MoneyOwl Review (2020) — The Robo Advisor Platform That is a Social Enterprise

MoneyOwl robo advisor investment Singapore review

It sounds a little scary, but MoneyOwl brands itself as “Singapore’s First Bionic Financial Advisor”. No, that doesn’t mean you’ll be served by cyborgs. It does mean, however, that you’ll be able to obtain financial advice with the help of technology.

MoneyOwl is an NTUC Social Enterprise, and is a joint venture between NTUC Enterprise Co-operative and Providend Holding. That makes them sound a bit more legit to those who are afraid of falling prey to scams.

This financial adviser enables you to invest not only cash, but also your SRS (Supplementary Retirement Scheme) savings. It opens up the option for you to invest the money in your SRS account, which otherwise only earns a fixed 0.05% per annum.

It also offers other services such as insurance advisory and will writing. But we’ll focus on their investment services today.

 

What is MoneyOwl?

MoneyOwl is strictly speaking not a robo advisor. Robo advisors let you invest automatically on a platform, and that’s all. You just create a profile, punch in your preferences, select a portfolio and the app does the rest of the work for you.

Like robo advisors, MoneyOwl provides a platform on which you can invest, but the key difference is that you can do so with the help of a human advisor if you wish. That means you can pick up the phone and get someone to explain anything you don’t understand, or advise you on your investments — without having to pay commission!

Other than that little value-added service above, MoneyOwl’s platform acts like a robo platform. You set your portfolio based on your risk profile, and the platform then manages your investment automatically.

Unlike many prominent robo advisors, MoneyOwl does not invest in ETFs. Instead, they focus on funds from multinational investment manager Dimensional Fund Advisors.

If you’re an investment noob who’s probably not ready to commit to any investment yet, look out for an upcoming series of free group Financial Resilience Workshops to help you find out more about managing your cashflow and debt. This is ideal for those are affected by pay cuts, job losses or other financial issues.

 

MoneyOwl fees and charges

MoneyOwl’s barriers to entry are low for those who don’t have much cash to invest. It aims to be accessible to beginning investors, so the minimum one-time lump sum investment amount is just $100. For those who want to commit to investing every month, the minimum monthly investment amount is just $50.

What’s noteworthy is that the previous platform fee of 0.18% p.a. has been absorbed, so you’ll find it more affordable to invest.

Asset Under Management Advisory fees
$10,000 and below 0%*
$10,000.01 to $100,000 0.60%
 $100,000.01 and above  0.50%

* The 0% fee applies to the first $10,000-investment and it is valid till 31 December 2021.

If you’re an investment noob, consider taking up MoneyOwl’s Comprehensive Financial Planning service (worth $535) at an introductory price of $99, so you can attend a two-hour consultation with its salaried advisers to review and plan your financial journey.

Not quite ready to commit to any investment yet? Look out for an upcoming series of free group Financial Resilience Workshops to help you find out more about managing your cashflow and debt. This is ideal for those are affected by pay cuts, job losses or other financial issues.

 

Types of portfolios available

MoneyOwl offers five portfolios with exposure to three funds.

The three funds offered by MoneyOwl, all managed by Dimensional Fund Advisors, are:

  • Dimensional Global Core Equity Fund (SGD, Accumulation) – Contains about 7,500 stocks in 23 countries including Singapore, Japan, Australia and the US. 64.8% of the assets are North American, 21.08% European and 13.89% from the Asia Pacific, while the top three sectors are financials (15.59%), industrials (13.17%) and information technology (13.04%).
  • Dimensional Emerging Markets Large Caps Core Equity Fund (SGD, Accumulation) – Contains about 900 stocks in 20 emerging markets including China, Indonesia, India and Brazil. 75.58% of the assets are from the Asia Pacific, 13.54% from Latin America and 6.37% from Africa. Top industries include financials (21.64%), information technology (15.47%) and energy (10.74%).
  • Dimensional Global Short Fixed Income Fund (SGD, Accumulation, Hedged) – There are about 180 assets in this bond fund in 17 countries with a 53.24% allocation in Europe and 25.29% in North America.

 

How does investing with MoneyOwl work?

Users are recommended one of five portfolios to begin investing based on the risk profile they indicate and for how long they want to invest. 

After keying in your basic financial details such as monthly income, assets and loans, you’re given a short questionnaire to assess your risk appetite. 

The algorithm then recommends you a portfolio and its assets based on your risk appetite, and you can start investing if you like what you see. 

The platform rebalances your portfolio every quarter to ensure it’s within your chosen risk appetite. Other than that, it does not make tactical portfolio adjustments other than to asset allocation of the portfolios.

Check out our comparison of how MoneyOwl stacks up against the other robo advisors in the market below. 

 

MoneyOwl vs Endowus

Endowus’ portfolios feature mutual funds, and are thus more similar to MoneyOwl’s than other robo advisors who focus on ETFs or REITs. In fact, Endowus’ cash/SRS portfolios also offer exposure to the Dimensional Global Core Equity Fund and Dimensional Emerging Markets Large Cap Core Equity Fund, among others. But these are just two of a larger basket of funds in Endowus’ portfolios. 

Endowus could actually be MoneyOwl’s closest competitor as they also allow you to invest your SRS funds. But while Endowus lets you invest your CPF funds, MoneyOwl does not. In addition, the overall cost of using Endowus is significantly lower, as they charge 0.4% for CPF and SRS funds or 0.6% for your first $200,000 of cash investment. 

The big difference here is that you need at least $10,000 to invest with Endowus, while MoneyOwl’s minimum lump sum investment is only $100.

 

MoneyOwl vs Stashaway

Stashaway’s focus is ETFs, unlike MoneyOwl which focuses on funds. Stashaway is not considered particularly cheap compared to other robo investors, but it is still cheaper than MoneyOwl, with fees of 0.8% on your first $25,000. 

Stashaway also does not impose any minimum investment amount and has a beginner-friendly interface. If the cost of investing is a concern to you and you are fine with investing in ETFs, Stashaway is the cheaper choice.

 

MoneyOwl vs Autowealth

Autoweath is another robo advisor focusing on ETFs. With fees of 0.5% + US$18 platform fee per annum, Autowealth is also cheaper to use than MoneyOwl.

However, Autowealth’s minimum investment amount of $3,000 does make it slightly more prohibitive for beginners. You also can’t invest SRS funds with Autowealth.

 

MoneyOwl vs Syfe

Syfe is cheaper to use than MoneyOwl, with its lowest tier account charging 0.65% for up to $20,000. They also do not impose a minimum investment amount and have no additional brokerage or transaction fees. So, overall, Syfe is more wallet-friendly for newbies.

That being said, Syfe focuses on ETFs and REITs and has limited portfolios. Some might like that because it’s straightforward, but if you prefer funds or a more nuanced approach then pick MoneyOwl.

 

How to sign up with MoneyOwl

Create a MoneyOwl account here. (Click on “Don’t have an account? Get started.”)

Once your account has been created, you will then be able to sign up individually for MoneyOwl’s various services, including their investment platform.

 

Concluding thoughts

MoneyOwl offers exposure to Dimensional funds (which not all robo advisors do), and is also the only platform other than Endowus and Stashaway that enables you to invest your SRS funds. It’s also very easy to qualify for, as the minimum lump sum investment is just $100.

The main drawback for many will be the relatively high fees relative to other robo investors. This might be worth it if you are making full use of their human advisors. However, if you are experienced and just need a platform to automate your investments, it might be cheaper to go with Endowus, which in addition to SRS funds also lets you invest your CPF OA savings.