A Legg Mason survey indicates that the residents of Singapore are among the most like people in the world to consult a human financial advisor (61%). Combine this with the fact that more than 80% of Millennials report that they would be likely to try a robo advisor service if the right product came along, and you have a small country that is becoming a hotbed for the burgeoning robo advisor industry.
Singapore is a tiny South Asian island-city-state. It seems a little unlikely that it would be the site of robo advisor innovation, but its population seems uniquely primed for the new technology. As such, we’ll cover the best robo advisor options in Singapore, for native citizens and Westerners who have moved to Singapore.
Crossbridge Capital definitely does not work for everyone because you need at least $2 million in cash to start an account. However, it does distinguish itself because it’s one of the relatively few robo advisors in the world that specifically target high net worth individuals. They already have more than $3 billion in assets under management. A new user must be accredited by the Singapore government, have the aforementioned $2 million, and make at least $300,000 every year. If you’re rich and in Singapore, Crossbridge Capital could be exactly what you’ve been looking for.
As one of the world’s largest financial entities and investment management firms, you might expect that Blackrock would have a presence in Singapore. You wouldn’t be disappointed. Blackrock’s FutureAdvisor service is available in Singapore, offering people with a $10,000 minimum initial deposit the classic portfolio of ETFs, based on the precepts of Modern Portfolio Theory. The annual cost is 0.50%, tax loss harvesting comes standard, and you can expect all the service and stability that is typical of Blackrock.
Bambu is a really interesting take on the robo advisor model. They do all of the normal portfolio design based on affordable index funds, with tax optimized trading strategies, and automatic asset reallocation. However, they don’t make these services available to individual customers, but to the businesses which employ them. It’s a major problem for businesses when their employees don’t take part in their own retirement planning because it seems too hard. Using a company like Bambu to automate the process will make employees much more financially stable, less of a financial liability upon retirement, and all around happier. We could see Bambu or a service just like it taking off in the West.
Fidelity Singapore is a popular search term, because Fidelity Go is available in Singapore because of Fidelity’s long shadow. Fidelity Go is part of the standard Fidelity app, as it’s just one of many services offered by Fidelity to its customers. Users pay affordable fees for a variety of Fidelity (mostly) ETFs and index funds. Fidelity Go isn’t as feature rich as some of the alternatives, but it stacks up with the best of robo advisors for the most part, and is one of the better options available to people living in Singapore, at least when looking for major institutional providers.
Infinity Partners originally began as a robo advisor for wealthy Americans living in Singapore. In 2017, they began to offer their services to native Singaporeans. Infinity Partners is more expensive than almost any other robo advisor we’ve seen, charging 1% annually. The company is quick to remind us that this is still well less than what is charged by the average human asset manager. Because it does cater to the wealthy, Infinity Partners a bit more in terms of options and the availability of human management to enhance its strong robo service. If you are in this income class, Infinity Partners might be for you.
Smartly is the most conventional robo advisor Singapore has to offer, at least if we’re talking about companies born and bred on the island. Smartly is very similar to familiar services like Betterment, in that it makes portfolios out of low cost ETFs, based on a questionnaire that helps its algorithms learn about their customers’ needs and wishes. Smartly is a little expensive for what it is, but it does seem that costs for robo advisor services are all around higher in Singapore than they are in the west. You’ll pay 1% annually for an account with less than $10,000 in it, 0.7% for over $10,000, and 0.5% for more than $100,000. Smartly tries to appeal to investors of all incomes, making this the Singapore company most likely to make a splash on the world stage. In any case, you should definitely check them out if you are a beginning investor living in Singapore.
StashAway does what its name implies: helps you stow away money that you’ll need for the future, either for retirement or some other useful purpose. StashAway has a unique method of investing their clients’ funds which we’ll let you explore on your own. Their fees run from a low, low 0.2% annually up to 0.8%. There is no account minimum, and the service is widely used in Singapore. Look them up or give them a service call to see if this is the robo advisor for you.
If you live in Singapore, having a robo advisor can make your life a lot easier. Not only will the service take care of all of the buying and selling necessary to make your investment grow, the tax implications of living overseas will be greatly simplified by using a third party for this purpose. If you have always lived in Singapore, then your home country has many native businesses which offer a variety of versions of the typical robo advisor model.