Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Review 2020 – (Formerly WiseBanyan)

Axos Invest Review

WiseBanyan is Now Axos Invest Managed Portfolios

The Axos Invest Managed Portfolios – Wisebanyan collaboration is complete and integrated with the Axos Financial family.

Axos Financial (AX) is a publicly traded financial company that provides consumer and business banking products including checking, savings and lending solutions. The addition of Axos Invest Managed Portfolios to its portfolio gives the robo-advisor users access to banking and lending products in addition to investment management. This places the Axos Invest robo-advisor in closer competition with other robo-advisors delving into banking and lending like  M1 Finance, Betterment, Personal Capital, and SoFi Invest.

Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Review

Name: Axos Invest

Description: Free robo-advisor with access to wide array of financial services through Axos Bank.

  • Fees
    (5)
  • Investment Choices
    (5)
  • Ease of Use
    (5)
  • Tool & Resources
    (3)
4.5

Summary

Best for:

  • Beginning investors seeking free investment management.
  • Investors who want a robo-advisor connected to a financial institution.

Pros

  • Diversified investment choices.
  • Free investment management.
  • Access to additional services like cash round ups and tax-loss harvesting for low fee.

Cons

  • Must transfer assets into Axos to use robo-advisor.
  • Limited account types – no joint accounts.

This comprehensive Axos Invest Managed Portfolios review will provide answers to all of your questions including a features overview, the sign up process, investment style,  list of available funds, Axos Invest Fees, Axos Invest App, and pros and cons.

Ultimately, this Axos Invest review will help you decide if this is the right robo-advisor for you.

Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Features – At a Glance

OverviewFree automated investment management robo-advisor.
Minimum Investment Amount$1
Fee StructureZero account management fees. Optional additional features for small monthly fees.
Top FeaturesAuto deposit, automated financial advice, rebalancing & tax-loss harvesting (for additional fee).
Free ServicesInvestment portfolio management, automated financial advice, ability to create & fund multiple milestones (goals), rebalancing & auto deposit.
Contact & Investing AdvicePhone contact available M-F, Email – 24/7. Automated investing and financial planning advice.
Investment FundsVanguard, iShares & SPDR ETFs.
Accounts AvailablePersonal investment accounts. Retirement accounts - Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, SEP-IRAs & retirement fund rollovers.
PromotionsN/A

What is Axos Invest Managed Portfolios and how does it work?

Launched in 2014 as WiseBanyan, Axos Financial acquired the WiseBanyan robo-advisor in 2019.

Herbert Moore and Vicki Zhou, the co-founders of WiseBanyan created the original Axos Invest app (formerly WiseBanayn) as a robo-advisor for the small investor. With no minimum investment amount required and zero management fees, this robo competes in the small investor arena with Betterment, M1 Finance, SoFi Invest, and Ally Invest.

The company focuses on offering sound financial management regardless of the amount of money that you have. The basic Axos robo-advisor is free. Add on features come with a small charge. The company asks investors to pay only for the services they desire. This a la carte investment management is unique within the industry.

As you identify your financial goals or milestones, whether it’s retirement, saving for Jrs. college education or buying a jet ski, you may decide to purchase an add on service like tax loss harvesting, described in the upcoming sections.

Next, the Axos Invest app automates your financial journey. Axos Invest provides its clients with tailored and optimally diversified portfolios to achieve their financial goals. The Axos robo-advisor automates everything from portfolio rebalancing to dividend reinvestment and recurring deposits.

Interested? Here’s a detailed drill down into how the platform works.

We’ll walk you through the sign up and initial questionnaire. In the end, you’ll get a summary of the Axos Invest pros and cons.

So how does Axos Invest Managed Portfolios make money and how can it offer users free financial management?

Axos Invest is one of the few robo-advisors to offer their basic investment management services for free. Other free robo-advisors include M1 Finance (with the option to invest in 1,000’s of funds and individual stocks), Ally Invest, SoFi Invest and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. Although Schwab’s offering requires $5,000 to begin investing, a steep amount for new investors.

Axos Financial makes money in a variety of ways throughout the platform including lending cash deposits to borrowers – a common banking practice. The firm also makes money through fees on other financial services.

Axos Invest makes money on its fee based services – Portfolio Plus, Fast Money, and Tax Protection Packages .

What Differentiates Axos Invest Managed Portfolios from Competitors?

Fees and a la Carte Services

Axos Invest minimums and fees are tough to beat. The Axos Invest basic service manages your money for free. Add on services come with a small fee. We like the fact that investors can get their money managed for free and only pay for the services they choose.

Axos Invest has no hidden fees or account maintenance fees. Although, all the underlying investment funds charge small management fees. This money goes directly to the fund management company, not to Axos Invest.

The Axos Invest minimum is one dollar. You may get started investing with any amount of money.

The add on package descriptions and fees are described below. They cost ranges from a few dollars per month to a small percent of your amount invested.

Axos Invest Managed Portfolios is Part of the Axos Financial Family

If you’re interested in investing with a firm that also offers cash management, banking and lending, then put Axos on your list.

Other robo-advisors that are part of a larger financial firm include Ally Invest Cash-Enhanced Managed Portfolios, Fidelity Go, Vanguard Personal Advisor, SoFi Invest, and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

Sign up now for the Robo-Advisor Comparison Chart.

Who Benefits from the Axos Invest Robo-Advisor?

  1. The small investor who is just starting out is ideal for the Axos Invest platform. Two other robo-advisors that cater to the new investor and offer zero investment management fees are M1 Finance and SoFi Invest.
  2. Investors seeking a one-stop financial firm. Axos Invest users can also participate in the firm’s banking and lending services. Although, if you also want the opportunity to open your own investment trading account you might prefer M1 Finance or one of the larger financial firms like Schwab or E*TRADE.
  3. The investor who wants to target specific investment goals, such as saving for a home and planning for retirement.

Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Free and Paid Features – Drill Down

This section will explore the details of the Axos Invest Platform.

How to Invest in Axos Invest Managed Portfolios – Sign Up

Axos Invest Milestones

When you click on Axos Invest you’ll be invited to become a client. Just plug in your email address to get started. And, you can begin exploring the platform without signing up.

Here’s how “Simon” our fictional user progressed through the platform

1. Simon visited the homepage, input his email and received an immediate invite.

2. Next, Simon answered a few basic questions: birthday, annual income and net worth. Simon, was born in 1980, earns $90,000 and has a net worth between $25,000 and $50,000.

3. Next, on to the goals page where you choose among the following milestones:

  • Build Wealth
  • Rainy Day
  • Retirement
  • Save Cash
  • New Vehicle
  • New Home
  • Custom

Don’t worry, you’re not locked in and you can add more milestones later. The opportunity to customize your goals gives you a chance to save for those special items like a llama for your back yard or start-up capital for a new business venture.

4. Simon chose the “Rainy Day” milestone. This selection is not directed to a particular goal, but simply a way to increase available money for non-specific needs. You plug in the amount you wish to save within a specific time period. Simon set his goal to save $10,000 within a year and a half.

5. Axos Invest has four questions designed to figure out how you’ll react to the potential drops in the investment markets. These types of questions are usually called “risk tolerance” queries. In the first risk question, you choose from 4 investment-related styles for this goal:

  • Aggressive Growth
  • Steady Growth
  • Moderate Growth
  • Loss Avoidance.

Simon chooses moderate growth for his rainy day fund.

Next comes the additional “risk profile” questions. These are designed to determine how you’ll handle market volatility and guide the program to offer suitable asset allocation or investment percentages for you. Here’s where you dig deep and try to figure out which option seems right for you. Simon chose the 7% a year, with low risk portfolio. 

Compare: M1 Finance vs. Vanguard Robo-Advisor – Should I Pay for a Robo-Advisor?

This final risk tolerance question is your “gut check”. Investment values go up and down. If you put any of your cash into stock and bond funds, you’ll expose yourself to the possibility of profits and losses, as the stock and bond fund prices are volatile. It’s not unusual for a fund to drop 10% within a year. In most cases, after a price decline, the fund usually recoups its losses and advances in the future, but it could take a while.

So, Axos Invest wants to know your risk tolerance and how you’ll reacte if your investment portfolio declines 10%. Will you be tempted to sell and run for the hills or will you have the stomach to handle the decline without selling when prices are low? Simon indicated that if his investments lost 10%, he’d refrain from selling.

There’s one last “coin toss” question that attempts to cement whether you’re a conservative, moderate or aggressive investor.

That’s it for the questions. The entire process is very fast. If you need explanations for any part, click on a clarification tab.

Next you get the Axos Invest Managed Portfolios portfolio recommendation. Simon received an asset allocation or investment fund mix of 53% stock funds and 47% bond funds.

axos invest asset allocation

To find out which funds are recommended for your personal portfolio, you hover over each of the colored sections of the circle and a ticker symbol for the fund appears.

In general, money that you need for an intermediate term, such as four to six years, this rainy day portfolio makes sense.

For an emergency fund it’s best to choose the cash milestone.  That way you know the value of this milestone won’t ever decrease.

For financial advisor access, free investment management, zero management fees and no minimums, check out SoFi Invest

Investment Philosophy and Choices

Axos Invest investments are well diversified with roughly nine exchange traded funds in each portfolio. Axos attempts to minimize fees and taxes for each client. Like most robo-advisors, the investment selection adheres to Modern Portfolio Theory which strives to offer the highest returns for each risk level. This is where diversification helps to smooth out the ups and downs of investment returns, which is inevitable when you invest in the financial markets.

The initial interview guides your investment portfolio with more conservative investors having greater percentages in bond investments and aggressive investors leaning towards more stock funds.

Axos Investment Funds

Following are the list of available Axos Invest, low-fee exchange traded funds (ETFs). The nine available low-fee ETFs bring you exposure to vast segments of the stock, bond and real estate markets. All of the funds levy low investment management expense ratios.

Axos Invest Funds

BOND FUNDS
iShares TIPS BondTIP
Vanguard Intermediate-Term Govt Bond ETFVGIT
SPDR Blmbg Barclays ST HY Bond ETFSJNK
Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETFVCSH
iShares iBoxx $ Invst Grade Crp BondLQD
STOCK FUNDS
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETFVTI
Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETFVEA
Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETFVWO
REAL ESTATE FUND
Vanguard REIT ETFVNQ

Accounts

Axos invest offers these accounts:

  • Individual investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts including: Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, SEP-IRAs & retirement fund rollovers.

This is a narrower list than some of the other robo-advisors on the market today.

Free Features

  • Free automated portfolio set up, according to your risk preferences.
  • Availability to fund multiple goals within your account.
  • Automated deposit.
  • Rebalancing every time you make an account deposit, earn dividends or withdraw funds.
  • No charge asset allocation management via an easy online slider.

Paid Features

Naturally, if there were no charges what so ever, the firm couldn’t remain in business. So, Axos Invest charges for additional features. There are also certain fees for specific activities.

Axos Invest Portfolio Plus

This package gives you access to more than 30 investments that you can add or remove from your portfolios at any time. This feature is great if you want to target certain types of investments, sectors, or economies. These featured portfolios are targeted to your interests and include many investment styles and strategies beyond typical U.S. and international stock and bond investments including:

  • Blockchain Stocks
  • Precious Metal Stocks
  • Internet Innovators Stocks
  • Digital Security Stocks
  • Socially Minded Stocks
  • Consumer Staples Stocks
  • Municipal Bonds
  • US Treasury Bonds
  • Small Cap Stocks
  • Artificial Intelligence Stocks
  • Marijuana Stocks
  • and More

So, investors interesed in socially responsible funds might choose Socially Minded Stocks, and those that want tax free bonds would choose the Municipal Bones option.

The monthly fee for this package is $3.00.

Axos Invest Paid Planning Packages

Axos Invest Fast Money

The Axos Invest Fast Money feature is designed to get your money growing faster. It includes Quick Deposit, Auto Deposit Scheduler and Overdraft Protection. You can switch it on and off, although you’ll pay the fee if fast money is scheduled at any time during the month.

The quick deposit allows your deposits to go to work faster, without a waiting period. The auto-deposit scheduler allows you to create your own auto-deposit schedule. Overdraft protection ensures your transactions are covered before deposits are made to save you overdraft fees.

Finally, Apex, the securities clearing company, may have fees that go directly to their company for paper check deposits, wire transfers,  returned checks, and account transfers to another brokerage firm. This fee does not go to Axos Invest, nor do they receive any kickbacks or compensation from this underlying fee.

All exchange traded funds levy management fees that go directly to the ETF company. The selected Axos Invest ETFs charge an average 0.12% management fee. This fee does not go to Axos, nor do they receive any kickbacks or compensation from these fund fees. This average management fee is quite low.

The monthly fee for this package is $2.00.

Axos Invest Tax Protection Package

This add on includes 3 services:

  • WiseHarvesting-This tax-loss harvesting service sells losing funds and replaces them with similar ETFs, so that you can reduce your tax bill.
  • Selective Trading-Lets you eliminate certain ETFs (that you might own in another account) from trading in your Axos Invest account.
  • IRA Conversions-In addition to offering IRA Automation, Axos Invest allows clients to manage multiple IRAs and convert existing IRAs. Also known as a “Backdoor IRA,” IRA conversions allows high income earners, who are otherwise unable to contribute to a Roth IRA to transfer funds from a Traditional IRA to a Roth to reduce long-term taxes.

The monthly fee for the tax protection package fee is 0.02% per month of AUM.  The fee is capped at $20 per month. IRAs can be maintained under the tax protection package for a $10 minimum fee.

Axos Invest App

Unlike other robo-advisors that are part of large financial firms, Axos Invest has a dedicated app. This is easier than wading through all of the offerings to find the robo-advisor on a large financial firms app.

The reviews on the Axos Invest App are good, with one compalaint about difficulty depositing funds. Although another review claimed that bugs were fixed rapidly.

As with all technology, there’s no perfect app!

Axos Invest Formulas

Using the Axos Financial Wallet feature, you can access some of the features available in spare change apps.

Axos Invest Formulas has four offerings to help you ramp up your investing. After a formula is set up, the system uses the cash in your Axos Wallet to capture investing opportunities.

Axos Invest Formulas:

  1. Round-Up – Top off your milestones each day with your cash. This option is similar to the round up features on other spare change apps.
  2. Dividend Match – This formula adds money to mirror your dividend payments. This investing boost brings you to your investment goals faster.
  3. Bargain Hunting – When stock prices drop, this formula automatically buys more shares of the investment. This is an enactment of the “buy low” philosoph.
  4. Level Up – Take your milestone up to the next $1,000 level. This formula adds funds to reach the next $1,000 amount in your portfolio.

The formulas are only available in the taxable personal investment accounts, not retirement accounts.

Is Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Safe?

if you’re comfortable banking online then you should be fine with Axos Invest’s safety features. The Axos robo-advisor uses bank-level security. Your personal information is encrypted, securely stored, and protected by Axos’ state-of’the-art technology.

The two-factor authentication requires you to input a code, sent to your personal device, before providing account access.

Need help choosing a robo-advisor? Try the 4-question Robo-Advisor Selection Tool

Axos Invest Managed Portfolios Pros and Cons

Advantages

Axos Invest, formerly WiseBanyan is a good basic robo-advisor, with a lot to like.

  • Sound investment portfolio management for free.
  • Free rebalancing-many other robo-advisors charge for fund management and rebalancing.
  • Diversified selection of low fee ETFs-Broad exposure to U.S. and international stocks, U.S. bond universe and real estate with the free platform.
  • The Portfolio Plus is a game-changer and adds targeted investing. This is an easy way to personalize your investments, in line with your own interests.
  • Transparent methodology.
  • Transparent fee structure for add on services.
  • Ability to set up multiple portfolios for a variety of goals.
  • Cash option great for emergency funds.
  • Easy sign up with ability to change allocations and seamlessly add goals.
  • Access to other financial services through Axos Financial including high yield savings and formulas is a good feature.

Disadvantages

  • Limited account availability, no joint accounts, no trusts.
  • Rainy day milestone design is somewhat risky for short term goals. You need to select ‘cash milestone’ for your emergency funds.
  • This option to a risk question, ‘Gain 7% with low risk’ is a mismatched combination. If you’re seeking a 7% return, it’s likely you’ll need a high allocation to stock funds, which are inherently risky.
  • We’re uncertain about the benefits of the Fast Money add on.
  • No invesment educational resources.

Axos Invest Managed Portfolio Review Wrap Up

There’s a lot to like about Axos Invest. The cost is an immediate draw: this robo-advisor is primarily free and the add-ons are low cost. The Portfolio Plus is a great option for investors who want more choice from their robo-advisor and the Axos Invest Tax Protection Package is low priced at 0.25% per month with a $20 monthly cap.

We like the automation of the Axos Invest Formulas. Any time you automate investing, to deploy additional dollars into the market, without having to manually make a decision will benefit your long term wealth-creation.

For the new investor, there is minimal downside; it’s an easy way to begin investing. The only drawback of the low investment minimum is that you won’t invest enough to meet your long term financial goals.

For the intermediate investor, looking to slash fees and get professional portfolio management, Axos Invest is also a viable option. Even sophisticated investors can find what they want with the Portfolio Plus options. Although SoFi Invest offers zero minimums, zero management fees and financial consultants. Otherrobo-advisor options for investors include Betterment or Personal Capital.

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Disclosure: Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you sign up or buy through the affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t believe is valuable.

Disclosure: I have an account with Axos Invest.

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