The Gen XY Lifestyle

Up and Syfe partner to provide financial peace of mind to Singaporeans

By  |  0 Comments

Singapore-based startups ‘Up’ by BetterTradeOff , a life planning platform and digital wealth manager Syfe have partnered to help Singaporeans deal with financial stress and plan for their future goals and needs.

From April, users can directly access digital wealth manager Syfe from inside the ‘Up’ platform, allowing them to seamlessly act on the plans they build, while providing additional insight for selecting the Syfe portfolio that best fits their goals and needs.

The Active Age speaks with both Laurent Bertrand, CEO and co-founder of BetterTradeOff and Ritesh Ganeriwal, Head of Investment Advisory from Syfe about the partnership, using Robo-advisors to build an investment portfolio and how to plan for crisis.

the Active Age: What’s the background behind Up and Syfe partnering together?

Laurent Bertrand (LB): Up is a revolutionary life planning platform that simplifies the financial planning process, providing people with a free do-it-yourself online tool for exploring and understanding different financial choices and outcomes.

With Up people can explore a wide range of financial situations, including life events, such as purchasing a new home or planning a child’s education; financial challenges like managing their expenses and savings; or building a plan for retirement.

With partners like Syfe, Up users have access to expert advice directly within Up, and the opportunity to seamlessly execute the plans they build with flexible investment solutions designed to control risk, while increasing returns.

AA: How can Up and Syfe help Singaporeans plan for different financial goals and needs?

LB: Up is comprehensive. It encompasses all aspects of a person’s financial life, from the most detailed living expenses, to all forms of household income, and financial assets of all kinds, including real estate, insurance, private equity, stocks and bonds, and so on.

It incorporates local Singapore market data, automatically calculating items such as CPF, while accounting for local inflation rates by specific spending category, and things like people’s projected income growth. This makes planning with Up highly personal and allows simulations that are user specific, versus the one-size fits all projections standard retirement calculators provide. Users can explore multiple scenarios to find the plan that’s right for their goals and needs, while taking into account all of the information required to make sound financial decisions.

Ritesh Ganeriwal (RG): If investing is part of their plan, Syfe makes it easy to evaluate and select the right investment option from a range of diversified global portfolios.

Using a proprietary investment methodology, Syfe ensures portfolio risk is kept in line with the investors’ risk tolerance – which may vary depending on their objectives, life stage, or investor profile.

AA: How does Syfe view the adoption of robo-investment advisor services in the new landscape, post COVID-19?

RG: As cost-conscious investors seek lower fees and greater portfolio diversification, passively managed investments like Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are surging in popularity.

Demand for robo-advisory platforms, which mainly invest in ETFs, will continue growing as investors seek affordable and convenient options to build their wealth post COVID-19.

During this circuit breaker period, Singaporeans are fast adapting to digital services as well. Digital wealth managers will benefit from this trend as they respond to investors’ needs with innovative solutions. There are two additional reasons which will increase the pace of adoption in the coming months:

  • Firstly, banks in Singapore have recently announced interest rate cuts on savings accounts amid the declining interest rate environment globally. For investors seeking higher returns on their money over the long-term, lower-risk portfolios offered by robo-advisors will start to look more attractive as the low interest rate environment persists for some time to come.
  • Secondly, we see a new crop of investors keen to take advantage of the recent stock market sell-off. Many are considering robo-advisors such as Syfe, which offers globally diversified portfolios on an accessible, low-cost, easy-to-use platform. Reflecting this demand, Syfe has been seeing steady growth throughout this period as more and more new investors trust their money to us, and our existing clients stay on track with their investment plans.

AA: How does Up and Syfe help Singaporeans prepare for crises such as a pandemic, from a portfolio and risk management perspective?

RG: Syfe has put in place measures to help clients cope with the market volatility. All clients have access to Syfe’s licensed financial advisors for guidance and support during this period, and advisors make recommendations based on economic data and research insights.

Given current market conditions, Syfe advisors have been telling clients to stay calm and hold on. There is no need to be worried if they remain disciplined, stay invested, and keep a long-term perspective.

From a portfolio and risk management perspective, all Syfe portfolios are broadly diversified across asset classes, sectors and geographies. When markets fall, a diversified portfolio helps stem your losses – when some assets drop, you have others that provide stability.

Secondly, Syfe portfolios are built to cope with wild market swings. As market volatility rises, our automated risk managed investing (ARI) algorithm adjusts asset allocations to reduce risk across all portfolios.

For instance, during the initial days of the market drop from 19 to 25 February, our ARI algorithm decreased the share of equities and increased the share of lower-risk bonds and commodities.

While the S&P 500 has dropped 23.5% from February 19 to March 31, Syfe’s popular 15% Downside Risk (DR) portfolio only dipped 10.1%. In comparison, the benchmark Morningstar Moderate Index, also a globally diversified portfolio, lost 15%. Syfe’s re-balancing returned the risk levels of each portfolio back to their target downside risk levels. This in turn ensures that investors always know what risk they are taking, and can stay invested for a sustained period.

During this period, Syfe clients can expect that their investments will continue to remain in safe hands, and that we will continue to provide the best level of service, investment advisory, and support as we adapt to this new COVID-19 reality.

With market volatility still high, Syfe portfolios are currently adopting lower risk and more conservative allocations. But as volatility starts to decrease in the coming months, we will re-adjust portfolio compositions to benefit from the recovery.

LB: Up users can use the platform to explore different investment scenarios and risk levels before taking action, as well as look at other potential risks, such as job loss, or situations where a key bread-winner dies or is unable to work because of permanent disability.

Up allows users to see what the impact on their future will be, should such an event occur, and run simulations for solving the problem, through investments, insurances, or adjustments to their long-term plans.

AA: What are some reading resources Singaporeans and customers should definitely take a look at, as they consider using Up and Syfe for future financial planning purposes?

LB: There are many good financial blogs and websites in Singapore. These include established sites such as DollarsAndSense, Seedly, and Financial Horse, as well as up-and-coming blogs like New Academy of Finance.

BetterTradeOff’s Australian MD, David Haintz, has written an excellent book for Financial Advisors called ‘The Life-First Advisor’. The Intelligent Investor by Ben Graham is also a good investing book for new investors – it describes his strategy of loss minimization over profit maximization.

They can also consider Syfe’s free e-books on retirement planning and wealth building, and people can look out for new blog posts from BetterTradeOff coming soon.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *