SigFig

SigFig is a robo-advisor that wears many hats. It is an advisor, a portfolio manager and a provider of diversified income. It can take existing accounts under management, simply provide analysis, or open a new investment account.

SigFig has registered Assets Under Management(AUM) of $120 million over 2,610 accounts, with an average account size of about $46,000. Its core offering is management over existing accounts. It will take over strategy and management of your taxable accounts, IRA/Roth IRAs, and trusts for a fee, or simply provide a unified dashboard for all of your existing investment accounts for free.

Fees and investing

Portfolio Tracker is free with SigFig. All you do is sign up and add your 401(k), IRA, and brokerage accounts and SigFig aggregates them into one dashboard. There is no financial commitment, nor are your accounts affected. It’s only tracking and guidance, and you manage your own accounts as you did before signing up, just with more knowledge.

If you don’t want to manage your own various investments, you can turn over management to SigFig. A managed account requires $2,000, and is free up to $10,000. Beyond that, it costs 0.25% annually.  A managed account will provide all of the analysis, insight, comparison tools and news of the Portfolio Tracker, but will take care of all the management actions instead of just suggesting them.

The third option is a Diversified Income Portfolio. If you’re collecting interest on a bunch of money sitting around in CDs, Treasury bonds, or savings accounts this may be an option. For a minimum investment of $100,000 and an annual fee of 0.5%, SigFig will design a portfolio that is meant to be low-risk and produce dependable dividends.

Signing up

SigFig signup
SigFig will recommend a portfolio for you. (Image from https://www.sigfig.com)

For a free Portfolio Tracker account, you just need to create an account and link your existing brokerage accounts. Once you’re logged in, the account dashboard is the same as for a managed account. At any time, you can navigate to the “Managed” tab and open a managed account if you want to start incorporating SigFig’s suggestions.

For a Managed Account, you’ll be asked your age and the timeline of your investing, as well as basic income information. You’ll be presented a portfolio from a range of about 20 different options based on risk. You can adjust your risk tolerance to change the mix of asset classes. You can also select the tax-advantaged account option, which will present you with an entirely new mix of 20 portfolios, ranging from low- to high-risk. The next step requires you to fund your account to continue, so be ready with your bank details or the login details of any brokerage account you want to use.

For a Diversified Income Account, there is a short list of questions to decide whether that type of account is right for you. After that you’re presented with a portfolio made up of bonds, US Treasury securities, and equity. Other than the portfolio makeup, it’s very similar to the managed account.

Every type of account has the same account dashboard setup. There is a single login, and you can navigate between different tabs to look at an overview, account guidance and performance charts. To create an account, you must be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen.

What you get

SigFig user
The Portfolio Tracker will compare your portfolio to popular indexes. (Image from https://www.sigfig.com)

Portfolio Tracker allows you to follow your investments and market news, provides a weekly performance summary, and provides tools to compare your portfolio to peers and market indexes. SigFig will also analyze your portfolio to evaluate your risk, make any fees you’re paying transparent, and alert you if you’re overexposed to a single stock or industry.

With a Managed Account, you get a portfolio made up of 5-7 ETFs from nine different asset classes. ETFs are a broad holding of stocks or bonds, traded on a market. Like most ETFs, the ETFs offered are based on well-known, passive indexes. These ETFs are meant to track with the market so your holdings grow (and shrink) along with the market, instead of trying to “beat” the market like more actively managed funds. Many robo-advisors invest in passive ETFs because of the low expense ratios. You can change your allocation at any time by adjusting your risk tolerance. Tax-loss harvesting and automatic rebalancing are included.

When you put money into a Diversified Income Portfolio, SigFig will invest that money for you into 8-12 dividend-producing ETFs, which are automatically rebalanced. Diversified Income Portfolios are designed to achieve a target income, 4% of your investment.

With every account, you get access to market tracking, news and account guidance. There is chat and phone support always available (for free?) if you have questions, as well as a blog full of articles and advice. There are no commissions or other fees charged by SigFig other than the listed management fees.

The upshot

Portfolio Tracker is a useful tool and a great way to get a feel for SigFig without dedicating any funds. The 0.25% management fee is low for a robo-advisor, as is 0% fee on accounts under $10,000, as long as you can meet the $2,000 minimum. While there isn’t a large amount of customization available, it’s typical of robo-advisors to offer a few portfolio allocation options based on risk. With around 20 options available for taxable accounts, and another 20 for tax-advantaged, that’s a good selection of options. Many robo-advisors that use Modern Portfolio Theory and divide up portfolios based on risk tolerance offer fewer options.

While there isn’t extensive goal planning or personalization, SigFig offers up quite a bit of convenience with its free unified dashboard to track all of your investments. When you include those services with a variety of risk-based portfolios made of low-cost ETFs, and fee-free management under $10,000, you get a competitive offering when it comes to robo-advisors.