Robo Advisors vs TNG GO+: What's the Difference? | eWhallet

Robo Advisors vs TNG GO+: What's the Difference?

27/05/2021Shen Lee

Recently, Touch ‘n Go released their latest investment feature GO+ which has sparked much excitement in the FinTech scene. With the multitude of alternative investment platforms today however, it can certainly get confusing.

How does GO+ differ from StashAway, Wahed Invest and all the other cash management/alternative investment platforms?

In this guide, we put GO+ up against some of the most popular robo advisors in Malaysia - from how they work to how much ROI you stand to gain. 

Robo advisors: What are they, and how do they work?

Think of robo advisors as digital portfolio managers. Typically, a human portfolio manager manages your investment portfolio for you. He/She assesses your risk profile, allocates the assets accordingly and rebalances it as necessary - that’s a lot of tough work. 

With robo advisors, everything is automated thanks to specific algorithms in place which help things run on autopilot. 

Most robo advisor platforms in Malaysia typically come in the form of an app. After a simple registration and authentication process, you’ll be asked a set of questions to determine your investment goals and risk appetite. From there, you deposit your capital and watch your portfolio’s performance through the app.

Benefits of investing with robo advisors in Malaysia

  • Lower barrier to entry

  • More affordable fees

  • Passive in nature

  • Higher liquidity and not locked in

Lower barrier to entry

Most investment options offering comparatively similar returns (for example unit trusts and ETFs) typically require an initial capital of around RM1,000. Property is on a whole other level, while EPF, Fixed Deposits and their capital-guaranteed equivalents can barely compare. 

Most robo advisors in the market either require a minimum investment of RM 100 or nothing at all.

For the everyday investor, there are also informational barriers to account for. Many Malaysians lack the financial know-how and confidence to get started in investing. Here is where robo advisors come in the picture as they offer a straightforward solution with a simple user interface.

More affordable fees

The fees involved with robo advisors include annual management fees, exit fees and entry fees. Most robo advisors available on the market today charge significantly lower fees across the board. 

Management fees are charged as a percentage of the total amount of money held. At present, most robo advisors in Malaysia charge between 0.2 - 0.8%. For comparison, the average unit trust charges between 1.0 - 2.0%. 

Scroll down for a side-by-side comparison of robo advisor fees in Malaysia.

Passive in nature

Most casual investors aren’t looking to actively monitor their portfolio’s performance in detail. Robo advisors are a great set-it-and-leave-it passive investment solution, allowing you to check on the progress with the touch of an app.

Higher liquidity and not locked in

Investment options like Fixed Deposits require you to commit to having your money locked up for higher returns. Others may be more liquid, but involve a tedious withdrawal process or penalty fees to do so. 

Most robo advisors in Malaysia allow you to withdraw at any time without incurring any withdrawal fees. 

Downsides to investing with robo advisors in Malaysia

  • No PIDM protection

  • Limited customizability

No PIDM protection

Most people share the same concern when it comes to robo advisors: “What happens if the company goes bankrupt or closes?”

While your funds may not be protected by PIDM, robo advisors in Malaysia receive a Capital Market Services License by the Securities Commission under the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007.

Limited customizability

Since robo advisors operate based on pre-set algorithms, most of them don’t permit investors to customise their asset allocations exactly how they want it. One exception is MyTHEO. Then again, that negates the whole premise behind robo advisors being an algorithm-driven passive investment. 

Introduction to robo advisors in Malaysia 

Now that we’ve got some of the basics of robo advisors down pat, let’s get to know our industry players a little better. The overall robo advisor concept is relatively new here in Malaysia, with no more than ten licensed robo advisors at the time of writing. The table below only details a few of the most popular ones. 

Note that the table also includes investment/cash management platforms which do not fit the definition of “robo advisor” but may use robo-intelligence or related technology. 

Robo advisor 

Description

Launched 

StashAway 

First robo advisor in Malaysian market. Employs a proprietary algorithm which emphasizes risk management throughout economic cycles. 

2018

Wahed Invest

Shariah compliant robo advisor expanded from the US, investing mainly in Malaysian and US stocks, sukuk and gold. 

2019

MyTHEO

Malaysian arm of Japanese robo advisor THEO. Mainly diversified through multiple ETFs, while investors can opt to customise their asset allocation.

2019

Raiz

Robo advisor which rounds up your debit card transactions to the nearest Ringgit, and invests the spare change into a portfolio of Amanah Saham Nasional Berhad (ASNB)’s unit trust funds. Partnership between Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) and Raiz Invest Australia Limited.

2020

BEST Invest

Shariah compliant investment app by BIMB Investment (subsidiary of Bank Islam Malaysia) using robo-intelligence. Own unit trusts as main underlying investments.

2020

Akru

Homegrown website-based robo advisor with 10 different portfolios for various risk profiles. Mainly investing in ETFs.

2020

Versa 

Digital cash management platform with returns on par with Fixed Deposits and allows withdrawal at any time penalty-free.

2021

How is Touch ‘n Go GO+ different from robo advisors?

GO+ by Touch ‘n Go is not a robo advisor. Confused? Here’s why. 

Traditional robo advisors like StashAway and Wahed Invest are managed by data-driven algorithms. User portfolios are customised based on their risk profile, and all the other nitty-gritty work is handled by the algorithm.

On the other hand, GO+ would be better categorised as a wealth or digital cash management platform as there are no algorithms. So, where are the funds going? 

Money in your GO+ account is invested in a single fund called Principal e-Cash, which is a money market fund managed by Principal Asset Management Berhad - a joint venture between CIMB Group Holdings Berhad and Principal Financial Group.

The aims of the fund are mainly liquidity and low-risk, which sees the portfolio featuring a combination of cash, money market instruments, placement of deposits and/or debt instruments in MYR. Find out more about the fund here.

Fee comparison: Robo advisors vs GO+ 

Robo advisor 

Management fees p.a.

Other fees

StashAway 

0.2 - 0.8%

  • ETF fee of 0.15 - 0.25% 


  • Currency conversion fee of  0.1% of transaction amount

Wahed Invest

0.39 - 0.79%

  • Minimal fees charged for deposit via FPX

MyTHEO

0.5 - 1.0%

-

Raiz

RM1.50 monthly, or 0.3% 

-

BEST Invest

-

  • 0.5% for money market funds

  • 1.5% for Malaysian equity funds

  • 1.8% for global equity funds

  • 1.2% for sukuk funds

Akru

0.2 - 0.7%

-

Versa

0.3%

  • Trustee fee of up to 0.05%

Touch ‘n Go GO+ 

Up to 0.45%

  • Trustee fee of up to 0.03% 

Returns compared: Robo advisors vs GO+

Below, we’ve compiled the returns of some robo advisors and cash management platforms in Malaysia in comparison with GO+. Disclaimer - past results do not necessarily predict future returns. 

A ton of factors go into the decision-making process of which platform you should be using. Are the fees more than you’d like to be paying for? Is the asset allocation in line with your risk profile and investment goals?

Robo advisor 

Returns p.a.

Notes 

StashAway 

3.0 - 15.4%

Annualised from launch till April 2021

MyTHEO

Growth portfolio: 1.62%

Income portfolio: - 0.45%

Inflation hedge: 3.46%

For April 2021 

Versa

Up to 2.4%

Projected return

Touch ‘n Go GO+ 

1.39%

Return rate at the time of writing (17/5/2021)

Robo advisors vs GO+ : Which investment should you pick?

Touch ‘n Go GO+ might be suitable for you if: You’re already an avid user of the Touch ‘n Go eWallet and are looking for a low-risk investment option to put your cash in that’s better than your everyday low-yield savings account. 

As we mentioned in our introductory article on GO+, the feature is best used to put your money to work while it’s already sitting unutilised in your TNG eWallet. 

Robo advisors might be suitable for you if: You want a hands-off and hassle-free option that allows you to invest in accordance with your appetite for risk. You’re also keenly aware of the risks associated with investing.

Granted, it’s not a fair fight to pitch robo advisors and other cash management platforms against each other. With different business models and target markets, each of them offer up advantages of their own. 

Tried out any of these platforms mentioned here? Share your experience on our Facebook page!

Earn 1.0% bonus rate for each referral with TNG’s +Kawan campaign!

As unbelievable as it sounds, Touch ‘n Go is offering an extra 1.0% return rate for each friend who signs up with your referral code. For the referral to be valid, the referred user has to deposit a minimum of RM10 into their GO+ account.

The bonus return rate is capped at RM3,000 of your GO+ balance, while the entire campaign is limited to RM1,600,000. The campaign is active now and ends on 10 August 2021, so if you haven’t registered a GO+ account - you might want to do that ASAP!

If you’ve already registered a GO+ account, simply go to your page to get the referral code.