Endowus Fund Smart: An in-depth review from our Investment Office
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Endowus Fund Smart: An in-depth review from our Investment Office

Jul 2023
Oct 2020
Endowus Fund Smart: core-satellite investment portfolio
  • Customise your ideal investment portfolio in minutes with Fund Smart, using best-in-class funds that have been diligently screened by Endowus, for your Cash, CPF, or SRS.
  • Pick and choose your favourite funds and strategies from top-tier fund managers, including BlackRock, JP Morgan, Dimensional, Fullerton, PIMCO, and Vanguard.
  • The Endowus Fee for Single Fund Goals via Fund Smart is 0.3% p.a., reinforcing our commitment to reduce the cost of investing. More than 95% of the funds are now cheaper on Endowus than on any other fund platform, bank, private bank, financial advisor, or broker in Singapore.
  • Get full transparency on the most important information as you build your portfolio, such as the historical returns, projected outcomes, fees, and whether the chosen portfolio is aligned with your stated risk tolerance and goal.
  • For a quick overview of all the funds available, refer to our investment funds list. To learn about the new funds we're adding to Fund Smart each month, click here.

The Endowus Fund Smart platform allows you to build your own customisable portfolios with direct access to curated institutional best-in-class funds from the world's leading asset managers.

What is Endowus Fund Smart?

Are you confused or dumbfounded about the several thousands of funds out there to choose from? Well, we cut it down to a curated list of just over 50 of the best funds available for each asset class on the Fund Smart platform. These best-in-class funds have been pre-screened, and pre-selected by Endowus just for you.

Why? Because we know that being presented with too many options is a bad thing when it comes to investing. It paralyses us into inaction, or analysis paralysis. It also often leads to clients getting pushed to buy the worst funds that are often the flavour of the month but lead to poor outcomes. The distributor (bank, broker, or fund platform) is paid a commission — called trailer fees — on the funds they sell to clients, making their advice financially misaligned with the end clients.

We believe that by giving a curated list aligned to your personal interest and risk tolerance, you will be able to invest better to live better today. This is why we created Endowus Fund Smart.

To learn about the new funds we're adding to the Fund Smart platform each month, check out our Investment Office Monthly Fund Digest articles here.

For a quick overview of all the funds available on Endowus Fund Smart, refer to our investment funds list.

Fund manager & fund selection due diligence process

The Endowus Investment Office as a trusted advisor

Large institutions hire what are called fund of funds (FoF) managers to select the best funds for them to build into a portfolio — an exclusive service for the biggest sovereign wealth funds and the largest global institutional investors.

We've already done most of the hard work for you in screening and doing due diligence to curate the best funds for you to choose from. You can add criteria that is important to you across the various asset classes, geographies, sectors, thematics, styles, and factors.

When it comes to investing, it can be counter-productive to have a plethora of options. In that, you will need a trusted advisor to help you select the best choices — a team that's entirely aligned to helping you grow your wealth with the right incentives.

The Endowus Investment Office is made up of 10 investment professionals. We have over 92 years of total industry experience, spanning across equity research, portfolio management, and investment research.

The fund selection process

The Endowus Investment Office takes a unique path in curating best-in-class and the best-performing funds from the largest global and local fund managers. We select these funds by implementing a strict, institutional-grade screening process that is rigorous, thorough, and continuous — we call this framework SMART+.

Diagram: SMART+ fund selection process on Endowus

Most people may think they understand what "best-performing" means, but this is in fact is not clearly defined. It can mean different things to different people, and which period you look at in performance could make a fund look good or bad. It is therefore important to look at performances over the longer term and through cycles.

Normally, distributors tend to push the funds that have performed the best in the past one year, three years, or even just in the past few months. This is no different from chasing the latest hot stock tips, and it's not the type of investments we want to recommend to our clients.

We define best-in-class as the highest integrity funds for each asset class or sub-category that exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Consistent in what they say and do. This is based on their investment philosophy, strategy, implementation, and execution.
  • Able to generate returns close to or above its relevant benchmarks consistently without taking unnecessary risks. The returns are always adjusted for the risks, and each risk has to be compensated in the returns it generates. Consistency over a meaningfully long period of time is important.
  • Good managers of risk, in terms of risks in the market, volatility, liquidity, style, duration, default, regulatory, FX, concentration, reinvestment, and so on. You need a certain scale, experience, and expertise in managing risk well.
  • Security and stability in the process and setup of the company and the fund, the investment team, the lead portfolio manager, investment and risk management procedures, and trading and execution capabilities.
  • For passive and passive plus or systematic quant strategies, the cost is paramount, as they are largely index or passive in nature. But this applies to all funds whether passive or active; Morningstar research has shown that cost is the single most important determinant of future returns. Therefore, being cost efficient and providing good funds at a low cost is a key factor of being a best-in-class fund.
Endowus Fund Smart curates unit trusts, unlike other platforms with too many costly choices

Great fund management is not new. At Endowus, we stand on the shoulders of giants, working with the largest global and local asset managers with proven track records, safeguards, and efficiencies of scale rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

These are fund managers who are aligned with the mission and vision of Endowus to help you save and invest better so you can live easier today and better tomorrow. We want to bring a higher level of integrity and a higher quality performance, all at the lowest cost achievable on the Endowus Fund Smart platform.

All of the best strategies and funds are immediately available on Fund Smart, from names that you are familiar with — such as JP Morgan, Dimensional, BlackRock, Amundi, PIMCO, Vanguard, Schroders, UBS, Franklin Templeton, Eastspring, Fidelity, Aberdeen Standard, PineBridge, Legg Mason, First Sentier (previously First State), Fullerton, Lion Global, Nikko, and UOB Asset Management.

DIY your own multi-fund portfolios with Fund Smart

It is our job at Endowus to get through the noise and handpick best-in-class funds, at the lowest cost achievable, so you can create personalised portfolios suitable for your goals and needs.

On the Fund Smart platform, you can customise the asset allocation and risk weighting of your choice for each portfolio — be it a 50:50 (half stocks, half bonds) portfolio, 70:30, balanced 60:40, or everything in between, in whatever ratio you see fit.

To get started, you may browse our most popular funds, low-risk cash funds, or passive income funds to earn regular payouts. Or consider passive index funds to track popular global indices at a low cost. On our investment funds list, you can filter the funds by equity sector (such as commodities, healthcare, real estate, and technology) and fixed income sector (such as corporate bonds, high yield, inflation-linked bonds, and investment grade).

Other ways to browse through the list is by risk level, dividend type (accumulating vs distributing), funding source (Cash, CPF OA, or SRS), investment styles, and currencies.

DIY cash management solutions are possible, too. Create or replicate any kind of cash management account out there with an appropriate risk and target yield in mind, or even build a new higher-yielding cash management portfolio for yourself.

If you're applying a core-satellite investment strategy, you could build your satellite portfolio using single funds on Fund Smart, by focusing on certain sectors, themes, geographies, or factors that you want additional exposure to. For example, you can filter funds by geography, ranging from the US, Asia, or Europe, to developed markets and emerging markets.

You can also create a portfolio with funds from a single fund manager. Examples include a portfolio fully made up of Dimensional equity funds, or a 100% PIMCO fixed-income portfolio.

Invest in Endowus advised portfolios when in doubt

Prefer to leave the fund selection to the experts? Consider our globally diversified, low-cost advised portfolios to help you get started.

Our core suite of Endowus advised portfolios — such as Flagship, Income, and Cash Smart — are designed to serve our clients’ main investment goals, ranging from short-term to long-term goals, and varying in risk appetite. You can use them for general investing or for long term goals such as retirement preparation. These portfolios are carefully built and maintained by the Endowus Investment Office, and can be suitable for novice and expert investors alike.

These advised portfolios remain the best way to gain globally diversified, low-cost market exposure to generate long-term returns.

That being said, we recognise that everyone is different and with varying personal needs, personal circumstances, different goals, and investment views that may require different levels of customisation.

Therefore, on the Fund Smart platform, you can choose to build your own do-it-yourself (DIY) portfolios from scratch, using the best-in-class funds curated by our Investment Office as building blocks for your customised portfolio.

Endowus Fund Smart is a revolutionary way to build your personal portfolio with guardrails in place. This complements our advised portfolios, which are meant to make up the core component of your investment portfolio. Learn more about how to apply the core-satellite portfolio concept with strategic and tactical asset allocation strategies.

For further details about the Endowus core-satellite investment strategy, click here.

The Endowus cost advantage

The Endowus Fee for Single Fund Goals via Fund Smart (Cash, CPF, and SRS) is 0.3% p.a., reinforcing our commitment to reduce the cost of investing. This pricing means that more than 95% of the funds are now cheaper on Endowus than on any other fund platform, bank, private bank, financial advisor, or broker in Singapore.

It doesn't matter whether you have $10,000 in the DBS account or $10 million in a UBS private banking account — the experience is often broken with poor advice, with people pushing you the wrong types of funds that are not suitable for you and at an exorbitant cost that takes away from your returns and leads to poor outcomes.

Cost and returns are two sides of the same coin. By paying high costs, you are giving up your returns, and lowering the cost has an immediate substantial and direct boost to your returns. That is why Endowus is so fixated about trying to reduce the cost of investing at every layer and as much as possible.

For details on our transparent pricing, click here.

Cost comparison example when investing in a single fund on platforms in Singapore

Chart: Illustration of fees incurred for investments in Equity Fund X across different platforms in Singapore and vs Endowus. Net savings are about 3.05% with Endowus, after our 100% Cashback on trailer fees. Note: Fees are on a per annum basis and based on market research as of April 2023.

Helping you understand and build a portfolio suitable for you

With Fund Smart, we have included useful advisory tools to help you build your portfolios with full transparency on the most important information you require.

When you invest in a fund through a DIY fund platform, bank, or broker, you are often making investment decisions without the necessary information or advice needed to invest in the most appropriate way for you.

For example, they do not:

  1. Prompt you to assess your risk tolerance when you choose your funds;
  2. Give enough information on historical returns and projected outcomes at the portfolio level and often even at the single fund level;
  3. Show what the overall portfolio looks like with the top underlying holdings, sectoral, and geographical exposure of the portfolio;
  4. Provide transparency on the fees you are paying and what the platforms are receiving in the form of kickback commissions from the fund management companies.

As a firm believer of improving your investment process and outcomes, we embrace a higher standard of advice, transparency, and goal-based investing: we want you to invest based on your risk tolerance.

When you first set up a Fund Smart goal, you first have to indicate your maximum drawdown (for cash management solutions) or loss tolerance (for investments).

loss tolerance assessment page screenshot

After indicating your risk/loss tolerance, you will be guided to choose your funds, and the percentage allocation of it. You can search for fund rationales and other necessary fund documents. On the fund rationale page are also links to the fund management company's fund page with more information and documents to help you make a better-informed decision.

Based on your risk tolerance and your fund choice, we will intelligently calculate to identify whether your chosen portfolio is aligned with your stated risk and loss tolerance and goal.

risk tolerance warning screenshot

Our engines can immediately calculate the necessary information, including historical returns, underlying portfolio holdings and positions, projected outcomes, and full transparency on fees. The advice will help you understand your needs and your portfolio better.

additional information page screenshot

You will have full transparency on fees upfront so you know exactly who you are paying and how much. We will not take any commissions from fund managers or other product providers that may influence our decision and misalign us from serving your best interest.

There are also no additional fees or charges on the Endowus platform. Other robo-advisors regularly charge a 0.08% to 0.1% spread on your FX transactions when they convert to US dollars (USD) to access US-listed exchange-traded funds (ETFs). We do not have any other charges, and show everything transparently.

What's different about Endowus?

Just like our advised portfolios, our Fund Smart platform comes from the deep desire to meet the needs of our clients in managing their wealth. It's difficult enough trying to do it alone. Endowus is the advisor that will always be enabling solutions that work for you and fighting for you on your side.

We are constantly looking at ways to help you invest better by:

  • Providing direct and curated access to institutional share-class, trailer-free funds from the world's leading asset managers
  • Helping you understand the expected returns and risks of a portfolio
  • Automated monitoring and rebalancing, all the time
  • Keeping fees as low as possible with no sales fees, no transaction fees, and Endowus' industry-first 100% trailer fee rebates
  • Ensuring safety and security with assets held securely in your own name, at UOB Kay Hian, Singapore's largest broker
  • Delivering convenience on the 100% digital Endowus platform, investible with Cash, CPF & SRS

We started Endowus with a mission to help people save and invest better and prepare for their future, so they can live easier today, and better tomorrow. Today, thousands entrust their wealth with Endowus — investing their Cash, CPF & SRS in optimised portfolios designed for their wealth goals.

Not sure how to invest with Fund Smart? Find out everything you need to know in our FAQs. If you wish to invest in an accredited investor-only (AI-only) fund or a non-SGD fund, please contact support@endowus.com.

If you have more questions, our team of MAS-licensed client experts are here to walk you through our platform and advise you on your wealth management needs. Schedule a call for personalised advice here.

With Endowus, you can build bespoke portfolios — just like the big institutions and private banks do for large clients — at a cost that is unmatched by any fintech startup or traditional player.

How to start using Fund Smart:

  1. Log in to your Endowus account
  2. Add a new goal
  3. Select "Fund Smart" and follow the instructions.
How to use Endowus Fund Smart - select your funds

*By selecting Fund Smart, you will need to acknowledge that you do not wish to obtain advice or a recommendation from Endowus. Full details of the required acknowledgement will be made available to you when you create your Fund Smart portfolio on our platform. Our investment philosophy and approach may be found here.

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Investment involves risk. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance or returns. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up, and you may not get the full amount you invested. Rates of exchange may cause the value of investments to go up or down. Individual stock performance does not represent the return of a fund.

Any forward-looking statements, prediction, projection or forecast on the economy, stock market, bond market or economic trends of the markets contained in this material are subject to market influences and contingent upon matters outside the control of Endow.us Pte. Ltd (“Endowus”) and therefore may not be realised in the future. Further, any opinion or estimate is made on a general basis and subject to change without notice. In presenting the information above, none of Endowus Pte. Ltd., its affiliates, directors, employees, representatives or agents have given any consideration to, nor have made any investigation of the objective, financial situation or particular need of any user, reader, any specific person or group of persons. Therefore, no representation is made as to the completeness and adequacy of the information to make an informed decision. You should carefully consider (i) whether any investment views and products/ services are appropriate in view of your investment experience, objectives, financial resources and relevant circumstances. You may also wish to seek financial advice through a financial advisor or the Endowus platform and independent legal, accounting, regulatory or tax advice, as appropriate.

Investment into collective investment schemes: Please refer to respective funds’ prospectuses for details of the funds, their related fees, charges and risk factors, The listing of units of the fund on a stock exchange does not guarantee a liquid market for the units. Before making an investment decision, you are reminded to refer to the relevant prospectus for specific risk considerations.

For Cash Smart Secure, Cash Smart Enhanced, Cash Smart Ultra: It is not a bank deposit and not capital guaranteed, and is subject to investment risks, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested. Investment products are not insured products under the provisions of the Deposit Insurance and Policy Owners Protection Schemes Act 2011 of Singapore and are not eligible for deposit insurance coverage under the Deposit Insurance Scheme. Interest rates are indicative and subject to change at any time.

Product Risk Rating: Please note that any product risk rating (the “PRR”) provided by us is an internal rating assigned based on our product risk assessment model, and is for your reference only. The PRR is subject to change from time to time. The PRR does not take into account your individual circumstances, objectives or needs and should not be regarded as advice or recommendation to purchase, hold or sell any fund or make any other investment decisions. Accordingly, you should not solely rely on the PRR in making your investment decision in the relevant Fund.

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