Selma Finance Review 2021 – Pros & Cons

Mr. The Poor Swiss | Updated: | Investing
Selma Review - Good Swiss Robo-Advisor

(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)

Selma Finance is a Swiss Robo-Advisor with a different approach than other Robo-Advisors. Indeed, they offer you your own virtual personal assistant.

This assistant will guide you through investing. And through your chat with the assistant, the system will design a personalized portfolio. They are extremely interesting for beginner investors or investors not wanting to spend too much time learning the ins and outs of investing.

It sounds quite interesting. But how does it fare in practice?

So, let’s delve into my in-depth Review of Selma Finance. By the end of the article, you will know whether Selma is a good fit for your investing. You will also see how does Selma compares with other Swiss Robo-Advisor.

Selma Finance

Selma

Selma is a great Swiss Robo-Advisor that will let you invest simply. It is a great way to invest in the stock market without the hassle of DIY Investing.

Selma Finance is a Swiss Robo-Advisor. They started offering services in 2016. Since then, they have expanded their offer and are becoming more and more popular.

They now have more than several thousand clients. And they are managing assets in the 7-digit range. So they have been growing quickly these last few years.

In 2019, they also started offering access to a third pillar. So, you can have your third pillar managed by Selma’s advisor. It follows the same model as their investment account.

In 2021, Migros Group invested 3.5 million CHF into Selma Finance! This is an excellent sign about the future of the Robo-Advisor service! And they are also going to introduce Selma Finance as a service to their customers. Since Migros Bank is a large bank, this could mean many new potential customers for Selma!

You can start investing from 2000 CHF. 2000 CHF is an excellent minimum. It means you do not have to start with a large amount. You can test their service with a small amount to see if it suits you.

You can learn a lot more by reading the interview I did with Selma’s CEO, Patrik Schär.

Selma Finance Investments

Based on your assessment with the virtual assistant, the assistant will choose a portfolio for you. Various investing instruments can compose your portfolio:

  • International Stocks
  • Swiss Stocks
  • International Corporate bonds
  • International Real Estate
  • Cash

For each of these instruments, Selma is using Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). All these ETFs are index funds. This is great since Selma can minimize the fees by using low-fees passive funds for your portfolio. This is the most efficient way to invest for most investors.

Here is an example based on my chat with Selma Finance:

One example of a portfolio from Selma
One example of a portfolio from Selma

This is a good portfolio, very standard, and in check with what I would expect. Nevertheless, this is not how I would have invested myself. I do not like corporate bonds because they have too much correlation with stocks. So they do not serve the purpose of reducing the volatility as treasury bonds could do. Given the current state of bonds in Europe, we should bypass bonds altogether. I would also have gotten more Swiss stocks to hedge against the currency risk in the other categories.

The high number of cash is because Selma uses Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA). They do this to reduce the risks of investing at the worst time. So they will initially keep some cash and invest it over time. It would be cool if they showed the target portfolio and the current portfolio.

You have access to the exact ETFs composing your portfolio:

Portfolio from Selma with ETFs
Portfolio from Selma with ETFs

It is excellent that you can see the ETFs that they use. That way, you will know precisely what you are investing in. I did not check all of these ETFs in detail. But they seem like good fits for their categories.

On the other hand, I think they should allow a higher level of personalization. Aside from your answers to the Selma assistant (your investor profile), there is nothing you can change in your portfolio. It would be cool to have some advanced features.

For instance, having some control over how much domestic stocks we want. Or whether we want or not to invest in real estate. I tried tuning my investor profile to change my portfolio. But I did not succeed in enough customization. However, for people that do not want to invest themselves, this is probably better. An investor that does not do proper research should not choose his investments himself.

Now, although it is not automated, there are other ways of making changes to your portfolio. You can request a personal check-up with a Selma expert. Based on the discussion, it could be possible to adapt your portfolio slightly. It could also be possible to do with their chat. Their employees are extremely responsive in their chat.

Also, it is important that using a Robo-Advisor means you will have less control. Less control is also an advantage. It means you cannot make bad decisions. But it means you will have to trust the portfolio made by Selma for you.

Investments at Selma Finance are not entirely passive. They use algorithms to detect when markets are cheap and buy more or when they are expensive and buy less. For me, this is getting close to market timing. They are checking whether some classes are overvalued or undervalued. This strategy may not be pure market timing. But I would prefer it if the portfolio was more passive.

Selma Finance Fees

When you invest your money, you do not want to lose your money in fees. Fees are eating up your profit and are making your losses even worse. The main problem with fees is that they do not stop if the market goes bad. So you want to minimize the fees you are paying.

Selma is in the middle of the price range for Robo-Advisors in Switzerland. They have a degressive system for fees:

  • Below 50K CHF: 0.68% fees per year
  • From 50K to 150K CHF: 0.55% fees per year
  • From 150K CHF: 0.47% fees per year

On top of that, you will pay the TER of the ETFs in which Selma invests. This last fee will depend on your portfolio. On average, they estimate the product cost to be 0.22%.

It gives you a total fee of 0.9% per year for a small portfolio. But if you have an extensive portfolio, you will only pay 0.69% per year. If you are serious about your goals, Selma could be very affordable for you! It may seem like 150K CHF is a lot of money, but you could get there in a few years if you invest every month.

Here is the full breakdown of the fees:

Selma Fees Breakdown
Selma Fees Breakdown

I feel like the fees are relatively expensive for small portfolios. However, for a large portfolio, the costs are very reasonable.

For a DIY investor, these are substantial fees. For instance, to manage my portfolio, I pay about 0.2% per year. But I have optimized them the most by using the best broker, using U.S. ETFs, and carefully researching the ETFs I am investing in. And I have to buy and sell my ETFs directly each month.

On the other hand, you will have nothing to do to manage your account. Simplicity is where the advantage of Robo-Advisor lies. I would understand why some people would be ready to pay the price for this service. And it is also probably less stressful.

If you compare this to investing through a bank or a personal advisor, you will save money with Selma. You can easily lose between 1% and 2% by investing through a bank when you count everything.

How to open an account with Selma Finance?

Opening an account is straightforward. It will take you no more than 10 minutes. Most of it is done through chat with Selma itself.

Go to selma.io and click the big Start For Free blue button. From there, they will ask you the standard questions. But what is interesting is that the entire process will be done through chat with the personal assistant.

First, they will ask you the standard personal questions. But then, they will ask you questions about your money and your investing profile. Here is an example of questions:

Selma questions
Selma questions

Once you answered all the questions (there are not that many!), you will see your investor profile. And do not worry, you can always come back and change your answers. Many things can change in your life, and the assistant is aware of these changes. So your investor profile is not set in stone.

It is interesting to note that the dashboard will present you with all your financial information. If you are already keeping track of your personal finances, this will not make a huge difference. But many people do not have a good overview of their finances. So this view could help some people see where they are.

Once you have done so, you will have to fund your account. You can transfer money directly from your bank account. After the money arrived in Selma, they will invest it according to your portfolio.

Opening an account with Selma Finance is a straightforward process. The process is made easy, even for those that are unfamiliar with investments. This is the most interesting point about this service: you can invest without knowing much about investing. It is not possible if you want to invest yourself or with some other platforms.

Is investing with Selma Finance secure?

Yes! There are using several layers of protection to secure your money.

First, your money is not stored by Selma. Indeed, they are not a bank and cannot hold your assets. It means that if they bankrupt, your money is still safe. The shares are stored in Saxo Bank. Asset segregation is something you always want in a financial company, especially if it is a young company.

It should be the same for any respectable company. But they encrypt all your data from your computer to their data center. For this, they are using HTTPS.

You can also use second-factor authentication to secure your account. With this, you will need a second device to unlock your account. Your password will not be enough. I greatly recommend doing this for any service that provides it.

There are also using high standards of physical security in their offices. For more information, they are detailing their data security standards on the website.

If you want to keep your money safe, I have a guide about securing your money against cyber risk.

Sustainable investing

With Selma Finance, you can also invest sustainably.

If you opt for this option, Selma will invest only in Sustainable ETFs that invest only in sustaining instruments. For instance, this means they will not invest in oil, weapons, or nuclear energy. They will also avoid investing in harmful products such as alcohol and tobacco.

It is straightforward to choose this option with Selma. Since these ETFs are slightly more expensive, you may end up paying a little more per year (about 0.08% more). But the management fees will not change.

If you want to learn more about that, I have compared Selma and Yova for sustainable investing.

Selma Finance Pros

Let’s summarize the main advantages of Selma:

  • Very easy to use.
  • Users can create accounts very quickly.
  • A very helpful virtual assistant.
  • Excellent prices for large portfolios.
  • Proper use of passive investing with ETFs.
  • Highly transparent pricing.
  • Ability to choose sustainable ETFs.
  • The company is growing very well.

Selma Finance Cons

Let’s summarize the main disadvantages of Selma Finance:

  • Not the cheapest Robo-Advisor for small portfolios.
  • Cannot invest 100% in stocks.
  • Limited ability to customize the portfolio.

Customer Service

Selma’s customer service has an excellent reputation. And this is important because many digital services have very poor customer support. You can join them by chat or email very easily. You do not have to go out of the Selma web application. You can directly get support on the chat from your account.

Most of the time, you will not need help. Indeed, the application is all done to make it as simple as possible. And if that is not enough, they have an extensive collection of information on their online FAQ.

User Reviews

When you are researching a service, it is always good to look at existing user reviews. You want to make sure that this service is suitable for other people before you invest in it.

On Google, there are now 184 reviews of Selma Finance. The average review is 4.8 stars out of 5! This score is a great result!

In the positive reviews, here are the most common points:

  • Very easy to use, accessible
  • Excellent communication, highly responsive
  • Very professional

In the negative reviews, here are the most common points:

  • Aggressive marketing (ads)
  • Too many smileys

Those are all the negative points I have been able to find out. It seems that people do not like the marketing campaigns of Selma. But these are not reviews of the service since these people did not use it. And I have seen a few remarks about them using too many smileys (which I agree on). But you can easily ignore these once you use the service. You will not have to use the service every day.

So, overall, people seem to like Selma Finance. I have yet to find a really negative review with strong issues.

Selma Finance vs Yova

Criteria Selma Finance Yova
Sustainable Investing Okay Best
Investing Strategy Best – ETF Worse – Stock picking
Diversification Best Good
Trading fees Best Okay
Ease of use Easy Easy
Interface Only web Web and Mobile
Customization None Good
Returns Average Average
Minimums Okay Okay
Security Good Good
Technical Security Good (2FA) Good (2FA)

Both Selma and Yova are Robo-Advisors offering sustainable investing features.

These two Robo-Advisors are very different. Yova will invest directly in stocks, while Selma will only invest in ETFs. Selma’s strategy is more passive and more diversified.

On the other hand, Yova is much more strict about sustainable investing. Yova has stronger requirements for what a company is doing to be sustainable. Also, you have much greater customization abilities with Yova.

Yova is more expensive. However, if you invest a lot of money with Yova, the fees are reduced. For example, with a very substantial amount of money (500K), you will pay fewer fees with Yova.

So overall, both are good Robo-Advisors. If you are really into sustainable investing, Yova will be a better fit. If you prefer to keep it simple and diversified, Selma will be best for you.

For more information, I have a complete comparison article of Selma Finance vs Yova.

Selma Finance vs True Wealth

Criteria Selma Finance True Wealth
Sustainable Investing Okay Okay
Investing Strategy Best – ETF Best – ETF
Diversification Best Best
Trading fees Good Good
Ease of use Easy Easy
Interface Only web Only web
Customization None Very Good
Returns Average Average
Minimums Good Highs
Security Good Good
Technical Security Good Good

True Wealth is another well-known Robo-Advisor from Switzerland.

Both of these Robo-Advisors will invest in ETFs directly. They are both offering passive strategies with a large amount invested in stocks.

True Wealth is slightly cheaper. Indeed, True Wealth’s total fees will range from 0.63% to 0.70%, while Selma fees will be about 0.69% with a large portfolio. But, in the end, True Wealth is still slightly cheaper than Selma Finance.

You also have better customization with True Wealth. There are more things you can change. On the other hand, True Wealth is a bit more complicated to use and less beginner-friendly.

Finally, the minimum at True Wealth is 8500 CHF, whereas Selma’s minimum is 2000 CHF.

So, if you are looking for the cheapest Robo-Advisor, True Wealth is the way to go. On the other hand, if you are looking for something a little more beginner-friendly, you should go with Selma.

For more information, you should read my review of True Wealth.

Other facts

One good thing is that Selma is very transparent about what they are doing.

For instance, their public roadmap is on Trello. It means you can see what they are working on. Also, they are sharing many interesting things on their blog. I think it is great that they are willing to be transparent.

Selma also offers a third pillar account. It is interesting if you already have an account, but it is significantly more expensive than alternatives. For more information about that, you can read my Selma 3a Review.

FAQ

What is the minimum you can invest with Selma?

You need to invest at least 2000 CHF to open an account with Selma. Below that, your account would not be diversified enough.

How much will you pay in fees for Selma?

You will pay 0.47% of your portfolio to get it managed, and you will pay an average of 0.22% for the products.

Who can invest with Selma?

Every Swiss resident that is at least 18 years old can open a Selma account and start investing.

What happens if Selma bankrupts?

Your shares are stored in your name, in Saxo Bank. So if they bankrupt, you can get back your assets.

What happens to my dividends with Selma?

Selma directly reinvests all the dividends.

Conclusion

Selma

Selma is a great Swiss Robo-Advisor that will let you invest simply. It is a great way to invest in the stock market without the hassle of DIY Investing.

Overall, I think Selma Finance is a good fit for people that want a Robo-Advisor with some extra assistance. The virtual personal assistant can help some people feel more at ease with investing. Selma is the best Robo-advisor for beginner investors.

The fees can be very low with Selma once you reach a certain amount of money. This is great because Swiss Robo-advisors tend to be expensive.

Now, it is not for everybody. People that are knowledgeable about investing can find cheaper Robo-Advisors. It is not the most expensive Robo-Advisors in Switzerland. But it is not the cheapest either. However, If you have a large portfolio, it is among the cheapest services!

Also, they do not offer customization of the portfolio. So you cannot tweak your portfolio to what you think will perform better (or avoid investing in something you do not believe in).

On the other hand, Selma Finance is very easy to use. And they do everything to make you feel at home. It is very straightforward to create an account and start investing. And this is very important for new investors.

If you decide to start using Selma Finance, using my link will get you the first 5000 CHF managed for free for a year. So it is a good way to start investing with low fees. And this will also help the blog.

To learn more about Robo-Advisors, read my post about Robo-Advisors in Switzerland. If you are interested in Sustainable Investing, I recommend reading my comparison of Selma and Yova on this subject.

Finally, keep in mind that I am not investing with Robo-Advisors. I am investing myself directly in ETFs. Doing so is more complicated but can save you a lot of fees. And since investing fees are important, I believe it is entirely worth the effort or learning about investing and doing the job myself. I do not want to sacrifice my retirement to fees. But it is up to you to decide how much you want to get involved.

If you are interested in Selma Finance, you may be interested in their Selma Third Pillar offer.

What about you? What do you think about this Robo-Advisor?

Selma Finance Review 2021 - Pros & Cons

My Honest Review of the Selma Finance Robo-Advisor. Everything you need to know about Selma and how it compares with alternatives.

Price Currency: CHF

Operating System: Web application

Application Category: Robo-Advisor

Editor's Rating:
4

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.

29 thoughts on “Selma Finance Review 2021 – Pros & Cons”

  1. I’ve been using Selma a little longer now. First I just tested the whole thing out of interest and the platform achieved very good results, which led me to make a monthly deposit. Since I know very little about trading stocks otherwise, this opportunity with Selma is really great for me. The only thing that bothers me is that there is no mobile app (yet). But this should be in planning.

  2. Hi,

    I love your Robot Advisor reviews.

    Can you also make a review of Descartes Finance?

    It gets often mentioned when Robot Advisors are discussed in the media.

    Best regards,
    JM

  3. Hi Guys

    Since I’m fairly new to investing, I thought I’d sign up with Selma. Does it make sense to invest, lets say, the min. of CHF 2000 and then maybe increase by CHF 500 every 1/2 year. It is not much at all I know. What do you think?
    What are the approx. returns if I set it to risk-friendly?

    Best regards

    1. Hi Hinzi,

      Investing little makes sense, it’s already much better than not investing at all :)
      If you can keep the money invested for the long-term, you should see good returns.
      Estimating returns is very difficult without seeing the portfolio. With Selma and a risk-friendly portfolio, probably 2-3% per year, on average?

  4. Oh you updated the article. Cool, thanks! I’ve been using Selma since a year now, and am totally happy with it (unless maybe that I have some percents invested in gold and silver ETFs…)

  5. I was happy with Selma in 2020 but as a small investor with a long way to go to 50,000 I’m really not happy with the fee change in 2021. I do feel it is now too expensive for a robo advisor. Currently looking at alternatives

    1. Hi Bee,

      The only thing that should have changed is the stamp tax duty, no? The rest remained the same for people with less than 50’000, no?
      If you look for something cheaper, there is TrueWealth. And Investart is significantly cheaper, but still very young.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Selma will change fees effective Jan. 1, 2021, see https://support.selma.io/l/de/article/ki2sp7mfin-neue-selma-gebuehr-01-01-2021-nutzer and https://support.selma.io/l/de/article/wb9vqc5c2n-selma-gebuehr-update-mit-01-01-2021-kunden. What do you think about this update? For users which have invested less than 50000.- this is a significant increase, especially if the portfolio is rebalanced regulary, as the stamp fees are no longer included in the 0.68% fees.

    1. Hi Jürg,

      Yes, I have seen that update, but I have not had time to update the article yet, unfortunately.
      I think it’s a good update. For long-term investors, this will significantly reduce the fees in the long-term. It’s true that it could make a small difference for smaller investors. But rebalancing will not happen often. I do not think it will make a significant difference. You can consider the stamp duty as a small load fee on your investments. In the long-term, it should be fairly insignificant.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Thanks for your quick input from your side! For long-term it’s not a bad deal, specially if you have a lot of money invested. But to gradually building up the investments got more expensive. As long as selma does not start rebalancing more often, I don’t see a problem. And to circumvent the stamp fee I transfered a larger amount this month indstead of the January / February / March of next year.

  7. Hello,

    I am using Selma since May 2020 by curiosity and to become to handle my first thousand investment. It is also a good way to experience my tolerance at risks. For the moment I’m really satisfied with Selma and the team resct promptly to any change in your risk profile or answer quickly to your question. Also, you can invest at 100% in equity ETF, you just need to tell them that you want that. For example, I asked them to remove bonds and real estate of my portfolio but to keep precious metal. However, I can ask them to remove it if I want. In the end, they will follow your instruction if it fits your risk profile and if you give them your agreement after thinking of it. In the end I’m invested at 95% in stocks and 5% on precious metal.

    1. Hi Yanikuza,

      Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with Selma. It’s very interesting! And it’s really good to hear that they are open to modifying your portfolio directly if you ask them :)
      Good luck with your investing!

  8. I recently moved to Switzerland for my job (and partner). I am planning on staying.
    Can I invest in Selma using money from a foreign bank account (in euro)? What fees will I pay on the transfer?

    1. Hi Eva,

      If you are a resident of Switzerland, you will be able to invest with Selma.
      As for the fees with EUR, I have no idea. You will have to ask Selma about that.

      Thanks for stopping by!

Leave a Reply

Your comment may not appear instantly since it has to go through moderation. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *