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dollarDEX Review

Enjoy zero fees when you invest on unit trusts and mutual funds with dollarDEX, Aviva's online trading platform.

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Powered by Aviva, one of the leading insurance providers in the world, dollarDEX is an online wealth management platform with a track record of over 20 years. With zero fees and low minimum investment amount to start, dollarDEX is a popular option for those looking to invest in unit trusts and mutual funds.

Learn about how dollarDEX works and if this platform is suitable for you in our review.

Quick take

Good for
  • Zero fees
  • Beginner-friendly platform
  • Allow SRS and cash investments.
Not so great for
  • Limited asset classes
  • No mobile app
  • Minimum investment amount required

What is dollarDEX?

dollarDEX is an online investment platform that facilitates the trading of unit trusts and mutual funds. It was founded in 1999 with the goal of providing cost-effective investment services by waiving all sales charges, platform fees and switching fees.

dollarDEX manages approximately S$500 million of investors’ money and is owned by Navigator (Navigator Investment Services Ltd). Navigator is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aviva Limited.

What is Navigator?

Navigator is an integrated investment platform and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aviva Limited. When you sign up with dollarDEX, you’ll automatically be issued with a Navigator account. It provides custodial services for Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) to investment clients of dollarDEX. This includes handling of payments and holding of units.

You may access your Navigator account anytime through AvivaOnline (AOL), but all transactions will be completed on dollarDEX website.

What asset classes can you invest in with dollarDEX?

Unlike most of its competitors, which usually enable you to trade stocks and other asset types, dollarDEX only focus on unit trusts and mutual funds.

Unit trusts and mutual funds are collective investments which pools investors’ money to purchase a basket of securities such as stocks, bonds or other assets. This way, investors can affordably diversify and benefit from market gains while hedging against losses.

What's the difference between Unit Trusts and Mutual Funds?

Even though both unit trusts and mutual funds comes from the same investment family and allow investors to buy a single diversified portfolio in one investment, there are various similarities and differences between them.

  • While both unit trusts and mutual funds are meant to be long-term investments, unit trusts are typically one-off offerings a maturity date whereas mutual funds usually exist in perpetuity and are continuously offered.
  • Compared to unit trusts, mutual funds can be more liquid. If you wish to let go of your mutual fund share, you can always sell it back to the issuing company any day the market is open. However if you wish to liquidate your unit trusts, but you may have to find other investors willing to buy your units from you. Some unit trusts companies do honor redemption requests but that is usually not the case.
  • Unit trusts often invest in static portfolios, which means that once you purchase a unit you’ll own the same assets until it reaches maturity. Mutual funds, on the other hand, are more likely to be actively managed and constantly changing.

Key features of dollarDEX

Here are some of dollarDEX’s most notable features:

Types of product offerings from dollarDEX

dollarDEX offers the following investment portfolios:

Product typesKey Features
Recommended Portfolios
  • Five recommended portfolios designed to suit different risk profiles: Conservative, Moderate, Balanced, Growth, Aggressive.
  • Requires investors to fill up a simple questionnaire to assess their risk appetite.
  • Investors may purchase the entire portfolio or only their preferred funds.
  • Able to fund with cash or Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) funds.
Regular Savings Plan (RSP)
  • Overcome price inflation through dollar-cost averaging.
  • Investors are certain of their monthly contribution but not their final investment value.
  • Deducts a preset monthly amount from your bank to be invested into your selected funds (e.g. $1,000).
    • Rising stock market. Your monthly investment amount will buy you less units (e.g. 1,000 units at $1).
    • Downward stock market. Your monthly investment amount will buy you more units (e.g. 1,111 units at $0.90).
  • Able to fund with cash, CPF or SRS funds.
  • Minimum monthly investment amount: $100
Value Averaging Plan (VAP)
  • Monthly investment required but amount is not fixed.
  • Investors are uncertain of their monthly contribution but aware of their final investment value.
  • Investor sets a target growth rate at the start of the VAP (e.g. $500 monthly growth on a $10,000 portfolio).
  • The monthly contribution may be adjusted depending on the performance of the portfolio in the previous month to ensure that the growth rate is on track. For example:
    • Rising stock market. You’ve invested $500 for the month and due to a rising market, your portfolio value rose to $10,600. To meet the targeted growth the next month (which is $11,000 in this case), you’ll only need to invest $400 for the month’s payment.
    • Downward stock market. You’ve invested $500 for the month and due to a downward market, your portfolio value dip to $10,400. To meet the targeted growth the next month (which is $11,000 in this case), you’ll only need to invest $600 for the month’s payment.
  • Able to fund with cash, CPF or SRS funds.

Pricing and fees

As of 9 June 2020, dollarDEX charges no fees for investments through its platform. This means that the unit price you see on each fund is the final price and every cent you put to the platform is fully invested.

To profit and maintain its platform, dollarDEX factors its annual management fee for the funds directly into the daily Net Asset Value (NAV), which is charged to its fund partners instead of their users. Users are not required to pay any upfront fees, recurring charges, account setup fees, withdrawal fees etc.

Is dollarDEX safe?

To protect clients’ data and investments, dollarDEX is equipped with industry-standard SSL technology, an encryption security protocol to ensure that all information on its website is protected.

How does dollarDEX keep my money safe?

Navigator (Navigator Investment Services Ltd) is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore as a Capital Markets Services (CMS) Licensee under the Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289) to provide custodial services for your investments, so it is mandatory for the firm to be compliant with all regulations – including safeguarding all its clients’ funds.

Navigator is also a CPFIS-registered Investment Administrator (IA), which allows them to draw consolidated funds directly from your CPF agent bank account.

Pros and cons

Advantages

  • Zero fees. dollarDEX helps investors keep costs low by waiving all sales charges, switching fees, platform fees. The unit price you see on each fund will be the final price with absolutely no additional charges.
  • Simple platform. Without complicated-looking charts and analysis, the dollarDEX platform is easier for novice traders to use compared to typical investment platforms.
  • Able to select your preferred investment. Unlike most robo advisors’ inability for users to choose their preferred securities, you can benefit from dollarDEX’s recommended portfolio and either purchase the entire portfolio or any of the recommended funds.

Disadvantages

  • Limited range of investment products. You can only invest in unit trusts and mutual funds with dollarDEX.
  • Lack of educational materials. Unlike many of the major online investment platforms, dollarDEX does not provide frequent market insights and investment news for its users.
  • No mobile app. dollarDEX does not have an app for handheld devices, so you won’t be able to monitor your investments on the go.
  • Requires a minimum investment. The minimum investment amount to start is S$1,000. For regular savings plan, you’ll need to deposit at least $100 a month.

How do I apply for a dollarDEX account?

You can apply online for a dollarDEX account if you’re over 18 years old. To apply, simply click on the ‘create my account’ button on the dollarDEX website to begin the sign-up process.

Once you’ve signed up for an account on dollarDEX’s website, one of its representatives will get in contact with you to finalise the account opening process. You can then select the unit trusts you wish to invest and make payment to the company through internet banking, CPF fund transfer or cheque.

Required documents

  • Singaporeans/Permanent Residents:
    • Front and back photocopy of your NRIC
  • Foreigners:
    • Valid Passport
    • Valid Work/Employment Permit/Dependent Pass
    • Proof of residential address (dated within the last 6 months): e.g. Teleco bills/utility bills/bank statement/letters issued by government bodies

How do I contact dollarDEX support?

If you have any enquiries, you may reach dollarDEX directly through the following contact details:

  • Customer support: +65 6220 7890
    • Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays), 9 am to 5.30 pm
  • Email: cs@dollardex.com

Bottom line

dollarDEX may be limited if you’re looking to shop for a wide range of securities to build your own portfolio. However, this simple platform is suited for beginners looking to get started in trading with safer, long-term investments through unit trusts and mutual funds.

The platform also doesn’t come with advanced analysis and charts which are typical features in online trading platforms. While this may be deemed as a downside for experienced traders, beginners may appreciate it being less complicated and overwhelming.

Although dollarDEX do provide recommended portfolios, it does not provide automatic and active management like robo advisors such as StashAway and AutoWealth. So if you prefer a portfolio tailored for your specific investment goals, risk appetite and automatic portfolio rebalancing features, find out how a robo advisor may be more suited for your needs in our robo advisor guide.

Overall, dollarDEX is a good balance between a traditional online trading platform and robo advisor. Along with its zero fees feature and manageable initial investment requirement, dollarDEX is a decent entry point for starters.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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