SigFig Review 2021 – A Good Way to Track Your Portfolio

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SigFigBack in 2006, two enterprising “techies” named Parker Conrad and Michael Sha created a website called “Wikinvest.” They applied the function and design of a “wiki” page to create the simplified online portfolio manager. This picked up a few awards and mentions, including a spot on Time magazine's 2010 list of best websites. In 2012, Wikinvest evolved into SigFig, a registered investment advisory service with a few new functions and capabilities. Here's our review.
Commissions & Fees - 7
Customer Service - 6.5
Ease of Use - 7
Tools & Resources - 7
Investment Options - 6
Asset Allocation - 7

7

SigFig isn't the best robo investing platform available, but it's not bad, either. It offers free investment tracking, along with asset management and portfolio reviews. On the negative side, some investors might find its features lacking, and some users have complained that the portfolio advice wasn't particularly good.

SigFig is a robo investing platform that works using third-party investment brokerage accounts. That is, it provides the service while your account is held at Charles Schwab or Fidelity.

The company’s investment strategies work to analyze, monitor and improve any portfolio, automatically balancing and diversifying investments while reducing risk and minimizing fees. 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.

SigFig offers two tiers of products:

  • Portfolio Tracker — A free tracking tool that aggregates your entire investment portfolio in one place. Cost: free. Minimum investment: none.
  • Asset Management — Keep your portfolio balanced and diversified while maximizing your investment earning potential. Cost: free for the first $10,000; after that, 0.25% per year. Minimum investment: $2,000.

Once you’ve linked all of your investment accounts, SigFig gives advice and shows the performance of your entire portfolio.

The Holdings section of the site could be very useful if you have multiple accounts with different brokers (and who doesn’t?). The functionality is very similar to Quicken. SigFig gives a great bird’s-eye view of your complete portfolio.

Within SigFig, you can import only brokerage firms. Unlike with 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.

SigFig Features

Minimum Investment$2,000
FeesFirst $10k managed free; 0.25%/year for $10k+; 0.50% for Diversified Income Portfolio
Accounts
  • Taxable
  • Joint
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • 401(k)
  • Solo 401(k)
  • Trusts
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Partnerships
  • Coverdell
  • 529
  • Custodial
  • Non-Profit
  • 401(k) Guidance
401(k) Assistance
Tax Loss Harvesting
Portfolio Rebalancing
Automatic Deposits
Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Bimonthly and Quarterly
AdviceAutomated
Smart Beta
Socially Responsible
Fractional Shares
Customer ServicePhone: M–F 6A–6P PT; Live Chat: M–F 6A–6P PT; Email
  • Tax Loss Harvesting (TLH) — SigFig offers this feature, which has become increasingly common among robo advisors. But SigFig takes a more holistic strategy with investment tax consequences. In addition to TLH, it also provides tax-optimized sales (strategies to minimize taxes from rebalancing) and tax-efficient migration (income-generating investments are held in tax-sheltered accounts). SigFig also engages in “whitelisting” when you first open an account. That’s a process whereby investments that you already hold in your portfolio are retained, as long as they are close to the SigFig allocation. This minimizes the capital gains taxes that might result from SigFig completely revamping your existing portfolio. TLH requires a minimum account balance of $10,000.
  • SigFig Mobile Apps — 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 functionality is very similar to the desktop version, which is why we named it one of the best investment apps for smartphones.
  • Automatic Dividend Reinvesting — Dividends are automatically reinvested. And new cash contributed to the account is also invested for you. The intent is to minimize “cash drag” by keeping your account fully invested at all times. The account will hold only enough cash to pay the management fee.
  • Account Security — SigFig manages your account, but it does not actually take custody of the funds. Your account is actually held through either Fidelity, Schwab or TD Ameritrade. Each of those brokers maintains coverage through SIPC. That means that your account is protected for up to $500,000 in cash and securities (including $250,000 in cash) in the event of broker failure. (SIPC coverage does not extend to losses due to market factors.)

SigFig Screenshots

    SigFig Guidance

    According to Gregg, a representative of the company, analyzing data from $350 billion in tracked assets led to the discovery that 90% of investors in the service had costly problems, from cash flow drag to poor diversification. In an effort to rectify this, SigFig launched a 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. It takes only three minutes to analyze your portfolio, identifying common investor mistakes.

    Here's how it works:

    • 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.

    SigFig's Three Product Tiers

    Portfolio Tracker

    The Portfolio Tracker 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.

    Of course, it doesn’t actively manage your portfolio. But it does provide a high-altitude assessment of your holdings on an ongoing basis.

    Use of the Portfolio Tracker also comes with access to other SigFig services, including Investment Account Sync, Reporting Dashboards, External Portfolio Analysis and live support (phone and online chat).

    Asset Management

    This is SigFig's primary product offering. It includes the following services:

    • Investment Account Sync
    • Portfolio Tracker
    • Reporting Dashboards
    • External Portfolio Analysis
    • Live support (phone and chat)
    • A free consultation with an investment advisor to discuss your investment strategy
    • Personalized Portfolio Allocation
    • Cash Optimization (to minimize “cash drag” on invested funds)
    • Automatic rebalancing
    • Automatic reinvestment

    SigFig Asset Management requires a minimum investment of $2,000. It's free for the first $10,000 invested, after which you'll be charged an annual advisory fee of 0.25%.

    The Asset Management investment mix is comprised of the following asset classes:

    • U.S. Stocks
    • Developed Markets (non-U.S.) Stocks
    • Emerging Markets Stocks
    • Real Estate
    • U.S. Bonds
    • Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities
    • Municipal Bonds
    • Emerging Market Sovereign Debt
    • Short-Term U.S. Treasurys

    Each asset class will be represented by a single exchange traded fund (ETF). The ETFs are commission-free and selected from Vanguard, Schwab, and iShares. The exact mix of ETFs will depend upon the brokerage account that you have. For the most part, there will be a set of ETFs unique to accounts held at Fidelity, Schwab or TD Ameritrade.

    HighlightsPersonal CapitalBettermentSigFig
    Rating9.5/109/107/10
    Minimum to Open Account$100,000$0$2,000
    401(k) Assistance
    Two-Factor Auth.
    AdviceAutomatedHuman AssistedAutomated
    Socially Responsible Investing

    How to Open an Account With SigFig

    To start, we suggest trying out the Portfolio Tracker for free. It takes about 60 seconds to create a new account and input your brokerage information.

    You will then be taken to the “Overview” section, where you can either add more accounts to your portfolio or see all of 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 select “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.

    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 a series of questions, including:

    • Your age
    • Your investment time horizon — less than five years, five to 10 years, or 10-plus years
    • Your household income
    • The amount of your income that you save
    • The amount of your liquid assets
    • Your risk tolerance

    You’ll then be asked to do a self-evaluation that will determine your risk tolerance. You’ll be asked a series of questions that will determine your reaction to losing money in your portfolio. That will enable SigFig to more precisely optimize your portfolio allocations.

    SigFig Pros & Cons

    Pros



    Free Portfolio Tracker
    —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 handled without the regular annual fee.

    Competitive Management Fees
    —The management fee of 0.25% matches that charged by robo advisor competitors Betterment and Wealthfront and is better than TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios (at 0.30%), Fidelity Go (at 0.40%) and Wealthsimple (at 0.40% an 0.50%).

    Investment Diversification
    —Your portfolio allocation includes real estate, in addition to stocks and bonds.

    Tax Loss Harvesting
    —This is a particularly strong feature for SigFig. It goes beyond tax-loss harvesting to include tax optimized sales, tax-efficient migration and whitelisting.






    Cons



    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 were lower in cost.

    High Fees on the Diversified Income Portfolio
    —The fee of 0.50% is extremely high, especially since it’s an income-oriented portfolio.

    Limited Investment Platform Options
    —You must use Fidelity, Charles Schwab or TD Ameritrade. So if you’re currently investing through Ally Invest or E*TRADE, which have lower commissions, you’ll have to move your account.








    Summary

    Using SigFig as an aggregator is great, and the comparison features, daily updates and fee breakdown really give you a good sense of your portfolio. However, while SigFig’s financial advisors may be unbiased, the service does recommend funds loaded with fees.

    Also on the downside, SigFig’s calculations do not take into account a longer time frame and rely too much on the Sharpe Ratio for future performance. The recommended portfolio advice is just OK, as it can be very inaccurate if taken at face value. And the recommendations seem to focus on the previous performance of the various ETFs or mutual funds you own, rather than a good asset allocation mix.

    We would recommend using SigFig for the aggregation features and not so much for the recommendations.

    Larry Ludwig

    Larry Ludwig was the founder and editor in chief of Investor Junkie. He graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor of science in computers and a minor in business. Back in the ’90s, I helped create some of the first financial websites for firms like Chase, T. Rowe Price, and ING Bank, and later went on to work for Nomura Securities. He’s had a passion for investing since he was 20 years old and has owned multiple businesses for over 20 years. He currently resides in Long Island, New York, with his wife and three children.

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    12 Comments

    1. I noticed SigFig pricing was incorrect today. Their support said they are working on the problem and that it had just started today. They provided no notification of the problem and at this time have no plans to notify users when the problem is addressed. Failure to accurately reflect market prices is bad. Failure to notify users that the information they are looking at is based on inaccurate prices is unforgivable. Having discovered this problem and they’re approach to addressing this problem has proven to me that they can not be trusted. They are willing to knowingly provide fundamentally flawed information while hoping users won’t notice. Anyone doing this deserves zero confidence and has proven to be untrustworthy.

    2. For the past 6 weeks I have been trying to get someone at SigFIg to enable me to add to my portfolio on AOL two investments I purchased , Berkshire Hathaway CL B, usual symbol is BRK>B, or BRK/B and Forescout FSCT, no problem finding on Fidelity, Morningstar, MerrillLynch ,Morgan Stanley, but SIG FIG cannot get it done!!!On line chat with George no help, with Kwame promises, Megan Crowley the same, they have big problems if they cannot add a Fortune 500 company like Berkshire Hathaway!! Phone call to 415-558-9611 left a message. Larry Ludwig can you help me or help them by getting this message up high enough that some kicks a–. Thanks

    3. It is very frustrating to log on to my account only to see the message “We are currently performing scheduled maintenance. Please try again later. Thank you for your patience.” These “scheduled” periods don’t conform to any schedule that I can determine. If THEY know when they are going to be, can’t they indicate such time periods or a duration. Do I sit and wait … and wait … and wait? Can’t they send an email in advance so I won’t be left hanging in the middle of my computations and can plan ahead? This seems to put a total hold to my activities twice per week for endless hours on end.

      1. It has been down so long now that I presume they have had a major crash. If it were not a major crash, than I would have expected some indication of when service would restore, something the site does not indicate.

        Very frustrating!

    4. SigFig has indeed gone downhill. They were one of the first in the market, but they broke the sync to Ameritrade and wouldn’t fix it, despite the fact that I have over six figures managed with them.

      Just initiated my switch to Wealthfront.

    5. SigFig broke their ability to sync Charles Scwab accounts with their last update. I have contacted support on several occasions. They do know it is broken and do not have a timeline to fix it. Worthless to me if they can’t support Charles Scwab and I question if this is a produce one could use long term if they take over a month to fix simple tech issues. I guess I will give Personal Capital a try.

    6. I used SigFig for a long time and loved it, but the most recent update ruined it. SigFig has been unable to sync with Charles Schwab portfolios for almost a month now. Not getting any answers. I would rate this app a zero currently.

    7. I have used SigFig for a while as a portfolio tracking tool to track my active trades and it’s been great. I recently migrated one of my 401(k)’s to an IRA managed by their asset management service and love it!

      My brokerage account synched without a glitch and the data has been accurate. I like the guidance portfolio analysis but find that after the initial analysis it just kind of stays static. Guessing that this may change with a larger market correction as that will move my holdings in my portfolio around a bit. It’s nice to have such easy access to a tool without having to talk with a broker or an advisor.

      Overall, it’s been a great way to invest my retirement money in a relatively safe, well-diversified mix of securities that I don’t have to worry about.

      Btw, Larry, some of the screenshots you’ve used are a bit old. Their site has been redesigned.

    8. I’ve used SigFig and have found the product
      to be unreliable, inaccurate and unusable.
      I would not trust them again with my money.

      1. Wow Steve “O” what an enlightening comment. I seriously doubt you have ever used it for what it is meant to be used for. I would love to hear what you do find as a useful service….please enlighten us.

      2. What are you saying Steve? You must be a paid “dumper”. I have been using SigFig, WealthFront and Betterment for managing my money. They all are good.
        As an investor I look for “Performance” and “Transparency” (tracking my positions in real time). I can only rate them for “transparency” as “performance wise they are about same. I place SigFig number 1 and WealthFront number 2 and Betterment number 3.

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