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Review of Wealthify
Wealthify is a UK-based investment management company that offers robo-advisor services, meaning you can use the platform to automate an investment plan based on your risk profile. The company was founded in 2016 and operates from Cardiff. In 2018, Aviva, the UK’s largest insurance provider, acquired a majority stake in the company, and subsequently took complete ownership of Wealthify in June 2020. This corporate takeover makes Wealthify a fully-owned but separately-run subsidiary of Aviva.
This review will take you through everything you need to know about the platform – from how the platform works to the fees that it charges – so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right robo-advisor for you.
Pros & Cons
What can I do with Wealthify?
Wealthify is a robo-advisor platform that allows users to invest their money with the help of automated technology. With Wealthify, you can start investing with as little as £1 and grow your account by making monthly deposits if you want. The platform is available 24/7 and offers an easy way to put your money to work, while you focus on the things that interest you.
When setting up an account, you have to choose your account type, deposit into your account, select your preferred type of plan (Original or Ethical), and indicate your risk profile. Then, the experts at Wealthify will create an investment plan that fits your risk profile and investment goals using a mixture of technology and expert human guidance.
While you don’t get to choose the assets you invest in, Wealthify allows you to choose your risk profile and also offers an ‘Ethical Plan’ so that your investment will be in line with your values as regards the impact of the investment on society and the environment.
You might want to use Wealthify if:
- You don’t have any experience in investing and could benefit from the help of technology
- You are too busy to follow the events in the financial markets to inform investment decisions
- You don’t know how to analyse investment opportunities
- You want an easy way to save and get your money to work for you
- You prefer a long-term approach to investing
Your different account options
Wealthify offers the following account options:
An Investment ISA (also known as a Stocks & Shares ISA) is a tax-free investment account that allows UK residents to save and invest up to £20,000 per annum without paying tax on the profits generated by your investments. Wealthify requires no minimum investment for your ISA; You can start from as low as £1, and you can request for your money at any time without penalty.
General Investment Accounts (GIA)
GIA is Wealthify’s standard investment account, which has no yearly limit on contributions. You can pay in any amount you have, but the returns are subject to tax. When you have used up your annual ISA allowance, the GIA is a great option. This option allows you to withdraw at any time without any charges, and again you can open an account with as little as £1.
Wealthify’s Junior ISA allows you to invest for your child in a tax-efficient manner. You can invest up to £9,000 per annum, and the returns are tax-free. However, the money is locked in until the child turns 18 – at this point the account is automatically converted to adult ISA which the child can access.
Personal Pension Account
This account is also called a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). It allows you to invest up to £40,000 or 100% of your earnings (whichever is lower) each year across all your pensions. It comes with an automatic 25% tax relief. Other tax benefits depend on your individual situation. The minimum initial deposit required to open this account is £50, and the minimum top-up you can do is also £50. Your investment is locked in until your 55th birthday.
How does Wealthify work?
Wealthify has an automated investment process that uses algorithms to create an investment plan for you based on what you tell them about your goals and risk appetite. Although the process is automated, there is human intervention when necessary.
Wealthify focuses on a range of passive investment funds, like Mutual Funds and ETFs, to build your portfolio. An investment fund is a bundle of many individual assets, such as stocks, bonds, or property, sold together as one asset to make it cheaper to own a diversified portfolio.
Your risk profile will determine the type of investment plan that is right for you — Cautious, Tentative, Confident, Ambitious, and Adventurous — which, in turn, determines the mix of funds in your portfolio. An investment plan in the Cautious category will contain a high percentage of low-risk assets like bonds, while the Ambitious and Adventurous category will contain a high percentage of shares.
Wealthify’s team of investment experts continues to monitor and adjust your portfolio based on the prevailing market conditions and in line with your risk profile. This rebalancing ensures an optimal mix of investments to keep your plan on track. The aim is to ensure that your investments take full advantage of favorable market conditions while being protected when the conditions are not favourable.
You can check your investment on their website with your computer or via the Wealthify app on your mobile device and can add to your investment or withdraw money at any time.
How easy is it to use Wealthify?
Using Wealthify is an easy process, with both the website and the app being easy to navigate, with the tabs and menus clearly shown. On the homepage, you can see the ‘Sign in’ tab for existing customers and the ‘Invest now’ tab for prospective clients, as well as links to their What we do, Products, About us, Contact us, Blog, and FAQs pages.
This means you can quickly learn about the services offered and set up your account with a few clicks. Also you can track your investment, add more money, or withdraw from your account whenever you sign in. The Wealthify website is similarly easy to navigate on mobile devices, and there is also a dedicated mobile app to make the investing experience even more straightforward.
The mobile app is intuitive and user-friendly, and it has all the features on the website, which makes it easy to access your account and track your investment on the go. It is available for both iOS and Android devices and comes with enhanced security features like Face ID and Touch ID verification for enabled devices. Wealthify’s service is only available to people in the UK.
What fees are charged by Wealthify?
Wealthify charges an annual management fee of 0.6%, which is payable monthly based on the value of your investments. The fees cover every service provided by Wealthify, including building and monitoring your plan, rebalancing your portfolio when needed, constant customer support, and other services.
But in addition to this you should be aware of different investment costs, including fund fees (which are taken directly by the fund provider), and market spread (the cost incurred in buying and selling an investment at the ask price and bid price respectively). Investment costs vary with the funds, but Wealthify usually quotes them as an average annual charge and then shows the total cost.
Are there minimum and maximum investment limits?
For your ISA, GIA, or Junior ISA account, you can start with as little as £1, but the minimum amount you can use to open a personal pension account is £50. You can make an additional one-off or regular monthly payments, and the rules for these are similar to account opening. While there’s no minimum top-up amount for the ISA, GIA, or Junior ISA account, each payment to your pension account needs to be at least £50.
There is no maximum investment limit for the IGA account, but the ISA and Junior ISA have a maximum investment limit of £20,000 per annum and £9,000 per annum respectively. The maximum limit for the personal pension account is £40,000 per annum or 100% of your earnings, whichever is smaller.
Can I withdraw or deposit money at any time?
If you have an ISA or GIA account, you can access your account and place a withdrawal order at any time without any penalty. However, it will take up to 10 working days for the requested funds to be released to you because Wealthify will need to sell your investments first before they can release the money. Also, note that the value of the investment may reduce by the time it is sold because of market conditions.
For the Junior ISA and Personal Pension accounts, your money is locked until the plans reach maturity. The maturity date for the Junior ISA is the date of the child’s 18th birthday, which is the day the account will automatically become an adult ISA. For the Personal Pension Account, the maturity date is the day you turn 55.
To deposit into your investment account with Wealthify, you can set up a direct debit on your app or the website for regular deposits, and you can also make one-off deposits the same way. For a one-off deposit, the money takes about 7 days to leave your bank account and may take another 2-3 days to reflect on your investment account. A recurring direct debit will leave your bank on the chosen day but will take some days to reflect on your investment account. Alternatively, you can deposit via bank transfer, but you will have to arrange with your bank. Bank transfers usually take 3-5 days to be processed.
Is Wealthify regulated?
Wealthify is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is the regulatory agency mandated to regulate the financial services industry in the UK. Clients’ funds are held separately with custodians — Winterflood Securities Limited and Embark Investment Services Limited — which are independently regulated by the FCA.
In the event of the insolvency of Wealthify or the custodians, Winterflood Securities and Embark, your money with Wealthify is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to the first £85,000. However, the FSCS will not cover losses incurred from poor investment performance.
Is Wealthify secure?
Wealthify uses SSL technology with 256-bit encryption to secure any information transmitted on their website. Sensitive information, such as passwords and bank account numbers are stored using strong encryption algorithms just like major banks do.
How can I access Wealthify?
You can access Wealthify’s services on the web via their website, which can be accessed with a desktop, laptop, or mobile device from different parts of the world. Wealthify also has a mobile app for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. The app can be downloaded from the respective app stores, but Wealthify’s services are only available in the UK. You can access the platform on:
- Desktop computers
- Laptop computers
- Mobile phones (both iOS and Android)
Wealthify’s services are meant for citizens and residents of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Only the GIA account is available to the residents of the Channel Islands. Wealthify does not allow US citizens and non-residents of the above-mentioned regions to open an account with them. Hence the supported regions include:
- Northern Ireland
- The Channel Islands
Wealthify has a good reputation for customer support, and you can reach the company in a variety of ways that can all be found in the ‘help centre’ of the website. The customer support team is available via:
- Live Chat
- Telephone (Monday – Friday 8am to 6:30pm, Saturdays from 9am to 12:30pm)
The mobile app also has quick links to FAQs, secure email messaging, and customer helpline.
Judging from the reviews of many users of the platform available on aggregators such as Trustpilot, Wealthify has a reputable customer support service. Apart from the generally positive reviews, with 76% of the users scoring Wealthify ‘Excellent’ and another 12% scoring them ‘Great’, many of the users specifically singled out their customer support for praise.
Wealthify’s extra features
There are a few other features of Wealthify that are worth mentioning, and they include the following:
- Wealthify Blog. There is a rich blog section that explains many aspects of investing while keeping clients up to date with what they are doing and their performance. You can access the blog section from the homepage.
- Ethical Investing. With ethical investing, you can avoid investing in companies whose activities negatively impact society and the environment. So your money is invested only in companies that operate in a way that ensures environmental sustainability.
- Refer a friend. Wealthify has a referral program where you and the person you referred can get £25 each if the person deposits at least £500 and keeps their account funded for three months or more.
- Glossary. Wealthify has a glossary of many investing terminologies with their meanings.
Wealthify offers a good robo-advisor platform and is a good way to invest your money if you prefer a more passive approach to investing. They charge a flat management fee of 0.6% per annum on all accounts, which is very competitive if you’re investing £20,000 or lower. It is worth noting, however, that if you wish to invest a huge amount, their fees may not be the best.
With tax-free returns and 24/7 access to your funds, the Investment ISA seems the best option, but when you’ve used up your ISA allowance, the GIA offers a way to keep building an investment portfolio. Additionally users can use Wealthify to help plan for retirement, and to save money to gift their children when they turn 18.
Wealthify can help you invest in your future with minimal effort, and has an excellent reputation for customer service.
How to open an account with Wealthify
Setting up an account with Wealthify involves the following steps:
- Click on the ‘Invest now’ tab on the top-right corner of the website
- Choose from any of the four account options — ISA, Junior ISA, GIA, or Personal Pension — which determines the minimum amount you need to open an account and other peculiarities. The required minimum deposit for ISA, Junior ISA, or GIA is £1, while that of Personal Pension is £50
- Choose your investment features, including the theme (whether it is Original or Ethical investing), your risk style (Cautious, Tentative, Confident, Ambitious, or Adventurous), your initial investment amount, and optional monthly deposit
- Study the Wealthify Plan Summary if you want and click on ‘CONTINUE’ to proceed to the account creation page
- Take the suitability review which confirms whether you are suitable for the account type you have chosen
- Provide the requested proof of identity and proof of address document, which can vary with individual situations depending on the details Wealthify wants to confirm.
Fact-checking & references
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