This is my independent Wealthify review. Wealthify is a UK-based robo-advisor investment platform designed to keep investing costs at a minimum while using technology to invest your money. While Robo-advisor investment tools like Wealthify are not for everyone, they represent a growing trend in the investment space as more and more people flock to services such as these to satisfy their investment needs.
I’ve been trading and investing with my own money for over 10 years, and it’s my mission to review every investing app the UK market has to offer. In this Wealthify review I will give an unbiased insight into how their investment proposition stacks up, including a comparison against its main peers and alternative investment options.
This review of Wealthify also includes a look at how Wealthify invests your money, what it’s like using the app and the all important costs and returns. As a Chartered Accountant I know the importance of balancing costs against returns!
Overall, Wealthify is a good low-cost option for first time investors, particularly those who do not have the time to manage their own investments. It’s low minimum investment will appeal to younger investors, as Wealthify allows you begin investing with just £1.
Read on for my full Wealthify review, or use the links below to jump to a particular section. I hope that this review will provide you with the information you need in order to decide whether Wealthify is right for you.
- Wealthify Review: Pros & Cons
- Wealthify Review: What is Wealthify?
- Wealthfiy Review: How Does Wealthify Work?
- Wealthfiy Review: What Accounts Does Wealthfiy Offer?
- Wealthfiy Review: What Investment Products Does Wealthify Offer?
- Wealthify Review: How Does Wealthify Invest?
- Wealthify Review: Wealthify’s Performance
- Wealthify Alternatives
- What Are Wealthify’s Fees And Charges?
- How To Open An Account With Wealthify
- Who is Wealthify For?
- Is Wealthify Safe To Use?
- Wealthify Customer Reviews
- Wealthify Review – Final Verdict
Wealthify Pros & Cons
Let’s look at a brief overview of the strengths and weaknesses of Wealthify’s investment service.
- Low costs for under £10k – compared to Moneyfarm and Nutmeg, Wealthify offers the lowest portfolio fees if investing under £10,000, which is good for newbie investors with under £10k to begin investing with
- Various levels of risk-appropriate investment strategies are designed to cater to a range of different risk appetites.
- Low minimum investment requirements mean that Wealthify clients can begin investing with as little as £1 which is good for new investors who want to start small
- Smooth account opening and easy to use app – Wealthify’s service makes investing effortless with their simple and fast account opening process, and intuitive app design.
- Ethical Investing – Wealthify is a big supporter of ethical investing and has created ethical investment portfolios for those who believe in investing their money in companies committed to building a brighter future.
- Expensive if investing more than £100k – Wealthify’s pricing structure is simple, as they apply a 0.6% portfolio fee to any investment account size. However, for balances over £50k Moneyfarm is cheaper and for balances over £100k, both Moneyfarm and Nutmeg are cheaper.
- Smaller range of ethical plans – there are 5 ethical investment plans to choose from, which is lower than Nutmeg’s offering of 10.
- Portfolios are predetermined by Wealthify – as a result, clients must select one of the ready-made portfolios when using Wealthify. This makes Wealthify a bad option for investors looking to customise their portfolios.
- Lack of advanced tools – Wealthify’s simple and intuitive design may not suit the needs of investors looking for more advanced functionalities within their investing platforms. There are comparatively few financial planning tools available through the platform.
What is Wealthify?
Wealthify is a “Robo-advisor” investment platform that seeks to simplify and automate investing. Founded in 2016, these new investment options have become especially popular among younger investors who enjoy being able to effortlessly invest their savings in predetermined investment vehicles.
The Wealthify platform, like other robo-advisors, invests primarily in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). This helps to keep costs low, and allows Wealthify to build a set of investment portfolios based on the level of risk involved. Clients will therefore see their money invested into the portfolio that best aligns with the level of risk they’re most comfortable taking.
To work out which investment portfolio is best for you, clients are asked to complete a detailed questionnaire. This questionnaire focuses on your risk appetite, and Wealthify aggregates your responses and decides which investment portfolio is most appropriate for you. Read more on this further down in our Wealthify review.
Although previously an independent company, Wealthify was fully acquired by Aviva in June 2020 after Aviva had already taken a majority shareholding in 2017. Wealthify now operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aviva.
However, Aviva’s acquisition detailed that despite being a subsidiary of Aviva, Wealthify would continue to operate as though it were an independent company and retain its founding leadership and core employee base.
Aviva’s acquisition of Wealthify is part of a period of consolidation in the robo-advisor market. As digital wealth platforms have gained in popularity among millennials, traditional players in the investment management industry want access to younger, digital-savvy investors.
As of June 2021, it’s estimated that Wealthify has around 50,000 clients but it has not disclosed its assets under management (AUM).
How Does Wealthify Work?
Wealthify employs a team of investment experts who analyse the market in order to try and determine the best investments for various levels of risks. According to Wealthify, their investment experts are made up of qualified investment managers with experience in established firms all over the world.
These professional fund managers use their experience alongside algorithms to pick investments for different levels of risk. These investments are grouped together into investment plans, or portfolios, each of which is tailored to a specific level of risk.
Wealthify’s team, along with its algorithms, constantly monitors and adjusts these investment plans over time. They call this process ‘rebalancing’, and it’s done to ensure each portfolio maintains its desired level of risk as the value of assets changes.
For example, Wealthify will create a fund that is designed to target individuals who are 20-30, investing X amount per month for retirement, and have a high level of risk tolerance with a long-term view for their investments.
Wealthify’s questionnaire that’s offered to new clients will then attempt to understand each client’s appetite for risk. They are then funnelled into a particular investment plan, which is where their money will be invested.
Asking clients to complete a questionnaire upon signing up is standard in the robo-advisor market. However this is one area where Wealthify does it slightly differently.
Instead of jumping straight into a questionnaire, Wealthify begins by asking you to choose from one of its four account options (more on these options later on in this Wealthify review).
You will also be given the option of investing ethically if you would like to.
After you have selected an account, you can input your specific details into the Wealthify platform and select one of the 5 available investment styles which vary in risk according to your preferences. Wealthify will then forecast your possible returns depending on how the market performs in the future.
The investment style you select will be accompanied by a fact sheet that breaks down exactly where your money will be invested and includes more detailed explanations about who the specific investing style is for as well as the risks associated with that style. We strongly recommend you read this fact sheet in detail before investing to ensure that you are selecting an investment style that is appropriate for your personal circumstances.
Clients can monitor the performance of their investments through the Wealthify app on their phone or tablet or directly through the Wealthify website on their desktops.
Deposits and withdrawals can also be made using the app on your phone or tablet, or through your account online through Wealthify’s website.
What Accounts Does Wealthify Offer?
As we saw in the image above, Wealthify offers 4 different account types that customers can take advantage of when they begin to invest with Wealthify. Let’s take a look at each of these account types in turn.
This is Wealthify’s Stocks & Shares ISA account. The account allows individuals to invest up to £20,000 per year on a tax-free basis. Any returns gained through this account will be free from capital gains tax making it a great choice for individuals who are just beginning their investing journeys.
There are no limits on when money can be withdrawn from this account or what that money can then be used for so investors can relax in the knowledge that their money is readily available should the need ever arise.
You will have access to all 5 of Wealthify’s investment style’s in the Investment ISA (see below in this Wealthify review).
This ISA is almost identical to the ISA detailed above except that it has been created for those under the age of 18. Assets that are deposited into a Junior ISA account only become available once the minor turns 18 years of age and the maximum deposit is £9000 per year.
General Investment Account
Wealthify’s General Investment Account (GIA) is its standard investing account. Unlike the ISA account, this account carries no tax benefits and any returns made by investing through this account will be subject to capital gains taxes.
However, unlike the ISA account, there are no limitations on how much you can invest into a GIA.
Wealthify Pension (Self-Invested Personal Pension)
Lastly, Wealthify offers its clients access to their Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) account. You can open a new pension with Wealthify or transfer in an existing one.
Similar to opening an Investment ISA, you will be asked a series of questions when opening a pension account. These include your circumstances, investment style and retirement age.
Once answered, you will then be provided with a projected value for your investment at the age of your retirement. Note that this is not guaranteed.
Wealthify offers some useful tools on their website such as a pension calculator and a free pension guide.
It should be noted that money can not be withdrawn from your SIPP until you reach the age of 55 and so clients should be aware of this fact prior to investing any money into their SIPP.
Wealthify’s pension service is good and easy to setup. However If you have multiple pensions with different providers and are interested in consolidating your pensions together, I would recommend PensionBee. In my view PensionBee’s transfer service is the best, backed up by their unique technology which allows fast and efficient pension transfers.
If, however, you would like your pension in the same place as your other investment accounts, such as your stocks and shares ISA, then Wealthify is still a good option.
What Products Does Wealthify Offer?
Currently, Wealthify offers 10 different investment plans subdivided into 5 normal plans and 5 ethical plans. They range from the low-risk cautious plan all the way up to the high-risk adventurous plan. You can see a breakdown of the plans below.
• Cautious Plan
• Tentative Plan
• Confident Plan
• Ambitious Plan
• Adventurous Plan
• Cautious Ethical Plan
• Tentative Ethical Plan
• Confident Ethical Plan
• Ambitious Ethical Plan
• Adventurous Ethical Plan
You can download detailed PDFs that break down exactly what investments are included within the different plans as well as more information around who the plan is suitable for on Wealthify’s website.
How Does Wealthify Invest?
Wealthify only invests its customer’s money into Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs can be thought of as baskets of investments packaged together into a single fund and traded on stock exchanges alongside regular stocks.
The various ETFs that Wealthify has selected for its investments are designed to cater to the wide range of risk tolerances that its customers may wish to be exposed to through its various investment plans. The ETFs provide exposure to the U.K, U.S, and European markets as well as Japan and several other emerging markets.
If customers have opted to invest in an ethical plan, the ETFs selected will be modified to ensure that the companies included in the fund align with the stated ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) criteria of the fund. This could be around sustainable business operations or a focus on good corporate governance.
Unfortunately, the fees associated with investing in these plans are higher than those incurred by investing in the standard plan. This is due to the higher level of due diligence and time required to ensure that the companies in the ethical plan meet the strict standards enforced by Wealthify for these funds.
Higher fees for ethical investing is standard across the industry though. The average ethical fund cost through Wealthify is 0.7% compared to 0.16% in their original plans. This is on top of Wealthify fee of 0.6%.
How Does Wealthify Manage its Portfolios?
Wealthify manages its portfolios with very little input from its customers. All it requires is that its customers answer some questions regarding their risk preferences and investment goals. Once you have provided this information, Wealthify will recommend one of its plans for you to invest in.
Customers are able to rotate between plans as they wish but will be able to customise any of the holdings within the plan itself or purchase additional shares of any individual company.
Occasionally, as your investments grow, the makeup of the portfolio’s funds change compared to its targets for certain sectors. When this happens, Wealthify will automatically rebalance your portfolio to ensure you stay on track with your selected plan. This is done any time your investments move out of line with your targeted allocations and so you never have to worry about your portfolio needing to be rebalanced.
At the time of writing, Wealthify has underperformed the general stock market. This means that the returns provided by Wealthify are smaller than the stock market has grown over the same time.
For example, if the U.S stock market had grown by 10% in 2021 and Wealthify had returned an average of 7.5% over that same time, it would be said that Wealthify underperformed the U.S stock market by 2.5%. Let’s take a closer look at Wealthify’s performance as of 2021.
We can see above that over the years February 2016 – February 2021, Wealthify’s plans endured several periods of turbulence and one extremely sharp decline in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Overall, their most successful plan was their adventurous plan which yielded a return of 47%. Let’s take a look at how this would compare to the U.S stock market over that same period of time.
The image above shows the S&P 500 which tracks the 500 largest companies in the United States stock exchanges. As you can see, from February 21st, 2016 to February 5th, 2021, the S&P 500 delivered a return of 108.43%.
This means that the returns delivered by Wealthify’s most successful plan achieved less than half of the growth of the entire stock market. While none of Wealthify’s plans lost money over the last five years, all of them underperformed the rest of the market.
As a result, Wealthify’s platform and investment styles may not suit investors who are seeking higher returns, often at higher risk. Currently, its performance is comparatively weaker in relation to the wider markets than we would like.
However, every prudent investor will tell you that past performance is not indicative of future results. No doubt the investment analysts at Wealthify are well aware of their performance record and working to improve on their returns in the future. It is our hope that with time, Wealthify will optimise its investment plans and be able to continuously increase its returns as time goes on.
It must be said however, that Wealthify’s offering is based on a diversified portfolio that seeks to tightly manage risk. As with other robo-advisors, Wealthify is not seeking to offer high risk, high reward returns which you may be able to get through other platforms or trading with your own money. Wealthify is a good option though for those who want professional oversight of their investments, and don’t want to actively manage them.
Robo-advisors are a growing section of the investment scene in the UK so it’s no surprise that there are a number of Wealthify alternatives in the market.
These alternatives to Wealthfiy offer different products and prices but at their core they follow a similar model – ready-made portfolios for you to choose to invest your money into. As with all of my robo-advisor reviews, this Wealthfiy review will now look at the top Wealthfiy alternatives in the UK.
Moneyfarm is another of the leading robo-advisor investment platforms in the UK. It’s also one of the largest digital wealth management companies in the world with over 80,000 investors on their platform.
Like Wealthify, Moneyfarm attempts to make investing simple and accessible to all members of society by providing access to a number of funds that individuals can invest in from their mobile phones.
If you’re investing under £50k, then Wealthify is the cheaper option in terms of fees. If you’re investing more than £50k then Moneyfarm’s fees are lower, making it a cheaper alternative to Wealthify.
Moneyfarm also offers a wider range of portfolios to choose from. This inludes its new Thematic Investing feature which allows you to allocate some of your portfolio to high-growth sectors. With its wide range of investment portflio options, Moneyfarm is a great Wealthify alternative if you want greater choice.
Your money is protected under the FSCS with Moneyfarm, and it’s regulated by the FCA.
Nutmeg is a digital wealth management service, offering robo-advisor investing but with a wider range of products to choose from. They also offer a greater range of portfolio options than Wealthify, but the principle of which portfolio suits you is the same. It’s still based mainly on your risk appetite.
Now taken over by JP Morgan, Nutmeg offers a Smart Alpha set of portfolio options. These have input from JP Morgan’s global financial expertise and investment managers. Historically, these Smart Alpha funds have slightly outperformed Nutmeg’s default options, so if you are focused on investment performance you may want to consider them as a Wealthify alternative.
However, Nutmeg is more expensive than Wealthify if you have under £100k to invest. This means that a lot of first time investors will save on fees by choosing Wealthify instead of Nutmeg. If you have more than £100k to invest though, Nutmeg is a cheaper Wealthify alternative.
Nutmeg allows you to open a Lifetime ISA, unlike Wealthify, and it also offers individual regulated financnial advice. It’s also regulated by the FCA and your money is protected under the FSCS.
Plum is more than just a robo-advisor. It’s an app that links to your bank account and analyses your income and outgoings to put together a savings plan for you. You can then choose to automatically put these savings into Plum’s investment options.
As it’s linked to your bank account, Plum offers a much greater range of features than Wealthify which revolve around budgeting, saving and spending. This makes it a great Wealthfiy alternative if you want to combine your budgeting and savings goals with investing.
InvestEngine is one of the newer robo-advisors to enter the UK market. It offers two ways to invest – through its ready-made portfolios, like most other robo-advisors, and through creating your own DIY portfolio.
You can only invest in ETFs with InvestEngine, but being able to create your own portfolio by choosing which ETFs to put your money in makes it a unique alternative to Wealthify.
It’s also very low cost, with InvestEngine’s management fee sitting at just 0.25%, with fund fees on top. This makes it a low-cost Wealthify alternative.
InvestEngine also has a very low initial minimum investment of just £1, like Wealthify, and has over 500 ETFs to choose to invest in.
Moneybox presents itself as the simplest way to both save and invest your money. The app allows you to link your bank account and save money from every transaction you make. The round up feature allows you to round-up to the nearest £1 and save the difference on the app to be invested.
Moneybox is more focused on saving than investing. It has some very useful tools and features to encourage you to save more money. You can then invest this money through Moneybox. Their investment offering, however, is currently limited when compared to the robo-advisors above.
So it’s a good Wealthify alternative for saving and budgeting, but if you’re focused on investing your money then Wealthify, Nutmeg and Moneyfarm are likely to be better options.
What Are Wealthify’s Fees & Charges?
Fees are another hot topic in the world of investing as they can certainly take a sizeable amount of investors’ returns away from them over longer periods of time. Robo-advisors in general are usually more expensive than directly investing in index funds.
Wealthify’s fee structure is different to that of its main rivals, Moneyfarm and Nutmeg, because it charges a flat 0.6% fee no matter your account size:
|Invested amount||Wealthify portfolio fee||Moneyfarm portfolio fee||Nutmeg managed portfolio fee|
|£0 – 10,000||0.60%||0.75%||0.75%|
|£10,001 – £20,000||0.60%||0.70%||0.75%|
|£20,001 – £50,000||0.60%||0.65%||0.75%|
|£50,001 – £100,000||0.60%||0.60%||0.75%|
|£100,001 – £250,000||0.60%||0.45%||0.35%|
|£250,001 – £500,000||0.60%||0.40%||0.35%|
As the above table shows, Wealthify is the cheaper option if you have under £50k to invest as it charges a lower management fee than Moneyfarm and Nutmeg. If you have £50-100k to invest then Wealthify and Moneyfarm are equal on cost. Moneyfarm is the cheapest option if you have more than £100k to invest.
Wealthify charges two main fees for using its platform; a management fee and an investment fee. The investment fee is paid to the fund managers of the portfolios that Wealthify selects, rather than to Wealthify itself. Let’s take a look at an estimated breakdown of Wealthify’s fees in the table below.
|Annual %||Annual Estimate (based on £1,000 invested)|
|Wealthify Management Fee||0.60%||£6.00|
|Investment (Fund) Fee||0.22%||£2.20|
|Investment Fee (Ethical)||0.70%||£7.00|
As you can see above, the ethical plans incur higher fees as the ETFs that Wealthify invests in are more expensive than the ones included in the standard plan. In total, customers can expect to pay an average of approximately 0.82-1.30% in fees for Wealthify’s investment plans.
Although this is not too expensive when compared to Wealthify’s competitors, when compared to the 0.08% fee charged by Vanguards S&P 500 index fund, Wealthify proves to be at least 10x more expensive. As a result, fees charged by Wealthify and other robo-investor platforms are a drawback compared to some other forms of investing.
If you are interested in investing only in ETFs, then InvestEngine is currently the cheapest way to do so in the UK. It’s actually even cheaper to invest in Vanguard’s funds through InvestEngine than it is to do so through Vanguard’s own platform.
How to Open An Account with Wealthify
Signing up to use Wealthify is highly streamlined and shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes. To begin, simply download the app onto your smartphone.
After the app is downloaded, you’ll be prompted to select one of Wealthify’s four account types in order to get started. For the purposes of this example, we’ll select the Investment ISA.
Once selected, you’ll be provided with the specifics of the account and asked whether you would like to transfer an existing ISA or begin a new one. Again, for the purposes of this example, we will start a new ISA.
At this point, you will need to begin detailing the specifics of your investing parameters to Wealthify. As you can see above, this will include choosing your theme (the types of ETFs you wish to invest in) as well as your plan and the amount of money you wish to invest. Once you have entered all this information, Wealthify will provide you with some estimated returns based on the details you provided.
At this point, all that is left to do is provide Wealthify with your personal information and begin making your investments!
Who is Wealthify For?
Based on all the strengths and weaknesses of the platform, as well as the design and general layout of the app itself, Wealthify generally benefits younger and inexperienced investors. Due to the inability to customise investments, as well as the underperformance and general limitations in terms of functionality, sophisticated investors are unlikely to find much joy in using the Wealthify platform.
As a general rule, younger investors who are looking to take advantage of Wealthify’s tax-free investing ISA account who also have limited knowledge of the investment landscape would be best served by Wealthify’s investment platform.
Is Wealthify Safe to Use?
Wealthify is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom and any investments made with Wealthify are protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Aviva owns Wealthfiy and it’s worth noting that they are independently covered by the FSCS, so according to Wealthify “a customer holding investments with both companies may be covered by the FSCS on each of their investment balances up to £85,000”.
In addition, Wealthfiy segregates client money from its own money which is a further regulatory safeguard. Nutmeg’s chosen custodians of client money are Winterflood Securities Limited for ISAs, Junior ISAs and General Investment Accounts. They’re a part of Close Brothers Group, a 130+ year old UK financial institution. They’re also separately regulated by the FCA.
For pensions, Wealthify uses Embark Investment Services Limited to act as your custodian, who ring-fence client money from their own under the Financial Conduct Authority’s client asset rules. They’re also fully regulated by the FCA and are part of Embark Group – the UK’s fastest-growing digital retirement platform.
As a fully-owned subsidiary of Aviva, you may take extra comfort knowing that Wealthify is owned by one of the world’s largest financial institutions.
Wealthify Customer Reviews
Rated as excellent on TrustPilot, Wealthify enjoys a strong 4.6/5 star rating from over 700 reviews.
Similarly, the Apple App Store gives them 4.5 stars out of a total of 2400 ratings. No doubt Wealthify’s customers are very satisfied with their decision to join the Wealthify investment platform.
Wealthify Review – Final Verdict
Wealthify certainly has some fantastic features and has produced a stellar platform for young people to begin their investing journey. Their Investment ISA account is a brilliant starting point for new investors and the ease with which their platform can be navigated makes investing extremely approachable for new investors.
Their account opening process is very smooth and easy to navigate through, and in my opinion is a little bit better than that of Moneyfarm and Nutmeg.
Wealthify’s pricing structure of charging the same 0.6% fee on all accounts, no matter the amount of money invested, is a nice, simple policy. It does, however, mean that if you’re investing larger amounts, over £50,000, then there are cheaper options. Moneyfarm is cheaper for £50,000-£100,000, and both Moneyfarm and Nutmeg are cheaper for over £100,000.
Whilst I would recommend Wealthify for younger investors who are still finding their investing feet, it may not be the best option for experienced investors. This is due to the underperformance of Wealthify’s investment plans as well as their fees.
If you are interested in active management of your investments, or doing it yourself, then you may prefer alternatives such as Hargreaves Lansdown.
I hope that this Wealthify review has helped you determine whether the Wealthify investment platform is right for you. Sign up to Wealthify here.