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Last Updated on July 9, 2021 by Chin Yi Xuan

Fixed Deposit, or FD, has always been people’s go-to way to save or deposit extra cash. The problem is, it locks your money in for a long period of time, or requires a high initial deposit to start with.

In this article, let’s look into StashAway Simple, a great alternative to FD. Personally, I’ve been using StashAway Simple since mid-2020, and in this post, let’s explore if StashAway Simple is for you! 
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Highlights of StashAway Simple

StashAway Simple (or ‘Simple’) is a cash management offering from robo-advisor StashAway. It provides users competitive returns like FD, but without the troublesome restrictions:

  • Regulated: StashAway Simple is regulated by the Securities Commission (SC) of Malaysia.
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  • Competitive Return: Through Simple, users can earn up to 2.4% interest per annum, which is comparable to the rates of Fixed Deposit (FD).
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  • Low Risk: The underlying fund of Simple is the AmIncome Fund from AmFunds Management Berhad. AMIncome Fund invests in a mix of money market funds and short-term corporate bonds.
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  • Flexible & Low Barrier of Entry: Malaysians aged 18 and above can start saving or investing via Simple. There is no minimum on how much you need to save with Simple. Withdraw anytime without being charged penalty fees.
 

How does StashAway Simple work?

So, how exactly is Simple able to deliver returns that are on-par with FD?

All of this is possible because Simple invests users’ cash into money market funds (MMF). MMFs are funds that invest in Fixed Deposits and highly liquid, short-term cash equivalent instruments called Money Market Instruments.

Essentially, Money Market Instruments are short-term debts issued by banks in order to accumulate short-term cash-pile to make up for the shortfall in their daily deposit reserve. Simply put, MMFs are lending money to banks when they buy these Money Market Instruments. 

These instruments are relatively low-risk as they are backed by the banks. Moreover, they are highly liquid with short maturity periods. Through regular redemption of matured Money Market Instruments, it allows MMF to provide a similar rate to FDs without having to lock up users’ capital.

For Simple, the underlying MMF that they invest in is the AmIncome Fund from AmFunds Management Berhad.

In short, through Simple, you can earn a similar rate to FD through low-risk MMF without having to lock up your funds, unlike conventional FDs. It is a great choice if you are looking for a competitive and flexible alternative to FDs.

StashAway Simple projects a return of 2.4%, which is highly competitive compared to typical Fixed Deposits (FD).

Is StashAway Simple safe to use?

When it comes to regulation, Simple is regulated by the Securities Commission (SC) of Malaysia. This ensures that Simple is always operating in Malaysia as per the guideline from the local authority.

As for the safety of funds, your funds in Simple are held by a third party (trustee), which is Deutsche Trustees Malaysia Bhd. In other words, your deposits to Simple are separate from StashAway’s company finances. As such, this ensures no deposits can be used for fraudulent purposes and you will always have full access and claim to them no matter what happens to StashAway.


StashAway Simple Performance, Fees & Charges

StashAway Simple does not charge any platform or service fee to users. That said, the underlying MMF, AmIncome Fund, does charge reasonable annual fees, as shown below:

 

% per annum

Annual Management Fee

– 0.75%

Annual Trustee Fee

– 0.05%

Net Annual Projected Return after fees & rebate

2.40%

A thing worth noting is that StashAway does get fee rebate from AmFunds Management, likely due to the size of capital that StashAway Simple can channel to the fund (p.s. just my opinion). As such, when AmFunds Management rebates StashAway, they’ll re-distribute this full rebate to users.

SA Simple Rebate
StashAway channels the fee rebate that they get from the fund managers back to the users.

Next question: Are there any fees when you withdraw your funds from StashAway Simple?

Unlike FDs, there are no charges when you withdraw your funds from StashAway. Withdrawals are expected to be reflected within 3-4 business days.


4 things I like about StashAway Simple

#1 Returns on par with conventional Fixed Deposits (FDs)

Through Simple, returns are compounded daily and interest payout is made every month, which is re-invested into user’s fund.

All of this combined, through its underlying AmIncome Fund, Simple projects about 2.4% return per annum (after fees) for users.

SA Simple Projected Return
StashAway Simple Projected Return

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#2 Flexible & low barrier of entry

There are 2 things that I absolutely love with Simple:

  1. Low barrier of entry: There is no minimum amount to start using Simple. Meaning, you can start investing or saving with Simple with any amount you want.
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  2. Flexible: There are no charges to open a StashAway Simple account. In addition, you can withdraw your funds anytime and there are no fees on withdrawal.

Combined, both these features make a compelling edge against typical FDs. Reason being, FDs usually have higher minimum deposits & they tend to lock in users for a period of time (and charge a penalty for early withdrawals).

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#3 Integration with StashAway main investment ecosystem

Another reason why I enjoy using StashAway is its seamless savings (StashAway Simple) and investment (StashAway) integration.

So, let’s say you have RM50,000 in cash and would like to invest them. However, you do not want to invest the whole RM50,000 at once and would like to spread it over time (dollar-cost average).

Through StashAway app, you can place your funds in Simple (low-risk + earn stable interest), then automate a weekly or monthly transfer from Simple to your main StashAway investment portfolio.

I think this is a brilliant feature from StashAway, which makes it the most versatile robo-advisor at the moment. 

SA Simple Transfer from Simple to main Portfolio
Users can shift funds flexibly from Simple to their main StashAway investment portfolio.

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#4 Intuitive user experience

As an app catered for the general public, StashAway is really simple to use.

Even if you need any help, StashAway’s customer support is one of the best I’ve ever experienced when it comes to financial products.

SA Simple in the app
Simple can be accessed easily from the StashAway app.

Risks + What you need to know before investing in StashAway Simple

In this part, let’s explore 3 things that you need to be aware of while investing your money with Simple:

1. Market risk

While being a relatively stable instrument, investing in Money Market Fund (MMF) via Simple still presents exposure to market risk.

One such risk is the fluctuation in interest rate. For instance, if Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) increases interest rate, MMF is likely going to generate higher returns. On the other hand, if BNM reduces interest rate, it’ll also affect the returns of MMF as a result.

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2. Not protected by PIDM

While investing in Simple, it is important to remember that your fund is not protected by Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM).

PIDM is an organization that protects deposits kept in banks and financial institutions that are a member of PIDM. Conventional bank FDs are usually protected by PIDM.

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3. Not Shariah-Compliant

Futhermore, Simple’s underlying MMF, AmIncome Fund is not shariah compliant.

Hence, this is something that you need to be aware of prior to investing with Simple.


 

Changes to underlying fund (performance, fees & what you need to know)

In late June 2021, StashAway Simple made a switch in its underlying fund from Eastspring Investments Islamic Fund previously, to AmIncome Fund right now due to tax reasons.

Here is what you need to know about this switch:

StashAway Simple Underlying Money Market Fund (MMF)

Eastspring Investments Islamic Fund (Previous MMF)

AmIncome Fund (New MMF)

Invests in

Islamic money market instruments and/or Islamic Deposits

Conventional money market instruments and short-term corporate bonds

Projected annual return

2.4% after fees & rebate

2.4% after fees & rebate

Shariah-Compliant

Yes

No

StashAway Risk Index (SRI)*

1.8%

0.1%

 

*SRI is how StashAway conveys risk. A 0.1% SRI = there’s a 99% chance of you not losing more than 0.1% of your fund’s total asset value in a given year. (ie. Very low risk)

In short, the biggest shift for StashAway Simple for users is in terms of its Shariah compliancy. Simple is no longer Shariah-Compliant right now and this is something users may need to consider before using Simple.

Otherwise, it’s still a great savings solution.  


Improvement: 2 Improvements Needed for StashAway Simple

Having been a Simple user since its launch, I think there are 3 improvements needed for Simple to compete with competitors like Versa:

1. Automatic scheduled transfer

One thing that puzzled me with StashAway is, I can schedule a routine transfer to my normal StashAway investment portfolio from my bank account, but I cannot do so for Simple.  

I think having the convenience for users to automate their deposits every week/month into Simple should be a fundamental feature.

While I enjoy using Simple, I think this improvement will make StashAway a more solid financial app.

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2. Withdrawal speed

StashAway Simple has a 3-4 business days withdrawal speed. While this is reasonable, it falls behind competitors like Versa that has a 1-2 business days withdrawal.

I think this is a space that StashAway can improve on as well.

READ: Versa Review: A Great Alternative to Fixed Deposits (FD)!


Eligibility + is StashAway Simple for you?

The minimum age required to open an account with StashAway is 18 years old. Meaning, even young Malaysian adults can start building good financial habits by saving/investing from their phones – neat!

That said, is StashAway Simple for you?

To answer this question, it is best to first know what Simple is NOT:

  • Simple does not invest in stocks/equities (ie. Higher risk assets). Hence, do not expect mutual fund-like returns.
  • Simple does not guarantee returns. Even though it invests in low-risk MMF, returns are still subjected to market fluctuation.

Hence, in my opinion, Simple is great for:

  • People looking for a flexible alternative to FD & typical savings account.
  • People looking to save for a specific goal (eg. house, car, wedding)
  • People with additional cash and want to save it for the short-term
  • People with a stash of cash looking to invest, but would like to spread the investment across time. (StashAway & StashAway Simple is perfect for this)

StashAway Simple vs Versa

In terms of offering, Simple’s closest competitor is certainly Versa. Both offer users flexible and low barrier access to MMF that pays competitive FD-like rates.

I think this comparison deserves a full article on its own so I’ll attach a link here (it’s up!) when I come out with a comparison article real soon! 

Personally, I use both Versa and StashAway Simple and I am happy with both of them as an alternative to FD (I think you will, too!).

READ: The Ultimate FD-Killer Showdown: StashAway Simple vs Versa vs TNG Go+ vs BEST Invest!


StashAway Referral link

No Money Lah is working with StashAway to bring new users an exclusive 50% off your fees for the first RM100,000 invested for 6 months.

Since it is Simple is free to use, this deal is applicable if you eventually use StashAway robo-advisor portfolio to invest.

To be eligible for this deal, sign up for your StashAway account through my referral link HERE. (or HERE if you are from Singapore)

EXCLUSIVE: Use my referral link to get 6 months FREE management fee up to RM100,000 invested!
EXCLUSIVE: Use my referral link to get a 6-month FREE management fee up to RM100,000 invested!

No Money Lah’s Verdict: Simple is the New Breakthrough

With the rise of innovations in the financial solution space, it is refreshing to keep seeing new, innovative products from robo-advisor platforms like StashAway.

In many ways, in the financial services industry, Simple is indeed the new breakthrough that the consumers need. With Simple, everyday consumers can enjoy returns on par with FD without the typical restrictions. 

Personally, I have always enjoyed using StashAway, and I highly suggest you to check it out too!


Related: Read my full review on StashAway HERE
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Chin Yi Xuan

Hi there! I am Yi Xuan. I am a writer, personal finance & REIT enthusiast, and a developing trader with the goal to become a full-time funded trader. Every week, I write about my personal learnings & discovery about life, money, and the market.

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