Investart Review 2021 – Pros and Cons

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Investart Review 2021 - Pros and Cons

Investart is a new online Robo-advisor service that lets you invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) for free! And not only that! They actually let you invest with custom strategies. So, you could use it either as a Robo-advisor or as a broker for ETFs!

I only recently discovered this service. But it looks exciting. I even started investing some money myself. So, it is time I review Investart.

In this article, I will review Investart in-depth, with its advantages and disadvantages, and compare it against similar services!

This article was written in collaboration with Investart.

Investart

Investart is a Swiss company founded in 2016 by Richard Toolen. The service was publicly launched in 2019. And in 2021, they announced that they dropped their fees to zero!

Since they are not charging management fees, they have to make money with other services. Indeed, they are proposing several financial services:

  • Financial consultation
  • Pension planning
  • Wealth planning

So, you could invest your money there and then consult with them to plan your financial life and your future investments in the future. Keep in mind that I have not tested their paid services, only their online investment platform.

If you want more information on the company itself, I interviewed Investart CEO Richard Toolen. This should give you more information on this service.

Investing with Investart

So, let’s review how you can invest with Investart.

The interesting thing is that Investart is a Robo-Advisor, not a broker. But it can do a little bit of both. And it can do it well. I would say that Investart is a portfolio investing service. The service can create a portfolio for you, or you can create a portfolio, and the service will automatically invest your money into the portfolio.

There are three ways to invest with Investart:

  1. Accumulate. You can set a target amount of money you want to reach as well as your target date. They will then derive a portfolio and an amount to invest each month to reach this amount on your target date.
  2. Grow. You can set an initial investment and a monthly investment, and the service will create a portfolio for you to grow this money.
  3. Manage yourself. You can create your own portfolio from scratch and choose your ETFs.

Moreover, if you use the Accumulate or Grow methods, you can choose between Conservative, Balanced or Aggressive strategies. In that case, the allocation to bonds will vary. Given the current state of bonds, I would think it would be better to keep CHF cash. But this is not a huge deal since most Robo-Advisors are doing the same thing.

Indeed, even if you start from Accumulate or Grow methods, you can modify the portfolio and switch to a Manage Yourself strategy. That way, if you do not like the bonds, you can switch them over to cash. Of course, you will then have to manage your portfolio yourself.

Your assets will be rebalanced for both Grow and Accumulate methods if they deviate too much (more than 5%) from the target allocation.

With a custom portfolio, rebalancing is semi-automatic. Once your current allocation deviates more than 5% from the target allocation, you have the option to rebalance. You will then be able to trigger the rebalance yourself from the web interface.

Rebalancing is checked daily. So, it means you cannot change your portfolio during the day and expect changes to be done. This is an excellent thing since this will prevent intra-day trading, which is not a good idea.

Here is an example of an Aggressive Grow  portfolio that Investart generated for me:

Example of an Investart aggressive portfolio
Example of an Investart aggressive portfolio

This is a typical portfolio, although probably a little overcomplicated for me. The amount of bonds is too high for my case. I do not think an aggressive portfolio should need any bond or gold. And it could have a better international diversification. However, this is a typical portfolio generated by most investing models. If you look at other Swiss Robo-Advisors, they will always add bonds to a portfolio. So. I am not surprised by this portfolio.

But again, this is not a huge deal since more involved investors can choose their own portfolios. For this, we have access to a large list of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). When I wrote this article, there were 70 ETFs. They have a large selection of ETFs for Switzerland, Europe, and the United States. They even have a few (4) ETFs for sustainable investing. But they plan to add more options in the future.

For instance, here is one simple custom portfolio I did:

A custom portfolio with Investart
A custom portfolio with Investart

You can do a lot of things with your custom portfolio. But there are a few things we should note:

  • They only offer European ETFs. So, ETFs with U.S. Stocks will be slightly less tax-efficient.
  • A lot of their ETFs are currency-hedged. I  would prefer more non-hedged alternatives there. However, there are probably enough non-currency-hedged ETFs to make a decent portfolio for many people.
  • You need to keep a minimum of 2% in cash. This is fairly standard since they keep the cash for rebalancing.

You can start investing with Investart with at least 2000 CHF. It is not possible to invest with amounts lower than this.

One great thing is that they share the exact ETFs they are investing into. For instance, the Swiss Companies block is investing in CHSPI, my favorite ETF for Swiss stocks:

ETF information for an investment at Investart
ETF information for an investment at Investart

Overall, the investing options at Investart are excellent. For people that are not experts (or do not want to spend the time), the generated portfolios are acceptable. For others, the fact that we can create custom portfolios is really interesting.

However, some limitations will make this not entirely optimal. First, we do not have access to U.S. ETFs. Unfortunately, Swiss regulations make these ETFs unavailable to retail investors. Also, many of the ETFs are currency-hedged, which may not be the best option for everybody.

Fees

Let’s now review the fees of investing with Investart.

The best thing with Investart is that there are no fees to invest with them! Yes, you read that right, no fees! They do not charge any management fees or transaction fees. Everything is included: transaction fees, foreign exchange fees, and Swiss Stamp Tax Duty.

The only fee you will pay is the fee of the ETFs you are using. And this can go very low. For instance, the CHSPI ETF (the best ETF for Swiss Stocks) only has a Total Expense Ratio of 0.1%. Such a level of fee is as good as you can get.

So, Investart is going to be significantly cheaper than most other investing services. Since investing fees are extremely important, this can make a significant difference in the long-term.

Create an Investart account

Creating an Investart account can be started online.

To start the signup process, you can go on Investart and click the big green Sign Up button on the top right corner. Then, you will have to choose whether you want a Demo or a Real account.

Choose between a Demo Investart account or a real account
Choose between a Demo Investart account or a real account

The first step is to choose a username and a password. Then, you will have to verify your ID. The verification can be done with your passport or your national ID.

The verification was not smooth at all for me. I tried to do it from my computer with my webcam (full HD), and it never worked. After 10 tries, I gave up and switched to my phone, and it worked directly. So, I would encourage you to do the verification on your phone. But this means people on computers need to use two devices.

After this, you will have to fill in your personal information and then your employer information.

Then, you will have to give information about your net worth and your trading experience. This is fairly standard. The only weird part is that you have to set the different components of your net worth. And you have to set if they are going to contribute to the investart account. These are the same questions you get if you open an Interactive Brokers account, and Interactive Brokers mandate these questions.

Then, you will have to accept all the terms and conditions. And you will have to sign the documents digitally. The final step is to upload proof of residence.

Then, you will be connected to your account. You will probably see a Demo portfolio on your account. But do not worry. This portfolio will be transformed into a Real (non-demo) portfolio once funding has been getting through.

The first time you log in to your account, you will also have to set up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). This is a great idea, and it will increase your security!

Your Investart account will be instantly created. However, you will need to wait for the Interactive Brokers account itself to be created. And this is a manual process at IB that can take one or two days. In my case, it took one working day to be created. In the meantime, you will have access to your account as a Demo account.

You will then receive an email indicating that your account has been created, and you can deposit money on it. You have to do a bank transfer (directly to Interactive Brokers) to top up your portfolio.

Once the money has been received and processed (one more working day), your account will be fully operational. Here is my funded simple portfolio:

My real portfolio on Investart
My real portfolio on Investart

I have funded my account with 2500 CHF, and it was invested the next day in my straightforward portfolio. I decided to invest in the CHSPI ETF (Swiss companies), which is part of my IB portfolio.

My extremely simple portfolio on Investart
My straightforward portfolio on Investart

Overall, the account creation process at Investart is okay but could be improved. Several things could be improved and cleaned up. For instance, the verification process on a computer camera should be improved. It would also be great if this would be faster. But since the main bottleneck is creating the IB account and the money transfer, Investart cannot do much on the speed side.

Security

Of course, we need to look at this service’s security if we invest any money through it.

From a technical standpoint, everything looks good with Investart. They are using good encryption levels on their website. And they are sharing good information on their website about security. They are also following FINMA compliance for their network infrastructure, which is always a good thing.

One great thing is that Investart is forcing people with a real account to use a second-factor authentication! This is great since this adds a good layer of security.

I have not been able to find information about security issues with Investart. However, since they are very young, this does not mean much, even if it is already a good sign.

Your money and your shares are held by Interactive Brokers (IB) UK. Indeed, they are using IB as their trading platform for all operations. IB itself is extremely well regulated and well protected. Investart will open a dedicated IB account for each of the customers. This is excellent since this improves the segregation of assets.

The level of protection is entirely appropriate. IB UK is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This scheme offers compensation for up to 85’000 GBP in case of failure of IB. This a protection of slightly more than 100’000 CHF (depends on the exchange rate).

On top of that, IB UK is also part of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), this provides an extra level of protection. However, this may not last due to Brexit. But currently, this provides an extra 250’000 USD in protection.

Investart is regulated as an asset manager by VQF (The Financial Services Standards Association). And they are also registered with FINMA. VQF regularly audits them.

Overall, I think that investing with Investart is safe. They are taking the necessary measures to ensure the security of the invested money. The technical security is also quite good. The only thing in their disfavor is their young age as a public investment company.

Investart vs a broker

Investart is not a broker, but it lets you invest in a portfolio of ETFs. For a passive investor, it is all that matters. So, it is interesting to compare Investart with other brokers.

Compared to any brokers, Investart will be cheaper since they are no custody fees and no transaction fees. So, only a free broker could complete in that category.

However, with an actual broker, you will have access to many more ETFs than the 70 ETFs available at Investart. Now, for most people, these 70 ETFs will be enough. But if you have some niche needs, this may not be the case.

If we compare with Swiss brokers, I actually think that Investart is better for simple and passive investors. They will be much cheaper and offer enough ETFs.

If we compare with the best broker for Swiss investors, Interactive Brokers, IB still leads the way. Investart will be slightly cheaper, but IB is already very cheap. And IB will offer U.S. ETFs that will let you save more fees than what you save in transaction fees. On the other hand, with Investart, you will get a slightly easier experience and Robo-advisor service. Investart is the only Swiss service that even comes close to IB.

So, overall, Investart could be an excellent alternative to a broker, especially a Swiss broker. That is if you can make a portfolio with the choice of 70 ETFs.

The main advantage of Investart is that it is much easier to use than a traditional broker. Here is a video by Investart that tells the difference:

Investart vs a Robo-Advisor

Investart offers the same services as a Robo-Advisor. Indeed, with the Grow and Accumulate strategies, your portfolio will be adapted based on their financial models. So, we can compare Investart with other Robo-Advisors.

From a fee point of view, Investart is going to be better than all Robo-Advisors. Since they have no management fees, they will be significantly cheaper than affordable Robo-Advisors like Selma and True Wealth.

Since they give you strong strategies, they provide the same level of features as other Swiss Robo-advisors. Having about 70 ETFs in the choice makes it very interesting. And no other Swiss Robo-Advisor gives access to U.S. ETFs, so they are all equal in that matter.

Investart has a few missing features compared to other Robo-advisors. For instance, they do not have options for sustainable investing. Also, the reporting is a little lacking compare to other Robo-Advisors to give you an overview of your finances.

The other disadvantage would be about the young age of the company compared to most-established services. But since they are well regulated, I do not think this is a big issue.

Overall, investart is much cheaper than other Swiss Robo-Advisors. As such, it has a major advantage. So, if you are looking for an affordable Robo-Advisor with a good investment portfolio, it is a good choice.

FAQ

Is Investart really free?

Yes, Investart lets you invest for free in a selection of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). You will not pay any transaction fees or management fees of any sort.

Since they invest in ETFs, you will still have to pay for the ETFs fees yourself (the TER).

How does Investart make money?

Since Investart is free for investing, it has to generate income in other ways. For this, they are providing paid services to their users. For instance:

  • Pension planning
  • Wealth planning
  • Personal consultations for investing

What happens if Investart goes bankrupt?

The great thing with Investart is they are opening IB accounts in the name of each investor. So, if they went bankrupt, this money would still only belong to the user. The money would not be part of the bankruptcy settlement.

In case of bankruptcy, the user could claim the Interactive Brokers account as his own. That way, he would be able to keep his shares and continue investing. Of course, this means he would have to pay IB fees, and he would not have a managed portfolio. But this is a great way to ensure the safety of the money.

Investart Advantages

Let’s summarize the main advantages of Investart:

  • No management fees
  • No transaction fees
  • Invest in index ETFs
  • You can create your own portfolio
  • Transparency on the ETFs being used
  • Well-regulated
  • Good technical security

Investart Disadvantages

Let’s summarize the main disadvantages of Investart:

  • Very young company
  • A risk that they will not survive or will introduce new fees
  • No access to U.S. ETFs
  • A limited set of ETFs to invest in
  • Focuses on currency-hedged ETFs
  • You need to keep at least 2% in cash
  • Few options for sustainable investing
  • Online verification process could be better from a desktop computer
  • It takes a few days to open an account

Conclusion

Overall, I am very impressed by Investart! Their offer is exciting. It is actually so interesting that I just opened an account and started investing with Investart to test it.

The great thing about Investart is that it lets you invest without any management fees! Actually, without any fees of any sort! You can use Investart like a Robo-Advisor, and it will choose a portfolio based on your needs. Or you can manage your own portfolio directly.

Of course, nothing is perfect. For instance, there is no access to U.S. ETFs, and you have only a limited set (about 70) of ETFs you can invest in. Also, Investart is a very young company, and they still have to work on their business model. So, we will have to wait and see how this works in the long-term.

If you need help setting your portfolio, you can look at my guide for creating your own ETF portfolio from scratch.

What about you? What do you think about Investart?

Mr. The Poor Swiss

Mr. The Poor Swiss is the author behind thepoorswiss.com. In 2017, he realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut on his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

20 thoughts on “Investart Review 2021 – Pros and Cons”

  1. Thx for the nice article.
    I have been watching the company for a while now and find their offer really interesting.
    What I find a bit suspicious is that the company (besides the founder) seems to consist only of freelancers. Compare the alleged team on the website with their LinkedIn profiles.
    If the company still exists in a year, then the offer would be really exciting.

    1. Hi Beluno,

      That’s an interesting point. I did not see that before. I did not search the other members on LinkedIn.
      It could simply that this is still a small project and they do not need a full team. (just a supposition).

      It’s a good point! If they manage to live for a full year without introducing new fees, it would be a great sign for their business model and a great sign for Swiss investors!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. So far I always discarded the Robo-advisor option, but this article prompted me to reconsider my position.
    I was eagerly looking for some explanation re. Taxes. I’m afraid that if the system makes a few transactions every week my tax declaration becomes a nightmare. Any thoughts on that?

    1. Hi Luis,

      I do not think this is a risk. I have not yet seen the annual statement from Investart, but Robo-Advisors in Switzerland do not give you the entire list of transactions for your tax declaration. You only have to declare your wealth and your dividends/incomes. At least, this is what Selma is doing and I assume that this is what Investart is doing as well.
      Also, Investart will only rebalance if your portfolio changes or if it gets out of balance by more than 5%. This should not happen more than a few times a year (or monthly if you invest monthly). So, that would not be that many transactions.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hi, Thanks for your article.

    I have a question about annual fiscal documents. Do they provide those kind of papers?

    thanks again

    1. Hi Mat,

      Yes, Robo-Advisors have to provide an annual statement that you can use in your tax declaration. This statement will contain the wealth and the dividends generated.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi, this service look interesting to start before creating an IB account directly. If I understood the money will be invest at IB without having to pay the fee for a portfolio below 100k right? Does it make it even more interesting than Degiro for small Swiss investors?

    I’ve tried to create an account and after the very very painful authentication (why is the camera mirrored to scan the document?! and why is it so hard to get the selfies accepted? took me 10 times at least both on PC and phone), I’m stuck at the question of the NIF number. Should I leave the default one, second answer, I don’t have to provide one by law? Does it mean I’ll not be able to recover the source tax from US? How do I get a NIF, can I add one later? It’s really not clear. Or is it just the AVS number here?

    1. Hi,

      Yes, that is correct, you won’t pay the IB fees.
      I think it makes it better than DEGIRO yes. But then, you are limiting your choice of ETFs. On the other hand, there are 70 ETFs. So most investors should have enough.

      Yes, the camera thing is a nightmare. I gave up on PC but had an okay time on the phone.
      I believe I use my AVS number for the NIF. This is what I do in general when I get asked this question.
      Keep in mind that they cannot offer access to U.S. ETFs, so you won’t have to do deal with U.S. source tax.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hi there,

    thanks for the very interesting post.
    I was looking to the ETF choise. Checking for example USCHWH, the TER should be 0,19% but on investech is 0,30%. Didn’t check them all but some others are ok. It’s probably just an error.

    Anyway, it could be a good solution once we’ll lose access to US ETFs.

    1. Hi Azz,

      There was a case before where the information was not correct because the ETF changed their fees and investart did not see it directly. And they made the change already for that previous one.
      I am sure they will make the change for this one too.

      Indeed, if (or when) we lose access to U.S. ETFs, this will be even more interesting!

  6. Interesting indeed
    Can I see the ETFs options or do I really need to create an account to see ETF options?

    Eagerly waiting on an update in the future.

  7. I use investart since about 2 weeks.
    Their support is very responsive and helpful. Their website still has some youth errors, but the figures are overall correct. TW reporting accuracy at the moment is not available at IS though.
    My biggest doubt is how they can finance themselves.
    And I find the 5% clause does not take full advantage of the rebalancing. ie true wealth has 1%, viac 2%. And I have some doubts on their handling of rounding.
    On the other hand the access to IB account is fully available so in the unfortunate case investart ceases to exist it will be easy to take the funds back. You can see even the value of the portfolio live, live TWR, historical data and so on.
    I find the funds choice more than satisfactory for a non expert, finally a place where to buy an msci world etf and it seems they increase the choice with time too. You can have max two portfolios which means 2 IB accounts.

    On their blog I found this

    Wir bieten unseren vermögenden Kunden kostenpflichtige Premium-Dienstleistungen wie persönliche Beratung, Vermögensplanung und Vorsorgeplanung an. Da diese Leistungen massgeschneidert sind, gehen wir auf die potenziellen Premium-Kunden zu und besprechen den Rahmen sowie die Konditionen solcher Leistungen individuell.

    1. Hi Karl,

      Thanks a lot for sharing your experience.

      I agree that the choice in ETFs is more than enough for most investors.
      I also agree that the only downside is that there is doubt at how long they will last. If they can manage to keep their costs low, they may well manage to turn a profit. I am sure there are people interested in unbiased investing recommendations.

      Regarding rebalancing, I don’t see this as a problem. 5% is more than enough. I have done some simulations about rebalancing and it does not make as a big of a difference as people think. And actually, there are many cases where rebalancing would hurt your performance since you are selling good assets.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. If I understood Karl correctly, I think he is suspicious that Investart is using the rebalance cash (5%) remaining in your account to finance themselves and generate money (that will be an indirect/hidden/unannounced fee)!

  8. They use IB as broker. What is the advantage to invest directly using IB? Investing directly in IB allows me to have a margin account and SMA. Greater flexibility when investing.
    Only advantage I see is a simpler interaction with IB.

  9. Many thanks for this awesome article .

    Do you understand why the ETFs on investart have such a low yield??
    For instance for S&P 500 it says 0%.

    Personally I own VOO on IB and it is usually 2/3% per year.

    Same thing with CHSPI or others .

    Many thanks !!!

    1. Hi Michael,

      I just got an answer from them (very fast!).
      They are using the Bloomberg indicated yield which only counts the last dividend dividends by the price per share. So, it’s not an annual measure. But what you will receive will be the same thing.

      Cheers

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