As per popular request, here is my long-due in-depth Wahed Invest review. Wahed Invest is a roboadvisor platform (the technical term is Digital Investment Manager (DIM) as per the Securities Commission) and falls under the umbrella of wealthtech services.
As of the time of writing, I have been using Wahed investment platform for 2+ years, since November 2019. Here you can see my deposit of RM1,000 on 3 November 2019 and an additional deposit of RM10,000 on 7 November 2019.
Wahed Invest review – Short & Sweet version
Here’s my rating of Wahed Invest based on my personal experience as a user, out of 5:
- Opening a Wahed Invest account – 4/5
- The account registration process – 4/5
- Is Wahed Invest legit – 5/5
- Is Wahed Invest halal – 5/5
- Paying zakat with Wahed Invest – 5/5
- Wahed Invest returns – 5/5
- Which Wahed Invest Portfolio to choose
- My Wahed Invest returns – 4.5/5
- Wahed Invest fees – 4.5/5
- Wahed Invest vs Stashaway – Both are good but you can’t make direct comparison; Wahed Invest is Syariah compliant and Stashaway is not. See my roboadvisors in Malaysia comparison article
- Final verdict
As you can see, I’m quite happy with it overall. Read on for the longer Wahed Invest review on each category below:
#1 – Opening a Wahed Invest account – 4 out of 5
Opening an account with Wahed Invest is a simple process: all you need to do is download the app, create an account, 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).
You will need:
- Your phone to download the Wahed Invest app from Appstore/iOS
- Initial fund to deposit into your account- it’s RM100 minimum to start
- ID card/passport
- Proof of address document – MYKad, driving license, utility bill, etc
- 1-2 working days for verification and funds transfer to complete
- (Optional but recommended) Use my referral code ‘surbin1’ to get free $2.5/RM10 bonus
The only reason I gave it 4 out of 5 is because there is no web platform for Malaysians yet, only app.
#2 – The Account Registration Process – 4 out of 5
My own experience opening an account with Wahed Invest was slightly bumpy. What happened was I got stuck at proof of address document (driving licence) upload stage. I think they tried to use software to automate the registration process but it was not perfect and I was rejected FOUR times.
However, their support team was helpful and it got sorted out soon enough. Aside from this, I personally have not experienced any other problems – it’s a solid investment app in Malaysia market. In fact it might be one of the best investment apps in Malaysia.
Note: Some users were unaware that the registration process needs 1-2 working days for verification and funds transfer to complete
#3 – Is Wahed Invest legit – 5 out of 5
Yes, Wahed Invest is legit. It is one of the seven licenced roboadvisory platforms in Malaysia, and the only Syariah-compliant option.
Note: legitimacy doesn’t mean profits are guaranteed, it just means the company is unlikely to steal your funds, and *if* they do anything shady, you can lodge a complaint at Securities Commission Malaysia and they will look into it.
Ultimately, your profits with Wahed Invest (or lack thereoff) still depends on market conditions – if the market goes up, you’ll make some money. If the market goes down, you’ll lose some.
The good news is the market *tends* to go up over the long term, so as long as you stay invested and don’t panic sell when you get short-term losses and (even better) continue to top up your account, you *should* end up with more than you started with.
Here’s a projection of your portfolio balance if you invest RM500 per month for 20 years.
#4 – Is Wahed Invest Halal – 5 out of 5
Yes, Wahed Invest practices halal investing, structured in accordance to Islamic principles. Halal investing is not just for Muslims – Non-Muslims reading this, you are free to practice halal investing as well if you strongly dislike the following industries:
- Excess debt
- Adult entertainment
- Impure foodstock
- Usurious institutions
But that’s not all. What impresses me about Wahed Invest is they go above and beyond to also purify the <5% of revenues that may come from prohibited business activities, which is technically allowable as per halal investing guidelines.
This is what they say in their own words (received via email newsletter):
Companies which have less than 5% of their revenues coming from prohibited business activities are said to have passed the Sector-based Shariah-compliant Screens. But the proportion of dividends attributed to revenue generated from such non-permissible business activities and interest income will have to be purified.
Wahed helps you purify all dividend income from the ETFs automatically, without any action on your side.
We do so by calculating the amount to be purified every time a dividend payout happens and we channel the purification amount directly to Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia) on your behalf.
And sure enough, they followed through. I received an update on amount purified and donated to MERCY Malaysia on my behalf.
They could have skipped this step, but they didn’t. I am honestly very happy and impressed with this level of dedication to halal investing.
That’s not all. They also help you in..
#5 – Paying Zakat with Wahed Invest – 5 out of 5
Paying zakat pelaburan (investment zakat? Idk the term in English) is easy via Wahed Invest.
They will send you an email with the calculations AND a payment link, and all you have to do is click on the button and complete the payment yourself. There is also prompt encouraging non-Muslims to donate the money to charity, if they want to.
Note: You will only receive the email if you had an active account for a full calendar year, which means you have completed a full haul (time required). The zakat money will be channelled to a zakat collection body and distributed to people who are qualified to receive it.
Important: The nisab for 2020 calendar year was RM15,762 (this amount may change). If the money in your account is lower than this at any point during the year, then you don’t need to pay zakat.
#6 – Wahed Invest Returns – 5 out of 5
Your return on investment with Wahed Invest depends on which Portfolio you select. There are twelve portfolios to choose from:
*All average returns are accurate as of writing time, as shown in the Wahed Invest app
- Very Aggressive (highest risk, potentially highest rewards) – 10.92% Average return
- Aggressive – 9.11% Average return
- Moderately Aggressive (this is the one I picked for myself) – 8.26% Average return
- Moderate – 6.51% Average return
- Moderately Conservative – 5% Average return
- Very Conservative (lowest risk and safest) – 2.98 Average return
- Gold (basically like investing in gold, but digitally) – 3.96% Average return
- US Stocks (97.50% invested in the US stock market) – 12.86% Average return
- NEW Thematic Portfolio: China Stocks – for long term investors
- NEW Thematic Portfolio: Emerging Market Stocks – for long term investors
- NEW Thematic Portfolio: Local REITs portfolios – Real Estate Investment Trusts; for long term investors
- NEW Thematic Portfolio: Money Market Fund – low-risk; a great fixed deposit alternative
Each Wahed Invest portfolio invests your money in two or more of the below individual assets/funds:
- Malaysia Stocks – MyETF MSCI Malaysia Islamic Dividend
- US Stocks – Wahed FTSE USA Syariah ETF
- China Stocks – VP-DJ Shariah China A-Shares 100 ETF
- Sukuk – RHB Islamic Bond Fund, Malaysia Maybank Sukuk Fund
What makes each portfolio different, if they more or less contain the same thing? The allocations of the assets/funds of each portfolio, the breakdown.
For example, this is the breakdown of Wahed Invest Very Aggressive portfolio:
This is the breakdown of Wahed Invest Moderately Aggressive portfolio:
And this is the breakdown of Wahed Invest Very Conservative portfolio:
As you can see, the allocation breakdown makes all the difference.
#7 – Which Wahed Invest Portfolio to choose
Even though there are only 12 portfolios in Wahed Invest (6 if you take out Gold portfolio, US Stocks portfolio, and the 4 thematic portfolios), one of the questions I get a lot is which portfolio to select.
The way I see it, there are two main methods:
1) Let them suggest one for you
This method is great especially for new investors. You can take a quiz to find out your risk appetite, aka the reason why so many investment advice boils down to ‘it depends’, because they have no idea what you can stomach without knowing you better.
Important: You don’t have to pick the portfolio selected, you can select another one. Initially, my quiz outcome recommended Aggressive but I chose Moderately Aggressive instead.
(The reason I reduced my risk – My risk appetite is actually pretty high. However, considering my overall portfolio is already super high risk – cryptocurrencies make up a big chunk of my investment portfolio – I thought I’d take my risk down a notch).
2) Get multiple portfolios
The second way is to simply pick more than one portfolio, so you don’t wonder how the one you didn’t choose will perform.
Since Wahed Invest allows multiple portfolios in one account, you can get different ones at the same time and monitor their performances. This may be a good idea for those of you who feels paralysed by fear by the choices available and end up not deciding/investing at all.
Alternatively, you can also get multiple portfolios and earmark each of them for different purposes, like so:
#8 – My Wahed Invest Returns – 4.5 out of 5
As mentioned, I have one portfolio in Wahed Invest account – Moderately Aggressive.
Important: Your Wahed Invest returns will be different from mine. I have seen people share negative returns all the way to 5X% returns. The ROI % depends on:
- At which point you entered the market. Remember, in a bull market, every investor is a genius
- The portfolio(s) you selected. As a general rule, the more aggressive the portfolio, the higher the risks and potential rewards
Personally, my Wahed Invest performance has been great, ngl. I expected low single-digit returns, but it performed better than that. I think I got lucky with the timing.
This is my Wahed Invest returns (1) 8 months in:
(2) 1-year in:
Note: the huge drop is due to withdrawal – I took some money out
(3) 1.5 years in:
(4) And 2 years in:
As you can see, there were some short-term dips, but over the long term, my portfolio value steadily increased. So don’t panic too much if your portfolio value is negative – continue investing consistently and at the same time increase your salary and/or side income to add more every month and you should be okay.
#9 – Wahed Invest Fees – 4.5/5
Wahed Invest has one of the lowest fee structures among the robo advisory platforms in Malaysia:
- 0.79% for RM100-RM499,999 deposited
- 0.39% for >RM500k deposited
- For each additional account, you are charged the 0.79%/0.39% fee structure OR RM2.50 per month, whichever is higher.
There are no other fees, EXCEPT:
- Fees charged by investment funds, which you can’t escape from regardless, and
- Additional charges for fund transfers – (manual) bank transfers are still free, but as of 10 May 2021 there is a RM1 charge for recurring deposit collections (its not their fault, but yes this is why I took 0.5 stars off. Charging for this means people are less likely to automate their investment)
- 1% currency exchange fee for deposits, withdrawals and inter-fund transfers to portfolios denominated in USD. Applicable to US Stocks and Emerging Markets Stocks portfolios
Other than that, can’t complain. I think Wahed Invest fees are very reasonable. Just 0.79% is tremendous value for money, when unit trusts charge more than that just for sales charges.
#10 – Final verdict of this Wahed Invest Review
In case this Wahed Invest Review wasn’t obvious, I am a happy Wahed Invest user. I’m especially won over by:
- The exposure to US stock market, which is usually expensive and mafan for retail investors (I can say I indirectly invest in Apple and Tesla!), and
- The exposure to China stock market, which we all know is experiencing ridiculous economy growth right now, and
- The ability to easily buy local REITs, and
- The dedication to halal investing, especially the voluntary purification of <5% of revenues that may come from non-halal investing (but still satisfy halal investing guidelines)
As for withdrawals, I’ve had no problems withdrawing money from Wahed Invest, but leave a comment if you did.
How’s your experience like with Wahed Invest? What do you like/don’t like about it? Do you have any other questions not covered here? Let me know in the comments!
Obligatory final reminder: This is not a sponsored post. If you liked this review and 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 $2.5/RM10 bonus