The Bottom Line: A low account minimum, rock-bottom fees, access to financial advisors and career counselors make SoFi Automated Investing ideal for beginning and younger investors, though the lack of a track record may give some potential customers pause.
Pros & Cons
Broad range of low-cost investments.
Very low management fees.
Access to certified financial planners.
No tax-loss harvesting.
Limited account types.
Short track record.
The lender SoFi is a relative newcomer to the ranks of robo-advisors, but in many respects competes — and even beats — top players. SoFi Automated Investing (formerly known as SoFi Wealth) charges no advisory or administrative fees while giving access to low-cost funds with a very low account minimum, plus free sessions with its team of certified financial planners. SoFi offers complimentary career coaching and live events, and it's great for beginning and younger investors.
SoFi Automated Investing is best for:
Beginning and younger investors.
Those who need financial planning.
Users with low balances.
SoFi Automated Investing at a glance
Where SoFi Automated Investing shines
SoFi Automated Investing also charges no administrative fees, not even for closing an account, making it very investor-friendly. In fact, the company might help you pay the transfer fees that some other robo rivals charge when you leave them.
As with some of the most popular robo-advisors, SoFi Automated Investing provides automatic rebalancing. Every time money enters or leaves your account (for example, a deposit), SoFi checks your portfolio against the target allocation and rebalances it as close as possible. In addition, the advisor monitors your portfolio daily to see if it's more than five percentage points off-target and, if so, will adjust the portfolio back to the target.
Broad range of low-cost investments: SoFi builds its clients’ portfolios from a range of exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, tracking more than 20 indexes, based on the client’s risk tolerance and investment objectives. This is one of the widest offerings among robo-advisors, on par with Ellevest. SoFi’s ETFs include exposure to U.S. stocks, international stocks, real estate, high-yield and Treasury bonds, as well as to specific countries and regions.
And those ETFs are great for cost-conscious investors. The typical portfolio has a weighted average cost of 0.085%, competitive with some of the cheapest robo-advisors out there, including Wealthfront, E-Trade Core Portfolios and Ally Invest Managed Portfolios.
Financial planning: SoFi stands out here. All clients have unlimited access to the company's financial advisors at no extra charge. These advisors are certified financial planners with the Series 65 designation (or similar), holding them to a fiduciary standard and binding them to operate in your best interest. They’re also noncommissioned advisors, meaning they don't make money off of specific trades and actions they recommend.
On top of this, advisors are available at a great range of hours and modes. You can schedule a phone or video appointment between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. SoFi offers some weekend meetings as well. This is a great advantage for newer investors or those looking to access certified professionals.
Customer support: Customer support for more technical issues picks up the same theme as the advisors — an extensive range of hours — and is great for beginners. They’re available Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to midnight Eastern; and Friday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.
High-interest savings: Like competitors Wealthfront and Betterment, Sofi offers a high-interest savings account. Sofi Money functions like a checking and savings account that pays 2.25% interest annually and carries up to $1.5 million in FDIC coverage, six times more insurance than the average bank account. SoFi Money also charges no account fees and offers unlimited reimbursement for ATM fees each month.
Special bonuses: SoFi offers bonuses to clients who invest at least $20 per month. These "members" can receive complimentary career coaching as well as members-only events like dinners and talks. They’re also eligible for reduced interest rates on SoFi loans. If you already have your student loans or a mortgage with SoFi, or are planning on taking out a loan, extending your relationship with the company could be worth something extra to you.
Where SoFi Automated Investing falls short
Tax-loss harvesting: SoFi plans to introduce tax-loss harvesting in 2019, a service offered free by many competitors that reduces potential investing losses. But for now, it's not available for SoFi Automated Investing clients.
Limited accounts: Want to hold a 529 saving plan or a 401(k) at SoFi? Tough. The robo-advisor supports only taxable accounts (joint and individual) and individual retirement accounts (Roth, traditional, SEP and rollover). The company plans to offer more account types in the future but has not revealed a timetable for the upgrades.
Limited track record: SoFi started up its robo-advisor platform in 2017, so it’s among the newest kids on the block. That may give some investors pause, especially when larger players such as Wealthfront and Betterment have established track records.
Is SoFi Automated Investing right for you?
SoFi’s 0% management fee offer looks especially attractive compared to Wealthfront’s 0.25% fee, and especially relative to competitors who also provide unlimited access to advisors in premium-service offerings, namely from Ellevest (0.5%) and Betterment (0.4%).
With a broad range of low-cost ETFs and a competitively priced management fee, SoFi provides some great features for cost-conscious investors, especially those just starting out. These beginners are also more likely to find value in SoFi’s member bonuses, particularly its career coaching or the interest-rate reduction to work down those student loans even faster.
James Royal contributed to this review.