Robo Advisor in Malaysia
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Ultimate Comparison Between 9 Robo Advisor in Malaysia

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Welcome to the ultimate robo advisor comparison article! In this article, you will find the best robo advisor in Malaysia that you can use to invest and grow your wealth.

(Spoiler: All of them are great for different things, so you find more than 1 ‘best’ robo advisor in Malaysia here. Happily you can use more than 1 robo advisor)

Let’s start with the players. How many robo advisors in Malaysia are there? Technically there are 9 robo advisors… but I added 2 more.

List of the 9 Robo Advisors in Malaysia (+2 more)

As of Mar 2024, there are 9 licensed Robo Advisors aka Digital Investment Managers in Malaysia and listed in Securities Commission page. They are:

  1. AkruNow by Akru Now Sdn. Bhd; The home-grown Malaysian one
  2. Airo.my by BH Global Fintech Solutions Sdn. Bhd. Seems to partner with Interactive Brokers and Pacific Trustees
  3. Mytheo by GAX MD Sdn. Bhd.; Malaysian partner of Theo from Japan
  4. Raiz Invest by Raiz Malaysia SdnBhd; invest-your-spare-change platform. JV between PNB (aka ASNB) and Raiz Invest Australia
  5. Stashaway by StashAway Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.; expanded from Singapore
  6. UOBAM Invest by UOB Asset Management (Malaysia) Berhad; ‘robo-advisory for business’. Skip this if you’re managing own funds
  7. Wahed Invest by Wahed Technologies Sdn. Bhd.; expanded from New York
  8. Kenanga Digital Investing (KDI) by Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad, the largest independent investment bank in Malaysia
  9. [NEW] RIA by Amanah Saham Nasional Berhad; yes, THAT ASNB. They’re known for their fixed funds (ASB, ASM), and now started roboadvisor called RIA featuring portfolios composed of their variable funds

In addition to the above, I will add 2 digital investment apps in this robo advisor comparison article.

Not technically robo advisor but might as well be: BEST Invest and Versa Asia

In addition to the 9 robo advisors, I will also include:

  1. BEST Invest – they use ‘robo-intelligence’ to select suitable shariah-compliant and ESG unit trusts for you
  2. Versa Asia – you can use Versa Invest to invest in unit trust, PRS, REITs and gold. They also offer Versa Save, a good place to park your savings

Again, both BEST Invest and Versa Asia is NOT technically classified as Digital Investment Managers and therefore cannot becalled robo advisors, but might as well be as the tech used is on par.

Another reason I add them here is because they have 0% sales charge for their unit trusts. Those who buy unit trust will know how rare 0% sales charge is. It can go up to 6%, not including the other fees that you have to pay.

Which robo advisor in Malaysia is the best?

So, which robo advisor in Malaysia is the best? I hate ‘it depends’, so let’s answer it this way: which of the criteria below are the most important to YOU?

  1. By ROI (return on investment) – which robo advisor has the best returns?
  2. Lowest Fees – which robo advisor has the lowest fees?
  3. Global Exposure – which robo advisor offers geographically diverse portfolios?
  4. Ethical Investing – which robo advisor offers ESG funds?
  5. Shariah Compliant – which robo advisor can I use as a Muslim?
  6. Best UI/UX– which robo advisor is easiest to use?
  7. Home-grown– which robo advisor is made in Malaysia/support Malaysia?
  8. Technology– which robo advisor offers incorporates the best tech/ offer tech funds?
  9. Cash Management Accounts – which robo advisor can be used as Savings account/ Fixed deposit alternative?
  10. Invest in REITs – which robo advisor offers REITs investment?

Pick a number, then go on the sections below to see which robo advisor(s) you should use.

Disclaimer: Do not take the info in this article as financial advice. Use this rob advisor comparison guide to learn, but cross-check with other platforms/parties.

But first, if you’re new to the whole concept – what *is* robo advisor? How do they invest your money?

Let’s cover all that in..

What are robo advisors? What makes it a ‘robo investment’?

Robo advisors, or its technical term, Digital Investment Managers (DIMs) as per the Securities Commission fall under the umbrella of wealthtech services.

The ‘tech’ part is important. Unlike a traditional portfolio manager, robo advisors have streamlined/automated various labour-intensive/mafan parts of investing: the risk profiling, suitability assessment, asset allocation and rebalancing processes.

How your money in Robo Advisor is invested, using the ‘Fruits Basket’ Analogy

Using a robo advisor for investing is similar to buying a fruits basket. You are buying a product which includes a variety of components.

The fruits basket from one robo advisor is not the same as the fruit basket offered at another robo advisor. In fact, the fruits baskets that two people might buy from the same robo advisor might be different too, as we may have different preferences/risk appetites/ financial goals in mind.

What exactly are you buying/investing in? Depends on the fruits basket. Imagine each fruit as a type of asset:

  • shares (in different markets/regions/ industries/themes), 
  • bonds/ sukuk, 
  • properties/ real estate/ REITs, 
  • cash/currencies, 
  • precious metals (gold etc) 
  • And more

Let’s give a situation for 2 different investors:

  • A robo advisor might recommend you a fruits basket containing only bonds and cash, as you informed them (through questionnaires) that you are a super conservative investor.
  • The same one might recommend another investor with high risk appetite a fruits basket containing high-growth stocks/index fund in various emerging markets.

What people tend to forget is you can buy a few fruits baskets, for different scenarios. Maybe one is for retirement. Another one earmarked for property ownership. Another one for marriage fund. You don’t have to pick just one.

Is it good to invest with robo advisors?

The short answer is: I think robo advisors are EXCELLENT for investors, including and especially for newbie investors. The entry barrier is ridiculously low. All you need to do is:

  • open an account (or a few),
  • upload your identification documents,
  • add funds into the portfolio recommended for you (guided process), and
  • just continue to add funds until you reach your goal(s)

Now let’s go on to dissecting which robo advisor is the best, based on different benchmarks.

#1 – Which robo advisor in Malaysia has the best returns?

Maybe you’re like, Suraya can tell me which robo advisor can give the most profit, the most return on investment? I don’t care about anything else, I just want to get rich fast.

Unfortunately you can’t and shouldn’t do that, because all of the robo advisors can theoretically give you negative or positive double-digit annual return on investment, depending on the state of the economy and the portfolio you pick (recommended to you based on YOUR answers in the risk appetite quiz).

In addition, your behaviour when investing makes a big impact to the returns. Choosing the portfolio which predicts high returns doesn’t matter if you are not suitable for it. If you selected one that is not suitable for your temperament, all you’re going to do is panic sell during bad market conditions.

(And don’t say ‘Oh I won’t one’ – you will. Chances are, you will.)

#2 – Best Roboadvisor in Malaysia: Lowest Fees

Okay, so with that out of the way, maybe you want to concentrate on low fees next.

The fees for all robo advisors in Malaysia are similar; all below 2% per annum. That figure is combined from each robo advisor’s:

  1. Annual fees* – ranges between 0.2-1% (this is the one listed on their main page), AND/OR
  2. Annual fund expense – ranges between 0.04-1.8% (this one you have to dig a bit in their FAQs/T&Cs; varies depending on the fund you’re investing in)

Generally speaking, the more funds you deposit in a platform, the less you pay in fees, percentage-wise. (See additional notes on fees below)

However, my view is unless you have six-figures or seven-figures, it doesn’t make sense for you to choose a robo advisor solely based on fees. Other factors are more important.

You can see comparison of robo advisors fees in this iMoney article and at each platforms’ website. But, again, fees aren’t the most important factor.

*Additional notes on fees:

  • It does not make sense to invest in Raiz Invest if you have small amounts of funds in there, as they charge a flat RM1.50 per month for accounts under RM6,000. Imagine if you have RM10 in there and they take out RM1.50 – that’s 15% in fees!
  • For Versa Asia‘s Versa REITs specifically, the Annual Management fee is 1.80% p.a

Next

#3 – Best Roboadvisor in Malaysia: Global Exposure

Winner: Mytheo, Wahed Invest (US, Global), AkruNow (US, Developed markets, Emerging markets)

Also good: BEST Invest, Stashaway, Versa Asia

If you are looking for global exposure (which you should if your current investments are all Malaysia-focused), then all the options above are good options.

On the other hand, Raiz Invest is mostly invested in Malaysian companies.

#4- Best Roboadvisor in Malaysia: Ethical Investing 

Winner: BEST Invest (all the funds are ESG funds)

Also good: Stashaway (score: ‘ranging between 3.82 and 4.13 out of 5‘), Wahed Invest (no gambling/ alcohol/ firearms etc companies)

Personally, ethical/ESG investing is one of my top criteria in choosing a robo advisor. There are research that links ethical investing to higher profits, too = the perfect two birds one stone situation for me.

Here’s how a sample portfolio might look like (screenshot from BEST Invest):

best invest bimb review

Related: [VIDEO] A Conversation on Socially Responsible Investing feat. Najmuddin Mohd Lutfi, CEO of BIMB Investment

#5 – Best Roboadvisor in Malaysia: Shariah Compliant 

Winners: Wahed Invest, BEST Invest

Also good: Raiz Invest (Is Raiz Shariah compliant? Kind of – they received ‘permissible’ aka harus status) (note: use my Raiz referral code: you get RM10); RIA by ASNB, Airo (offers Shariah-compliant portfolios)

Yes, at writing time, those are the only options for Shariah compliant robo advisor/ investment platform. This list excludes cash management accounts.

Note: I have personally used Wahed Invest for over 4 years and happy with it. If you want to open an account and try Wahed Invest yourself, download the Wahed Invest app from Appstore/iOS and use my referral code ‘surbin1’ to get free RM10 bonus

#6 – Best Roboadvisor in Malaysia: UI/UX

Winner: Stashaway, Wahed Invest, Versa Asia

Also good: the rest

It is unfortunate that Stashaway is not Shariah-compliant or I would totally try this out. If Shariah-compliance is not your dealbreaker and you want to try, get reduced fee via my Stashaway referral code Malaysia in this link.

As for Wahed Invest, you can read my whole review in my The Ultimate Wahed Invest Review article.

#7 – Best Robo advisor in Malaysia: Home-grown

Winners: Akrunow, Raiz Invest, Kenanga’s Digital Investing, RIA by ASNB

Also good: Wahed Invest

  • Akrunow is a home-grown startup
  • Raiz Invest and RIA invests in ASNB funds, which includes a lot of blue-chip companies listed in the Malaysian stock exchange
  • Kenanga’s Digital Investing is from Kenanga Investment Bank, the largest independent bank in Malaysia

Meanwhile, Wahed Invest includes Malaysia-made ETF in Moderately Conservative portfolio and above.

#sapotlokal

#8 – Best Robo advisor in Malaysia: Technology

Winners: BEST Invest (for using ‘robo-intelligence’), Kenanga’s Digital Investing (for using AI), Stashaway (for their technology-focused thematic portfolios), Airo.my (includes Tech ETFs in some portfolios)

Also good: The rest.

Tbh I’m not particularly convinced by AI or robo-intelligence, since it’s only as good as the data you feed them, and human biases in data collection is a well-documented issue.

BUT who am I but a no0b when it comes to technology. Plus thousands of datapoints are factored in, so theoretically that easily beat humans’ capabilities, so take this as an opinion at best.

I do like Stashaway’s thematic portfolios though. It’s like investing in tech startups, I get Silicone Valley vibes.

#9 – Cash Management Accounts (Savings account/ Fixed deposit alternative)

Winners: Kenanga’s Digital Investing (KDI Save), Stashaway (Stashaway Simple), Versa Asia (Versa Save and Save-i)

Also good: Conservative portfolios from the other robo advisors, Touch N Go’s Go+, and BoostMyMoney by Boost

Reminder that you may lose some money while investing in robo advisors, especially in the short term. If your goal is to NOT LOSE MONEY AT ALL, then look for these places to save your money: 6 Best Savings Accounts in Malaysia to Put Your Emergency Funds

#10 – Invest in REITs

Winners: Wahed Invest (Thematic portfolio > REITs), Versa Asia (Versa REITs).

If you want REITs robo advisor, these two platforms are your only options. Wahed Invest offers Shariah-compliant Local REITs, while Versa Asia‘s Versa REITs gives you exposure to real estate assets in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and United States

Here’s how to buy REITs from both platforms.

How to buy Local REITs from Wahed Invest

Here’s the step-by-step process to buy Local REITs from Wahed Invest:

  • Open Wahed Invest account (Obligatory referral code: Download app and use code ‘surbin1’ to get FREE RM10 bonus)
  • Select Thematic > Local REITs (If you already have existing investment, click Add account in Dashboard)
  • Cash in (fund your account) a minimum of RM100 and complete your purchase
  • Congrats, you have invested in the REIT 🙂 Repeat the purchase next month, or consistently

How to buy Versa REITs from Versa Asia

Here’s the step-by-step process to buy Versa REITs from Versa Asia:

  • Open Versa Asia account (Obligatory referral code: use code ‘SURAYA’ or click here to get FREE RM10 when you deposit RM100 in your account)
  • Select Investments > Versa REITs
  • Cash in (fund your account) a minimum of RM100 and complete your purchase
  • Congrats, you have invested in the REIT 🙂 Repeat the purchase next month, or consistently

Versa REITs gives you exposure to real estate assets in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and United States.

Robo advisor comparison: Which will you choose?

We have come to the end of this robo advisor comparison article, based on different categories. By now, you should have an idea of which criteria that are most important to you.

If not, go back to the above categories and select a couple of robo advisors based on the criteria that are most important to you (as an example, for me Shariah-compliant robo advisor is non-negotiable).

Check the websites, download the apps and start your investing journey: time in the market > timing the market and all that.

I still don’t know which robo advisor to choose!

If you have a few hundred ringgit or more, it’s not a bad idea to try a few, just to compare between platforms. For example:

  • RM100 in robo advisor A (winner of category of your choice)
  • RM100 in robo advisor B (winner of category of your choice)
  • RM100 in robo advisor C (winner of category of your choice)

If you end up liking one over the other, you can always withdraw and allocate everything in one place. None of them charge withdrawal fees.

Which is better: Versa VS Stashaway?

Okay, let’s say you’ve read everything here and deciding between two platforms: Versa vs Stashaway. Which one should you pick?

Both Versa Asia and Stashaway have:

  • Cash Management accounts: Versa Asia has Versa Save; Stashaway has Stashaway Simple
  • Investment options from Conservative to Aggressive investors
  • New customer benefits: Versa Asia gives FREE RM10 when you deposit RM100 in your account. Simply use code ‘SURAYA’ or click here. Stashaway gives 50% off fees for 6 months if you sign up from here.

However,

Get Versa Asia if you want to invest in unit trust, PRS (great for retirement and can get tax relief), REITs and gold. You can also pick Versa Asia if you want a Shariah-compliant place to park your savings (called Versa Save-i).

Get Stashaway if you like their thematic portfolios and want to invest in these industries.

Which is better: Wahed VS Raiz?

How about if you’re deciding between two platforms: Wahed Invest vs Raiz. Which one should you pick?

Both Wahed Invest and Raiz has:

  • Shariah-compliant (or harus) investment options from Conservative to Aggressive investors
  • New customer benefits: both Wahed Invest and Raiz gives FREE RM10 bonus. Click here to register for Wahed Invest (you can also put code ‘surbin1’) and here to register for Raiz

However,

Get Wahed Invest if you want to invest globally. Raiz invests in primarily Malaysia market. Wahed Invest also offers REITS, Gold and Thematic portfolios – read more in my Wahed Invest review article.

Get Raiz if the thought of investing scares you and you want to just sort of ease into doing investments – their ‘invest-your-spare-change’ might suit you. The idea is, your everyday purchases will be rounded up and invested. (However, beware of RM1.50 per month fee for accounts under RM6000)

You can also choose Raiz if you want cashback. The next time you pay zakat, order foodpanda or book airasia flight etc, simply do it from Raiz app. You’ll get cashback that’s automatically invested.

Hey, even if you only get 0.1% back, free money is free money.

With that, I’ll end this guide here. What questions do you have about robo advisors in Malaysia? Which one(s) are you using now, and how are you liking it? I invite you to share your experience investing through robo advisors in the comments section so the rest of us can learn 🙂


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10 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Anyone can point out which robo advisor or any cash management account platform that can automate / setup recurring direct debit from bank account? Daily RM1.

    Trying to “save” RM1 daily to any saving or investment platform.

    So far i believe;
    StashAway – Monthly (possible to set 4 times/dates so it become per week :D), not sure the lowest amount
    Raiz – The lowest amount+frequency is RM5 per week.
    Wahed – Monthly? RM100??
    KDI – no recurring
    MAE Tabung – daily, but the tabung not gaining any interest/profit or not being invested.

    1. Hi Nor,

      For daily, the only ones I know is daily gold buys via HelloGold platform via their smartsaver feature and daily bitcoin purchase via Luno platform via repeatbuy feature. Not sure about the rest

      I think daily buy is best for assets with fluctuating value. Otherwise if for savings or robo advisor, weekly or even monthly is fine. Not much price difference

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