Started my journey with Autowealth in Oct 2017 with a Risk Level 2 portfolio, and opened another Risk 4 portfolio with them early this year. Did so because I wanted greater exposure to equities and opened a new portfolio with AW instead of another Roboadvisor because the $18 USD annual fee is independent of the number of portfolios you have with AW.
- Personal touch. Beginning my investment journey with AW required for me to meet with one of their co founders at that point which gave me a sense of the team handling the funds. They also checked on the motivations behind your investment and ensured the risk appetite of your choice was appropriate for your situation. If I'm not wrong, new sign-ups can be done online without having to meet someone from the team, with the option of speaking to a "wealth manager" through WhatsApp, but the fact that I had to meet with someone face to face (brought my father along as it was one of my first investment forays) showed the commitment the team has for their clients.
- Security of funds! Your money is held in a custodian account.. but a personal one! So if anything happens, your money is still under your name:)
- Convenience. This probably applies to other Robo Advisors as well but where else can you gain balanced exposure to international equities and bonds without the need to take periodic action of research, asset allocation/balancing, having to worry about timing the market, currency conversion woes.. Robo Advisors address these concerns, and makes use of disciplined algorithms avoiding biases which might otherwise form. And yes, you won't have to do any mind boggling research into USD and how to trade US equities whether it's through US/UK??, it's all done for you by more than their more than qualified team (headed by an ex-GIC banker! how more legit can you get!)
- Comparatively low fees. Really low commission fees of 0.5%!! (on top of that there's a $18 USD annual platform fee but if you do the math it's pretty competitive compared to other Robo Advisors in SG). Ultimately, it depends on the sum you wish to invest as different Robo Advisors appeal to consumers with different investment strategies. But if you invest around 10k AW is the lowest.
- Opening an account is pretty tedious, but of course it's for the greater good. They have gotta do checks to ensure you're suitable for this form of investment, as after all, all investments (especially international equities with more factors to consider) contain risk. Also, they'll open a personal custodian account under your name so that's another form to fill but I mean if it means greater peace of mind, why not?
- No phone app:( Would be great if they had an app with fingerprint login for easier access! But honestly, I don't rly track the monies in my portfolios often so it doesn't rly matter.
[Barrier to Entry]
- High entry requirement. Minimum investment sum of $3000 so if you wanna playplay maybe can look elsewhere with no min sum haha, but the result of whatever you invest can be withdrawn anytime you wish
- Website. It honestly can look much better and work much faster.. but I mean it shows the necessary information including the trend of your portfolio value since inception, and a detailed breakdown of all transactions (ie balancing/dividend crediting etc). You can now login through Singpass.. though it's pretty neutral as my phone autofilled the password in the past anyway..
If I had another sum of money I wish to invest for international exposure, would I open another portfolio with AW?
Probably not.. I'm kinda looking at DBS DigiPortfolio (opened a US centric portfolio with them weeks ago), and they've got a commission fee of 0.75% (no platform fee), with a team of investment gurus who previously serviced Premium Banking clients!
Returns for Risk Level 2 since Oct 2017: 7%
Returns for Risk Level 4 since Feb 2019: 9%