My Experiences with Yova so far...

Updated: Jul 10

++ In July 2021, yova changed its name to inyova.++

++ Use my invitation code 9286d and get 6 months managed for free++


++This is post is my opinion only. I recommend products on my blog that I use myself. I may receive a commission for links posted, which helps me finance this blog and website.++



Having just divorced and with little money left for my savings (but no debt!), I wanted to find a simple way to invest for my future. It didn't take very long for the Google/Instagram algorithm to fulfill my wish when I stumbled upon Yova.



Yova is a robo-advisor that focuses on investing in sustainable companies (based on a particular impact investing philosophy). They fit the bill on my requirements on having a simple and fast on-boarding process, sustainability focus (this is their niche), automatic portfolio investments and rebalancing (I just want to set it and forget it) as well as low investing minimums (you can start with just CHF2000), and with an easy app to use that let's you customize your exposure based on particular sustainability topics.


After being onboarded, gently guided to determine my risk profile and transferring the minimum amount to invest, I also made sure to initiate monthly transfers of CHF200 every month. At the time, I was a very reluctant money investor; Yova made it feel quick, painless and definitely worth it.


Two points about Yova were particularly important to me:


- Sustainability Focus -- Yova doesn't just throw your money into an ETF -- it selects specific companies that not only meet ESG requirements, but also fit the definition of impact investments which "the intention to generate positive, measurable, social and environmental impact alongside a financial return." Although other ETFs or advisors may provide an option for "sustainable" stocks, Yova makes this its foundation for stock selection with the customary optimization and diversification designed to generate market-rate returns.


In addition, Yova buys my stocks directly for me and so there are no complex financial instruments involved. Fairly simple. NB: one could argue that this stock-picking can be a negative as it limits diversification.


- Automation -- being fairly new to actively investing for myself, I was drawn to Yova because of the automation it offered: select my sustainability topics (based on their handprint and footprint of the companies), further customize the companies I wanted in my portfolio or get rid of them entirely, set up the monthly transfer -- and presto, wait for the portfolio value to increase (hopefully). I have the peace of mind that Yova handles all the backend work for me.





Fees


However, investing with Yova has one major con -- its fees. Although Yova somewhat transparent in its pricing, the fees can be quite high if one invests less than CHF150,000 at 1.2% annually. In addition, it appears to me that even if one's account balance increases and technically puts you in a different tier for the fees due to positive market conditions, you'll still end up paying the more expensive tier. That is, your fee is based on how much is invested, NOT your actual account value.


Its comparison between traditional banking, DIY trading and another ETF robo-advisor are also a bit misleading. Quickly double-checking the fees against well-known Swiss DIY brokers such as Interactive Brokers and similar Swiss Robo-Advisors such as Selma, makes it clear that Yova is pricier.


Yova, unlike Selma for example, doesn't have a 3rd pillar option (yet -- appears to be on their roadmap) -- not a huge dealbreaker for me.


UPDATE: as of 1 April 2021, Yova has adjusted their pricing structure that lets you benefit from the stock market's historical tendency to increase over time. The fee percentage now adjusts depending on the current balance of your account.


In addition, stamp duty reimbursements are not covered by Yova as of 1 April 2021.




Nonetheless, even with this big negative of high fees due, I still signed up. To me, Yova gave me the confidence to take more charge of my financial future by easing myself into it. The ease and simplicity of signing up and being able to view the status of my portfolio on the app's dashboard is very helpful. Although I am satisfied with the service (their customer service support is quite and their interaction with clients at various events is pleasant), it won't preclude me from trying out other robo-advisors and/or try DIY investing.




  • Yova: Use my invitation code 9286d and get 6 months managed for free.

++This is not financial, legal or investment advice and is not a solicitation to buy or sell products. I assume no liability for the accuracy of the information on my website, blog articles and any emails. Trading securities on the stock market is risky and you could lose your entire initial investment. I assume no liability for your decisions. I recommend products on my blog that I use myself. I may receive a commission for links posted, which helps me finance my blog and website.++


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++This is not financial, legal or investment advice and is not a solicitation to buy or sell products. I assume no liability for the accuracy of the information on my website, blog articles and any emails. Trading securities on the stock market is risky and you could lose your entire initial investment. I assume no liability for your decisions. I recommend products on my blog that I use myself. I may receive a commission for links posted, which helps me finance my blog and website.++

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