Late last year, I was introduced to Wahed, a robo-investing platform that prides itself on being the first halal investment robo-advisor in Malaysia.

Less than 4-months of launch in Malaysia (Wahed was started in New York), Wahed has been making an impression among fellow fintech and investment enthusiasts.

Being an enthusiast myself, I have also signed up for a Wahed portfolio to personally try it out myself, and got a $5 (RM20) FREE bonus while doing so  (remember to apply my promo code “YIXCHI1” to get the bonus!). 

In this article, let’s dive deep into Wahed, and see if this is a robo-advisor that you should invest in!




(1) First thing first: What is Wahed?

Wahed is a robo-advisor that helps invest your money into Shariah-compliant investments*.

What differentiates Wahed from other robo-advisors is that they are the first company that has received an Islamic Robo Advisory license from the Malaysian Securities Commission.

As such, Wahed also takes up an important role in fulfilling the Malaysian Muslim community that is looking for an investment platform that is aligned with their values of life.


*For readers who are unclear, Shariah-compliant investments are investments governed by the requirements of Shariah law and the principles of the Muslim religion.

Wahed Invest is one of the new robo-advisor platform in Malaysia.



(2) Who Certifies Wahed’s Shariah compliance?

Wahed’s Shariah review is done by their Shariah Advisor, Dr. Aznan Hasan.

Dr. Aznan is the President of the Association of Shariah Advisors in Islamic Finance & Deputy Chairman of Shariah Advisory Council of the Securities Commission (SC). He is also a former member of the Shariah Advisory Council of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Wahed also has Straightway Ethical Advisory LLC (a US-based Shariah financial advisory firm) to advise them on matters of Shariah compliance and Islamic financial ethics at the group level.


Source: Wahed’s Official Site




(3) How Wahed Invests Your Money?

Now, though positioning themselves as the forerunner of halal investing, Wahed is at its core a robo-advisor that invest on behalf of their users too, just like its competitor StashAway and Mytheo.

Hence, Wahed is definitely a robo-advisor that you should not overlook if you are looking to build your passive investing portfolio, regardless of your religion and background.


(a) Fund Management Methodology

Just like its robo-advisor competitors, Wahed’s fund management strategy is powered by its proprietary financial algorithms. This means that there is no way we can back-test the strategy ourselves aside from the information shown at Wahed’s official site.

Unlike StashAway’s ERAA methodology, there is very little mention of how exactly Wahed manages the users’ funds.

That said, Wahed does mention that its financial algorithms are derived from the Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). Essentially, the idea behind MPT is to help an individual create optimal portfolios that are tailored to the needs of the user based on one’s risk tolerance.

Personally, it is a little bummer to see so few details about the investing methodology employed by Wahed on their website (Wahed, take note).


More explanation about the investing methodology behind the scene would be very helpful.


(b) Investment Instruments: 5 Major Asset Classes

The good thing, though, is Wahed does give us an idea of what they are using their users’ funds to invest in.

As per my experience**, there are 5 asset classes that Wahed will invest our funds in, namely:


    1. US Stocks (MyETF Dow Jones US Titans 50)
    2. Malaysian Stocks (MyETF MSCI Malaysia Islamic Dividend)
    3. Sukuk (Islamic Bond) (RHB Islamic Bond Fund)
    4. Gold (TradePlus Shariah Gold Tracker)
    5. Cash

There are 6 different risk profile that you can choose from. Depending on your risk profile, there will be a difference in the allocation of your funds across these assets.


**Information on assets and asset allocation is accurate is per my record when I signed up for a Wahed account. Unfortunately, unlike StashAway, Wahed does not reveal the total number of asset classes that they can invest in.




(4) Fees Comparison: Competitive, But Can Be Better

One big advantage that robo-investing services have over conventional mutual funds is its fees.

Generally, while typical mutual funds have an average fee of 3-5% per year, robo-investing services charge only a fraction of the fee (<1%).

This is important, as a few percentage differences in fee could mean a lot to your return. Here is a simple calculation to give you an idea:


 RM100,000 at 5% fee per year = RM5,000 on fees.


RM100,000 at 1% fee per year = RM1,000 on fees (and no, robo-investing services offer lower fee than 1% at RM100,000).

The question now is, how are Wahed’s annual fees compared to the other presently available robo-investing platforms – StashAway and MyTheo?

Now, every robo-investing platform has its own tiers of pricing. Hence, to make my life (and yours) easier, I am comparing the fee in terms of the category of fund amount:


Full fee details: StashAway, Wahed, MyTheo.

Now, as you can see, Wahed’s annual fees are competitive, and it gets even cheaper when your fund exceeds RM500,000 and above.

That said, in terms of versatility of fees, I think StashAway is still the robo-advisor to beat.




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(5) Customer Service: Up Your Game, Wahed!

At this point in the article, I would like to say that while lower fees are important, it is not everything. A lower fee that compromises the overall customer experience is a NO-NO.

After all, what’s the point if a company has a low fee but no one is attending to customers’ issues properly?

To test out Wahed’s customer experience, I sent out inquiries to all 3 channels of customer support (as stated available in the Support section of the app): Email, Phone & WhatsApp, all during office hours.

Firstly, Wahed’s response time for email is decent. However, I failed to reach out to the support team via call and it is also disappointing to see that there is no WhatsApp chat support available yet.

As a whole, I think Wahed has to really up their game to stay competitive in customer experience when competitor like StashAway is already providing more support channels for users to reach out to them.





(6) How to Open an Account?

Opening a Wahed account is simple and can be done in less than 10 minutes (Click HERE to install the Wahed app on your phone). And while doing so, remember to apply my promo code “YIXCHI1” to get a $5 (RM20) FREE Bonus when you fund your Wahed portfolio!

The account opening process is also straightforward. You will be asked about your investing goals and your savings in order to identify your risk profile.

Then, you will be recommended with one of the 6 portfolios from very conservative to very aggressive. Of course, you can also choose your own portfolio if you have a personal preference.

Once you completed all the procedures, it will take a few days to get your account verified and you are good to start!


You will be recommended a portfolio upon completion of your profile.




(7) What I Like About Wahed?


(a) Huge Market Potential

What Wahed is providing is truly one of its kind at the moment, and fits in well with the demographics of the majority Muslim community in Malaysia.

In short, Wahed is the to-go robo-advisor platform for people that are looking for Shariah-compliant investments.


(b) Help in Promoting Ethical Halal Investing in Malaysia

Given its unique positioning, Wahed is a great platform to promote halal investing to fellow Malaysian users regardless of religion and background – of which I like its core principles and concepts.




(8) What Could be Better?


(a) Customer Service needs Some Work

As discussed above, Wahed needs to put more effort to improve its customer service. That said, I do understand that Wahed has just launched in Malaysia (Oct 2019) and may need time to build up their Malaysian team.

On this matter, I will revisit Wahed’s customer service in my review next year and see if there’re any improvements.


(b) App UI needs Refurnishing

One thing that annoys me while using Wahed’s app is that the app interface seems to have issues showing the last letter and decimals of the word and numbers (eg. Overvie’X’ and RM100.’XX’). This may be something that Wahed will have to resolve with their backend team.


Wahed must improve their UI.


(c) Minimum Deposit of RM100

Unlike competitors like StashAway that has no minimum deposit, Wahed has a minimum deposit of RM100.

While this may not be a big issue, but it is definitely not as flexible as other robo-advisors around and I would love to see this minimum being lifted in the future.


(d) Only 1 Portfolio for each User (for Now)

As of the time of writing, there is no way for me to create another portfolio in Wahed other than the one I’ve created when I opened my account.

Meaning, I am not able to open a Moderate risk portfolio if I started off with an Aggressive risk Portfolio.

This is kind of a bummer because, in comparison, StashAway allows multiple portfolios of different risk profiles.




No Money Lah’s Verdict – A Robo-Advisor with Huge Potential

Is Wahed a good robo-investing platform?

Personally, I feel that Wahed has done a good job of positioning itself at the forefront of halal investing in the robo-advisor space.

Not only that, I’ve also heard good feedback from the Malaysian community, especially their awesome referral reward: Fund a minimum of RM100 and get $5 (RM20) FREE Bonus – Instant 20% Gain!.

If Wahed is able to enhance its customer service and user experience, I foresee that it will definitely give competitors like StashAway and Mytheo a good run of their money.

If you find this review on Wahed useful, my suggestion is to TAKE ACTION on your investments RIGHT NOW: Time wasted on inactions is more painful than money badly managed.

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p.s. Which Robo-Advisor Should I Invest In?

Now, if you are wondering if you should go for one robo-advisor over another, why not try investing in these platforms and see which one fits you the best?


StashAway: Claim your EXCLUSIVE 50% off your fees for 6 months when you use my link HERE!


Mytheo: Enjoy FREE 3 months management fee when you use my link HERE!




Disclaimers:


  1. Past return is not indicative of future performance. (just like your mom may not be angry at you today doesn’t mean she will not get angry with you tomorrow) 
  2. Now, one thing that I have yet to comment is Wahed’s return. As Wahed is still new in Malaysia (since Oct. 2019), I cannot comment on the return – and neither you should take others’ words as it is. I will keep monitoring the return and give my feedback in my 2021 review. 
  3. This post may contain affiliate links that afford No Money Lah a small amount of commission should you sign up through the links.