Titan review 2023
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Titan Invest: Best for
- Sophisticated portfolio management
- Actively managed portfolio
- Low-cost passively managed funds
Titan offers a hedge-fund-like experience without investing in a hedge fund. Titan is a registered investment advisor that runs separately managed accounts, actively investing your money in a sophisticated portfolio that it designs itself – not the usual run of ETFs used by other robo-advisors. You’ll get a portfolio that has beaten those of other robo-advisors, and you’ll pay less than a typical hedge fund, too – all without some of the usual drawbacks of those kinds of funds. And unlike a hedge fund, it won’t require a huge upfront investment to get started, either. Titan makes a compelling proposition for those who are looking for attractive returns in an account that gives them a lot of flexibility.
Investors looking for a fuller range of features and lower management fees should have a look at Betterment and Wealthfront, both of which are leading independent robo-advisors. For those where low cost is the only objective, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and SoFi Automated Investing may be more their speed, though Schwab requires a steeper minimum investment.
Titan Invest: In the details
Pros: Where Titan stands out
What’s most likely to attract you to Titan is its portfolio management, how it invests your money, and that’s a sharp distinction from robo-advisors. Titan combines investments in passive funds – charging no advisory fee – with its own active investments, where it does charge an advisory fee. You can have Titan design your portfolio from both passive and active funds.
On the passive side, Titan offers two key strategies:
- Automated stocks: This strategy uses 3-6 stock funds to give investors global exposure to equity investments, and is rebalanced quarterly.
- Automated bonds: This strategy uses about 5 bond funds to provide global exposure to fixed-income investments, and is rebalanced quarterly.
While you won’t pay any management fees to Titan on these funds, you will pay the funds’ expense ratios, as you would at any robo-advisor.
On the active investment side, Titan analyzes the stock market and tries to outperform key index benchmarks such as the S&P 500. While other robo-advisors buy a selection of ETFs that provides broad diversification, Titan invests in the actual stocks rather than funds using its investment team and analysis.
Titan has three main strategies, each with its own fund:
- The Flagship fund: This fund invests in large U.S. growth companies, those valued at more than $10 billion. After analyzing this subset of stocks, it picks the 15-20 of them that it thinks offer the best risk-adjusted returns, and that can outperform the S&P 500 over time.
- The Opportunities fund: This fund invests in small and mid-size U.S. companies, those valued at less than $10 billion. After analyzing this group, the team picks the 15-25 positions that it thinks offer the best risk-adjusted returns and can outperform the Russell 2000 Index over the long term.
- The Offshore fund: This fund invests in companies across developed and emerging markets. After sifting through and analyzing non-U.S.-based companies, the team selects the top 15-25 positions that it thinks offer the best risk-adjusted returns and can outperform the MSCI ACWI ex. USA Index.
Regardless of which active strategy you go with, Titan will hedge your position (more below).
Besides these core strategies, Titan also offers access to third-party funds, including those focused on credit and real estate. Titan has also been running a highly concentrated crypto strategy since August 2021.
Titan offers a few other perks that may minimize some of the downsides of a traditional hedge fund:
- You’ll have your own separately managed account, meaning it’s entirely yours.
- Your money will be instantly deposited into your Titan account, meaning it’s ready to be invested when you are.
- You won’t have a lock-up on your money, meaning you can withdraw it when you need it.
- You have access to Titan’s portfolio managers.
This sophisticated portfolio management makes Titan stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Titan uses hedges when it builds portfolios, a strategy that helps you offset losses when the market falls. That is, the hedge makes you some money, helping to cushion your portfolio. To hedge its portfolios, Titan uses an inverse ETF, which rises as the market falls. This hedge costs investors an additional fee, but the ETF makes up a fraction of the portfolio’s value as a whole.
As a Titan investor, you can select whether you want to be more aggressive (less hedging), moderate (medium hedging) or more conservative (more hedging).
When Titan believes the market is not in a downturn:
- Aggressive portfolios are 0 percent hedged.
- Moderate portfolios are 5 percent hedged.
- Conservative portfolios are 10 percent hedged.
When Titan believes the market is in a downturn:
- Aggressive portfolios are 5 percent hedged.
- Moderate portfolios are 10 percent hedged.
- Conservative portfolios are 20 percent hedged.
It’s important to understand that the hedge creates a cost drag when the market is rising, but may pay off when the market turns down, helping to offset losses elsewhere.
Titan allows fractional shares, meaning that you’ll be able to put all your money to work immediately, regardless of how much you add to your account. Titan also reinvests any dividends in fractional shares, so cash payouts go back into your positions. Dividends are not reinvested immediately but are plowed back into the portfolio approximately on a quarterly basis. Titan hopes to offer immediate automatic dividend reinvestment in the future.
The ability to buy fractional shares is a popular feature among newer investors – and not all robo-advisors offer it.
Low account minimums
You can get started for a modest $500 in the firm’s Flagship, Opportunities or Offshore funds or passive strategies with either an individual or IRA account.
So you can get started with a low minimum in the Flagship fund and then build your account if you want to participate in the other funds. For a hedge-fund-like product, this is a cheap buy-in and gives you access to investment managers with proven expertise and a goal to beat the S&P 500.
Cons: Where Titan could improve
Titan’s management fee is straightforward. It does not charge a fee for any of its passive strategies, but does charge a sliding fee for its active strategies, depending on your total balance – both passive and active – with the company:
- 0.9 percent annually for accounts with $500-$24,999
- 0.8 percent annually for accounts with $25,000-$99,999
- 0.7 percent annually for accounts with $100,000+
Those fees are down from the 1 percent that Titan previously charged clients in its active funds.
So your fee is a weighted average of your investments. For example, if you had $20,000 invested in passive strategies and another $30,000 invested in Titan’s proprietary strategies, you would pay 0.8 percent on the $30,000 investment and 0 percent on the $20,000. That comes to a grand total of $240 for the year, or an average of 0.48 percent.
Of course, you’ll need to add in the fees for ETFs in the passive strategies, but that fee goes to the fund companies, not Titan. Those fees range from about 0.04 percent to 0.12 percent. In other words, those funds will cost about $4 to $12 annually for every $10,000 invested. That’s about as cheap as you’re going to find funds anywhere, and it’s a reasonable price to pay.
Should Titan be marked down for a management fee (0.7 - 0.9 percent) on its active strategies that’s quite a bit higher than the average robo-advisor? Or should it be marked up because clients are getting a hedge-fund experience at much less than the traditional “2-and-20” fee structure (2 percent of assets and 20 percent of returns) of a hedge fund?
The answer to that depends on what Titan can deliver. On that basis, Titan may be worth it, but the results thus far are unimpressive.
- As of March 2023, total returns for Titan’s Flagship fund lagged the S&P 500, 54 percent to 63.7 percent, over five years of existence.
- The Offshore fund lagged its benchmark, -27.4 percent to -7.2 percent, since its inception in April 2021.
- Only the Opportunities fund was beating its benchmark, 27.6 percent to 25.5 percent, since its inception in August 2020.
As the old investing saying goes: fees are certain, but returns are not.
Titan has just a handful of account types: individual taxable accounts as well as traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs and rollover IRAs. That’s slim pickings. Yes, you get a typical range of retirement accounts, but you won’t get other popular types such as joint accounts or SEP IRAs.
This limited selection might be a dealbreaker for you if you need a specific account.
Cash management account
You won’t have access at Titan to a separate cash management account, where you can stash your cash outside of your Titan investment account. In this respect, Titan is unlike major robo-advisors such as Betterment, Wealthfront and Ellevest, each of which offers a solid cash management account with a variety of checking-like features, such as early direct deposit, no monthly fees and fee-free ATMs.
Again, that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for many customers, especially if they see Titan as yet another financial partner, but those looking to consolidate their financial life with fewer firms may find it suboptimal. However, Titan does pay interest on cash balances, so that sweetens things.
Betterment5.0 Bankrate Score
Betterment offers a high level of service and features across every aspect of its robo-advisor, from its core investment management to low-cost funds to premium features such as tax-loss harvesting. You can also upgrade your service if you need unlimited access to human advisors, and get access to a feature-rich cash management account, too.
Axos Invest3.0 Bankrate Score
Axos Managed Portfolios offers a strong robo-advisor service with some premium features, all at a reasonable price. Clients also receive a wide choice of funds, including socially responsible funds, though the associated cash management account forces clients to jump through some hoops to receive what is only a mediocre interest rate.
Interactive Advisors4.5 Bankrate Score
Interactive Advisors has upped its game this year, with new features such as tax-loss harvesting that put it among the top robo-advisors. That’s on top of one of the widest range of investing choices, low-cost funds and low overall fees. As strong as all these features are, though, the robo-advisor doesn’t offer access to human advisors, not unusual among robo-advisors.
SigFig3.0 Bankrate Score
SigFig keeps costs low whether it’s account fees, fund fees or the annual management fee. You’ll also get access to human advisors and benefit from automatic rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting. But the lack of a cash management account and relatively high account minimums may cause some investors to look elsewhere.
E-Trade Core Portfolios3.5 Bankrate Score
E-Trade Core Portfolios offers a capable robo-advisor, one that may work best for customers looking to keep their accounts with the broker while having someone do the investing for them. Clients will get low-cost funds as well as less-common choices such as socially responsible funds, though the service doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting or many tools.
Morgan Stanley Access Investing3.5 Bankrate Score
For younger investors looking to invest based on their values or certain themes, Morgan Stanley’s Access Investing provides a suitable option among robo-advisors. Investors can choose between impact portfolios that focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues, market-tracking portfolios that minimize fees and performance-based portfolios that attempt to outperform through active management.
J.P. Morgan Automated Investing3.0 Bankrate Score
J.P. Morgan Automated Investing provides portfolio management services with automatic rebalancing and may be a good fit for existing J.P. Morgan customers. But you’ll also pay above-average management fees and have limited account types to choose from. There’s also no tax strategy included in the offering.
Vanguard Digital Advisor3.0 Bankrate Score
Vanguard Digital Advisors keeps it simple: an investment portfolio comprised of four funds at a low all-in price, and then adds on helpful tools and educational components. The combination should do well for clients who don’t need a robo-advisor to provide everything under the sun but want competent investment management from a proven and knowledgeable leader.
Fidelity Go4.5 Bankrate Score
Fidelity Go offers a solid robo-advisor offering that beginning and cost-conscious investors will especially appreciate. However, investors looking for features such as tax-loss harvesting or comprehensive goal planning may be disappointed.
Personal Capital4.0 Bankrate Score
Personal Capital customers will get an experience that more closely resembles that of a traditional financial advisor than a robo-advisor, but you’ll need at least $100,000 to get started. You’ll also get a comprehensive tax strategy to help minimize what you owe to Uncle Sam. But this higher level of service does come at an above average cost compared to the rest of the robo-advisor industry.
Stash3.5 Bankrate Score
Stash’s managed portfolios might appeal to small investors who are looking to save as they spend, but the monthly fees can be high for investors who don’t have a large balance built up and there are only a few types of accounts available.
M1 Finance4.5 Bankrate Score
M1 Finance takes some of the best of what brokers and robo-advisors do and mixes it into a new service that provides automated investing in a fully customizable portfolio – all for no cost. If you want to take it up a notch, you can pay an additional fee and receive a host of upgraded features, including one of the best cash management accounts out there.
Wealthfront5.0 Bankrate Score
Wealthfront offers a strong lineup of features – sophisticated portfolio management using low-cost funds – that showcase why it’s one of the leading independent robo-advisors. It provides a strong cash management account, a robust planning tool and premium features such as tax-loss harvesting that may more than pay back your annual fee.
Ellevest3.5 Bankrate Score
Ellevest brings a competent and well-considered robo-advisor, pitching itself to women, whose financial needs are traditionally underserved. But don’t think it won’t work for anyone who needs nuanced investment management, since it offers low-cost funds, socially responsible funds and – unlike most rivals – a flat monthly fee, making it advantageous for those with more to invest.
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios5.0 Bankrate Score
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios provides a top robo-advisor experience that should be a good fit for many investors. The basic plan comes with no management fee and a low-cost portfolio, plus you’ll get Schwab’s top-notch customer support and easy-to-use platform. The premium plan comes with unlimited access to human financial advisors, but both plans come with above-average account minimums and tax-loss harvesting isn’t an option until you reach at least $50,000 in assets.
Acorns3.5 Bankrate Score
Acorns is a good choice for new investors who are starting with small sums of money, allowing customers to build a diversified portfolio with just a few dollars. However, the fees are above average for small account values, though they’ll decline as your portfolio grows, and you won’t find any tax strategy as part of the robo-advisor offering.
Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor4.0 Bankrate Score
Wells Fargo Intuitive Investor is a solid robo offering that gives customers easy access to human financial advisors at no additional cost along with tax-loss harvesting that can help you save on taxes. However, the management fee is above average unless you’re an existing Wells Fargo banking customer.
Ally Invest Managed Portfolios4.0 Bankrate Score
Ally Invest Robo Portfolios are a good option for new investors who pay particular attention to costs. Existing Ally clients may also appreciate having all their finances in one place. Unfortunately, Ally doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting or provide human advisors to help with those especially difficult questions.
Merrill Guided Investing3.5 Bankrate Score
Merrill Guided Investing offers a credible investing service for Bank of America customers, but its high management fee makes it less attractive among a competitive field of robo-advisors. Merrill offers several positives, including access to human advisors and low-cost investment funds, but premium features such as tax-loss harvesting are missing.
SoFi Automated Investing4.5 Bankrate Score
SoFi Automated Investing gives cost-conscious investors a solid robo-advisor offering that comes with access to human financial advisors at no additional cost. But the lack of tax-loss harvesting and no socially responsible investing options may cause more sophisticated investors to look elsewhere.
Marcus Invest4.0 Bankrate Score
Marcus Invest offers the core feature of a robo-advisor – portfolio management – and then adds some twists, such as several portfolio types, all for a cost-competitive fee. It’s a great add-on for current Marcus customers, though some features of higher-end robo-advisors such as tax-loss harvesting and an expansive toolset are missing.