What is SoFi Wealth?

SoFi, or "Social Finance Inc.", is a US-based fintech startup founded in 2011. It was first specialized in offering student loan refinancing, but later has expanded into the broker and robo-advisory space. SoFi Wealth is SoFi’s fully-owned robo-advisory service (Automated Investing). It is regulated by top-tier regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Besides SoFi Wealth, SoFi has a zero-commission brokerage service, SoFi Invest.

SoFi Wealth is recommended for US customers looking for zero-commission service with advisory support and ultra-low initial deposit requirement.

SoFi Wealth Review 2020
SoFi Wealth pros and cons

Pros

  • Zero-commission robo-advisory service

  • Fast and reliable customer service

  • Easy and fully digital account opening with $1 required minimum deposit

Cons

  • Limited options for portfolio personalization

  • Only bank transfer is available for deposit and withdrawal

  • Available only in the US

SoFi Wealth Review 2020
Fees

SoFi Wealth charges no commission, which is great. There are no deposit and withdrawal fees, either.

Which fees should you take into account for robo-advisors? Here is a summary of the relevant fees:

Robo-advisor fees explained

Definitions Description
Investment fees Robo-Service fee Fee is charged by the robo-advisor for managing the account. This fee is charged annually based on how much you have invested in a particular account. Sometimes it is called a Management fee.
Other investment fees Fees, which are not charged directly by the robo-advisor. The most important fee is the ETF management fee, which depends on the ETFs the robo-advisor invests in.
Non-investment fees Other fees that could be charged based on your funding activities, including fees for deposit & withdrawal and FX conversion.

Personal advisory services, when the robo-advisor's experts advise on how to allocate assets, have higher Robo-Service fee.

We compared SoFi Wealth's fees with those of two similar robo-advisors, Betterment and Wealthsimple. This selection is based on factors like products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc.

Let's start with the investment fees.

Investment fees 

For the better comparison of robo-advisors' Robo-Service and other investment fees, we calculated two benchmark fees, an annual fee for both basic and premium services. Robo-advisors usually offer multiple tiers of services, which differ in fees, minimum investment, and personal advisory.

  • Basic service usually includes discount or zero fees, low minimum investment, and limited personal advisory services.

  • Premium service usually includes higher fees, higher minimum investment, and an option for personal advisory.

We calculated the benchmark fees using $30,000 account balance for basic and $100,000 for premium accounts.  

SoFi Wealth's basic service is free. Premium service is not provided. 

SoFi Wealth annual fees benchmarked

  SoFi Wealth Betterment Wealthsimple
Basic account's annual fees $0 $108 $210
Premium account's annual fees Premium service not available $510 $600

It's unique that SoFi Wealth doesn't charge any Robo-Service fee and all fees for investing in ETFs are covered.

Non-investment fees

SoFi Wealth has low non-investment fees. It has no account, deposit, or withdrawal fees, similarly to its competitors.

SoFi Wealth non-investment fees
  SoFi Wealth Betterment Wealthsimple
Account fee No No No
Deposit fee No No No
Withdrawal fee No No No

SoFi Wealth Review 2020
Account opening

SoFi Wealth has a fast and fully-digital account opening process. The minimum investment amount is $1. On the flip side, SoFi is available only in the US. 

Who can open an account?

SoFi Wealth is available only for US residents.

Minimum investment amount

SoFi Wealth’s minimum investment amount is $1. It’s suitable for clients, who prefer investing lower amounts.

Account types

SoFi Wealth offers the following account types:

SoFi Wealth investment account types

Account type Description
Individual Account is owned by an individual
Joint Account is by two or more individuals
Roth / Traditional / Rollover IRA Accounts Individual retirement accounts

In this review, we tested the Individual Investment Account called Automated Investing.

How to open an account

Opening an account at SoFi Wealth is easy, fully digital, and fast. Our account was verified within one business day.

Nine steps of opening an account at SoFi Wealth:

  1. Register a SoFi account, where you give your name, email address and a password
  2. Accept the terms and conditions
  3. Select your main savings goal: general investing, emergency fund or retirement
  4. Add financial goals: how much funds you have now, what is your target and your total annual income
  5. Choose between 5 pre-set risk levels
  6. Select your account type (individual or joint) and state whether it is a retirement purpose account or not 
  7. Add personal information: address, phone number, and employment status
  8. Give personal data: address, Social Security Number or other ID details, regulatory financial data
  9. Choose your funding method via linking your bank account
SoFi Wealth review - Account opening

SoFi Wealth Review 2020
Deposit and withdrawal

SoFi Wealth doesn't charge fees for withdrawals or deposits, and the whole process is easy and convenient. On the negative side, you can use only bank transfer, and only USD base currency is available for investing. 

Account base currencies 

SoFi Wealth offers only USD as an account base currency, which is not surprising, given the fact the broker serves US-based customers. It is the same at Betterment, while Wealthsimple has a wider offer.

Base currencies at SoFi Wealth vs. similar robo-advisors
  SoFi Wealth Betterment Wealthsimple
Number of base currencies 1 1 3

Why does this matter? If you fund your robo account in the same currency as your bank account, you won't be charged a currency conversion fee

A convenient way to save on the currency conversion fees can be to open a multi-currency bank account. Revolut or Transferwise both offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. The account opening only takes a few minutes on your phone.

Deposit fees and options

SoFi Wealth does not charge deposit fees and supports automatic deposits. However, you can only use bank transfer, no electronic wallets or credit/debit cards are accepted.

Keep in mind, that a bank transfer can take several days.

Deposit options
  SoFi Wealth  Betterment Wealthsimple
Bank transfer
Credit/Debit card
Electronic wallets 
SoFi Wealth review - Deposit and Withdrawal - Deposit

Withdrawal fees and options 

SoFi Wealth doesn't charge withdrawal fees, however, withdrawals are only available through bank transfers. It’s the same for Wealthsimple’s competitors.

You have to remember that fund withdrawals with robo-advisors take a long time, around 6-7 business days. SoFi Wealth settles withdrawals within two business days after the trades occur, but you need to calculate with several business days for transferring the fund to your bank account. 

SoFi Wealth Review 2020
Investment platforms

SoFi Wealth offers its services through web and mobile platforms. The investment platforms have clear structure and user-friendly layouts. Both are providing two-step authentication. On the downside,  portfolio reports are limited.

SoFi Wealth offers in-house developed web and mobile investment platforms. They are available in English.

Web investment platform ★★★★☆

SoFi Wealth's web investment platform is user-friendly and easy-to-use. Adding a portfolio is easy, just add a new "Automated Investing" plan, while you can select the details (ie risk level, duration, etc.) with just a few clicks.

The design is simple and straightforward, the branding and marketing intentionally target minimalism. 

SoFi Wealth provides a two-step login. You can turn it off and on under your profile name, in the "My profile" menu in "Account settings".

When it comes to the portfolio report, SoFi Wealth can be improved. There is no chart or any detailed breakdown for portfolio performance, only a percentage of the returns. You can't expect a clear fee report, because SoFi Wealth doesn't charge fees.

 

SoFi Wealth review - Web investment platform

Mobile investment platform ★★★★☆

SoFi Wealth's mobile trading platform is available both on iOS or Android devices. In this review, we tested it on iOS.

The mobile investment platform is considered to be a perfect copy of the web investment platform, as in it’s user-friendly with minimalist design, offers a two-step authentication process, and the portfolio report is basic.

SoFi Wealth review - Mobile investment platform

SoFi Wealth Review 2020
Product offer

SoFi Wealth has limited options for investment portfolio personalization. It doesn't offer extra features, like socially responsible investing or tax-loss harvesting. As a plus, you can easily set your risk preferences. 

If you compare the robo-advisors, you should concentrate on the following three questions:

  • Personalization: how can you personalize your investment preferences and how many model portfolios can you choose from?
  • Asset allocation: what is the distribution of the assets the robo-advisor invests in?
  • Extra features: can you benefit from extra services, like an option for socially responsible investing or tax-harvesting?

 

Let's see the answers for SoFi Wealth.

Personalization

When you start investing with a robo-advisor, you can usually add your investment goal, risk preference, investment time horizon and target amount. Based on your inputs, the robo-advisor recommends one of their model portfolios and you can decide, which one you want to go with. The robo-advisors differ in the depth of personalization and the number of available model portfolios.

SoFi Wealth offers only 10 model portfolios and the level of personalization is average

  SoFi Wealth Betterment Wealthsimple
Number of model portfolios 10 400 30
Can you set goals/plans? Yes Yes No
Can you change the risk? Yes Yes Yes
Can you set the time horizon? No Yes No
Can you set a target amount? No Yes No

The first step of adding a new investment portfolio is to add your investment goals and to choose between taxable and retirement accounts. After that, you can choose from five different risk levels, ranging from Conservative to Aggressive.

SoFi Wealth review - Product offer

Product range 

SoFi Wealth invests mainly in big US-based ETFs, like Vanguard, Blackrock series, and SoFi's own ETFs.

The asset allocation within the portfolios is changing in line with your risk preferences.


SoFi Wealth's Asset Allocations According to Strategy

ETF types

 Conservative Moderately Conservative Moderate Moderately Aggressive Aggressive
Municipal bond ETF 60% 42% 24% 12% 0%
Short-term bond ETF 30% 21% 12% 6% 0%
High yield municipal bond ETF 5% 3% 2% 1% 0%
Short-term inflation-protexted securities ETF 5% 3% 2% 1% 0%
SoFi's own ETF (1) 0% 17% 34% 46% 57%
Developed markets ETF 0% 7% 14% 19% 24%
Emerging Markets ETF 0% 2% 4% 6% 8%
SoFi's own ETF (2) 0% 2% 4% 5% 6%
Small cap ETF 0% 1% 2% 2% 3%

Additional Features

SoFi Wealth doesn't offer additional services, like tax-loss harvesting or socially responsible investing. These features would be a big plus.

SoFi Wealth Review 2020
Customer service

SoFi Wealth has great customer support. You'll get fast and relevant answers.

You can contact SoFi Wealth via:

  • Phone: we reached the agent within a couple of minutes by walking through a meaningful multi-choice menu and we got relevant answers
  • Chat: after your identification, it works fast and provides relevant answers

Unfortunately, customer service is not 24/7. You can contact them between 4:00 am to 9:00 pm PT

SoFi Wealth review - Customer service

 

SoFi Wealth Review 2020
Safety

SoFi Wealth is regulated by top tier financial authorities SEC and FINRA. You are also protected by a high investor protection limit of $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash.

Is SoFi Wealth regulated? Yes, it is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Is Sofi Wealth safe? To be sure, it is best to check two things: the background of the robo-advisor, and how you are protected.

How are you protected?

This is important because the amount of investor protection differ from regulator to regulator. This is not an issue in this case, as all the customers are covered by SoFi Securities LLC and the US investor protection scheme, called SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation)

The SIPC investor protection scheme protects against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of SIPC protection is $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash. This amount is substantially higher than the amount most investor protection schemes provide.

Background 

SoFi Wealth' parent company SoFi was established in 2011. The longer the track record of any company, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises. 

Being regulated by top-tier regulators and offering a high level of investor protection are all great signs for SoFi Wealth's safety.

SoFi Wealth Review 2020
Bottom line

SoFi Wealth is a robo-advisor based in the US. 

SoFi Wealth offers free robo-advisory service with no deposit and withdrawal fees. The customer service is fast and reliable, and the account opening is fully digital and easy. 

There are some drawbacks though, the personalization of investment portfolios is very limited. You can use only bank transfer for money transfers and the service is only available for US residents. 

As it is easy to open an account, the fees are low and their customer service is fast, feel free to try SoFi Wealth.

Author of this review

Bence András Rózsa

Author of this review

Bence’s purpose is to help you to understand the logic behind financial services. In his master’s studies, he specialised in business economy and finance to be able to give you a clear picture of the brokerage world. Having reviewed multiple brokers and robo-advisor services, his goal will always be to guide you in the world of investing as it is.

Bence András Rózsa

Broker Analyst

Bence’s purpose is to help you to understand the logic behind financial services. In his master’s studies, he specialised in business economy and finance to be able to give you a clear picture of the brokerage world. Having reviewed multiple brokers and robo-advisor services, his goal will always be to guide you in the world of investing as it is.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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