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- 1. Best robo advisors for beginners in January 2024
- 2. Our picks: best robo-advisors overall for 2024
- 3. What are the best robo advisors?
- 4. Top robo advisor reviews
- 5. What is a robo advisor?
- 6. How should I choose a robo investor?
- 7. Quick answers to key questions
- 8. Should I invest with a robo advisor?
- 9. Benefits of using a robo advisor
- 10. Risks of using a robo advisor
- 11. How to open an account with a robo advisor
- 12. Methodology: How we choose the best robo advisors
- 13. FAQs
Best robo advisors for beginners in January 2024
Trade your favourite markets with our top-rated broker,. 10/10
77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
Robo advisors are perfect for wannabee investors who don’t have the time or the desire to create their own investment portfolio.
You can set up a robo advisor that’s designed to meet your goals and preferences in just a few minutes. Even with a small amount of money and without much effort, you can create a diverse portfolio, invest regularly, and save for the future.
Our team of investing experts have compared the best robo advisors, to allow you to make the best choice for your specific needs. Between them, our panel has more than six decades of experience in finance and they judge each robo investor according to 160+ data points, with a particular focus on cost, convenience, and security. Find out more about our panel, their experience, and how we test in our review process.
Read on to find the best robo advisors and compare their performance.
Our picks: best robo-advisors overall for 2024Copy link to section
What are the best robo advisors?Copy link to section
These are the best robo investors on the market right now. They offer a variety of different investment products to suit different budgets and different risk profiles. Use the links in the table to get started, or read on to compare those robo investors in detail.
77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Top robo advisor reviewsCopy link to section
1. eToro. Best for beginners, copy-trading & demo-account
Pros & Cons
We love eToro because it’s a great trading platform for beginners, with an interface that’s easy to use via app or desktop. A safe and trustworthy broker used by millions of traders worldwide, eToro boasts a zero-to-low fee structure that won’t gobble up your money in charges.
There are more than 5,000 crypto, stock, etf, forex, and commodity assets available to trade on eToro. You can dive straight in to trade or dip your toe in gently with one of the best demo accounts in the business. We like to switch to virtual mode and use its unique CopyTrader feature to get trade ideas, test out strategies, and learn from the pros.
The fees: All stock and ETF trading is commission fee. All crypto trades are charged a 1% fee. Currency spreads are 1 pip, for commodities it’s 2 pips. Stock CFDs have a 0.15% spread. All deposits are free, withdrawals cost $5. There’s an inactivity fee of $10 per month that kicks in if you don’t log in to your account for 12 months.
77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
2. Plus500. Best for international CFD trading*
Pros & Cons
We love Plus500 because it is one of the industry’s most transparent and reliable brokers. Its fees are clear and you’ll know exactly what you will be paying before you make a trade. Its technology driven platform gives access to over 2800 instruments, including CFDs on stocks, forex, commodities, and cryptocurrencies among several others.
Plus500 has something for all types of traders, no matter what level of experience. It’s zero commission and tight spreads make it a top choice for day traders and its trading academy is packed with educational content, perfect for beginners just starting.
For accurate instrument availability, visit plus500.com.
The fees: There are no commission fees on any trades with Plus500 and it makes it money through the Bid/Ask spread. Spread starts from 0.01% or 0.9 pips and varies depending on the instrument. Additional fees include overnight funding which is dependant on trade size and guaranteed stop orders, which add a minimum of 10% to the spread. There is an inactivity charge of £10 per month for accounts not logged in for three months.
*Based on a comparison of 60+ leading brokers and trading platforms.
Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
3. Best online broker for range of markets
Pros & Cons
We love Interactive Brokers because it has one of the widest selections of tradable assets we’ve ever seen. IBKR is one of the best-known and longest-running brokers in the world and when you create an account you’ll have access to tens of thousands of stocks, ETFs, funds, indices, currencies, bonds, and cryptocurrencies.
Besides lots of markets, Interactive Brokers also offers a good range of additional tools and features including risk management tools, cutting-edge portfolio management services, and the ability to automate your trading system through ready-made or custom-built algorithms.
The fees: Charges vary depending on the asset you’re trading. Stocks and ETFs are commission-free, as are most funds. Options fees range from $0.15 to $0.65 per option contract. Cryptocurrency fees range between 0.12% to 0.18% of the trade value. Forex trades have commissions which can be as low as a fraction of a pip.
4. Public. Best for sharing beginner trading ideas
Pros & Cons
We love Public because it’s a social platform where you can share trading tips and get ideas from other people. Public offers 9,000+ financial instruments, including cryptocurrencies and stocks from around the world.
Alongside a community of other investors all sharing their ideas, Public offers real time news and information so that you can see the full picture before you invest. And the assets don’t just include your run-of-the-mill assets; you can make alternative investments in things like handbags and comic books as well.
The fees: There are no fees for investing in stocks during regular trading hours in the US – 9.30am-4pm EST. There is a $2.99 fee for trades outside of regular hours. Alternative investments, including cryptocurrency, are charged a 2.5% fee per transaction.
5. Degiro. Best for 0% commission on US stocks
Pros & Cons
We love Degiro because it offers a simple trading platform so that you can trade quickly and easily wherever you are. Degiro offers trading on 900 stocks, 200 ETFs, and over 1000 futures and options in 30 countries, including the US, UK, and all leading European markets.
Degiro has won 86 international awards and is one of the largest companies in Germany. All its services are available online or via the Degiro app. The website also boasts a huge range of educational material, including an Investor’s Academy, to help you get started.
The fees: All stock trades come with a €1 handling fee. US stock trading has no other fees, UK stock trading costs $1.75, and European stock trading costs €3.90. The rest of the world costs €5. A core selection of ETFs are free to trade, other global ETFs cost €2 plus a €1 handling fee. Derivative trading costs €0.75. There are no inactivity, deposit, or withdrawal fees.
Investing involves risk of loss
What is a robo advisor?Copy link to section
A robo advisor, robo investor, or robot investor, is a digital investment platform that offers managed portfolios using advanced software and algorithms to decide which assets to invest in. This is in opposition to a traditional investment account that’s controlled by a human financial advisor who picks the best stocks to buy and sell.
Robo advisors are typically ideal for beginners as they do almost all of the work for you. They’re cheap, require virtually no maintenance, and often don’t have any minimum investment so you can get started with as much or as little money as you like.
How does a robo advisor work?Copy link to section
Robo investing uses a piece of software to gauge your investment principles, goals, and risk tolerance, then chooses how to invest your money. When you sign up, you are asked a set of questions focused on these themes, such as how quickly you want to see returns, what sort of sectors you want to invest in or avoid, and how many risks you’re prepared to take with your money.
The robo advisor uses this information to select an option from a preset list of investment strategies. These almost always involve investing in various ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and funds, as these are low-cost ways to gain exposure to an entire sector or index.
In this way you can tailor the robo investor to invest your money in the way you would do yourself. If you’re a cautious investor who only wants to invest in socially responsible investing options, for example, the robo advisor invests your money into low risk, ESG or ethical funds.
How should I choose a robo investor?Copy link to section
The main things to consider when choosing a robo financial advisor are cost and performance. Ultimately, these are how you would judge the success of a human financial manager and the same criteria apply to robot investors as well.
Here are some more key considerations to help you compare the top robo advisors.
Past portfolio performanceCopy link to section
Every platform should allow you to compare the performance of each of its robo advisors before you sign up. While this is no guarantee of future results, it gives you an idea as to how successful each investing strategy has been during different market conditions.
It is also a good way to visualise the difference between a low-risk investment portfolio and one that is more aggressive. You are likely to see greater and more frequent fluctuations in the more high risk portfolios. Think about how you would cope with this mentally and use it to influence how you decide to tailor your own robo investor account.
Low feesCopy link to section
One big advantage of robo advisors compared to a traditional portfolio managed by a person is that they are cheaper. Rather than lots of trading fees, most robo advisors charge management fees, which are paid as a percentage of the total value of your investment. The absolute most you should be willing to pay is 1% per year but most advisors are cheaper than that, with 0-0.5% acting as a good guideline.
Along with the account maintenance fee, there are other fees as well depending on the sort of assets your money is invested in. You might be charged each time the advisor moves your money into a different asset, or if it’s putting money into a fund, those funds might come with their own fees as well. Add all these fees together to get a full understanding of how much your investment costs.
Design and ease of useCopy link to section
The top robo advisors offer convenience, so that you can navigate around, invest money, and compare your portfolio performance without much trouble. The design and user experience of a platform where there is no human interaction is of paramount importance.
You may want to be able to access the robo advisor and all its services from your phone as well, so consider downloading a few robo advisor apps and comparing them.
Minimum investmentCopy link to section
You can usually set up an robo advisor account with any amount of money. However, some have an account minimum which you must deposit in order to use it.
This can vary quite considerably by platform, we have seen investment accounts that require as little as $5 to get started, while the most blue chip providers ask for tens of thousands. Those are outliers, however, and about $500 is at the higher end of the scale for most accounts.
Types of investmentCopy link to section
Many robo advisors work by investing money into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds. These are low cost, diverse pools of related stocks that serve to give you broad exposure to the stock market without relying too heavily on any one company for results.
However, that’s not the only way a robo advisor can build diversified portfolios. If you use a platform that has its own in-house funds (like Vanguard, for example) then it may invest money into those as well. Make sure the provider is clear about how they make the decisions about what to invest in.
Account typesCopy link to section
Ensure the robo advisor supports the types of accounts you need, such as individual or joint taxable accounts, IRAs (Traditional, Roth, SEP), and 401(k) rollovers. This can be important for tax purposes if you’re saving for retirement, as IRAs and 401(k)s offer tax breaks on money you don’t access until you’re 60.
Reputation and regulationCopy link to section
You want to be sure that you pick a robo advisor platform with a good reputation so that your money is always safe. All robo advisors should be regulated by a respected financial authority, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). A license with the SEC (or equivalent international body) provides insurance so that your money is protected in case the investment platform becomes insolvent.
The best way to check a firm’s reputation is search its license number through Investor.gov, which is an arm of the SEC. This is the fastest way to find out if it really does hold the appropriate license to offer investing services and financial planning tools.
Another option is to look on the internet for customer reviews, as other people’s experience can be a good guide. Use the reviews here on Invezz to get a better feel for what to expect from each advisor.
Additional servicesCopy link to section
Picking the best robo advisor isn’t just about finding the one with the lowest fees. There are other features as well that can tip the balance. You should look to see if the advisor offers things like automatic rebalancing, which is when it adjusts the assets in your portfolio so it isn’t weighted too heavily towards one asset class.
Quick answers to key questionsCopy link to section
How much does a robo advisor cost to use?Copy link to section
Robo advisors charge an annual management fee, which is usually no more than 0.75% per year. The fee is often lower if you invest a significant amount in the platform, so it’s possible to get very low fees if you have a lump sum to invest with.
There may be a couple of extra additional fees, in the form of a maintenance fee/account fee, and a spread fee. These are usually small, and may be about 0.2% and 0.09% per year, respectively. Overall, the fees are significantly lower than those you would pay with a traditional financial advisor. Human financial advisors cost money in man hours and experience, whereas robo advisors tend to automate a lot of the process.
Something else to consider is the minimum investment that you need to get started. Even if a robo advisor charges lower fees, it might be out of your immediate price range if it requires an initial deposit of a few hundred pounds.
Do I have to verify my identity?Copy link to section
Yes, you will have to provide your contact details and usually the service requires bank details and a form of ID as well. This is because these platforms have to abide with anti-money laundering regulations and it’s how you are entitled to protection from the financial authorities in case anything nefarious were to happen to your money.
Are robo advisors safe to use?Copy link to section
They are as safe as any other investment as they’re provided by regulated platforms that invest in assets that are also governed by strict rules laid down by the stock market. Just remember that there’s no guarantee you will make money as the value of any investment can go down as well as up.
Do I need any extra software to use a robo advisor?Copy link to section
No, one of the benefits of using a service like this is that someone else takes care of the investing for you. All you need to do is sign up, answer a few questions, and fund the account. After that it can be left to its own devices.
Should I invest with a robo advisor?Copy link to section
It’s a great tool for beginners in particular and for anyone who wants a low-cost, low-maintenance way to invest. The best ones let you set the guidelines so that you can decide the direction your money goes in. If you want to have a more hands-on role in your wealth management then you might want to create your own investment strategy instead.
Benefits of using a robo advisorCopy link to section
The benefits of a robo advisor revolve around the way it appeals to even the newest investors, as you don’t need much experience at all to get started. It’s a great first step on your investing journey.
Here are some of the positives of using a robo investor.
- The best robo advisors let you invest at low cost and with professional help. It doesn’t cost much to use a robo advisor, and they combined advanced software algorithms with a track record of investing experience.
- They offer a hands-off investing option that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort. Robo advisors are ideal for people with no investing experience or no time to choose their own investments, but who still want to build their wealth over time.
- You can create your own personalised financial plan to save for the future. By answering the questions on your robo advisor account when you start, you can create an investment plan that’s geared towards your needs and goals.
- Robo investors often earn higher returns than people managed funds. Passive investments such as ETFs that simply track the performance of a group of stocks can often generate better returns than a person who tries to pick and choose which stocks are going to be successful.
Risks of using a robo advisorCopy link to section
Like any form of investment, robo advisors have their drawbacks. There is no guarantee of success, and the value of your investments can go down as well as up.
Here are some more of the risks of using a robo financial advisor.
- There are limited ways to invest. A robo advisor only has a small number of predetermined investment strategies. You can’t pick your own stocks, nor can you pick and choose which assets to invest in.
- Your returns are more limited compared to investing in individual stocks. Pooled investments like funds and ETFs limit your downside by investing in lots of different stocks and sectors. However, this also serves to limit your upside, as an individual company only makes up a small part of each portfolio.
- They aren’t good at meeting complex investing goals. Robo advisors are great for long term investing, such as saving for retirement, or regular monthly investing. They are less good if you have more complicated goals, or a timeline which requires results very quickly.
- Your investments can fall in value. There is no guarantee that your portfolio will increase in value. Past performance is no guarantee of future results, and even a portfolio based around advanced algorithms and careful risk management can perform poorly.
How to open an account with a robo advisorCopy link to section
Follow these simple steps to start using a robo financial advisor today.
Create an account and add a payment methodCopy link to section
To start using a robo advisor, you need to create an account and add a means of sending money to it. Most people simply connect their robo advisor to their bank account, and doing it this way means you can round up any purchases and deposit the extra money directly into your account on a regular basis.
Take the onboarding quizCopy link to section
Once you’ve created an account, you must fill out a short quiz. This quiz is designed to assess your investment preferences, your goals, and your risk profile. Think about your answers carefully, as these dictate how the robo advisor invests your money.
Confirm your investment portfolioCopy link to section
From the results of the quiz, the robot investor provides a recommended portfolio based on your investment profile. You can tweak this, or choose an alternative option, but if you’re going to use a robo advisor then it makes sense to use its recommendation.
Start investing automaticallyCopy link to section
Now, you’re all set to start investing. The final step is to decide how often you want to add money to your portfolio, which can be set to a regular automatic deposit, or a manual deposit which you manage yourself.
A regular automatic deposit is a good option to drip-feed money into your portfolio, an investment strategy that’s known as ‘dollar-cost averaging’ (DCA). With DCA, you invest at regular intervals, regardless of how the market is performing. In this way, you naturally buy more when prices are lower and less when prices are higher.
Bottom lineCopy link to section
Choosing the right robo-advisor is a pivotal step in your investing journey. It’s important to compare leading services before you invest any money, taking care to understand the nuances of each, and evaluate the risks and rewards. Remember that your individual financial goals and circumstances are key.
Investing, by its nature, involves risk, and robo-advisors offer a streamlined, often cost-effective way to manage these risks through diversified portfolios and automated strategies. However, it’s crucial to weigh factors such as fees, investment options, and the level of personalisation against your investment objectives.
Methodology: How we choose the best robo advisorsCopy link to section
Helping people make better financial decisions is at the heart of our mission at Invezz.
We periodically test more than 63 robo advisors to provide our users with clear, accessible guidance on the investing options available. All testing is carried out by our panel of stock market experts, analysts, and active traders who sign up to each advisor, conduct research, and score each service.
Our tests are designed to find robo investors that offer a beginner-friendly, secure investing experience at a fair price. To supplement our practical testing and experience, we research each robo advisor to gather any further relevant information. We read online customer reviews, app reviews on the Play Store and App Store, and conduct user surveys to get feedback from real people about what works, and what doesn’t.
Each advisor is awarded a final score based on 130+ data points across 8 ranking categories: cost, reliability, user experience, deposit & withdrawals, investing options, range of products/markets, research & analysis tools, and the availability of educational & learning resources.
We work closely with individual brands to ensure all factual information displayed here is accurate. All data is then fact-checked by an independent reviewer. You can learn more about our expert panel and how we test, rate, and review platforms in our review process.
FAQsCopy link to section
Yes, robo advisors work, in terms of providing automated, algorithm-based investment services. They effectively manage portfolios, perform regular rebalancing, and can adapt to changing market conditions within the parameters of their programming. Their effectiveness, however, depends on the user’s investment goals and market performance.
Robo advisors are generally excellent for beginners. They offer a simple, accessible entry point into investing without requiring extensive financial knowledge. Their automated nature takes care of portfolio construction and management, which can be particularly advantageous for those new to investing.
Whether you need a robo advisor depends on your personal financial situation, investment knowledge, and willingness to manage investments. If you seek a hands-off approach or lack the time/expertise for active investment management, a robo advisor could be a beneficial tool.
Robo advisors typically aim for market-average returns, matching the performance of the index or sector their portfolios track. Outperforming the market consistently is challenging for any investment service.
You can find robo investors that let you get started with as little as $5. However, you might be better off saving a little more beforehand, so you can add to your investment on a regular basis.
Robo advisors typically get paid through management fees, charged as a percentage of the assets under management (AUM).
These fees are usually lower than those of traditional financial advisors, and robo advisors make money because their overheads are significantly lower than these services, as they don’t need to pay expensive fund managers.
Whether a robo advisor is better than a human advisor depends on your needs. Robo advisors offer lower fees and automated services, which are great for most people, particularly those who favor passive investment strategies. Human advisors provide personalized advice, which can be better for complex financial situations.
Completely free robo advisors are rare. Most charge management fees or are indirectly paid through the expense ratios of the funds they use. However, some may offer free services for accounts below a certain size.
Generally, robo investors aim to match market performance (typically judged by the performance of the S&P 500) rather than consistently beat it.
Their primary goal is often to provide a balanced portfolio that aligns with the investor’s risk tolerance and investment horizon, rather than outperforming the market.
Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >