Review of: SigFig
Reviewed by: Larry Ludwig
Last modified: July 23, 2017
SigFig is a robo-advisor service that offers asset management, diversified income, and portfolio tracking. Altogether, SigFig itself isn't a bad service, and it offers free portfolio tracking. But the recommendations it makes seem simple at best. There are better robo-advisors available.
SigFig was developed by the same group who developed Wikinvest, and the company is a registered investment advisor. They recently updated their offerings from just the free investment advice and account aggregation to offer three different types of services: asset management, diversified income and portfolio tracking.
The service is similar to Personal Capital, but SigFig focuses only on investing, while Personal Capital aggregates all financial institutions and not just brokerage accounts.
SigFig’s portfolio tracking service is completely free, while having an asset-managed account or diversified income account costs 0.25 percent and 0.50 percent annually, respectively. SigFig’s goal is to be a middleman between retail investors and advisors, while offering you options to stay on top of your investment portfolio.
How to Get Started With SigFig
Within SigFig you can import only brokerage firms; unlike Mint.com or Personal Capital, you can’t manage your credit card or checking accounts. So it may not be the best app aggregator for all your financial accounts.
To start, I suggest trying out their Portfolio Tracking feature for free. It takes about 60 seconds to create a new account and input your brokerage information.
You will then be taken back to the Overview, section where you can either add more accounts to your portfolio or see all your investments at a glance. Sigfig will show your overall balance and current holdings, as well as the U.S. stock market ratings of assets in your portfolio.
Below this, you’ll see a breakdown, in which you can View Holdings to see all the details. If you click on the Report Card tab, you’ll see the current standing of your portfolio and how it stacks up to the market. As you can see, my current portfolio has a pretty great rating, with only one category coming in at four out of five stars.
Take it one step further and optimize your portfolio with suggestions based on your risk tolerance and several other factors. This process takes only a few seconds to complete, as you’ll be asked nine questions.
As you can see, this same portfolio is now maximized to get five out of five stars in all categories.
|Accounts Available||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, Trusts, Individual and Joint|
|Mobile App||Yes — Apple iOS and Google Android|
|Customer Service||Phone — 9A-6P PT; Email — 24/7|
Once you’ve linked all of your investment accounts, SigFig gives advice and shows the performance of your entire portfolio.
The Holdings section of their site could be very useful if you have multiple accounts with different brokers (who doesn’t?). The functionality is very similar to Quicken. SigFig gives a great bird’s-eye view of your complete portfolio.
Users of SigFig can still keep their assets with their existing brokerage. SigFig simply reinvests your money using unbiased algorithms to balance the portfolio for optimal risk and returns with constant monitoring and automatic rebalancing.
Through its partnerships with Fidelity, Schwab and TD Ameritrade, the company’s investment strategies work to analyze, monitor and improve any portfolio, automatically balancing and diversifying investments, while reducing risk and minimizing fees.
They offer three tiers of products:
- Portfolio Tracking — a free tracking tool that aggregates your entire investment portfolio in one glance. Cost: free. Minimum investment: none.
- Diversified Income — make the most of your CDs, bonds, US Treasuries and bank interest rates in this low-rate environment. Cost: 0.50% annual fee. Minimum investment: $100,000
- Asset Management — keep your portfolio balanced and diversified, while maximizing your investment earning potential. Cost: 0.25% annual fee. Minimum investment: $2,000
To capitalize on their service, once you see your entire portfolio and measure it against the optimized version, you can keep rebalancing it and checking it with their Managed Account option. They will manage up to $10,000 for free and then it costs 0.25 percent annually, billed each month.
|—||Read the Review||Read the Review|
|Fees||First $10k managed free; 0.25%/year for $10k+||Digital – 0.25%/year, Plus – 0.40%/year, Premium – 0.50%/year||First $10k managed free; 0.25%/year for $10k+|
|Promotions||None||Up To 1 Year Free||$15k Managed for Free|
|Compare Other Robo-Advisors|
SigFig currently has apps for iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Apple Watch, Android and Windows 8 tablet. For this review of SigFig, I tested the iPhone app.
Once you set up your account via their website, it’s pretty easy to set up on your mobile device too. The mobile app has very similar functionality as the desktop version, which is why we named it one of the best investment apps for smartphones.
According to Gregg, a representative of the company, by analyzing data from SigFig’s $350B in tracked assets, they discovered that 90 percent of investors in their service have costly problems, from cash flow drag to poor diversification. In an effort to rectify this, SigFig recently launched a new feature called SigFig Guidance.
This is a free automated tool that uses findings from investor data to optimize your portfolio in minutes and find ways to help you stop losing money. By simply connecting any investment account to SigFig, SigFig Guidance instantly diagnoses common problems and offers unbiased, personalized recommendations for how to manage risk, improve returns and lower fees.
Just like FutureAdvisor, SigFig connects to existing accounts; most of the other robo-advisors require investors to hand over cash in order to properly invest. This new feature from SigFig is free, and it takes only three minutes to analyze your portfolio, identifying common investor mistakes.
- Enter the credentials for your investment accounts and answer the questions on the risk assessment questionnaire.
- Guidance analyzes your portfolio and drills down to compare and contrast current allocations.
- Your report flags problematic aspects in your investments and recommends an optimized portfolio that avoids common mistakes.
Their Portfolio Tracking feature is completely free and entails getting a weekly email summary of how your investments are doing. This weekly report includes this week’s top movers, the latest portfolio news and a snapshot of your portfolio performance.
Another great perk to using SigFig is that your first $10,000 in managed funds are done without the regular annual fee. This makes their service appealing to investors who may want to test out what they offer without spending money on fees.
The recommended portfolio advice is just OK as it can be very inaccurate if taken at face value. The recommendations seem to focus on previous performance of the various ETFs or mutual funds you own, rather than a good asset allocation mix.
It tends to emphasize focus on low fees, which is a good consideration but should not be the entire picture. And their recommended funds are sometimes ones that have high fees.
For some reason in their recommendation section, they labeled my account as an “Active Trader” and gave a list of recommend brokerages.
- Free Investment Tracking — The portfolio tracking feature is completely free to use.
- Free Portfolio Review — SigFig's expert financial advisors provide complimentary portfolio reviews.
- No Annual Fee Under $10,000 — Your first $10,000 in managed funds are done without the regular annual fee.
- Inaccurate Advice — The recommended portfolio advice is just OK, as it can be very inaccurate.
- Recommended Funds with High-Fees — In our testing, some of the recommended funds were high in fees, whereas some of the other available funds available were lower in cost.
It is most similar to Personal Capital in features. However, Personal Capital offers financial advisors in-house, and not via third parties.
Using this service as an aggregator is great, and the comparison features, daily updates and fee breakdown really give you a good sense of your portfolio. While the service might be unbiased by financial advisors, it does recommend funds loaded with fees.
SigFig’s calculations do not take into account a longer time frame and relies too much on Sharpe ratio for future performance. For a free service, the Portfolio Tracking is good at what it does.
So I would recommend using SigFig for the aggregation features and not so much for the recommendations feature.