Compare the best robo-advisors in 2022
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This guide takes you through the best trading platforms to set up an automated portfolio with and how to choose between them. Learn about the features to look out for and get some advice about when to start.
What are the best robo advisors?
Use the links in the table below to pick a broker, navigate to their website and start investing straight away. Otherwise you can keep reading to learn more about the different types of advisor out there and the features to look out for.
What is a robo advisor?
A digital platform that automatically manages an investment portfolio by 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 being 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 do robo advisors work?
The algorithms are typically guided by a particular principle or goal. You will be asked a set of questions when you set up the account and this affects how the advisor invests your money. These questions might be as simple as how much risk you’re willing to take on, or cover what sort of companies and industries are your preference, so you can prioritise ethical or green investing, for example.
What should I look for in a robot investing platform?
Each platform comes with its own pros and cons but there are some features that are universal and you should expect of any advisor. Here are the top things to look out for.
Design and ease of use
With any website or service you need to be able to navigate it and easily find the information you need. Does the platform offer things like savings accounts as well, and if so how easy are they to use? You also want to be able to find out the important facts about your own portfolio whenever you like.
One big advantage of robo advisors compared to a traditional portfolio managed by a person is that it’s cheaper. Any charge there is will be 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.
You can usually set up an account with a robo advisor with any amount of money. However some have a minimum limit. This can vary quite considerably by platform, we have seen 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 investment
Robo advisors usually work by putting money into exchange-traded funds. However, that’s not the only way they can build a portfolio. If you use a platform that has its own in-house funds (like Vanguard, for example) then it might put money into those as well. Make sure the provider is clear about how they make the decisions about what to invest in.
Reputation and regulation
You want to be sure that you pick a broker with a good reputation so that your money is always safe. All robo-advisors should be regulated, so you have protection if anything were to happen to the platform itself.
The best way to check a firm’s reputation is to look on the internet for customer reviews, as other people’s experience can be a good guide. Another option is to use the reviews here on Invezz to get a better feel for what to expect from each advisor.
Picking the best 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 questions
Do robo advisors charge fees or commissions?
Yes, there’s normally a small fee for operating the account and you might be charged some extra fees each time the advisor moves money around.
Do I have to verify my identity?
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?
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?
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?
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.
To help you decide if a robo advisor is for you, here are the main pros and cons of the service. After that there are a couple more final questions about when to start and where you can learn more.
- Robo advisors are cheap and easy to use
- You can create an account with as little as a few pounds
- You don’t need any financial expertise to get started
- The best advisors automatically keep your account balanced to make sure it’s not exposed to more risk than you want
Should I start investing now?
We think there’s no better time than the present to start investing. Robo advisors are one of the easiest ways to do so but you can also sign up to a broker and start building your own portfolio very easily. In order to make the best decisions you want to follow the latest news and market analysis, which you can find via the links below.
Where can I learn more about stock market trading?
Invezz is a great place to find everything you need to know. You can get the lowdown on every stock it’s worth knowing about, or head to our education section to get to grips with the basics. Our stock markets 101 course is the best way to start.
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 >