Battle of the Robo-Advisors: A Review of Stashaway, digiPortfolio & Syfe 1-year on (Promo codes included)
This Street Fighter II theme song was playing in loop while writing this article
It’s been a year since the Covid-19 global stock market crash that led to lows not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. This fire sale re-ignited my interest in the stock market. Before that, I only parked my money into bonds, endowment plans, and fixed deposits.
This one year ‘anniversary’ has also been a rocky time for the US stock market. Early March saw one of the biggest selloffs in the US tech stocks, in what stock market observers called the ‘rotation’ from growth to value stocks among investors. While my tech stock holdings in my Tiger Brokers account saw its worst losses, my robo-advisor portfolios were quite resilient.
What are RoboAdvisors?
For the uninitiated, robo-advisors are digital investing services that rely on automation to invest their customers’ money based on their risk appetite. There are fees, but the main appeal is that you can invest very small amounts of money gradually. Investors generally just need to select their risk preference and deposit money accordingly.
I have used Stashaway, digiPortfolio and Syfe, for some time. All my portfolios on the three platforms are ETF-heavy, except for Syfe’s REIT+. Using these portfolios is a good ETF investment strategy, especially if you’re starting small and want to slowly build up savings incrementally.
The alternative would be to buy those ETFs or REITs directly from the stock market through brokerages, where the fees are more expensive.
Review of my various portfolios
Here’s how all my robo-advisor portfolios are doing:
As you can see, US stocks via Syfe Equity100 are doing the best among the robos. The portfolio is pretty diversified. While it’s heavier on QQQ, it also has a number of value stock ETFs. This portfolio has been hands down the best robo-advisor performer.
Next, DBS’s digiPortfolio is doing very well too. In my first review of these robo-advisors, I advised using Stashaway first for beginners. That is still true, but it turns out digiPortfolio’s Asia portfolio has proved a better performer.
Stashaway’s General Investing portfolio is third. I’m at 16% for the risk index for my portfolio, and the returns have been mixed. Compared to the preceding portfolios, I have not seen very high returns nor have I lost significantly. I suppose the risk level I assigned to this portfolio has kept it that way.
Last is Syfe’s REITs+. It’s been a disappointing run for this portfolio and I may want to discontinue. I understand Syfe has rebalanced this portfolio, but I may well channel the funds elsewhere to earn better returns.
In my more than one year experimenting with equities, the lesson is that stocks definitely provide greater returns than other products.
Currently, I have a small fraction of my wealth invested in these equities through robo-advisors and Tiger Brokers. I plan to ramp up my investments into equities through these robo-advisors and others. For Syfe’s REIT+ and individuals stocks that have stagnated, I may sell them and channel them elsewhere.
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