Robo Advisor Reviews: What do you need to know?

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Simply put – A robo advisor is a software application that will construct and manage your investment portfolio. In Switzerland, they are quite popular with robo advisor reviews taking up the bulk of this website – but more on that later.

They are ideal for someone new to investing, or even experienced investors who no longer wish to be ‘hands on’ with the active management of their portfolio.

No doubt about it, robo advisors have played a key role in lowering the barrier of entry to buying stocks and entering the world of investing without the need of a financial advisor.

Like the US and the UK, Switzerland has seen significant traction and innovation in recent years in this area of fintech. Most, if not all, of the platform reviews at InvestingHero have robo advisors involved, and for good reason – which we’ll talk about in this article.

How do robo advisors work?

A robo advisor as we’ve covered is software, software containing a series of algorithms to react and adapt to changing market situations based on your investment approach.

They can run automatically, and will buy and sell assets, such as index funds, bonds and other asset classes based on your pre-defined risk model.

This risk model analysis will depend on the investment platform or broker you are using, and you’ll often go through a survey to understand your risk and preferred investment profile.

You’ll be asked questions such as your age, how much you earn, how long you want to invest for and how dependant you are on your invested capital to build out your risk profile.

For example, if you are 30 years old with a 35 year investing horizon, the robo advisor might allocate your portfolio to 75% stocks, 15% bonds, 5% real estate and 5% cash.

Regardless of specifying a low or high risk portfolio, the robo advisor will ‘rebalance’ your portfolio to maintain that balance of stocks and bonds as prices change in the market in order to maintain your risk profile criteria.

Robots be rebalancin’ yo’

This is something traditionally a financial advisor would also do, whilst taking additional commissions for the trades which get hidden away in the TCI (total cost of investing) figures.

» Related reading:8 Common investing mistakes to avoid’ (no. 8)

Which isn’t the case for most robo advisors – transaction fees and commissions are normally zero, as we’ll discuss next.

How much do robo advisors cost?

The robo advisor model will typically take a percentage of the assets under management in the portfolio.

This will normally range from 0.5-1% depending on the provider, and include transaction costs, commissions, custody fees, deposits/withdrawals and periodic rebalancing.

If you are paying more than 1% for a robo advisor, it’s worth digging a little deeper into the reasoning and breakdown of those costs. Impact investing funds for example, often carry a small premium.

So are robo advisors with it from a cost perspective? Absolutely.

Let’s recap. What are the pros and cons of robo advisors?

Pros

  • Low cost with transactions and commissions generally included.
  • Often based on high quality liquid ETF index funds.
  • Low barrier of entry – accounts in Switzerland can be opened with very little capital.
  • Simple and easy to use, a very hands off way to invest.

Cons

  • They won’t provide a personal human experience, or reassure you to keep investing in a downturn.
  • They are not financial planners which are able to encompass a picture of your entire estate (e.g. your pensions, mortgage etc).
  • Although robo advisors are cheaper investing than through a financial advisor or bank, buying the ETFs directly on the market without a robo advisor is cheaper still.

Robo advisor reviews

As you may have guessed – Investing Hero is big on robo advisor reviews. We are slowly covering the offering in the Swiss market, from Selma to Truewealth, and you can read a selection of them via the navigation above.

Closing thoughts

The robo advisor, combined with the ETF, has spurred a wave of innovation to the investing space in Switzerland.

Newcomers who are looking to dip their toe into ‘investing’ by shifting a chunk of CHF out of their current bank account, have the ability to do so in a controlled and simplified manner.

Robo advisor platforms are a logical first step.

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