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Diary of a digital investor: rating the robo adviser apps

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Diary of a digital investor: rating the robo adviser apps

Five online wealth managers are pitted against each other as Selin Bucak invests money and compares their services. Nutmeg, Moola, Wealthify, Moneyfarm and newcomer Wealthsimple have all put her in different risk buckets, from cautious to adventurous. Here, she chronicles her experiences.

It was only last month that I realised I was missing an important part of the experience of investing with robo-advisers: the mobile app. I started this column back in June and since then, the way my money is invested has been my main concern, when comparing the five providers.

But the tools that are available to the client and the presentation are also an important feature of the robo-advice model. Especially because in my opinion, the point of a robo adviser is combining the best of technology with the best of investment in an efficient way for time-poor, money-poor and travelling millennials. Not everyone sits in front of a computer all day long. 

So finally I downloaded the mobile apps for four of my robos. The reason it is not five is surprisingly because Gemma Godfrey’s company Moola, does not have one. On its home page, Moola says ‘investing, now as mobile as you’.

Considering this, and the fact that robo advisers highlight technology as a fundamental feature of their offering, Moola’s lack of an app is disappointing.

Of the four, here is what I thought: 

Nutmeg

Number of reviews: 20

My rating: 3 stars

Oh Nutmeg! For a company that is known for starting the whole robo-advice frenzy, the mobile app is not what you would expect. I can see how much money is in my pot, the style and the risk, and of course a graph of past performance. However, aside from a rudimentary breakdown of my portfolio between equities, bonds and other, there is not much information. I can pay in, but not withdraw. There is none of the insightful explanations of investment decisions that you find on the website.

When you compare the website to the app, Nutmeg has really dropped the ball on this.

Well, at least it made the effort to build an app, so that is something.

Moneyfarm

Number of reviews: 22

My rating: 4 stars

I like the Moneyfarm app. The home page is quite simple, it shows your portfolio and the available cash. When you enter your portfolio you get a nice summary of it, with how much you invested, past performance as well as expected performance. Then you can see the activity, which has all the details of what has been bought and sold since I invested. There is also a breakdown of the portfolio, with a helpful little pie chart.

The tabs below give the option to fund your account, withdraw money, contact the investment consultants as well as invite others to use Moneyfarm. All in all, a useful app that gives you the ability to invest on the go and review your investments at a moment’s notice. One thing that is missing is access to the content the company publishes on a regular basis.

Wealthify

Number of reviews: 19

My rating: 4 stars

The Wealthify app is pretty similar to the Moneyfarm app. It offers the same kind of things, such as performance, previous transactions and a breakdown of the investments. Visually it is more appealing to me, but to each their own. You can easily top up or withdraw.

It is also easy enough to contact the company, the only difference here is that Moneyfarm offers the option of a chat. But again, Wealthify has not put any of its content on the app. For this, you have to go on to the website.

Wealthsimple

Number of reviews: 21

My rating: 5 stars

Wealthsimple is by far my favourite app among all the robo advisers because of the simple fact that they have made everything on the website available to the mobile user.

Aside from the traditional portfolio information, they also have a news and tips section that others do not. In addition to the touch ID (which is a feature on all four apps), there is also the option of a two-step verification. At a time when cybersecurity is at the forefront of people’s minds, this, I think, is a nice touch. 

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