Updated: Jun 6, 2022
Our review of Syfe is for you if you’re someone who is beginning to dabble in the world of investing. You might already know the (seemingly) limitless options out there for you and these options do give you more choices than ever before to make your money work for you.
However, we understand that all these options may be overwhelming which is why we’re here to break it down for you!
Read on for our in-depth review of Syfe and to explore whether this robo-advisor platform can help you in your investment journey.
How Does Syfe Work?
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of robo-advisors, they broadly function by automatically investing for clients based on data collected (ie. type of funds you’re interested in, how much risk you’re willing to undertake etc.)
This would mean that you can have a totally hands-off approach when it comes to investment because these investment portfolios are fully managed by these robo-advisors. (PS. Other than reviewing Syfe, we took a look at other robo-advisors so read till the end for our final verdict!)
One of the biggest considerations would be the cost of investing with the platform.
Withdrawal & Deposit Fees
Unlike other conventional investment platforms, Syfe does not charge any withdrawal or deposit fees.
Furthermore, if you ever feel like you need to liquidate, you can withdraw money from your account within 4-5 business days, without incurring any additional costs. This can be beneficial for individuals who are not entirely sure if they would like to be in the market for the long-haul.
Syfe’s Tiers System
Syfe has four tiers that you can opt for :
The tier system that you opt for will be the deciding factor that determines your management fee per year as well as the minimum investment amount that you will have to deposit. Here’s a quick summary of the differences between the various tiers:
If you opt for the most basic Blue tier, the management fees are competitive at 0.65%. This value does change based on the tier that you decide to opt for, with it being more attractive if you choose to advance on to the higher tiers.
Any Hidden Costs?
We appreciate Syfe’s transparency as we reviewed their services, which allows the investor to make quick decisions without having to incur any financial penalties, which is a common occurrence with other investment management platforms.
You can also choose to move your funds between different Syfe portfolios without any costs.
Syfe’s Investment Portfolios
Reviewing Syfe allowed us to gain insight into how this platform comprehends the struggles that new investors face. Hence, they have created different investment portfolios to cater to individuals with different needs.
Syfe Core Portfolio review
The Core portfolio is one that is made of stock, bond and gold ETFs (exchange traded funds). These ETFs are invested in over 3,500 stocks in the world’s highest-ranked companies.
Hence, the only areas where the different Core portfolios vary are based on your personal investment goals and risk appetite.
We reviewed Syfe’s different Core portfolios and have arranged them from low to high risk. Additionally, Syfe uses a risk-based method of portfolio allocation whereby the percentage of each asset that your portfolio has varies based on the level of risk that you are willing to take.
Continue on with our review of Syfe to get that exact value.
If you’re someone who is apprehensive of the market and would like to dip your toes in the world of investing, this is a low-risk portfolio for those looking for stable returns.
Fund composition : 19.1% equity, 71.5% bonds and 9.4% commodity.
Risk profile: Low risk
This portfolio goes one step further than the Defensive portfolio as it is a moderately low-risk investment. Asset allocation is more balanced instead of assuming extremes, like Defensive or Equity100.
However, you must be willing to wait it out in the market for a longer time period as this is one that is tailored to long-term returns.
Fund composition : 37.04% equity, 51.84% bonds and 11.12% commodity.
Risk profile: moderately-low risk
Though not as high-risk as the Equity100 portfolio, Syfe’s core growth is still a moderately high-risk portfolio that would allow investors to reap benefits over the long term. As compared to the Defensive and Balanced portfolio, it is definitely more volatile as a greater proportion of stocks from this portfolio goes into equity funds.
Fund composition : 69.6% equity, 24.9% bonds and 5.5% commodity.
Risk profile: Moderately-high risk
As the name suggests, this portfolio is fully made up of equity funds (stocks from the stock market). Due to the volatility of the market, this portfolio would be more suited for high-risk investors.
Even though this is a high-risk portfolio, Syfe still utilises its Smart Beta technology to ensure that the returns on these equities are optimised. There is also a diversified global exposure so that you can be sure that your funds are being invested in the top companies out there.
Fund composition: : 100% equity, 24.9% bonds and 5.5% commodity.
Risk profile: High-risk
Here is a brief overview of the returns that you can reap based on the different portfolios that you opt for:
Returns & Risk Measures
2022 (YTD) Return
Annual Returns (Since April 2013)
It is also interesting to note that for all the Core portfolios, there is a greater exposure to technology and Chinese stocks compared to other stocks because Syfe predicts high growth in these markets.
Since these portfolios are all ETF based, you will obtain dividends from your equity and bond ETFs that are reinvested for you.
Syfe REIT+ Portfolio review
The REIT portfolio holds some of Singapore’s top 20 largest REITs in various sectors such as healthcare, commercial, retail and many more. It tracks the SGX iEdge S-REIT Leaders Index which is a measurement of the performance of the most liquid REIT in Singapore.
This takes the stress of deciding on which REIT to purchase off you as you get to leave the decision making to the Robo-advisor. If you’re looking to invest in stocks within Singapore shores, this can be a good choice for you.
There are two options for this portfolio, either a 100% REIT portfolio or one that combines REIT with local bonds. The latter is for those who are more averse to risk while those opting for the former portfolio should be ready for portfolios to fluctuate based on the market.
Returns & Risk Measures
REIT With Risk Management
Annualised Dividend Yield (Last 5 Years)
You will also get dividends from the REITs that you hold which are reinvested by default. However, if you are of the Black, Gold or Platinum tier plan with Syfe, you can opt for your dividends to be credited to your bank account after every quarter.
Syfe Cash+ Portfolio review
The Syfe Cash+ portfolio is like a savings account where your assets are mainly allocated to the LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund SGD and the LionGlobal SGD Money Market Fund which are unit trusts based in Singapore.
Despite the volatility in the bond market, as of 31 December 2021 last year, the Cash+ portfolio delivered annualised returns of 1.33% despite only projecting a 1.20% net return.
Opting to move your funds into this account could be beneficial because you could enjoy a higher interest than placing your money in a savings account. This is because interest is computed daily.
In the past, investing would have required you to deposit a minimum value while savings accounts were more flexible. However, savings accounts have lost this edge with the emergence of robo-advisors such as Syfe which have no minimum fees and zero management fees.
Just like a savings account, you can quickly withdraw money from the Cash+ account on the same day. Additionally, you can move money between your Syfe accounts fast, without incurring any additional fees.
While reviewing Syfe, we noted that there is a quick withdrawal limit of 10,000 or 90% of your portfolio value, whichever is lower.
However, note that market fluctuations may result in changes in your portfolio value. As any withdrawals above the quick withdrawal limit could take up to 1-2 days, the final amount that you end up withdrawing may vary from the amount you saw when placing your withdrawal request.
Reviewing Syfe has allowed us to understand how they are constantly evolving. As the market changes and interest rates increase, they have re-optimised Cash+ so that it is more defensive compared to other cash management products like Endowus Cash Smart Enhanced and Endowus Cash Smart Ultra.
Syfe Select Portfolio review
The Select Portfolio might be more well-suited for those individuals who are more confident in the market, would like greater control over their portfolios and would like their funds to go to companies that their values are more greatly aligned with.
This requires a more hands-on approach as Syfe has tailored ETFs of a similar type under one portfolio. Hence, you should have a moderate to high understanding of the group of ETFs you’re going to be placing your funds into.
Furthermore, you can customise your portfolio allocations which makes this a more flexible portfolio compared to the Core. However, note that with flexibility also comes risk which is why Syfe scores the different ETFs and based on your risk appetite, selects the portfolio that’s right for you.
If you’re curious about the types of portfolios available, here’s a short review of the different Syfe Select portfolios.
ESG & Clean Energy: This portfolio comprises ETFs that are focused on clean energy, water sustainability and ESG.
Disruptive Technology: This portfolio focuses on ETFs from companies that invest in technology that will revolutionise the way we see the world, such as AI, robotics and cybersecurity. Examples of these ETFs are ARKW, KWEB, ESPO, CIBR, CLOU, BOTZ, ARKF
Healthcare Innovation: This portfolio focuses on companies that are investing in advancing healthcare and studying pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and many more. Examples of these ETFs are ARKG, IBB and IHF.
China Growth: This portfolio focuses on stocks that come from China. Examples of these ETFs are KWEB and CQQQ.
Global Income: This portfolio mainly invests in bonds that offer high yields. Examples of these bonds are EMB, CEMB and SHYG.
Since this portfolio is ETF based, dividends will be credited and reinvested into your account. The annualised returns may vary greatly based on your portfolio but here’s a small glimpse into the value:
Returns & Risk Measure
ESG & Clean Energy
Average Annualised Returns (3 Years)
We also reviewed Syfe Trade, which is another subset of Syfe. It is a brokerage platform which allows you to purchase your choice of over 10,000 US stocks and ETFs.
One of the great things about Syfe trade that sets it apart from other brokerage platforms is that it allows you to carry out fractional trading. Hence, you can hold a stake in stocks that might be out of your budget by purchasing them fractionally.
Syfe Trade offers five free trades per month and after which, charges USD 0.99 per trade. As always, there is no minimum amount that you need to deposit and no lock-in period which is a wonderful feature.
Is Syfe Safe?
Another worry of yours may be about whether your money is safe inside Syfe. There’s been recent news about cryptocurrency platforms going bust and as a result, many individuals have lost their investments. This may stir worry within you but rest assured that your money is perfectly safe when kept with Syfe.
While reviewing Syfe, we have seen that, unlike other Robo-advisors, they are licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Such backing can give you peace of mind and allows you to invest worry-free, knowing your money is safe.
As a result of this, Syfe is being tightly regulated by MAS which prevents any potential bankruptcy events from occurring. There are capital requirements and regular audits that ensure that the daily cash flow of Syfe is sufficient to meet the everyday operational needs of the company.
In the event, an unexpected bankruptcy occurs. Syfe will be supervised by MAS to ensure that their assets are transferred either to another fund manager or returned directly to you.
Another worry of yours might be that the information that you’re providing to Syfe might fall into the wrong hands. Syfe utilizes Two-factor Authentication and also, utilizes service providers that the top banks are using to store your data.
If you ever feel uncomfortable with the way the market is moving, just remember that Syfe prides itself on its lack of exit penalties and lock-in periods, so you have the flexibility to retrieve your funds at any time.
Syfe vs Endowus
While we reviewed Syfe, we simultaneously checked out their competitors so that you can be sure that you’re getting the best deal out there!
Syfe wins in terms of the minimum investment value, as Endowus has an initial investment of S$1,000 while Syfe’s is S$0. However, both are on par and do not have any minimum lock-in period.
If you are looking to utilise your SRS, CPF or cash, Endowus is the better option due to the flexibility that it offers. On the other hand, our review of Syfe shows that it falls short in this aspect as you can only use cash for investment.
Below are the fees that you will have to pay for Endowus, while Syfe’s fees depend on the tiers.
Syfe vs Stashaway
Syfe generally has lower rates than Stashaway for the lower tiers, with Stashaway’s management fees ranging from 0.2%-0.8%. Just like Endowus and Syfe, Stashaway also does not have any lock-in period.
If you’re depositing in SGD, there will be no minimum deposit. However, the minimum deposit for the Income portfolio is SGD$10,000. Also, if your deposits are in USD, the minimum deposit amount is USD $10,000.
Once again, an obvious edge that Stashawy has over Syfe would be that SRS and cash can both be used for investment.
After extensively reviewing Syfe and other platforms, such as Endowus and Stashaway, Syfe takes the cake. Syfe has the lowest fees involved and also, requires no minimum investment which makes this very accessible to any new investor.
Syfe Vs Financial advisors
Syfe generally has lower fees than financial advisors and are able to optimize and adjust their portfolio through algorithms in real time.
Also, Syfe consumes less time than engaging a financial advisor. For instance, you only need to complete a general risk profile questionnaire which they will use to recommend financial products.
On the other hand, financial advisors will take the time to understand your unique circumstance and profile in order to suggest a personalized solution that would meet your long-term financial goals.
Unlike Syfe, financial advisors provide a wide range of services ranging from retirement planning to investment planning to insurance.
Lastly, Syfe lacks perhaps what is the fundamental core of every individual — empathy.
Empathy allows financial advisors to do what Robo-advisors cannot, understand the unique situation that their client is in and recommend plans in their best interest.
If you’re interested in seeing for yourself what a financial advisor can help you achieve, Techiya is offering a free comprehensive financial assessment worth over $200!
Should I Invest With Syfe or invest on my own?
Finally, you might even be wondering if it’s worth it to just DIY (do it yourself)!
Doing it yourself may require more hands-on involvement which may be rather overwhelming, so Syfe makes investing an easier experience!
After reviewing both Syfe as well as trying to DIY it, here’s a compilation of pros and cons that compare the two:
Pros of Syfe
Cons of Syfe
Easy to start as robo advisor handles the majority of work for you
Your portfolios are mainly pre-designed for you which gives you little flexibility
There are no penalties for withdrawal or any other lock-in fees
No control over your ETFs prevents you from seizing opportunities in the market
Does not require much market knowledge and understanding of financial systems
You may not be comfortable with some of the ETFs that you are investing in
Pros of DIY
Cons of DIY
Higher risk gives you opportunity for higher capital gains
Can be overwhelming when you first begin
Have the flexibility to tailor your portfolio to what you wish to invest in
Exposure to high risk
Allows you to have greater understanding of investing
Have to mainly monitor market conditions which can be tedious and time consuming
We hope you enjoyed this thorough review! Syfe is an excellent choice for beginners who have no idea how they should invest their money.
But if you're looking for another professional alternative, try engaging financial advisors!