(From left to right) Thio Boon Kiat, Chief Executive Officer; Faizal Gaffoor, Chief Marketing Officer; Rachel Ong, Deputy Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Digital Channels and Sales; Wijaya Elham, Chief Operating Officer; Dharmo Soejanto, Chief Investment Strategist for UOBAM Invest
With the launch of UOBAM Invest, we caught up with the project steering team to share their thoughts on the development of the app for retail investors. We also asked them about their own robo-advisory investing experience and advice for both new and seasoned investors.
Q1. Why should investors consider robo-investing?
Boon Kiat: It is low cost and personalised to fit your goals and risk appetite. It also focuses on your end goals, not on selling you a fund or product. Because it is a solution that is diversified and not a narrowly concentrated product, it helps me resolve a key tenet for investing which is to allow me to sleep at night!
Faizal: Robo-investing offers you another alternative in investing with minimal to moderate human intervention based on certain algorithms and rules. As it is mostly rule based, there is less room for human emotions. In addition, robo-investing allows me to participate in global investment opportunities with low fees and low investment amount. These investment solutions are offered via online and mobile platforms and to me these tools are mostly easy to use.
Wijaya: Imagine having an investment expert managing your investments based on your personalised needs and goals at a very reasonable cost. That is what robo-investing is all about. Ironically, even though we work in an asset management firm, we need such a service too because we are always too busy taking care of other people’s money and not our own.
Dharmo: Low cost, hassle-free and tailored to my risk appetite.
Rachel: Robo-investing is a low-cost alternative of investing and ideal for investors trying to achieve their savings goals while looking to diversify their investment portfolio into solutions that are simple and fuss-free since portfolio allocations are optimised with little or no human intervention. For me, the lower cost of investing is a key benefit as this means that I can have a higher participation rate in the performance of the markets.
Q2. How has your experience been with robo-investing?
Boon Kiat: I personally like the ease of 24/7 access and in some cases like UOBAM Invest, its flexibility too.
Faizal: I enjoyed investing in couple of robo-investing mobile platforms available in the market. The registration and onboarding process to my surprise were fairly easy. Within minutes you get your account opened with instructions on how to transfer payments into the account. The follow-up immediate SMS from one of them on receipt of payment was reassuring.
Wijaya: I have only tried one other robo-adviser and what I like most is having it accessible at my fingertips – I can view, analyse, decide and adjust on the fly with ease.
Dharmo: Good. Fairly easy to sign up without having the hassle of opening accounts with some financial institutions.
Rachel: Robo-investing has been an insightful experience. The simple guided approach to help me plan savings goals. The goal tracking features have also allowed me to track my progress and make informed decisions in my financial planning process.
Q3. There is a perception that robo-investing can be daunting. It takes too long to understand and complete the steps. There are always security concerns. What is your take on this?
Boon Kiat: I think robo-investing is still in the nascent stages, no difference from digital banking some years ago. Today, we cannot imagine not having a mobile banking app. In good time, that will be the same for investing. The Covid-19 crisis has only accelerated the transformation.
Faizal: This is a common perception among some investors, including myself, before I actually tried. It is a matter of trying and getting used to the app. It is actually simple to use and navigate. When I had difficulties during my initial sign-up, I was approached quickly by the robo-adviser representatives who were able to resolve whatever questions or issued I faced. After getting used to these apps, it is a breeze and you know what is expected in each step. My 20-year-old son tried UOBAM Invest and his feedback was that it is smooth and quick. He said he will be investing and trying his luck to take some money from his father to invest. It is entirely possible that many people who invest with robo-advisers are doing so because they think that they are relatively safe investments. It is also advisable for investors to invest with reputable robo-platforms backed by trusted large institutions with good track record.
Wijaya: I do not think that is the standard perception. The expectation is in fact that it should be easy, convenient, frictionless and safe. That is why we designed our apps not only to meet but also exceed expectations. It’s about a continuous process of improving the user experience.
Dharmo: So far robo-advisers, including ours, have been trying to make it easy for the customers’ journey. I have also not heard about any major security breaches in robo-advisers.
Rachel: In actual fact, robo-investing is becoming simpler and more intuitive to empower clients to self-serve. That is why we constantly see robo-advisory apps upgrading themselves with new features to optimise their customer journey. On the security front for UOBAM Invest, all our transactions are transacted via bank-to-bank transfers with no intermediary accounts. Prior to the app launch, our robo-advisory app underwent a rigorous process to test for vulnerabilities before going live.
Q4. Which robo-advisers have you tried?
Boon Kiat: Stashaway and of course, UOBAM Invest!
Faizal: Stashaway and UOBAM Invest
Dharmo: Smartly and UOBAM Invest
Q5. Have you made/lost money on your robo-advisory investments?
Boon Kiat: I am up slightly in excess of 10% this year across the robo advisors i have invested, including UOBAM Invest (of course)!
Faizal: My returns to date are up by more than 4% without accounting for the periodic top-ups while that of my son is up 10% from his initial lump sum investment when UOBAM Invest was launched in late July.
Wijaya: I'm up about 5%. If I exclude the $20 bonus, still up about 4%.
Dharmo: Up approximately 4% but that is likely diluted by recent cash injection. I reckon the true return likely to be around 6+%.
Rachel: Over the past five months, I have adopted a disciplined approach by doing regular top-ups to make sure I maintain market exposure. My recommended portfolio which currently has a fairly balanced exposure in equities and bonds is up by 5%.
Q6. Why UOBAM Invest?
Boon Kiat: Beyond the usual propositions of simplicity, ease of access, transparency, low cost, UOBAM Invest is backed by our in-house investment experience in its asset allocation algorithm unlike the more generic ones from other robo-advisories. Then there is also the trust and legacy of UOB/UOBAM. The other important point I would make is that there is no minimum investment sum need to start. That opens up investing to a whole new generation like my 20-year-old son who will be investing $200, a significant portion of his monthly NS salary. If we do it right, we can educate our future generations to view investment and financial planning from a proper perspective and not just focus on short-term trading which we know how that can end eventually for a lot of investors!
Faizal: UOBAM Invest is simple, easy to use and navigate. After a quick and careful risk profile assessment, a portfolio consisting of global investments is recommended based on one’s goal, time horizon and risk profile. Onboarding with information submitted via MyInfo is also quick. Instantly, an account is opened. UOBAM Invest robo-advisory portfolio is tailor-made individually and based on UOBAM’s institutional grade fund management process and solutions. Multiple goals can also be set and monitored via the portfolio planner. UOBAM is a trusted brand with around 35 years of investment track record. Download the app and try it out with an amount you are comfortable with as there is no minimum amount needed to experience UOBAM Invest.
Wijaya: We think we have made UOBAM Invest, smart, safe and easy to use. We would love you to try and give us your feedback to make it better for you.
Dharmo: Besides the convenience of investing and the ability to do it even in small regular amounts, the digital platform is an important part of UOBAM’s future. I believe we should support it at its infancy and one day in future be able to say proudly, “I was there when it first started and I was one of the first customers.”
Rachel: UOBAM Invest is a simple, smart and safe robo-adviser that recommends personalised solutions which means you will be investing in a portfolio tailored to your profile and personal needs. In addition, UOBAM Invest offers the ability to set and monitor multiple spending goals in a holistic manner. The portfolio planner can help investors make financial planning decisions in an informed manner. We hope to be your investment partner as you embark on their financial planning journey.
In conclusion, the UOBAM Invest robo-adviser app has been designed with the customer experience and investment journey foremost in mind. One that is personalised to fit all your financial goals but also easy to use without the hassle of paperwork and documents to sign. It is simple, smart and safe to use.
So download our app today to start your journey with us.
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