Robo-advice 2020: Compare Australian robo-advisors
Which robo-advisor is the best option to manage your investments?
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Getting financial advice can be expensive and may not be worth the cost if you don't have a lot to invest. That's where robo-advice comes in. Robo-advisors are digital financial advisers that use modern technology to offer low-cost investment management services. In this guide, we explain how these platforms work and how can you compare their services.
Must read: Looking for the best robo-advisor?
There's no single robo-advisor that's best for everyone as all our needs are different - and what's best for you might not be best for someone else. Keep in mind that we don't compare every product in the market, but we hope that our tools and information will allow you to compare your options and find the best robo-advisor for you.
Robo-advisors you can compare today
What is a robo-advisor?
A robo-advisor is an online platform or app that provides the same services as a traditional financial adviser. Using a mix of algorithms and analysis from experts working behind the scenes, these digital advisers create financial plans for customers and automatically manages their investments.
The investment portfolio you receive is based on your financial goals, investment timeframe and appetite for risk. Once your money is invested, the robo-advisor manages your portfolio and re-balances it whenever necessary to ensure it remains in line with your risk tolerance levels.
What are the benefits of using a robo-advisor?
At about one-tenth of the cost, robo-advisors are much cheaper than having a traditional financial adviser actively manage your investments. This makes financial advice accessible for all Australians.
The other advantage of using a robo-advisor instead of making decisions yourself is that it removes the emotion from investing that can often lead you to make the wrong decisions.
However, for the 80% of the population who either cannot afford or are unwilling to pay the fees to receive traditional financial advice, robo-advisors offer a convenient and affordable alternative.
The rise of robo-advice
The robo-advice revolution started in the US a few years ago, and since then companies such as Betterment, FutureAdvisor and Wealthfront have enjoyed enormous success. Both Betterment and Wealthfront each manage more than $2.6 billion of customer assets, with the market expected to continue to rapidly expand in coming years.
In fact, research by KPMG has predicted that by the year 2020, robo-advisors will manage around USD$2.2 trillion worth of assets. In Australia, the robo-advice sector is still in its infancy. We’ve profiled and compared the established players below, with several more providers expected to launch their own robo-advice services in the next 12 months.
Compare robo-advisors in Australia
In addition to the online robo-advice services listed above, it’s also worth pointing out that there are some robo-advice services that are only available through a financial adviser. One such service is Guru, which was launched in June 2015 by Yellow Brick Road Wealth Management. The initial Guru session is free and takes place with a Yellow Brick Road Money Coach, allowing you to assess your financial goals and what you need to do to achieve them.
Access to the robo financial management tool and a Yellow Brick Road adviser is then provided for an ongoing fee. The big banks are also moving into the robo-advice sector. NAB rolled out its Prosper service to 40,000 customers in September 2015. Available through Internet banking, Prosper asks customers questions about their current financial situation and future goals before providing tailored advice and assessment. Initially designed to provide personalised advice on super and insurance, Prosper is scheduled to expand into debt, cash flow, investments and estate planning in the future.
How do I sign up to a robo-advice service?
Although the exact signup process differs between robo-advisors, you will generally need to follow these steps:
- Provide your name, contact details and proof of identity.
- Complete a questionnaire regarding your investment timeframe and your tolerance for withstanding market fluctuations.
- The robo-advisor generates a recommended investment portfolio. This is often accompanied by a Statement of Advice, which is required by Australian law if you are being given personal advice.
- If you’re happy with the investment portfolio, you can opt to proceed with the recommended strategy.
- Provide your bank account details to fund the investment.
- The robo-advisor invests your money in the chosen portfolio.
- The robo-advisor monitors your portfolio and makes adjustments when necessary to make sure it satisfies your tolerance for risk.
Robo-advice is changing the face of wealth management around the world and could offer a more affordable way for you to look after your investments. However, make sure you compare the benefits and features of a number of robo-advisors before choosing the right service for you.
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