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 CPF savings. It opens up the option for you to invest the money in your CPF Ordinary and SRS account, which otherwise only earns a fixed 2.5% and 0.05% per annum respectively. Putting your SRS into MoneyOwl’s Dimensional and WiseIncome portfolios, on the other hand, has a payout rate of up to 4.5% and 8% respectively. Do note, however, the figures are a projection, not an absolute guarantee.
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.
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. For the Dimensional portfolio, 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.
If you’re thinking of putting your money into MoneyOwl’s WiseIncome portfolios, you’ll need to put down a minimum one-time lump sum investment amount of $1,000 or invest $100 monthly.
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 2022.
On top of that, there’s an additional annual fund management fee that varies depending on the type of investment:
|Investment portfolio||Fund management fees|
|Dimensional portfolios||0.25% to 0.27%|
|CPF portfolios||0.4% to 0.42%|
|WiseSaver||0.15% (factored into the price of the funds)|
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. If you’re a NTUC member, you also get a further 75% off!
Types of portfolios available
MoneyOwl offers four portfolios – Dimensional, WiseIncome, WiseSaver and CPF. Each portfolio is tailored to meet differing financial goals. Let’s take a closer look into the portfolios offered by MoneyOwl.
|Investment portfolio||Financial goal||Funds|
|Dimensional portfolios||Gaining long-term capital growth||Five standard portfolios:
Equity portfolio (88% equities in developed markets, 12% equities in emerging markets)
Growth portfolio (70% equities in developed markets, 10% equities in emerging markets, 20% global core fixed income)
Balanced portfolio (53% equities in developed markets, 7% equities in emerging markets, 30% global core fixed income, 10% global short fixed income)
Moderate portfolio (35% equities in developed markets, 5% equities in emerging markets, 30% global core fixed income, 30% global short fixed income)
Conservative portfolio (18% equities in developed markets, 2% equities in emerging markets, 80% global short fixed income)
|WiseIncome portfolios||Earning passive income in the long-term||Global equities (30%)
Asian bonds (28%)
US/SG Govt sector (10%)
|WiseSaver portfolios||Earn higher interest than fixed deposit accounts from your spare cash||Singapore dollar fund deposits|
|CPF portfolios||Earn higher than 2.5% p.a. returns on your CPF OA savings in the long run||CPF Balanced (60% equities, 40% bonds)
CPF Growth (80% equities, 20% bonds)
CPF Equity (100% equities)
As illustrated in the table above, MoneyOwl, has clearly defined the goals of each investment portfolio. Identifying your personal finance goal is where you can start before you make your investment decisions.
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 and CPF funds. 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 difference here is that you need at least $1,000 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 with fees of 0.8% on your first $25,000, which is higher than MoneyOwl’s 0.6%.
StashAway also does not impose any minimum investment amount and has a beginner-friendly interface. If you can afford MoneyOwl’s minimum investment of $100, it would be the relatively cheaper option with lower fees. Particularly, if you take advantage of MoneyOwl’s 0% fee for the first $10,000-investment that is valid till 31 December 2022.
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 more expensive 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, MoneyOwl 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.
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.
Compared to other robo investors, MoneyOwl’s fees are price competitive and you’re getting the most for what you’re paying with access to human advisors. However, if you are experienced and just need a platform to automate your investments, it might be cheaper to go with Endowus.