Syfe Review

Robo-advisor Syfe makes investing simple and comes with no minimum investment required.

Singapore-based robo-advisor Syfe allows you to select and customise an investment portfolio based on risk tolerance and time horizon, enabling a fuss-free approach to investing.

Moreover, its basic account tier requires no minimum investment. Retail investors who want to start with a small amount will benefit most from Syfe.

Find out more about how the robo-advisor works and if it is suitable for you.

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Quick take

Good for
  • Invest with no minimum amount
  • Free consultation with experts
  • Competitive tiered management fees
Not so great for
  • Unable to use CPF or SRS funds
  • Beginners new to ETFs
  • Short-term investors looking for higher yields

What is Syfe?

Syfe is a Singapore-based robo-advisor launched in 2019. It offers fully managed investment portfolios customised to its investors’ needs. There is no minimum investment amount or lock-in period for investing with Syfe.

It holds monies and assets in a custodian account through global broker Saxo Capital Markets. The company is licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

How does Syfe determine which portfolio is best for you?

Before you sign up for an account with Syfe, you are prompted to select a portfolio type. There are 4 main portfolio types that you can choose from based on your risk tolerance.

The Core Portfolios will expose your funds to equities, bonds and commodities across different sectors and countries. You can also choose an additional portfolio to invest in volatile sectors such as real estate and technology stocks.

Then you fill out an online survey to indicate your financial situation, future goals and risk tolerance. The survey results allow Syfe to personalise your investment portfolio to maximise your net investment returns based on your risk tolerance. Once completed, you can create your account and upload supporting documents.

What asset classes does Syfe invest in?

Syfe uses a combination of various exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to build its portfolios. ETFs are baskets of securities that track an underlying index.

ETFs are chosen as they offer an efficient passive investment method due to their low expense fees and access to worldwide investable markets.

Through investing in ETFs, you acquire a diversified portfolio with access to different asset classes and markets.

According to Syfe, the ETFs are selected based on factors such as the following:

  • High liquidity
  • Low expense ratios
  • Low tracking error
  • Growth and value
  • Volatility
  • Country exposure

Key features of Syfe

Here are some of Syfe’s most notable features:

What research does Syfe provide?

Syfe offers investors market-driven news and analysis through the following:

  • Syfe Learn. Syfe delivers investment insights, free webinars and ebooks in its online news portal.
  • Wealth experts. Sign up for free consultations with MAS-licensed experts to know more about its portfolios or get guidance on managing your money.

Types of portfolios offered by Syfe

Syfe offers 4 core types of customisable portfolios for retail and accredited investors.

Portfolio typesKey features
Core Defensive
  • Investment mainly in bond ETFs (71.1%) with the rest in gold and equity
  • Projected annualised return: 3.7%
  • Annual management fee: 0.35% – 0.65%
  • ETF management fee: 0.15%-0.24%
  • No separate brokerage or CDP account required
  • No minimum or maximum balance
  • No deposit requirements or withdrawal restrictions
  • Auto-reinvestment of dividends
  • Low-risk rating
Core Balanced
  • Investment made in a mix of ETFs across asset classes:
    • Equity (37%)
    • Bond (51.8%)
    • Commodity (11.1%)
  • Projected annualised return: 5.6%
  • No minimum account balance
  • Annual management fee: 0.35% to 0.65%
  • ETF management fee: 0.15%-0.24%
  • Moderately low risk
Core Growth
  • Investment made in a mix of ETFs across asset classes:
    • Equity (69.6%)
    • Bond (24.9%)
    • Commodity (5.5%)
  • Projected annualised return: 8.6%
  • No minimum or maximum balance
  • No deposit requirements or withdrawal restrictions
  • Annual management fee: 0.35% – 0.65%
  • ETF management fee: 0.15%-0.24%
  • Auto-reinvestment of dividends
  • No separate brokerage or CDP account required
  • Moderately high risk
CoreEquity100
  • 100% equity allocation
  • Projected annualised return: 11.4%
  • No minimum or maximum balance
  • No deposit requirements or withdrawal restrictions
  • Annual management fee: 0.35% – 0.65%
  • ETF management fee: 0.15%-0.24%
  • Allocates assets in technology and Chinese stocks such as the following:
    • Invesco QQQ Trust
    • iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF (CSPX)
    • iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA)
    • Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP)
  • High-risk rating

In addition, investors can also opt for Syfe Cash+, a cash management portfolio or open a REITs portfolio.

Cash+
  • Investment in money market and short-term bond funds
  • No management fees
  • No minimum balance or withdrawal limits
  • Projected returns of 1.2%
REIT+
  • Choose between 100% REITs or add bonds
  • Tracks the iEdge S-REIT Leaders
  • Automatic dividend pay-outs

Pricing, fees and benefits

Syfe charges a membership fee that comes with tiered benefits. Cash+ has zero management fees. For other portfolios, the following annual management fee and benefits apply:

Membership tierInvestment amount (SGD)Annual rateBenefits(including GST)
Blue tierNo minimum0.65%Weekly Q&A with Syfe wealth experts, Mon-Fri live support via chat, email and phone.
Black tierMin $20,0000.5%Access to Syfe wealth experts, Mon-Fri live support via chat, email and phone.
Gold tierMin $100,0000.4%Dedicated Wealth expert, Mon-Fri live support via chat, email and phone.
Private WealthMin $500,0000.35%Financial planning provided by wealth expert, customised portfolios with access to non-retail investments.

Fees are accurate at the time of writing (1 June 2022).

Syfe does not charge transaction or brokerage fees. There are also no entry or exit fees or hidden charges. However, note that there is an ETF management fee that averages 0.15%-0.24%. In addition, there is a 0.09% fee for currency conversion to trade US Securities.

For Syfe Core portfolios, there is a 0.00221% fee on sell trades from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For REIT portfolios, the Singapore Exchange (SGGX) charges clearing(0.0325%) and trading access fees(0.0075%).

    Is Syfe safe?

    To protect clients’ online trades and privacy, Syfe is equipped with the following security features:

    • 2-factor authentication. Users must set up 2-factor authentication (2FA) during account creation. Any account updates or logins from new devices will require you to enter a one-time password (OTP) sent via SMS.
    • Personal data security. Syfe stores personal data securely on Amazon Web Services data centres in Singapore, utilising bank-grade protection compliant with world-class security standards.

    How does Syfe keep my money safe?

    Syfe is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as a licensee under the Capital Markets Services (CMS). Therefore, it will need to meet all the standards and requirements set by MAS for retail fund management services.

    As a licence holder, it meets the criteria set by MAS to prevent bankruptcy. In the unlikely event of insolvency, customers’ funds are held in a trust account at DBS Bank. The investments are held separately in a custodian account through Saxo Capital Markets.

    There are also no exit penalties or lock-in periods, so customers can withdraw their money at any point.

    For US securities, the funds are held by a broker insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation(SIPC), which protects against the loss of cash and securities held by a customer up to US$500,000.

    Pros and cons

    Advantages

    • Easy set-up. It’s easy to get started on Syfe. You just need to choose your portfolio based on your risk level and fill in your details. If you have Singpass, the platform can also retrieve your details automatically.
    • Convenience. Apart from the browser application, Syfe has a mobile app for iPhone and Android users. So you can easily track your trades anywhere, anytime.
    • No minimum investment. Unlike other robo-advisors that may require at least S$1,000 to S$10,000 to start, Syfe does not impose a minimum investment amount.
    • Investing in REITs. Syfe is the first robo-advisor that offers a portfolio fully invested in REITs. For investors who want to invest in Singapore real estate without the hassle of buying property, this is a way to start.

    Disadvantages

    • High concentration in stock ETFs. While Syfe offers other asset class allocations in bond and gold ETFs, compared to other robo-advisors, it has a high percentage of stock ETFs. Most of this is in technology and Chinese stocks. As a result, investors will need to be prepared to ride out market volatility.
    • Learning curve. For Syfe, you need to understand the difference between the portfolios before you choose one. This might be a steep curve for those who do not know much about ETFs.
    • Unable to reallocate investments. Like most robo-advisors, customisation is limited. While Syfe does offer some flexibility in choosing your investment according to risk level, you cannot choose individual stocks or reallocate funds to focus on certain asset classes.

    How do I apply for a Syfe account?

    You can apply online for a Syfe account if you’re over 18 and a Singaporean, Singapore permanent resident or foreigner. To open an account on Syfe’s website, choose the core portfolio you are interested in and then click on “Create Account” to begin the sign-up process.

    Required documents

    • Singaporeans/permanent residents:
      • Front and back photocopy of your NRIC
    • Foreigners:
      • Passport or employment pass with at least 6 months’ validity
      • Proof of residential address (dated within the last 3 months): e.g. Teleco bills/utility bills/bank statement/letters issued by government bodies

    How do I contact Syfe support?

    If you have any enquiries, you may reach Syfe through its site bot or through the following:

    • 24/7 customer support: +65-3138-1215
    • Email: support@syfe.com


    Bottom line

    Syfe is ideal for beginners who do not want to invest too much capital since it requires no minimum investment amount. The portfolio choices it offers also have a good international mix of low- to medium-risk bond ETFs and higher risk stock ETFs.

    The 2-pronged asset class risk budgeting and smart beta strategies for portfolio management should withstand market volatility for investors able to hold for the long term.

    However, if you are an investor who prefers less exposure to ETFs or wants to use your CPF or SRS funds, you should consider comparing against other robo-advisors.

    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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