-listed ETFs, given the dividend withholding tax on these products that you should not be paying from Singapore. Note that you can claim back partial withholding tax on interest from bonds, but not on equity dividends. (Example: If equity dividends are 3% and the withholding tax is 30%, you end up paying up to 90bps more unnecessarily, so what you thought was low cost actually becomes quite high cost.) I think that passive is a great strategy, but systematic, such as DFA, lets you access superior implementation which will drive better returns over the long run, and a strategy you can stick with through market cycles. An example of this implementation is Dimensional’s diversification and systematic tilts. In a single fund exposed to the entire world, there are over 10,000 securities, with a systemcatic overweight to the long-term risk premiums of small cap, value and profitability, versus the MSCI ACWI commercial index which is exposed to 2,000+ securities at a market cap weight. We expect this to generate alpha over the long-run, as it has through the long history of market data. Taking this position in the market also exposes you to tracking error (away from the commercial index), so you have to be comfortable with inconsistently winning and losing to the benchmark through your investment journey. Note that the fund level cost of the DFA fund described is 43bps, and Endowus fees range from 25bps to 60bps (all-inclusive of account creation, holistic advice, portfolio creation, intelligent rebalancing, brokerage, platform fee).
DFA can be accessed through financial advisors like Endowus, MoneyOwl, Providend, though you are right in that there are additional asset based fees involved. We have run some analysis and over the long run, given DFA's long-term track record, these fees will be less that what you gain in the long-run. It is important to note that Endowus, MoneyOwl and Providend do not get paid by anyone but you, contrary to much of the industry that is paid trailer fees (distribution/sales commissions) by fund managers, which clients are usually oblivious to. This way we can stay honest to serving only you, our client.
You can contact a financial advisor who has access to DFA.
22 May 2019