Friday, January 8, 2021

Revisiting My Endowus CPF Portfolio & Introducing Fund Smart

I have been using Endowus for slightly more than a year now and I had written about my experiences here. Let us see how is my initial SGD 10,000 (with a monthly contribution of SGD 200/SGD 300) 60/40 equity/bond CPF portfolio doing:

Fig.1: Graphical view of portfolio performance. Note that the dip in June 2020 was due to a switch of funds. Also, I had increased my monthly contribution from SGD 200 to SGD 300 from July 2020 onwards (as at 7 Jan 2021).


Fig.2: Table showing returns of various definitions of the portfolio (as at 7 Jan 2021).


While we had experienced a pretty volatile year in 2020 and despite the market gloominess (which was relatively short lived), the CPF portfolio had gained between 14% and nearing 17%, depending on which returns number you are looking. These numbers are pretty respectable, though usually returns would smooth out to a lower number as the years go by. To recall, I had wanted a platform where I could invest my CPF OA in markets outside of Singapore via unit trust funds at a lower expense ratio, so as to provide a return higher than the CPF OA’s 2.5% rate. And that platform is Endowus.


Endowus Fund Smart


Endowus is a robo-advisor, which according to Investopedia’s definition, “…digital platforms that provide automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services with little or no human supervision”1. Typically, most robo-advisors (whom I shall call “robos”) will select a portfolio for you, based on your goals and risk profile that you had indicated on an online questionnaire in their platforms. After setting the portfolio up, you could just fix a periodic contribution amount (usually monthly) and the robo would manage it by buying new units of the funds that made up your portfolio and rebalance it. Robos are suitable for those who are the really very passive investor, or for those who are new to investing.


Robos had indeed changed the landscape of investing, and to portfolio-based investors like myself, the notion of an automated rebalancing with little cost sounds good to me. The major gripe that I had with robos was that the investor had no control of what to buy for his/her portfolio. The allocation is there (e.g. 60/40 or 50/50 in equities/bonds) but I cannot dictate what to buy to fill up the allocation. 


To be fair and honest, I had stated earlier that robos are a good fit for the newbie and super-passive investors, but as an active investor, I would love to have the automated rebalancing function and having a say in which fund to get for my portfolio. This sounds like I am trying to have my cake and eating it, too.


A few months ago, Endowus had launched Fund Smart, where it allows you to select which funds (offered by Endowus) to invest in and set their percentage allocation. What’s more, your portfolio allocation will be rebalanced. With this flexibility, seems like I could have and eat my cake at the same time.


Now begs the question: Will the Bedokian be using Fund Smart for his CPF OA? The answer is yes. Since I already have an existing CPF OA portfolio using Endowus’ recommended fund weightages, I will start off another portfolio using my own weightage. Why? I will treat it as a diversification on a portfolio basis and this also conforms to my portfolio multiverse approach (which I had shared a bit here), so stay tuned.


The intended audience of this post is for individuals who are below 55 years old. All views, opinions and research expressed herewith are solely mine. Disclaimer applies.


Past performances of the funds stated in this post do not guarantee future results.


Click on this link and get SGD 10,000 managed free for six months (SGD 20 equivalent). 



1 – Frankenfield, Jake. What Is A Robo-Advisor? Investopedia. 28 Mar 2020. (accessed 7 Jan 2021)


  1. The description of Fund Smart looks really attractive if you are allowed to choose the unit trusts (from a reasonable selection) you invest in. The remaining issue is cost - is it transparent that the trailer fee rebates are MORE than the 0.4% endowus fee?

    1. Hello World,

      An interesting question you have there.

      For my own Endowus CPF portfolio, for the period from Apr 2020 till now, the gross access fee is more than the trailer rebate fee (by around SGD 14 or so).

      The access fee is deducted periodically every quarter, based on the daily average asset under advise for that period. The trailer fee rebates, to my understanding, are given back as and when Endowus receives them (source:

      Based on the previous paragraph, I guess the main variable (and also the determinant) is time, which I see this issue in 2 ways:

      1. My basis period is about 8 months, so probably it is not long enough to really see if the trailer rebate fee is more than the access fee.

      2. The time basis when both types of fees were calculated.

      Of course, there are other factors in play like the choice of funds, the actual % of the trailer fees of each fund, etc.

      The bottom line is I feel we would probably go for the current available better method in achieving what we want, i.e. investing in our CPF in overseas markets with a lower cost.


    2. Thanks. I read a bit more on the endowus website and it seems that they are pretty transparent on how much they rebate to you. It depends on the fund and obviously if they rebate less than 0.4% I might as well buy the fund directly (unless its an institutional share class -which for the time being only seems to be Pimco/Dimensional).

      But 2 of my favourite funds are available, First State Bridge and FS Greater China. The rebate is only 0.5%, so once you add the 0.4% platform fee, there is a 0.1% reduction to TER, which of course is better than nothing. If I didn't already have an FSMOne account holding these funds, I would consider Endowus, but 0.1% TER difference... it doesn't make me want to immediately switch to Endowus.

    3. Hello World,

      Appreciate and thank you for your viewpoints and comments. Most importantly is as long as we stay invested and let the compounding effect do the work, all of us can enjoy the subsequent fruits of our patience. :)