The bottom line:
Axos Managed Portfolios stands out for the level of customization allowed by the service: The company allows investors to add or remove 32 investment types, including socially responsible investments.
Pros & Cons
Low account management costs.
Goal-based planning tools.
Limited account selection.
Compare to Other Advisors
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Where Axos Managed Portfolios investing shines
Inexpensive management: Axos Managed Portfolios charges a 0.24% management fee, which is relatively low, and offers more portfolio customization than most robo-advisors offer.
Customizable investments: The company asks each customer a few questions, then creates a portfolio of exchange-traded funds, weighted to reflect the amount of risk the investor is willing to accept.
Tax-loss harvesting: Tax-loss harvesting, an investment strategy that can help reduce taxes on your investment gains, is available to all Axos Managed Portfolios customers.
Where Axos Managed Portfolios falls short
Account selection: Axos Managed Portfolios customers can open only individual taxable accounts or traditional and Roth IRAs. Other robos and brokers also offer joint taxable and custodial accounts.
Axos Managed Portfolios is best for:
Investors who want to customize their portfolios.
Axos Managed Portfolios at a glance
Account management fee
Investment expense ratios
Portfolio mix is generally well-diversified but lacks significant exposure to international bonds. Portfolios are highly customizable for a robo-advisor.
Socially responsible portfolio option
Portfolio Plus feature lets you invest in particular sectors, such as Digital Security, or causes, such as companies with women in leadership roles.
• Individual nonretirement accounts. • Roth and traditional IRAs.
Tax-loss harvesting included on all accounts.
Automatic and free on all accounts.
Human advisor option
Savings account/cash management account option
Its affiliate company Axos Bank offers savings accounts with 1.25% APY.
Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)
Customer support is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time by phone and email.
More details about Axos Managed Portfolios' ratings
Account minimum: 4 out of 5 stars
Axos doesn’t have an account minimum — you can open an account with any amount. However, trading can’t begin until your account balance is at $500. If your balance is below $500, you will pay a fee of $1 per month. Several competing robo-advisors have a $0 minimum and don’t charge for a $0 balance.
Account management fee: 4 out of 5 stars
A big draw of robo-advisors is that they offer financial advice and management for much less than a human financial advisor charges; around 0.25% to 0.5% of assets managed is typical. Axos squeaks under that range with its 0.24% management fee on accounts over $500. Yes, that 0.01% doesn’t make too much of a difference, but any money you don’t spend on management fees is money you get to keep.
Investment expense ratios: 4 out of 5 stars
Expense ratios are annual fees expressed as a percentage of your investment in a fund. The ratio varies depending on the robo-advisor. Axos Managed Portfolios has an average expense ratio of 0.12%.
Account fees: 3 out of 5 stars
Axos Managed Portfolios charges a $75 automated transfer out fee and a $50 per-plan termination fee on qualified accounts.
Portfolio mix: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Like many robo-advisors, Axos Managed Portfolios’ investment philosophy is based on modern portfolio theory. The company automatically creates a portfolio for each client by asking a few questions. Those questions lead to a “risk score” that helps build a recommended portfolio of exchange-traded funds, weighted to reflect the amount of risk the investor is willing to accept. The company says clients can increase or decrease their risk scores, and the investment recommendations will automatically update to reflect the change.
Axos Core Portfolios are similar to those of other robo-advisors. Funds cover U.S., international and emerging market equities; U.S. government and corporate bonds; short-term high-yield bonds; Treasury inflation-protected securities; and real estate investment trusts, or REITs. Many of the ETFs are from Vanguard and iShares.
Socially responsible portfolio options: 5 out of 5 stars
Investors who want to customize their portfolios can use the Portfolio Plus feature at no extra cost. Clients can add or remove 32 investment types and add investments by sector, such as digital security, consumer staples and socially minded companies. And while the level of added customization is a great middle ground for those investors who want more control than they'd get with a traditional robo-advisor but don’t want to choose all their own investments themselves, the company states that portfolios constructed from the additional investments available through Portfolio Plus are not recommendations of Axos.
Accounts supported: 2 out of 5 stars
Axos Managed Portfolios customers can open only individual taxable accounts or traditional and Roth IRAs. You can’t, for example, open a joint taxable account with your spouse, as you can at other robo-advisors and brokers, and you can't open a trust or a custodial account for your children.
Tax strategy: 4 out of 5 stars
Tax-loss harvesting is an investment strategy that involves selling losing investments to help reduce taxes on your investment gains. It’s available to all Axos Managed Portfolios customers.
Automatic rebalancing: 5 out of 5 stars
Axos Managed Portfolios monitors your portfolio and makes adjustments to keep your asset allocation aligned with your original choices. Customers receive automatic rebalancing for free.
Human advisor option: 1 out of 5 stars
Some robo-advisors offer human support, sometimes for an added fee. This isn’t a service Axos Managed Portfolios provides.
Savings account/cash management options: 5 out of 5 stars
Axos Managed Portfolios doesn’t offer a savings account or cash management options, but you can open a savings account with Axos Bank, its affiliate company. These accounts have 1.25% APY.
Customer support options: 4 out of 5 stars
Customers have access to phone and email support Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific time. Note customers may face technical difficulties with the platform. We asked the company about it, and Axos shared the below statement about the issues:
"... Axos migrated assets from Apex Clearing to Axos Clearing, while retiring its previous consumer app. Our intention was to allow customers to access their accounts through a user interface that provides a more robust and holistic financial services experience, allowing a customer to bank and invest seamlessly without using multiple applications. During the transition, several issues occurred causing the new user interface to be unable to relay data to and from our new clearing firm. As we worked to resolve these issues, we waived advisory fees for the affected customers. The issues that caused these errors have been resolved, and we are working to provide more features to our customers."
We will continue to monitor the situation and update this review as needed.
Other features you should know
Axos Managed Portfolios takes a goal-based approach to help investors create buckets for their money, called "milestones." Users tell the service their goal, time horizon, income and net worth, and Axos will calculate a recommendation for how much should be invested toward that milestone. Users can also adjust the recommended asset allocation for each milestone with a bar slider.
Is Axos Managed Portfolios right for you?
Axos Managed Portfolios is a solid choice for investors looking for low-cost management as well as some goal-based guidance. For investors who want more choice than a bare-bones robo-advisor offers, Axos makes it easy to dip your toes into choosing your own investments. Of course, as soon as you start choosing your own investments, you take on some of the responsibility that a robo-advisor would otherwise assume for you. Be sure to do your due diligence with any investments you pick.
How do we review robo-advisors?
NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. robo-advisors. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.
We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.
For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.