We’re crafting a series of insightful reviews aimed to help you make better-informed investment decisions. In this second article, we discuss the promising Singaporean investment platform StashAway. We review several important aspects of the platform, including its:
- Investment Products
- Portfolio Performance
- User Experience
We’ll also compare StashAway’s key features to Kilde to help you get a holistic perspective on the platform. Our review has been specifically drafted to help novice investors find the best digital platform for their investment goals.
What is StashAway?
StashAway is one of Singapore’s first robo-advisory platforms, established in 2016. Its affordable management fee structure and no minimum investment requirement make it an attractive option for beginners with limited funds and experience.
How does Stashaway work? Stashaway's investment approach is based on Modern Portfolio Theory. The platform uses advanced algorithms to create a personalized investment portfolio that suits the individual investor's risk profile. Stashaway then invests that cash in low-cost ETFs that offer diversification across asset classes, regions, and companies. The algorithms then adjust the portfolio to keep it in line with the investor's desired risk level.
One of the unique features of Stashaway is that it charges a management fee based on performance. This means that users only pay a fee when their portfolio experiences gains. Users also have the ability to withdraw their cash at any time without incurring any penalties.
How to use Stashaway
Signing up for a Stashaway account is quick and easy:
- Step 1. You will need to provide basic personal information and answer a few questions about your investment goals and risk tolerance.
- Step 2. Then, Stashaway's algorithm will create a personalized investment portfolio for you.
But, is Stashaway good for your investment goals? Stashaway's fees are competitive when compared to other traditional wealth management services, and their returns over the long-term have been impressive. Plus, with Stashaway, you have full control over your investment account, and can make changes or withdrawals at any time.
Is StashAway Safe?
Stashaway's unique investment strategy is rooted in their use of artificial intelligence to create a globally diversified portfolio. This means that your investment is spread across a variety of asset classes, including stocks and bonds from over 40 countries. By doing so, your risk is minimized and your returns are maximized.
StashAway Investment Portfolios
StashAway offers five different portfolio options for investors based on their investment goals.
General Investing Portfolios
StashAway’s General Investing Portfolios are designed for short to long-term investment adjusted for the level of risk the investor is willing to take. They provide investors access to globally-diversified funds. The asset allocation of these portfolios varies based on risk levels. These portfolios consist of:
- International Equities,
- US Equities,
- Government Bonds,
- Corporate Bonds,
- Real Estate,
Investing across various asset classes helps investors achieve the benefits of portfolio diversification.
Responsible Investing (ESG) Portfolio
ESG investing is an investment approach focusing on Environmental, Social, and Governance priorities while picking stocks and funds. The ESG portfolio lets investors align their values with their investments, enabling them to support noble causes while making profits.
StashAway’s Responsible Investing portfolio achieves a similar level of diversification and risk management as the General Investing portfolio but allows investors to maintain their ethical and sustainable responsibilities towards the world.
StashAway uses The MSCI ESG rating & The Morningstar Sustainability Rating ESG scoring models to rate its portfolio. Based on an average of the two models, the portfolio scores between 3.82 and 4.13 on a scale of 5.
The Income Portfolio aims to produce passive income across different market conditions. It is the ideal choice for investors looking to invest in income-generating assets that provide high yields against relatively low market risks.
StashAway’s Income Portfolio has a risk index of 12%. This means that there is a 99% probability that you will not lose more than 12% in a year. Precisely speaking, the portfolio value will not decrease more than 12% within a year.
The portfolio primarily invests in:
- Singapore Government Bonds,
- Asia Corporate Bonds,
- REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts),
- ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds).
Thematic Portfolios are designed to provide sector diversification and thematic exposure while minimizing investment risks. StashAway offers professionally crafted portfolios that follow world-changing themes, including Technology Enablers, the Future of Consumer Technology, Healthcare Innovation, and Environment and Clean Technology.
These portfolios consist of two types of assets:
- Theme assets: These assets allow investors to diversify their portfolios and invest in in-trend market sectors to make the most of global market trends.
- Balancing assets: These assets aim to mitigate the portfolio risks brought on by theme assets, so you don’t have to make high-risk investments.
Thematic Portfolios invest in various asset classes, including International Equities, US Bonds, International Bonds, and Commodities. These asset classes provide the necessary diversification and exposure to support the themes.
Investing in Thematic Portfolios allows you to tap into the potential of emerging trends and themes while mitigating risks by balancing the thematic assets with “safe bets”. These portfolios provide a well-rounded investment strategy tailored to your risk profile and investment objectives.
Flexible Portfolios are customizable portfolios offered by StashAway. They provide a curated list of ETFs representing more than 55 assets to choose from such as S&P 500, Healthcare, and Blockchain.
You can choose the ETFs you prefer and adjust their allocations per your risk tolerance and investment goals. That means you can customize your portfolio to suit your needs, risk profile, and desired return.
The curated list of ETFs for the StashAway Flexible portfolios includes top-performing ETFs such as:
- iShares MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan ETF
- iShares MSCI ACWI UCITS ETF
- Communication Services Select Sector SPDR Fund and
- iShares MSCI Canada ETF
Flexible Portfolios offer a convenient and flexible way to invest in ETFs across various sectors and geographies. By selecting the ETFs that align with your investment goals, you can build a portfolio that meets your specific needs and adapts to changes in the market.
StashAway Customer Reviews
StashAway has a healthy rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 on the investment community forum Seedly. The platform currently has more than 1,200 reviews on the site and is lauded by users for its superior user experience and customer support, with multiple users highlighting the platform’s ease of sign-up.
Users appreciate the level of control and transparency provided by StashAway. The platform’s high rating on Seedly reflects its reputation as a reliable and innovative investment management platform in Singapore.
StashAway Customer Support
StashAway has a dedicated customer service team available to help customers with questions or issues regarding their investments. Customers can contact the support team via email, live chat, or phone.
StashAway's support team is known for being responsive and helpful, with a quick turnaround time for questions. The team is also highly knowledgeable about the platform's investment strategies and can provide clients with practical investment insights and guidance.
In addition to its customer support team, StashAway also offers a comprehensive FAQ section on its website that covers a wide range of topics related to investing and the platform's features. The FAQ section is regularly updated to reflect any changes or updates to the platform, ensuring clients' access to accurate and up-to-date information.
StashAway Investment Performance
ERAA Yearly Returns since each portfolio’s respective launch, in SGD terms*:
*The SRI or StashAway Risk Index can be interpreted as a portfolio having a 99% probability of not losing more than a given percentage of assets in a year. For example, a StashAway portfolio with $100,000 and a StashAway Risk Index of 10% has a 99% probability of not losing more than 10%, or $10,000 in a year.
StashAway’s General Income (GI) portfolios have consistently outperformed set benchmarks since Q4 2020. Their performance has steadily improved since the setbacks faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. As of May 2022, StashAway’s portfolios consistently outperformed their relative benchmarks by 4-5% in SGD terms.
Returns dipped at the beginning of Q4 2022 owing to global inflation but soon picked up to above-benchmark levels by the end of the year.
StashAway’s allocations to US energy equities were a key source of support for their portfolios in Q4, as higher oil and gas prices contributed to strong earnings for major holdings such as ExxonMobil and Chevron. Similarly, higher commodity prices supported the performance of ETFs tracking commodity-exporting economies like Australia and Canada. Nevertheless, only the higher risk portfolios namely SRO 26-36% presented meaningful returns above 1%. Paradoxically, the safest portfolio SRI 6.5% was the only one to show results below the benchmark with quarterly loss of 3%.
StashAway Simple is a special cash management account. This account lets you store and grow your funds, and has no minimum balance or lock-ups, making it a hassle-free investment solution.
With a StashAway Simple portfolio, you can expect a projected annual return of 1.3%, making it a smart option for those who want to earn returns on their cash reserves. This account is ideal for those who are looking for an effortless way to invest their funds and ensure they are safely managed in a diversified fund.
StashAway charges customers a transparent, all-inclusive fee which ranges from 0.2% to 0.8% of the investment amount. This includes everything from re-balancing and re-optimization to transaction fees, which means there are no additional or hidden charges.
StashAway's fee structure is straightforward. Let’s have a look:
As the table shows, StashAway’s fee rate decreases as investment amounts increase. Unlike many other investment platforms, StashAway does not charge any account setup or exit fees, withdrawal fees, or fees related to transfers between portfolios.
StashAway Simple and StashAway Simple Plus have no annual fees. However, the annual fee charged by the underlying fund manager is 0.15% and 0.19%, respectively.
StashAway’s fee structure essentially rewards investors for investing more by providing a lower fee rate.
Comparing Kilde with StashAway
Investment offering (fixed income)
Kilde offers carefully selected private market fixed-income deals to investors, providing an opportunity to earn yearly returns of 10-13%. These deals are backed by cash-generating collateral, allowing Kilde's customers to become bondholders of profitable FinTech companies experiencing rapid growth.
One of the key advantages of being a private market bondholder is that investors do not experience any fluctuations in the value of their assets. Unlike public market bonds, there are no drawdowns caused by interest rate fluctuations or demand-supply imbalances. However, there is a small but carefully evaluated risk that the bond issuer may not honor the payments of coupons or principal on time.
In the event of such a risk materializing, Kilde's investors would be the first in line to receive payment and have the right to receive compensation directly from the collateral's cash proceeds. This risk is also present in public market bonds, but Kilde takes steps to minimize it by carefully evaluating the risks associated with each deal they offer.
Kilde provides its customers with a user-friendly self-service platform which can be accessed 24/7. This platform allows investors to explore, purchase, and redeem private fixed-income investments. Each investment opportunity is presented with a summary that includes information such as return, maturity, and early redemption options.
In addition, Kilde offers detailed investment presentations and private placement memorandum to give customers an in-depth understanding of each investment opportunity. This information helps investors make informed decisions about their investments.
Kilde also provides excellent customer support through email and phone. The company has a team of account managers and investment operations professionals to assist customers. Kilde's customer support team is committed to providing exceptional service.
Kilde charges its customers an administration fee of 0.5% per year on the outstanding amount invested. This fee covers the costs associated with managing and administering the investment account. However, customers are not charged for any money that is not invested and remains in their investment account.
A Choice Based On Investment Objectives
StashAway and Kilde differ greatly in terms of their investment offerings. StashAway allows users to craft and invest in portfolios of publicly traded assets. The choice of assets depends on the investor's preferences, risk profile, investment horizon and objectives. On the other hand, Kilde offers private market fixed-income deals to its investors whereas investors can mix and match the deals based on their investment horizon, geographical allocation, target return or other considerations
For StashAway Singapore, the minimum initial investment amount is SGD 1,000, and subsequent deposits must be at least SGD 50. Kilde doesn’t have any such minimum investment or deposit amount requirements.
As for fees, StashAway charges an annual management fee ranging from 0.2% to 0.8% based on the investment amount, which includes rebalancing, re-optimization, and transaction fees. In comparison, Kilde charges a flat annual management fee of 0.5% on the investment amount for its private market bond deals.
While StashAway is open to all investors, Kilde’s investments are more exclusive, being open to accredited investors. Those are investors with income of at least SGD 300,000 per year or SGD 1,000,000 net liquid assets, or SGD 2,000,000 of overall assets.
In conclusion, StashAway and Kilde target different investment preferences and risk appetites. StashAway provides a conventional diverse investment strategy into ETFs tailored to investor’s goals, whereas Kilde offers a private market fixed-income investment opportunity with consistently high returns but also a small but still existing risk of capital loss.
It is always wise for investors to analyze their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and investment choices meticulously before investing.
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