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Robo review: Editor regrets his risk-averse ways with Evestor

I should have taken more risk. After a year my £500 invested with evestor had grown to just £511.75. What was I afraid of?

Robo review: Editor regrets his risk-averse ways with Evestor

I should have taken more risk. After a year my £500 invested with evestor had grown to just £511.75. What was I afraid of?

Of my automated allocated portfolio, 52.3% is in fixed interest. The largest equity holding, UK equity, represents 14.3%. That must have gone into the BlackRock UK Equity Tracker fund.

To cut to the chase, after seeing how our news editor Charles Walmsley had made £300 (albeit over a longer time period and for a larger investment amount, but still), I wanted a piece of the action.

And, more seriously, I am 33 years old, with a steady job, in a joint income household. I could afford to take the risk.

How do I do that? Evestor’s site is still pretty Spartan. It only recently added the feature of topping up investments. Evestor simply did not expect anyone to need that in the first year.

The easiest thing to do was click on the ‘chat to evestor’ button. After identifying myself (name, email address and phone number) I was greeted by Ben (I assume a real human, not an AI, as there was a picture of him).

‘How are you today?’ Ben asked. I said I wanted to take more risk with my investment.

‘Good to hear,’ he replied. But as an advised customer, ‘we ask that you speak to an adviser before you make any changes.’ OK. ‘This is just to make sure you understand all key risks of changing the risk in your portfolio.’ Absolutely.

Ben directed me to another icon, ‘book an appointment’. Clicking through, it asked me the reason for booking: defined benefit transfer, product top up or other. Reason? I wrote ‘taking more risk with my investments’. Then I just chose a time.

I was called by a very friendly operative who wanted to know what had changed. Why did I want to take more risk? That was easy enough, I would not be badly affected by losses, I have a long term time horizon and, well, the money could be doing better. Had my financial circumstances changed since the investment was first made? Look, it is only a £500 investment but they had to ask the question. But yes, actually. Apart from a pay rise (thanks boss!) I also, sadly, inherited some bits and bobs from my dad, but they have helped. 

Following the phone conversation Evestor emailed me to ask if I could confirm the changes I had told them in writing. After a reminder email had to be sent to me I did that. So I have now been moved from portfolio 1 to portfolio 2 and a suitability report addendum has been added to my online documents.

To re-cap, portfolio 1 included the Vanguard Global Bond Index Hedged fund (25%); the Baillie Gifford Cash A fund (21.5%); and the Vanguard UK Government Bond Index fund (18%). I pay an annual service charge of 0.35% (£1.75).

Portfolio 2 is made of iShares UK Equity index (27%), Vanguard Global Bond index Hedged (13%), the Fidelity Index US Fund (10%) and the Vanguard UK investment Grade Bond Index (9%).

I have taken a few weeks to get this all sorted and then get this piece written, today's portfolio value is a princely £513.

P.S. On checking up on my investment recently I could not access the site. No matter, I was guided to download the evestor app. I have done so and all I can say is it looks promising. It has an option to link to my bank account and other spending cards and the provide analytics and even planning. I have not yet made use of all these functions and the app cannot access the evestor portal if the website is down also, as it is at the time of writing.

P.P.S.

One slip up by evestor occurred a couple of months ago when it emailed me a link to my annual summary, along with 238 other investors whose emails were clearly visible. While my personal data could not be seen by those recipients, apart from my own email address of course, it was an embarrassing mistake and all the worse since it happened after the general data protection rules come into force. However, Evestor was very quick to spot the transgression and I received an apologetic email within minutes, detailing the error and inviting any questions.

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