Swiss Robo-Advisors 2023: Invest without any hassle| Updated: |
(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)
My investment strategy is to invest myself directly with a broker. I believe this is the best strategy. However, it is not the most straightforward strategy. It can sometimes be complicated. And many people are not ready to invest themselves.
For people that do not want to invest themselves directly, Robo-Advisors are the next best thing. They offer investments managed automatically by a computer. As such, the costs are generally lower than active investing funds from a bank.
In this article, we see in detail what Robo-advisors are and who they are for. We also see which Robo-Advisors are available in Switzerland.
Let’s start with what Robo-Advisors are.
Historically, bankers have been managing funds, generally bankers or traders. And these people need to be paid. It makes these funds more expensive than necessary.
Moreover, traditional funds are also more susceptible to be actively invested. It means that the managers of the funds always make decisions based on emotions. And generally, basing investing decisions on emotions is a bad idea.
Robo-Advisors are computers managing your money. It means no human is making the investing decisions. Computers make decisions automatically. Generally, this helps make the fund more affordable.
Also, most Robo-Advisors are doing a simple job. There are not picking stocks. They are generally investing in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). They are choosing a portfolio based on some input data and keeping it balanced. Contrary to advertisements, most Robo-advisors are not smart, they are dumb, and it is a good thing!
There are some Robo-Advisors out there that are doing active investing. But this is not what we are interested in. All popular Robo-Advisors are investing in low-cost passive funds.
They are mostly doing what I am doing with my investments:
- Move money to a broker account
- Buy new shares according to an allocation
- Rebalance the portfolio when necessary
It is essential to know that most Robo-Advisors will not try to beat the market. Excellent services will try to emulate the performance of the market. Also, if the market does badly, there is nothing a Robo-Advisor can do to avoid that. If the market does poorly, your portfolio will lose value.
Why use Robo-Advisors?
If you are a reader of my blog, you will know that I advocate DIY investing. Investing yourself is the cheapest way possible. All Robo-Advisors are more expensive than investing yourself in low-cost ETFs. They may try to tell you the contrary, but it would be a lie.
If they do the same thing that we do and are more expensive, why use Robo-Advisors?
I have come to realize that many people do not want to invest themselves. People have different reasons not to want to invest themselves:
- They are afraid of investing by themselves.
- They think it is too complicated.
- They do not want to invest themselves.
For these people, investing with a Robo-Advisor is a good option. It is much better to invest with a cheap Robo-Advisor than not to invest at all.
Robo-Advisors have several advantages over DIY Investing:
- They are straightforward to use.
- They take very little time to start investing and even less time to maintain.
- They make you feel guided towards investing.
For these reasons, Robo-Advisors can be a good option for people that do not want to invest themselves.
Do not take me wrong. I am not saying that Robo-Advisors are better than DIY Investing. They are not! I am saying that not everybody wants to invest by themselves.
Not everybody wants to build a piece of furniture. Most people prefer to buy it. It is a bit the same here. For people that do not want DIY investing, it is much better to invest with Robo-Advisors than not to invest at all!
How to choose a Robo-Advisor?
Now, if you have decided to invest with a Robo-Advisor, you will need to choose one. You need to look at several things when you compare different services.
The main advantage of a Robo-Advisor over a traditional fund at your bank is its cost. Generally, they are significantly cheaper than investing with your banker.
So, you want to choose one solution with very low fees. And you need to be careful to take all the fees into account. Several services are not as transparent as they should be with their fees. Sometimes, you have to add up several fees to get the final number. Only the total amount of fees should matter, not management fees.
Here are some of the fees you need to look at:
- Management Fees
- Product Cost Fees
- Custody Fees
- Transaction Fees
- Swiss Stamp Duty Tax
You need to make sure to take the total of fees when you compare two services. If you cannot find it on their website (it is already a bad sign), you can contact them to make sure.
You also need to be careful that some services charge different fees based on the investment amount. For instance, the management fees could be lower if you have more than 500’000 CHF. But if you never plan to invest that much money, you should look at the lower tier. You need to take into account the fees that will apply to you.
The Investment Strategy
The investment strategy that Robo-Advisors use is essential.
Most services invest in low-cost index funds. It means they are essentially doing what I advocate on this website. Low-cost index funds are a great way to invest in the entire stock market. And they have very low fees. This strategy is the cheapest and most reliable way to invest. And they can do make that a lot easier for you. In return for this simplicity, you will pay some extra fees. But it beats not investing.
On the other hand, some Robo-Advisors are investing directly in securities. It means they are picking stocks to try to get good returns. For me, this is bad. Many people have shown many times that active investing does not work in the long term. You should not think that just because they are robots, they can beat the market. They cannot! Picking stocks will add risk to your investment and will likely underperform the market.
You want to pick a Robo-Advisor that invests in low-cost ETFs. It is the safest and cheapest way to invest. What is valid for humans is also valid for robots: passive investing rocks!
You should not forget to get information about the security of a service. There are a few things we can look at to check the security.
First, it is always better if they deposit your assets in another legal entity. Generally, Robo-Advisors deposit your asset in a custodian entity or custody bank. This makes your assets safer since if the service closes down, you can still get back your assets (minus your cash sometimes) from the custodian entity.
And ideally, the Robo-advisor should deposit your assets in your name. It should always be the case. I would be very wary if this were not the case.
The second important thing you need to look at is how they secure your accounts. For this, you should ensure that the service supports Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). 2FA adds a second layer to protect accounts.
The last thing you can do is to search for security news about the service. If you find out that the service has significant security leaks, you probably do not want to invest your money there!
Finally, I would also be careful about services that do not disclose anything about their security. I believe that every Robo-Advisor should have at least one information page on its security.
Access to your money
At some point, you will need access to your money. You want this to be easy. If you invest for the long-term, a few days will probably not matter. But a month could make a big difference.
So you need to check how long it would take for you to withdraw the money. Generally, it is not an issue because most services will wire the funds to you in a matter of days. But I have seen services where you can only liquidate your money at the end of the month.
The minimum investment
When you start investing, you probably do not have much money to invest. But some services have significant minimum investments.
I think that the lowest the minimum investment is, the better it is. But you only need a minimum that is lower than what you want to invest. The minimum can vary significantly in Switzerland, from 25’000 CHF to 2’000 CHF.
Robo-Advisors in Switzerland
Even in a small country like Switzerland, there are many Robo-Advisors. But there is not a lot of traction in Switzerland. There is no clear winner like Betterment in the United States.
I will talk about the most popular Robo-Advisors in Switzerland. I will not go into all the detail. But I plan on doing a complete review of the best of them in the future.
Invest easily with Selma: a great way to invest in the stock market without the hassle of doing it yourself.
- Degressive Fees
Let’s start with Selma.
Selma Finance is a relatively new company. It was founded in early 2016. They have been growing quickly since their creation. They have more than 1500 customers now. And they are managing a portfolio of assets in the 7-digit range.
They have a slightly different approach than other services. Indeed, you will have access to a personal assistant (with artificial intelligence). And this assistant will ask you some questions that will define your style of investing.
The price system of Selma is straightforward, as well. You will pay a 0.68% fee for using Selma. The product fees are not included in the management fees. It means you will pay around 0.22% on top of that. It gives a total of about 0.90%. The exact price could be more or less, depending on which ETFs are in your portfolio.
However, if you invest more, the fees will go down:
- From 50K CHF, you will pay 0.55%
- From 150K CHF, you will pay 0.47%
With a large portfolio, Selma will be one of the cheapest Robo-Advisors available.
They also use a portfolio based on low-cost Exchange Traded Funds for your portfolio. The automated assistant will decide this. But of course, you will also have something to say about it.
Interestingly, Selma is the only Robo-Advisor that offers a third pillar account. You can read more about it in my Selma 3a review.
I think that Selma is an excellent service. They invest in good products and offer a nice service with their automated assistant. It is excellent if you do not know much about investing. It is an excellent Robo-advisor to get started investing. Their price is acceptable, but I think it is already slightly too high.
For more information, you can read my review of Selma Finance.
TrueWealth is an excellent Swiss Robo-advisor with very affordable prices, making it the best Robo-advisor for serious investors.
- Very customizable
TrueWealth is around the earliest Robo-Advisors in Switzerland. It was founded in 2013 already. When you compare with banks, it is still young. But investing with a Robo-Advisor is a new thing, so 2013 is quite alright.
True Wealth will invest your money in Exchanged Traded Funds (ETFs). You have the choice to invest in the world or the sustainable world. The second option is a bit more expensive because Sustainable ETFs being more expensive. But you will only invest in companies that are deemed sustainable in the future.
The price system of True Wealth is straightforward. You will pay 0.50% of your net worth in fees to True Wealth. On top of that, you will pay the product fees (the TER of the ETFs). The product cost will vary on your investment strategy. Product costs would be from 0.15% to 0.20% for a very aggressive portfolio. It amounts to about a 0.70% total fee.
With True Wealth, you can invest in cash, bonds, stocks, natural resources, and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).
True Wealth also introduced its third pillar in 2022. I have written an entire review of True Wealth 3a.
Overall, I think that True Wealth has a great offer. Its price is excellent as far as the prices in Switzerland go. And they offer a nice diversification in the world. Finally, they invest in low-cost index ETFs, which is always a good thing. The only downside is that they are not as easy to get started with as other choices.
If you want more information, you can read my review of True Wealth.
A very good Robo-Advisor, with a strong focus on impact investing and sustainable investments.
- Very sustainable
- Affordable for large portfolios
Inyova is a recent company, from 2018. They have a different vision from the other Robo-Advisors. They are not investing in ETFs but directly in securities and bonds. And they are choosing the companies based on how reliable they will be in the future. It is something called Impact Investing or Sustainable Investing.
You have several factors you can choose for what you will invest in. You can select some companies you are interested in. Or you can choose not to invest in some companies. Or you could say that you are more interested in Green Energy companies.
The fees depend on how much money you have in your account:
- Below 50’000 CHF, the fee is 1.2%
- Below 150’000 CHF, the fee is 1.0%
- Below 500’000 CHF, the fee is 0.8%
- With more than 500’000 CHF, the fee is 0.6%
Since they invest in securities, there are no product fees. So, the fee system is relatively simple. But for small accounts, the fee is quite large. Only from 500’000 CHF, the fee starts to be interesting.
The concept of Inyova is interesting. They are really taking impact investing at heart. They are probably the most sustainable Robo-Advisor available in Switzerland.
Inyova also offers a third pillar if you want to be sustainable for your retirement assets.
For me, they are a bit complicated and a bit too expensive for small accounts. There is too much stock picking involved. I would rather invest in a Sustainable ETF. However, sustainable ETFs are known to have their limits.
But I understand the attraction of certain people to sustainable investments. You could choose Sustainable ETFs at Selma instead.
For more information, please read my complete review of the Inyova Robo-Advisor.
Investart is a very interesting Robo-Advisor. They are unique in the way they do things.
Their pricing system is straightforward. You pay 12 CHF per month regardless of how much money you have. So, this is relatively expensive (in percentage) for small portfolios. But very cheap for large portfolios. So, this can be a great option for many people.
They are investing in a nice choice of ETFs. And they are using Interactive Brokers as their platform. This is why they can make investing very cheap.
What makes them unique is that you can actually choose the ETFs yourself directly. This makes them almost like a broker. You will pay no transaction fees or anything else than the standard custody fee of 12 CHF per month.
If you want to learn more, I wrote an entire review of Investart.
Simplewealth is a very new company. They started in February 2017. I would prefer they had a bit more experience.
Their pricing system is a bit more obscure than the others. The base management fee is 0.5% for Simplewealth. On top of that, you will have to pay the product costs, which is about 0.2%. It will depend on your portfolio, so that it may be higher or lower. And you will also have to pay the Swiss Stamp Tax Duty, generally 0.15% of what you invest. It is like a load fee. In the first years, this can weigh down on your fees. It gives us a total of 0.7% fee on your assets and about 0.15% load fee when you invest.
If your balance is below 48’000 CHF, you will pay 20 CHF per month for a management fee instead of 0.5%. This offer is not very attractive for starting investing with them.
They also use low-cost index ETFs for their investment. But they lack examples of precisely what they would invest in.
Simplewealth seems interesting, but I do not feel great about their website. For me, it lacks transparency. And their fee system could be simpler than that. Given the price, I think that other offers are better.
To learn more, read my review of Simplewealth.
Swissquote is a famous Swiss broker. And they also have a Robo-Advisor service: Swissquote Robo-Advisor.
Based on how much money you have invested, you will pay different administration fees. Below 200’000, you will pay 0.75%. Below 350’000 CHF, you will pay 0.6%, and if you have more, you will pay 0.45%. On top of that, you will pay 0.5% management. So at the minimum, you are looking at a 0.95% fee. If you are starting, you are looking at a 1.25% fee!
But it is not enough. Stamp duties, broker fees, and marketplace fees are not included. It will probably add at least a 0.1% fee (maybe more), especially in the first years.
Swissquote Robo-Advisor invests in securities and tries to improve performance by exploiting interactions between assets. It is not low-cost index funds here! And this is riskier.
For me, this is the worst of these five Robo-Advisors. It is the most expensive, probably the riskiest, and the one trying to do the most complicated thing. Based on that, I would not invest in it.
This is a bit weird because I actually like the broker from Swissquote. I think they could have done better.
In recent years, many new Robo-advisors have started. In fact, it has become difficult to keep track of all of them.
For instance, I have reviewed a few more minor Robo-advisors:
If you know more Robo-advisors that you would like me to review, add a comment to this article, and I will see what I can do.
Overall, Robo-Advisors are a good investment option for people that do not want to invest by themselves. It will save you a lot of time and trouble.
But, of course, this convenience has a price. You will pay significantly more every year than if you were directly in low-cost index funds in a broker.
I still believe that investing directly is not as difficult as people make it sound. And it can be much cheaper than any other option. I am not planning to change how I invest in the stock market.
However, I firmly believe that investing with a Robo-Advisor is much better than not investing at all.
So, if you cannot gather the courage and motivation to start investing in the stock market, you may want to check some of the Robo-Advisors I have outlined in this article. I also have a comparison of the different investing levels (DIY vs Robo-Advisors).
Mainly, I think that Selma and True Wealth have interesting offers. Inyova is also interesting if you have a deep belief in sustainable investing. Talking about sustainable investing, you may want to check my comparison of Selma and Inyova.
When you do not want to invest yourself and go into the trouble of managing a broker account, investing with a Robo-Advisor is a good option!
Download this e-book and optimize your finances and save money by using the best financial services available in Switzerland!Download The FREE e-book
19 thoughts on “Swiss Robo-Advisors 2023: Invest without any hassle”
really interesting! Is the robo-advisor from Interactive Broker a good option as well? Or other options are better?
If you are talking bout Interactive Advisors, it’s not available in Switzerland I believe.
Hi there! Great article. I have a question: do any of these robo advisors allow to invest in Euro (or to exchange from Euro to CHF at a reasonable rate)? My salary is in CHF but I have most of my wealth in Euro.
To my knowledge, only True Wealth allows you to send EUR directly to your account. It will then be invested based on your portfolio. I think that True Wealth has a 0.10% currency exchange fee which is very low as far as Switzerland goes.
I do not know about the others.
Hi Mr Poor Swiss,
Great article here. I know you’ve done an independent review of Investart; however including them in the comparison might be interesting.
That’s a good point, I forgot to do that :)
I will include Investart here on my next update!
Thanks for the great article Mr. Poor Swiss. As always.
I was just wondering if you also had a look at Robo-advisors active outside Switzerland. I had a brief look at some Robo-advisors active in Germany (Growney, Quirion, Ginmon, Evergreen) and most of them seem to be open and feasible for Switzerland residents to invest in. I wonder how they compare to Selma and TrueWealth.
I would be very interested in your opinion on them.
No, I never looked at these services. There are too many of them for me to review. Also, I do not speak German really well, I would not be comfortable testing or reviewing a service without knowing the language.
Hi there… thanks for the very informative article! Do Selma and True Wealth meet your requirements concerning two of your key points; access to money and security?
Both should be fine for access to the money and security. It may take a few days to get your money, but I do not see any issue with getting it.
Hi Mr. The Poor Swiss,
Such a useful article. Thanks so much.
I also read your newer more detailed reviews of Selma & True wealth. Do you also know Clever Circles as well? If yes, what is your opinion on them?
Glad it’s useful!
I did not know about Clever Circles, no. From looking at it, it seems a little expensive (0.75% per year + ETF fees). And it seems that the users are choosing themselves the ETFs, so you do not even have the advantage of robo-advisor service. For people that want to invest directly in ETF, I would recommend directly doing it or using something like investart.
But I only spent a moment looking at it, maybe I missed something :)
Thanks for stopping by!
Hi there. Very nice article. But I cannot find a very important piece of information. How will you be taxed on a portfolio managed by a robo-advisor? What does the tax authority ask from you? If the software repeatedly buys and sells a security, how will your capital gain be taxed? Does the 6 month rule still apply or not? Although not a directly realised profit (because you don’t have direct access to it in your account), it still is a capital gain obtained in a ‘professional investor’ scenario. Thanks!
Ps: there is absolutely no online resource discussing the above scenario.
That’s an excellent question :)
And I have no idea :)
I will contact some people and try to get an answer!
Thanks for stopping by!
I got an answer from a robo-advisor manager.
1) There is no need to report all the transactions
2) Most robo-advisor provide a full tax report with all the necessary information
3) You will have to declare your wealth and pay a wealth tax on that.
4) You will have to declare your dividends interests and pay an income tax on that.
5) There is no risk in being qualified as a professional investor, so you should be fine with your capital gains :)
I hope this helps!
Hey TPS, great content! Selma is changing their fees as of 1 Jan 2021. now the stamp fee is no longer included in their overall fee and will have to be paid separately for every transaction.. What does that mean? Every time they rebalance, I‘ll pay 0.15% on the amount sold or bought in new shares? Does that make it too expensive?
That’s correct, you will have to pay the stamp fees yourself (automatically, but the fee is on you).
The stamp duty is actually 0.075% for Swiss stocks and 0.15% for other stocks. I do not know exactly how much that will cost us except for when you invest new money. But rebalancing should not be too expensive I think.
The good news is that the fees are decreasing as soon as you reach 50K in your portfolio. And this is more significant than the adding of the stamp duty. And they are going down again at 150K.
So for me, this is overall very good news!
Great article. I started with Selma a while ago and I am really happy with the service.
Thanks for sharing your experience with Selma!