My take on Robo-Advisors

Investment 

Disclaimer: This is not an investment advice. I am not a CFP by training so I do not recommend an investment nor sell products, and are not affiliated with any of the financial tools providers (except maybe referral links).

So, I started my journey in robo-advisor investment with StashAway, and it kind of ends there. I wasn't interested to study about Wahad and then the number of promising trading platforms grows like mushrooms in Malaysia. Here's my view after 4 years.

The Pros

Remove investment anxiety. Unlike using a trading platform, you don't get to choose the transacted price, and it takes days (if not weeks) to exit a position. During that transaction, price changes too. This is actually a benefit for people who are so afraid to buy a share because all you know is you own a piece of investment, and you can't sell with 2% gain as it might be a loss when you exit the position. 

There seems to be no different in exchange rate when you buy or sell for StashAway. This is mostly not the case with trading platforms, esp those that automatically converts into local currency when you sell. An in-out transaction can cost between 0.7-2.5%. That would already cover 2-3 years of the fees invested with Robo-Advisor. 

The Cons

You are still picking shares/portfolio when you use Robo-Advisors. As more and more platform join the game, there's not much advantage of using a fee charging Robo-Advisors that can lose money just like any other investment. You can also easily copy the portfolio with EToro or Rakuten. 

Fees makes a difference, especially for long term holdings. If you are investing on a 20 years time frame, you'll be paying close to 20% in total. But at least, it's probably better than HelloGold. 

The way most Robo-advisors measure their performance, is just not how I would measure a shirt size. I have a portfolio which I withdraw the earnings and deposit back in 2019, but they are still recording the past gain with the new deposits. This is totally misleading on a personal level. Actually I find this to be a problem with most fintech app, P2P lending etc. I believe no one is trying to con us but it's made for financial reporting and not for me as the user. 

Conclusion

Robo-Advisors is for newbie or people who can't take the stress of looking at a trading platform. It's still an appealing product from psychological point of view.  Skills wise, it takes you just 2-3 web post to learn and ditch a Robo-Advisors.