dollarDex Investment Brokerage Review: Should you invest with Aviva’s dollarDEX?

dollardex investment brokerage

NOTE: Aviva is now Singlife with Aviva

You’ve probably heard of Aviva, the insurance company. But what does it have to do with investing?

Well, Aviva has its own online investment platform called dollarDEX. But unlike most platforms which usually enable you to trade stocks, amongst other asset types, the main focus of dollarDEX is unit trusts and mutual funds.

So, is it worthwhile signing up for dollarDEX? Let’s find out.

What is dollarDEX?

dollarDEX is an online investment platform that enables you to investment in unit trusts and mutual funds.

Using the platform, you can research, buy and sell unit trusts and mutual funds.

There are no sales charges, platform fees or switching fees, which makes it a cost-effective option if you’re planning to make unit trusts / mutual funds part of your investment portfolio.

How to invest with dollarDEX?

Sign up for an account on the dollarDEX website and they will contact you to finalise the account opening process.

You can then select the unit trusts you wish to buy and pay for them through internet banking, CPF fund transfer or cheque.

dollarDEX commission fees

Unlike many other investment platforms, dollarDEX does not charge any upfront fees when you buy and sell.

They do, however, charge an annual management fee which varies depending on the asset. These fees are added to the unit price that you pay when you buy a fund, so you need to view each individual fund’s summary to find out the management fee.

The advantage is that the price you see upon checkout is exactly what you pay, and you don’t have to worry about being slapped with hidden charges.

So, the question is, is it cheaper to buy unit trusts through dollarDEX rather than other investment platforms? Because most platforms charge commissions and/or transaction costs, dollarDX is generally very cost-effective in comparison. That being said, you still need to compare each asset with the price on other platforms to be absolutely sure.

dollarDEX trading platform

The dollarDEX platform is fairly simple and easy-to-use compared to typical investment platforms.

One of the biggest drawbacks is its limited range of investment products. Switching to dollarDEX means having to log into a separate account just to view your units trusts and mutual funds.

In addition, the platform seems to be designed for newbie investors, so not a lot of information or analysis is presented at first glance. The range of unit trust is also not great compared to what more comprehensive investment platforms offer.

And for those who want to manage their investments on the go, forget it—dollarDEX does not have a mobile version. That being said, unit trusts are not the kinds of investments you need to constantly monitor the prices of, so a mobile version is not essential.

Who should use dollarDEX?

If you’re a bargain hunter who wants to invest in unit trusts in the most cost-effective way possible and you’re okay with the hassle of opening a separate account just for that, then by all means use dollarDEX.

dollarDEX is also a good choice for risk-averse newbie investors who’re looking to start with some basic low-risk investments like unit trusts. The platform’s simple interface makes it easy to pick products without getting lost in a sea of information.

How to choose the right investment brokerage?

Whether you’re looking for a simple way to buy one type of investment asset, as with dollarDEX, or need a more robust platform that lets you manage your entire investment portfolio, here are some factors to consider.

1. Commission fees

Commission fees will add to the cost of every asset you buy. So find out and compare the commission fees of the various brokerage platforms you’re considering to figure out which are most cost-effective. The more frequently you buy or sell, the more heavily you’ll be affected by commission fees. If you’re a buy-and-hold kind of investor, commission fees don’t matter as much, although you should still avoid picking an expensive platform.

Look out for minimum commission fees as well. These will affect you if you usually trade small volumes.

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2. Trading platforms

Pick a platform that enables you to do what you need to do quickly and easily. Are you looking to trade a wide range of assets and need detailed analyses? Or do you prioritise an easy-to-use platform that doesn’t require a PhD to figure out?

Device compatibility is also important for those who wish to trade on the go. Whether you’re an iOS or Android user, make sure the mobile app (if any) of the platform you pick runs on your device. This is especially important if you speculate or make short-term investments and need to be able to closely monitor prices.

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3. CDP or custodian account

When buying stocks or ETFs, some platforms can link your brokerage account directly to your CDP account, so all your purchases get deposited into the latter. Others might hold your stocks for you in a custodian account, which means the brokerage technically remains in possession of your investments.

While most custodian accounts are quite safe, some people might prefer to have their stocks deposited directly into their CDP accounts just in case.

In the case of dollarDEX, as the investments in question are neither stocks nor ETFs, you cannot transfer them to your CDP account. All unit trusts and mutual funds you buy through dollarDEX are held on your behalf in a custodian account.

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What investment brokerages have you used? Share your recommendations in the comments!

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash