Axos Invest at a glance
Pros: Where Axos Managed Portfolios stands out
Just like other robo advisors, Axos Managed Portfolios builds an optimal portfolio for you based on your answers to a handful of questions related to your investment goals. Individuals comfortable with some risk-taking and working toward long-term goals will have portfolios weighted more toward stocks, while more risk-averse investors focused on short-term goals will hold more fixed-income assets.
But Axos also allows investors to customize their portfolios to align with their personal interests, choosing from more than 30 different asset classes. There are traditional choices, such as U.S. and international stocks, as well as government and corporate bonds, that make up the bulk of core portfolios. But you’ll also have the option to invest in niche areas like blockchain technology, socially responsible companies and businesses led by women.
This level of customization is rare among robo advisors and gives something for Axos to hang its hat on. If you’re passionate about how your money is invested, Axos gives you plenty of options to choose from.
Axos also offers fractional share investing on both new purchases and reinvested dividends, something not all robo advisors offer. This feature will be especially useful to new investors who may not have significant sums to invest yet. Fractional shares allow you to invest the full amount you’d like to, while not having to worry about purchasing full shares of the ETFs you’re buying.
Fractional shares help to keep your portfolio invested along your desired allocations, maintaining the appropriate weights across your different investments without having to wait until you have enough money to buy a full share.
Axos also sets itself apart by charging one of the lowest annual management fees in the industry. Investors will pay a flat rate of 0.24 percent each year, which means you’ll pay $24 for every $10,000 you have invested. This annual fee comes in just below that of robo advisor leaders Betterment and Wealthfront, which each charge 0.25 percent for their basic service.
Keeping costs low is one of the most important things for investors to do because costs eat directly into the investment returns you ultimately earn. The annual management fee at a traditional financial advisor can be around 1 percent, making robo advisors an attractive alternative.
Investors who use robo advisors to build their portfolios will also pay fees for the ETFs that are used. High fund fees can sometimes dilute the benefit of a low annual management fee, but that’s not the case with Axos. Fees will vary based on the funds selected for your portfolios, but Axos uses many ETFs with expense ratios of 0.12 percent or less. Many Vanguard ETFs are available including the popular Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), which comes with an annual fee of just 0.03 percent.
Tax-loss harvesting and rebalancing
Tax-loss harvesting and automatic portfolio rebalancing are becoming more and more of an industry standard, but it’s nice to see Axos offer these key features. Axos’ tax-loss harvesting feature automatically sells investments that have experienced losses and replaces them with similar ETFs, allowing your portfolio’s exposure to stay the same, while realizing a loss that will help lower your tax bill.
Axos will rebalance your portfolio when an ETF swings 5 percent or more from the desired allocation. Rather than just selling the ETF that has appreciated beyond its desired weighting, Axos will first use dividends and new deposits to increase the allocations to other funds in order to minimize the capital gains that are generated as a result of rebalancing.
Axos Managed Portfolios gives investors a solid robo advisor choice at a low cost. You’ll get a wide variety of portfolio choices through Axos’ customization options, with many ETFs available at expense ratios of 0.12 percent or less. The annual management fee of 0.24 percent is competitive with industry leaders like Betterment and Wealthfront.
New investors will appreciate that fractional shares are available on new purchases as well as reinvested dividends, making it easy to stay fully invested. Tax-loss harvesting and automatic portfolio rebalancing help you take advantage of tax savings and ensure your portfolio’s allocations don’t divert from their ideal weights.
However, you might be disappointed with the limited number of account types available, and the cash management account has several requirements to maximize your interest rate. If you’re looking for a low-cost robo advisor with more account options you might consider Wealthfront or SoFi Automated Investing.
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