Syfe has quickly become one of the most popular robo advisors thanks to its straightforward interface, affordable fees and no minimum investment.
For beginners who are just testing the waters or those without much cash, Syfe is a relatively accessible option.
If you are new to this form of investing, you may wish to find out more about robo advisors in Singapore, to see if this is the right investment approach for you.
How much are Syfe’s fees & minimum amounts?
One Syfe’s biggest advantages is that you don’t need a lot of money to start, which is great news for many beginner investors. Their most basic account tier has no minimum investment value, which means you can just jump in with a small sum.
Here’s a rundown of the fees and minimum investment sums for their four tiers of accounts:
|Management fee per year||0.65%||0.5%||0.4%||0.35%|
|Minimum invested amount/ Current value of all investment portfolios||None||20,000 SGD||100,000 SGD||500,000 SGD|
Their management fees are also relatively low, at 0.65% for the most basic Blue account. Now, 0.65% is not the absolute cheapest in town, but it’s considered competitive compared to what other robo advisors are charging for their lowest tiers.
On the other hand, the management fees for the Black and Gold tiers are very attractive relative to what you would pay most other robo advisors when investing the same amounts. You can compare robo advisors easily on MoneySmart.
What are Syfe’s investment portfolios?
Syfe offers 4 investment portfolios — Core, REIT+, Equity100, and Global ARI — and Cash+, a cash management account.
1. Syfe Core portfolio
Syfe Core portfolios are made up of stock, bond and gold ETFs to expose its users to global diversification and better risk-adjusted returns. (Don’t know what ETFs are? Here’s a guide.)
Depending on your appetite for risk, you can pick from 3 variations:
- Core Defensive: for conservative investors looking for a low-risk portfolio that generates steady returns in the short-term
- Core Balanced: for moderate investors looking for a medium-risk portfolio that generates higher returns over a mid-to-long period
- Core Growth: for risk-tolerant investors looking a higher-risk portfolio that’s optimised for maximum returns over a long period of time
- Core Equity100: a portfolio of 12 ETFs tracking indices like the Nasdaq 100, S&P 500, and so on, covering some 1,500+ global companies in total. With the risk spread across so many companies, it seems like this is a pretty “safe” option. But it’s important to note that this is a 100% equity portfolio, i.e. it’s ALL stocks. So, you’d be exposed to risks if the stock market crashes as a whole, like during COVID-19.
It should be interesting to note that Syfe’s Core portfolios have as much as 14.3% geographical allocation to China. This is because Syfe believes that Chinese stocks will do well in the long term.
2. Syfe REIT+ portfolio
This portfolio closely mimics the iEdge S-REIT 20 Index, which tracks blue chip REITs in Singapore including big names like Ascendas, Mapletree and CapitaLand.
You can choose to invest in either 100% REITs (which only tracks the iEdge S-REIT 20 Index) or REITs with Risk Management (which also allocates a portion of your cash to Singapore Government Bonds). The latter diversifies your portfolio across asset class, reducing the risk but also potentially your returns.
Since this is a REIT portfolio, the main draw is dividends rather than growth. By default, all dividends are automatically reinvested, but if you’re on the Black ($20,000) tier or above, you can choose to receive payouts on a quarterly basis.
3. Syfe Cash+ portfolio
Syfe Cash+ is a “cash management account” with 0% fees. It works somewhat like a savings accounts but with variable and non-guaranteed returns.
Syfe puts your Cash+ balance in funds like the LionGlobal SGD Money Market Fund, LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund and LionGlobal Short Duration Bond Fund. Known as money market funds, these investments are optimised for liquidity — meaning they shouldn’t fluctuate wildly in the short term.
But unlike a regular savings account, neither your returns nor your capital are guaranteed. You can earn “up to 1.2% p.a.” as Syfe claims, but you can also lose money.
4. Syfe Select (Themes & Custom)
Syfe Select Custom is a platform that allows you to build your own portfolios from a curated list of over 100 best-in-class ETFs. Find out more here.
What about Syfe trading?
Syfe has also expanded its repertoire beyond investments to launching their own brokerage account: Syfe Trade. For beginners looking to get into the US stock market, Syfe Trade is a great place to start. And because Syfe allows fractional investing, you don’t even have to worry about saving for expensive stocks like Google (~US$2,461) or Amazon (~US$2,921). You could start investing in these stocks with as little as US$1.
On top of that, Syfe charges a flat fee of US$0.99 per trade and you can get 5 commission-free trades a month during the introductory offer period of 3 months. After that, you will still be privy to 2 free trades a month and you’ll be charged US$1.49 per trade which is still one of the lowest in the market for US stocks and ETFs. On top of that, Syfe also has attractive cash credit deals when you sign up regardless of whether you’re new to Syfe or an existing customer.
- Get S$60 (~US$44) cash credit when you open your Syfe Trade account, fund it with a minimum of S$1,000 and make your first trade of any amount
- Get S$30 (~US$22) cash credit for each friend you successfully refer to Syfe Trade
Like cherry on top of a cake, there’s also no inactivity, no withdrawal and no platform fees. To get the full low down on Syfe Trade, head on over here.
Which Syfe portfolio should beginners pick?
If you’re just dabbling in investing for the first time, and scared to venture beyond Singapore shores, we think the Syfe REIT+ is a good option. With no minimum investment, you can get to know what the fuss over REITs is all about and decide whether it’s for you.
If you’re more keen on investing globally, the Syfe Equity100 makes sense as an ultra-diversified stocks portfolio. This type of portfolio may be volatile in the short term, so it is best for long-term, passive investors with holding power.
The mixed-asset Syfe Core and Syfe Global ARI portfolios are for more seasoned investors who are comfortable putting more of their savings in Syfe.
These are meant to diversify your investment by also incorporating bonds and gold (regarded as “safe havens” in the event of stock market crashes, like the 2020 Covid-19 crash). The main difference between these 2 is that Syfe Core is much more focused on China.
If you’re only beginning to invest, we recommend stashing your emergency fund in a regular savings account rather than putting it in Syfe Cash+. It’ll be more accessible and safer that way.
Syfe vs Stashaway — which is better?
Syfe’s management fees are generally lower than Stashaway’s, especially at the lower tiers.
|Total investment (SGD)||Stashaway||Syfe|
|First $25,000||0.8%||0.65% (up to $20,000) / 0.5% (above $20,000)|
|> $25,000 to $50,000||0.7%||0.5%|
|>$50,000 to $100,000||0.6%||0.5%|
|>$100,000 to $250,000||0.5%||0.4%|
|>$250,000 to $500,000||0.4%||0.4%|
|>$500,000 to $1million||0.3%||0.35%|
However, Stashaway is simpler and takes the research out of your decision making. Instead of picking one portfolio or the other, you let Stashaway put together a portfolio for you based on the risk profile and goals you’ve entered.
That might or might not be a good thing, depending on how much you trust the platform’s algorithms.
Like Syfe, Stashaway’s barrier to entry is negligible, with no minimum account balance. So it doesn’t hurt to try out both robos with small investments and see which one you prefer.
Syfe vs DBS digiPortfolio — which is better?
You know robo advisors have gone mainstream when even DBS is trying to get a slice of the pie. In terms of fees, DBS digiPortfolio charges a flat 0.75% which is quite a bit pricier than Syfe.
|Total investment (SGD)||DBS digiPortfolio||Syfe|
|>$20,000 to $100,000||0.75%||0.5%|
|>$100,000||0.75%||0.4% or less|
DBS digiPortfolio is also not as beginner-friendly, with a minimum investment of S$1,000 or US$1,000, depending on the portfolio. Then again, most of us are more confident about putting our money in DBS than in a start-up.
It’s also somewhat easier to pick a DBS digiPortfolio. Newbies can pick the Singapore-focused Asia ETF portfolio, which has all the big names we grew up and are familiar with.
To go for the Global Portfolio, which is similar in concept as Syfe Equity100, you need to prove that you have sufficient investing experience and know what you’re getting into.
Syfe vs Autowealth — which is better?
Autowealth is one of the OG robo advisors in Singapore. Alas, you need at least $3,000 to start investing, which may be a dealbreaker for newbie investors.
Autowealth has a unique pricing model of 0.5% + US$18 regardless of how much you invest. It’s cheaper than Syfe if you invest less than $20,000; otherwise it costs more.
|Total investment (SGD)||Autowealth||Syfe|
|Up to $20,000||0.5% + US$18||0.65%|
|$20,000 to $100,000||0.5% + US$18||0.5%|
|$100,000 to $500,000||0.5% + US$18||0.4%|
|>$500,000||0.5% + US$18||0.35%|
What’s most interesting about Autowealth is that you get a dedicated wealth manager — like, a real person — you can WhatsApp anytime if you have questions. That’s useful if you feel lost and need guidance.
However, it’s not all that hard to invest with Autowealth. You just need to specify your risk tolerance, and Autowealth picks the appropriate allocation of bonds and stocks for you. You don’t need to choose between REITs or stocks, global or local, or whatever.
How to sign up for a Syfe account
You can sign up for a Syfe account through MoneySmart by clicking on the Apply Now button. Earn up to $200 cash credit to buy a stock of your choice. If you’re new to Syfe, get an additional $10 with the promo code “MSTRADE“. The promotion is valid till 30 April 2022.
From there, you’ll have to answer a short questionnaire before you get to create your account.
Once your account has been created, you will be asked to verify your identity, which Singapore citizens, PRs and long-term pass holders can do with their SingPass.
Now, all that’s left to do is to deposit funds and start investing right away.
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