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Selma vs Yova – Best Robo-Advisor for Sustainable Investing?

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Selma vs Yova – Best Robo-Advisor for Sustainable Investing?

Many of you have asked me about sustainable investing and how they should invest in Sustainable Instruments. Specifically, many have asked which Robo-Advisor they should use for sustainable investing.

The two main Robo-Advisors for sustainable investing in Switzerland are Selma Finance and Yova. So, today, we are going to compare Selma vs Yova for easy investment in sustainable companies.

Both Selma and Yova allow for sustainably investing your assets. But both have different approaches, limitations, and fees. When you want to invest with a Robo-Advisor, you want to select the best Robo-Advisor for your needs. So, let’s see which of Selma or Yova you should use if you want to invest sustainably in Switzerland.

I am going to compare Selma vs Yova on different factors. We are going to check their fees, their investment minimums, and their investing strategies.

Keep in mind that I do not invest in Robo-Advisors and do not focus on sustainable investing.

Sustainable Investing

Before we talk about Selma vs Yova, let’s start with the big question: what is sustainable investing?

Sustainable investing is an investing strategy where you only invest in instruments that are sustainable for the future. This strategy is a way to invest only in things that will have a positive effect on the world and its society.

Here are some examples of things you can avoid when investing sustainably:

  • Fossil fuel companies
  • Weapon companies
  • Alcohol and tobacco companies
  • Nuclear energy companies

On the other hand, here are some companies on which you can focus more when investing sustainably:

  • Solar energy companies
  • Waste reduction companies
  • Electric car companies
  • Self-sustainable housing companies

There are a few other names, such as impact investing, green investing, ethical investing, or eco-investing. But another big name that you may have heard is ESG investing. ESG stands for Environment Social and Governance. These are not exactly the same things, but they fall under the same philosophy.

These last few years, Sustainable Investing has become more and more popular. There are now many mutual funds, ETFs, and Robo-Advisors that follow this form of investing.

People have two main reasons for investing like this:

  1. Some people want to invest their money in companies that work on improving the world. Or they do not want to invest in companies that supposedly hurt the world like the weapon industry, nuclear power, or gas companies.
  2. Some people believe that sustainable investing will yield more returns in the future. They believe that many companies that are not sustainable now will fail in the future, and as such, it is better not to invest in them now. Contrary to the first reason, this is an optimization for returns.

If you want to invest in sustainable instruments and prefer to use Robo-Advisors, you will want to choose the best Robo-Advisor for your needs.

So, let’s start comparing Selma vs Yova.

Selma Finance

Selma

Selma is a great Swiss Robo-Advisor that will let you invest simply. It is a great way to invest in the stock market without the hassle of DIY Investing.

Let’s start with Selma Finance. It is a Swiss Robo-Advisor that is focusing on a personal assistant within the service. They are creating a custom portfolio for their investors based on questions that they ask you.

They are a relatively new company. Selma was founded in 2016. They have been very successful since. They now have more than 1500 customers and are managing a large portfolio in the 7-digit range.

Selma Finance does not solely focus on Sustainable Investing. But, they have an option to select only ETFs that will invest in sustainable instruments. So, with Selma, you can invest either in the standard stock market or in the subset that is the sustainable stock market.

I have already talked about Selma in the past, and for more information, you can read my review of Selma.

Yova

Yova is another Swiss Robo-Advisor entirely focused on impact investing. To my knowledge, it is the only Swiss Robo-Advisor that only focuses on sustainable investing. They do not offer investment services for people that do not want to invest sustainably.

Yova is a new company. It was founded in 2017. But they have been growing quite quickly since their inception. They have secured more than four million in investing.

Contrary to most Robo-Advisors, Yova is not investing in ETFs but directly in stocks. And they are not replicating an index either. Yova is using a custom strategy to select sustainable companies. So your portfolio will directly be composed of shares of companies that are doing an excellent job in being sustainable.

You can do a few things to customize the investing strategy by choosing some companies you like or do not like and some things you are interested in. Your preferences will be taken into account in your portfolio.

Investing Strategies

Let’s start by comparing the investing strategies of Selma vs Yova.

While they are both Robo-Advisors, they are doing something entirely different.

Selma Finance is investing in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). It means that your portfolio will be a collection of ETF with different allocations. For sustainable investing, they are following the ESG criteria.

For the ETFs, they are selecting the Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) indexes. These are indexes by MSCI. For instance, there is the standard MSCI Europe index, and the ESG equivalent is the MSCI Europe SRI Index.

With Selma, you will have a great diversification since the ETFs will invest in many companies, all following ESG criteria.

Yova has a very different strategy. They do not use ETFs. It means that your portfolio will be composed directly of stocks. Also, they do not use a standard approach like ESG, but they use their custom criteria (based on ESG) to assess companies.

Yova’s strategy is based on the handprint (products and services) and the footprint (way of doing business) of companies. You can learn more about their approach in their whitepaper.

While both strategies have their merits, I find that Selma’s approach is better than Yova’s. There are two reasons for that. First, with Selma, you will have better diversification since you will have significantly more stocks in your portfolio. And, with Selma Finance, you will follow well-known indexes instead of relying on the stock-picking of Yova.

Which is more sustainable? Selma vs Yova

From a sustainability point of view, it is challenging to compare Selma vs Yova since they are using very different strategies.

Again, Selma Finance is using ETFs that are following the SRI indexes from MSCI. Socially Responsible Indexes (SRI) go one step further than ESG investing. So, it is considered more sustainable than merely following the ESG principles.

With Yova, they are picking stocks based on their impact investing criteria. They are using strong factors to decide which companies they should invest in each portfolio. Some of their criteria are the same as ESG criteria. But they have other rules that go further as well.

One thing that is interesting with Yova is that you can customize your portfolio. You can exclude some businesses from your portfolio. For instance, you can decide you do not want to invest in companies that do animal testing.

For me, Selma and Yova have the same quality of sustainable investing. However, with Yova, you can customize your portfolio to your values. This feature means you can focus on your personal view of Sustainable investing. Therefore, Yova is much better for customization.

Minimums

Most people that want to start investing with Robo-Advisors are people that are afraid of investing or are starting with investing. It means that they are generally not ready to invest large amounts of money.

Therefore, it is essential to be able to start with small amounts of money. For this, we can compare the minimums of Selma vs Yova.

On this side, it is easy to compare them. Both Selma and Yova have a minimum investment of 2000 CHF. So, they are both good here. I still think this is slightly too high for some people. A limit of 1000 CHF would probably be better. But 2000 CHF is not a high limit either. And very small portfolios are difficult to rebalance.

Fees – Selma vs Yova

When you want to invest for the long-term, you want to pay as little fees as possible. In the long-term, minimizing fees is important. When you compare services, you need to make sure to take all the small details into account.

Fortunately, both companies are quite transparent about their fees. So, let’s compare Selma vs Yova in terms of investing fees.

Let’s start with Selma Finance. They have a management fee of 0.68% per year. This fee will pay all the fees for Selma. On top of that, you still need to pay the fees of the ETFs. For sustainable ETFs, you will pay about 0.3% per year in fees. So, this gives us a total of 0.98% in fees per year. This fee is not negligible.

Yova has a different approach to pricing. Since they are not using ETFs, they do not have any fees for the management of the assets. So the Yova fee is all-inclusive. The price is different based on how much money you have in your portfolio with Yova:

  • From 0 CHF to 49’999 CHF, 1.2% yearly fee
  • From 50’000 to 149’999 CHF, 1.0% yearly fee
  • From 150’000 CHF to 499’999 CHF, 0.8% yearly fee
  • From 500’000 CHF, 0.6% yearly fee

If you invest more than half a million with Yova, the fee will be excellent. Below that amount, the fees will not be great.

If you have more than 150’000 CHF invested with Yova, it will be cheaper than Selma Finance. If you are serious about investing, you will probably reach this amount. However, you will probably start investing with much less. And that means you will pay a hefty fee for perhaps several years.

For me, this means that Selma has better fees than Yova, especially for starting investing. Now, if you are planning to invest a very large amount of money (more than 150K CHF) since the beginning, Yova will be cheaper indeed.

Security – Selma vs Yova

If you are going to invest a significant amount of money, the security of a Robo-Advisor is fundamental. So, let’s compare the security of Selma vs Yova.

Selma Finance is regulated as an independent financial advisor. They are using Saxo Bank as a custodian bank. It means that all your assets are registered in your name at Saxo bank. If Selma goes bust, your assets are safe.

Yova is regulated as an asset managed. They are also using Saxo Bank as a custodian. So, again, if Yova goes bankrupt, your assets are safe.

From a regulation point of view, both Selma and Yova offer the same amount of security. You are protected by the custodian bank holding your assets. And the custodian bank is the same in both cases and is regulated as well.

We can also compare the technical security of Selma vs Yova.

Both services are offering SSL encrypted access. And I have not found any record of breaches with either of these companies. However, only Selma offers Two-Factor Authentication. So the technical security of Selma is significantly better than Yova’s.

Online security is paramount, read how to protect your online personal finances.

Summary – Selma vs Yova

Let’s do a quick summary of the Selma vs Yova results.

Criteria Selma Finance Yova
Sustainable Investing Good Good
Investing Strategy Best – ETF Worse – Stock picking
Trading fees Better Okay
Ease of use Easy Easy
Interface Only web Only web
Customization None Good
Returns Average Average
Minimums Okay Okay
Security Good Good
Technical Security Good Average (No 2FA)

There are some pros and cons to both services. However, given the lower fees and the better investing strategy, Selma is a better candidate for a sustainable Robo-Advisor. Also, the lack of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) with Yova worries me. I would not invest any significant amount of money in an online service without 2FA.

On the other hand, if you are looking for extreme customization, you may want to go with Yova. You will be able to choose companies yourselves based on a lot of criteria. But if you are not against stock picking, you could probably simply use a broker to pick the stocks you want. You will divide your fees at least by ten by doing so!

Conclusion

Selma

Selma is a great Swiss Robo-Advisor that will let you invest simply. It is a great way to invest in the stock market without the hassle of DIY Investing.

To conclude the Selma vs Yova question, Selma Finance is a better fit for sustainable investing in most cases. Its fees are better unless you invest a substantial amount of money. And they offer more diversification since they are using ETFs and are not picking stocks themselves. Also, they offer 2FA, which should be the bare minimum in terms of security.

On the other hand, Yova will offer you greater customization. You will be able to choose some factors that you do not want to see in your portfolio. If you feel strongly about some things (like no animal testing), Yova could be a good fit for you. Just know that when you are getting started, the fees are high.

I am not investing in sustainable instruments myself. But if I were to do so, I would choose sustainable ETFs. And if I were to use a Robo-Advisor for sustainable investing, I would go with Selma Finance.

I will try to dedicate a future article on all the different notions of sustainable investing. But I wanted to cover Selma vs Yova first since this is what my readers asked me the most.

If you want to learn more, read my article about Robo-Advisors and whether or not you should invest with them.

If any of you tried any of these services, I would love to hear about their experience.

Full story here
Mr. The Poor Swiss
Mr. The Poor Swiss is the author behind thepoorswiss.com. In 2017, he realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut on his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.
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