Yova Investing Reviews: Pros, Cons & How it compares for impact investing
3.5 ⭐⭐⭐ · 🏆 Best for Custom Impact Investing ·
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Before you even land on the Yova homepage, you’ll see plenty of evidence on the first page of Google, or from one of their many social media ads, this isn’t just another roboadvisor.
Words like impact and sustainable, equality and investing for a better world litter the front page of the search results.
So what does all this mean for you? Is it a load of marketing spin and trendy positioning, or do Yova deliver on their messaging to help you start investing in Switzerland?
Judging by the media attention and slick branding, I’m very interested.
🐻 Beast Alert: This review totals nearly 3,000 words and took me 20+ hours to complete! Use the table of contents below to skip to a topic of interest.
🎁 Reader Tip: If you are considering investing you might want to consider reading our Selma Finance review, which offers free portfolio management.
But will it result in a portfolio of underperforming wind farm and solar projects, or will Yova build a portfolio which rivals the S&P 500 and deliver returns for your retirement?
Before we dive into Yova, a quick primer on these impact/sustainable investing buzzwords.
What is impact investing?
Impact investing is an investment approach which aims to contribute toward improving the environment and lives of others.
From clean energy to sustainable forestry projects, by choosing this investment approach you are building a portfolio which reflects your values, whilst excluding the likes which might not, and be impacting the world in a negative way.
Think tobacco companies, casinos and arms manufactures for military use (aka. war & death), these guys won’t make the cut in an impact investment portfolio.
Let’s move onto how Yova fits into this, and if they are the right impact investing provider for you.
Yova Pros and Cons
How to open an account with Yova
Arriving on the Yova homepage you are met with a fresh and modern look and feel, the new branding a big step up in the right direction. Very slick.
As with our other investment platform reviews, we’ll get into the nitty gritty on all the details under the hood in due course – for now, let’s get started with creating an account.
Right off the bat, Yova makes it clear where you need to go to create an account.
Top right, hit ‘Free Strategy’:
Enter you name, email and create a password and click ‘Sign up for free’, as per below:
Congrats. You’ve just opened an account, that was easy right?
The Yova investment platform
Now we can start to setup and configure your portfolio. If you’ve used other investment platforms in the past, you’ll see this starts to look a little different already with topics for you to select.
You can be selective on what the company produces (their ‘hand print’) and also what it takes for them to make it, aka their foot print.
I like this approach with putting ‘hand print’ at the top of the list, forcing you to pause and think.
The sustainable investment sector is littered with companies that claim to being ‘reducing emissions’ and ‘socially responsible’ but then make thousands of V8 petrol powered cars or surface to air missiles.
Make your selections for each topic and hit ‘Continue’, as shown below:
Next we get to enter the amount you’ll be transferring to Yova, and how much you’ll be adding each month.
These can be changed later, so don’t hesitate to start with a lower amount until you find out what you will actually be investing in.
Make your choice and hit ‘Continue’:
Yova moves onto understanding your risk profile with four simple questions:
- How long you’ll be investing
- How old you are
- How much of your wealth will go to Yova
- How much of your wealth is already invested elsewhere
Make your choices and you’ll get a rating at the bottom of the page:
You can override the default rating simply by dragging the slider left or right, depending on your risk appetite.
Once you are happy, again this can all be changed later, click ‘Continue’.
🥁 Drumroll please…
After a few seconds, your portfolio has been created and ready to view in a nice and ordered dashboard:
The first thing which jumped out to me was there are no standard ETFs for the stock portion – Yova has picked individual companies, 35 in total, which match my criteria from my feedback in the previous steps.
The likes of Owens Corning, Kingspan Group PLC, Galencia AG, Spotify etc, along with 31 others make up the 80% stock portion of the portfolio.
I’m not sure how much, percentage wise, these individual companies are taking in my stock portion – I can only see the percentage split by impact topic on the left.
This ‘stock picking’ is interesting in many ways, as it goes against the grain of traditional roboadvisors and ETF index funds to spread risk and avoid putting all your eggs in one (or in this case, 35) basket and putting your equity into a relatively small selection of stocks.
With my 35, I had a mix of large, mid and small cap companies – and a few higher risk IPOs (e.g. Snapchat and Beyond Meat) which some might find too risky.
It does however, give you laser transparency on exactly which companies your money is invested in.
Let’s dig a little further.
You’ll notice the Yova impact investing iconset which corresponds to the ‘topics’ selected earlier, so I have companies focused on their CO2, human rights, renewable energy etc.
Click ‘Details’ on one of the companies:
This will open a mini bio on the individual stock, which gives you the details on why it’s been selected for your portfolio.
You can add the company to your ‘favourites wish list’ if you want to actively always have this stock in your portfolio, or you can remove it completely via the minus icon shown below:
You can get this detail on all the individual stocks in your portfolio.
Under bonds (which are provided by ETFs) you get more generic information about the country the bond sits.
It’s worth having a play with adding and removing stocks – you can do so quite easily and the portfolio will automatically refresh in real time.
You can also go back and edit your risk model easily, just click the ‘Risk’ tab in the main navigation and you’ll be able to edit – again updates are refreshed in a few seconds.
How ‘sustainable friendly’ is the Yova portfolio?
It’s been reported sustainable investing is tricky to get right. Finding the right companies to put your money into which really make a difference to the planet, and generate good investment returns, is a fine balancing act.
For example, it’s been documented Julius Baer have been hit with sanctions in the past concerning money laundering. So take time to review the companies which appear in the Yova portfolio and go through the details.
Once you are comfortable with the details behind your portfolio, you can move onto the next steps and proceed to live account creation.
Click on the big orange button to move onto the next steps:
From here you need to enter your personal details, nothing out of ordinary:
And then we move onto your current life situation – employment, financial situation and source of wealth.
Enter your details and click ‘Continue’:
Next you need to confirm how you’ll be funding your investment account with Yova, specify the currency, location and bank you’ll be transferring from as shown below:
Finally, you need to confirm the three regulatory questions, the default answers will likely not need changing for the majority of cases.
Once selected, hit finish and you are done:
The account is open, however you still need to verify your identity through the IDnow-Intrum service, which is a quick and easy process.
You can watch a quick demo of how that looks in real time here.
You’ll receive an SMS with a verification code, which you can use to then complete the verification process:
You are then given instructions on how to verify the account:
I opted for the mobile app process (Yova recommends it) which is referenced in the SMS.
Let’s switch to my iPhone.
You’ll need to download the IDnow Online Ident App, which takes a couple of seconds.
Open the app and enter your Ident-ID shown in the SMS message and tap ‘Confirm’:
Once done, tap ‘Start identification’ and you’ll need to authorise microphone and camera access, before connecting to a live agent.
Make sure your hair looks good and you are wearing a shirt:
You’ll then be asked to confirm your name, scan a copy of your ID and confirm you are happy with the prepared documents – it’s all pretty standard and the process nice and slick.
And don’t be alarmed to see a contract from Saxo Bank popup – they are the custodian bank for Yova.
Before you know it, you are finished.
At this point the time with IDnow is over, and you are redirected to Yova.ch when you tap ‘Done’.
For ease of this review, I switched back to the PC browser I started with and hit refresh (it doesn’t update dynamically) and you’ll get the following confirmation:
In addition to the email confirmation with the same message:
Funding the account
It’ll take a couple of days for Saxo Bank to open your account after receiving your application through Yova, but once done you’ll have a dedicated IBAN to transfer money into your account.
This operates in the standard way to any other bank – once you submit the funds, they’ll be visibile and credited to your account.
Login & Security
SSL encryption and https connections are enabled throughout, however there is no two factor authentication option when you login, which would be a nice value add. As with Selma Finance and Truewealth, your nest egg is held with Saxo Bank, a FINMA regulated Swiss bank, in your name meaning nothing will happen to your wealth should Yova go bust.
Fees & Charges
The Yova fee will vary based on how much you invest. The price includes commissions, transaction costs and custody fees which will normally be added as an extra when going through a standard bank.
The total yearly fees are based on the amount you have invested and are as follows:
- 2K- 50K CHF: 1.2%
- 50K – 150K: 1%
- 150K – 500K: 0.8%
- 500K+: 0.6%
You’ll see from these figures you are paying a premium versus other providers in Switzerland, such as Selma Finance, True Wealth and Simple Wealth which are under 1%.
As Yova aren’t picking a standard sustainable ETF off the shelf (which could be bought cheapy through Degiro) your portfolio will comprise of 30-40 handpicked companies, so you’ll have to pay for that premium if you feel it’s worth the expense.
Yova vs Selma Finance
You can read the full Selma Finance review here, but some of the top level metrics are shown below:
|Investing Hero Score||3.5||4.7|
|Investing Hero Rating||Best Custom Impact Investing||Best Allrounder|
(lowers over 50K)
|Product costs||Included in the above||0.22%|
|Account min.||2K CHF||2K CHF|
|Custodian bank||Saxo Bank Schweiz||Saxo Bank Schweiz|
|Sustainable & impact|
|Personal budget features||❌||✔️|
|Pilar 3A support||❌||✔️|
|Free demo account||✔️||✔️ 🔗|
* This Selma fee is reduced to free when using the Selma finance promo code of 333140214, or via the following invitation link.
Customer support works well at Yova and is timely and responsive, there is also the nice addition of support being accessible through WhatsApp.
Having created a live account, you also have the contact details of a dedicated account manager, which is another nice personal addition and gives you a direct contact for portfolio questions.
Yova have an active blog covering various topics around sustainability, risk and money management in addition to regular updates through social media. The content is exclusively focused on their core messaging, impact investing, and is a useful resource to get familiar with the topic.
They also host various ‘meet Yova’ events throughout the year to meet the team members in person.
Background info on Yova
Yova was founded in 2017 by two co-founders Tillmann Lang and Erik Gloerfeld.
Tillmann has been involved with impact investing for a number of years, and formed Yova after leaving McKinsey & Company.
Erik also hails from McKinsey, and after leaving spent time on a selection of independent business projects before co-starting Yova with Tillmann.
Yova are headquartered in Zürich, Limmatstrasse 123, and you can refer to the about section for more information.
Reader offers & deals
Unfortunately we have no exclusive reader offers or deals at this time – maybe one day.
Yova reviews from around the web
I thought it useful to include some yova reviews from other parts of the web here so you don’t just see mine as the only one.
Across the web and Google, they have a total of 24 reviews.
Here are the top 3 “highest rated’ five star Yova reviews at time of writing:
- “ This is exactly what I was looking for. Sustainable impact investing for everyone – transparent and understandable. Service is great, it feels like being part of a family that shares the same values and goals – creating something better.” – Sarah Martin (Google review)
- “ I have chosen Yova to invest in an impact driven, meaningful and diversified way. So far it’s all been simple and I got perfectly informed about the risks, the reality of the market and the rules of the game. I was never rushed into buying in and I have complete trust in the team. Thanks!” – Loïc Schülé (Google review)
- “Great People with a great idea!” – David Böckling (Google review)
And the top 3 negative reviews:
- “ Very expensive at 1.2% fee for up to 50000 CHF invested. Did you find about them from the mindblowing amount of advertisement on FB?” …”You should never underestimate the cost of your investment and the effects of compound interest. At 1000 CHF a month invested over 20 years, a 1% difference in management fee will amount to a total of 50000 CHF return lost due to fees” – glinaa (Forum post, 1 & 2)
- “Management fees are an excellent business for these guys. They get paid no matter how much they make or lose for you. Most of them fail to beat the benchmark. As said above, the “small” fees soon add up over the years and you’d be astonished at how much you would be giving away if you’re paying 1% annual fees over an investing lifetime. ” – Enohzee (Forum post)
- “It’s a startup, so it’s constantly improving, changing. Some features not available yet as advertised at the time of signup.” – Marketman (Forum post)
Yova are not merely paying lip service to this trend – and if the instagram feed is anything to go by, it’s at the core of what they live and breathe. By focusing on the ‘hand print’ to your investing portfolio, and enabling you to fine tune specific companies, you could build a genuine sustainable investment portfolio.
But as we mentioned above, be aware ‘sustainable’ investing is tricky to get right. It’s been reported that the jury is out if buying shares in a solar panel company will make an impact to the world.
And all this customization also comes at a premium – the fee of 1.2% will be too rich for some. In particular when the competition, such as Selma Finance, are offering sustainable investing for under 1%.
If you are interested in learning more about impact investing, check out our latest article for more information.
An ‘all in’ fee of 1.2% for accounts investing up to 50K CHF. The fee goes to 1% when you cross 50K, with over 150K invested the fee is 0.8%.
The best alternatives to Yova would be another roboadvisor such as Selma Finance or Truewealth, which are both cheaper and offer impact investing options. If you want to build the portfolio yourself and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, DEGIRO or Interactive Brokers are also a good option.
Yes. Just contact Yova directly and they’ll close the account and transfer the funds. The process can take a week and there is no additional fee.
Yes, visit the following link to read more.
The shares in your portfolio are held at Saxo Bank (FINMA regulated) in your name. They are not tied to Yova and could be transferred to another provider.