Investing aims to create long-term income and grow as much as possible over time, earning you passive income. However, it may be hard to do it traditionally since a random financial advisor may charge 1.5% or more of your total investable asset.
Luckily for your wallet, the days of paying a human advisor are becoming an “old thing” as technology has advanced, as proven by the creation of Robo-advisors that are available to help investors make smart decisions and the most profit from their investments.
We know what you are thinking: “So, isn’t Acorns a good solution?”. Yeah, but only if you live in the US… Acorns is not available anywhere in Europe at the moment – if you are from the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, or any other European country, you cannot open an account. To use the Acorns app or open an account with it, you must be a US citizen or a permanent resident over 18 years old. The only exception is US Army personnel serving abroad, who can use their Acorn account anywhere in the world.
As of now, Acorn has not yet publicized any projects for expanding beyond the US. We will keep you updated about any such plans if they come up.
Do you want to know the most suitable alternatives for Acorns in Europe? We have got you covered!
What is Acorns, and why has it become so famous in the U.S.?
Acorns is a modern financial services company based in California that offers micro-investment opportunities through a Robo advisor model. As of 2023, Acorns has +4.5 million customers and +$6 billion in assets under management.
Acorns has managed to address all the significant hindrances most new investors face in investing. The app lets users set up accounts in less than five minutes and follow the automatic investment options associated with a Robo-advisor to allow their users to invest weekly, fortnightly, or monthly in their choice investments.
The trendiest feature that Acorn offers is that it allows users to invest whatever spare change they have from buying anything. For instance, if you went to buy groceries and the bill was $55.70, it automatically “Rounds-Up” to the nearest dollar ($56) and invests the difference of $0.30 (spare change) into a portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
This feature is rapidly gaining popularity amongst young users, who find it surprising to see how much they can save/invest. The money can be invested into any of the five portfolios that Acorns has.
The app is designed to cater to millennials or any person who is not familiar or comfortable using traditional investing means or may not have enough capital to place into investment accounts. Acorns aim to allow its users to start investing early and adopt a saving habit by making the process easy and hassle-free.
Is Acorns available in Europe? What are their expansion plans?
Acorns is not available in any country apart from the US. This means that you cannot open an account if you are from the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, or any other European country. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t similar investment services Europeans can choose from. There are many automated investing services available in Europe, and some may even generate more value per every single euro you invest.
Moreover, as of May 2023, Acorns has not yet publicized any projects for expanding beyond the US. Still, on March 2023, Accorns acquired GoHenry, a UK-based kids money management app. So, it may initiate its international expansion from now on.
Acorns Alternatives in Europe
Since the Acorns app is not available in all of Europe, you can always opt for other popular Robo-Advisor that offers identical services designed for hands-off investors and people who struggle to save. If you’re interested, check our list of Robo-advisors available by country, as well as our comparison table.
We’ve also compiled our favourite list of European alternatives based on fees, account services, user experience, among other factors. Our top picks:
A Robo-Advisor with multiple portfolio options and customization. The service is fully automated and even offers tax-loss harvesting (tax efficiency). It charges a maximum management fee of 0.41%/year. Access to a human advisor is available for amounts above €100,000.
The most downloaded Robo-advisor app in Europe. It has no complexity involved and allows you to check your investments as easily as your Facebook feed. It charges you 0.48% a year. Read our ETFmatic review.
A leading Spain-based Robo-Advisor that allows you to optimize your portfolio through diversification, transparency, and cost-efficiency. It charges a fee of 0.44% a year. Website only in French and Spanish. Read our Indexa Capital review.
Robo-Advisor with £2 billion in assets under management. The ETFs asset allocation involves equities, bonds, real estate, commodities, and cash. It presents a 0.75% management flat fee for its service.
It has a “Managed Portfolios” feature, allowing you to let experts (Morningstar, Brown Advisory, BlackRock, and Nasdaq) take care of your investments in a cost-effective manner. It charges 0.75% per annum for its services. For companies, Saxo Bank business account is also available.
A Robo-Advisor with a bias toward socially responsible investments. Trusted by 10,000+ clients. It charges 1.00% per annum for its services. Check our Birdee Review.
Another great Robo-advisor to manage your investments in a stress-free wealth management service. The pricing varies according to your investment amount. It goes from 0.35% to 0.75% if you invest £100,000 or £10,000, respectively.
Acorns Europe Alternatives
inbestMe at a glance
Launched in 2013, inbestMe is a Robo-Advisor that provides fully managed and personalized investment plans tailored to their users’ risk profile, goals and time horizon preference. You can easily monitor your portfolio on PC or within the mobile app.
The investment process is based on setting a dedicated portfolio to you using Index Funds (mainly for Spanish Investors) and ETFs (for international investors). These options come with a very transparent cost structure (a maximum annual charge of 0.41%) and diversification benefits. You are also provided with Value and Socially Responsible Investments portfolios.
By default, the website appears in Spanish. Still, you may change to English in one of the dropdowns at the top. Please remember that the educational materials are only in Spanish, so there is no way to work around that.
On the pitfalls, you are limited only to two asset classes: stocks and bonds. The distributing ETFs may be tax-inefficient in some countries, and the minimum investment for ETF portfolios is relatively high (€5,000). For Index Fund portfolios, the minimum lowers to €1,000.
inbestMe is registered with Spain’s Securities Market Commission (CNMV) with the number 272 and under the Fogain (Spanish Investor Protection Scheme). So, any international investor is as protected as a Spanish one up to €100,000 (cash + assets).
Acorns Europe Alternatives
# Indexa Capital
Ind. Cap. at a glance
Founded in 2015, Indexa Capital is the top Robo-Advisor in Spain, with over €1.3 billion in assets under management (AUMs) and trusted by 55,000+ clients. When it launched, the company offered rates that were half of those of its competition. Since then, the company has cited low pricing as one of the reasons for its AUMs growth.
The investment process is quite simple. First of all, it starts with a questionnaire to determine your investor profile. The objective is to know the right asset allocation according to your risk tolerance. Secondly, it requires you to make a minimum deposit of €3,000. And thirdly, it will rebalance and monitor your portfolio to adjust your exposure to respect your risk profile. Everything for an annual fee of 0.44%. This charge can decrease up to 0.15%, depending on your investment amount.
Indexa Capital uses a different approach compared to other Robo-Advisors: it uses Index Funds instead of ETFs. Is that a big deal? Not quite. The only difference is that ETFs can be bought or sold at any time during the day, whereas Index Funds are only priced at the end of the day. In practice, investing through ETFs and/or Index Funds should present very similar returns.
The downsides of Indexa Capital are the minimum of €3,000 required to invest (quite high for younger generations) and the languages offered on its website: only Spanish and French. The company does not have an English version which is not common.
Finally, Indexa Capital is fully regulated and supervised by the financial markets regulator of Spain – CNMV (National Securities Market Commission).
Acorns Europe Alternatives
ETFmatic at a glance
ETFmatic is the most download Robo-Advisor app in Europe. It was designed for people who want to enjoy the expected long-term performance of stocks and bonds, don’t want to allocate their time choosing financial instruments, and prefer to have their savings automatically managed with rigorous risk controls.
Compared to traditional wealth management services, it has a transparent and low fee structure of 0.48% per annum. The Robo-Advisor allows clients to select their target percentage weights in each. However, the underlying ETFs are still chosen by ETFmatic, which, unlike other analysts, we find useful for their clients because it trims the thousands of options in the market, so you don’t need to focus on that. Wasn’t this one of the reasons that made you search for a Robo-advisor in the first place?
A drawback involves portfolio construction. That is, ETFmatic only uses distributing ETFs which, in some jurisdictions, may not be tax efficient due to dividend tax rates paid in the majority of European countries. In Indexa Capital, for instance, the income from the Index Funds will be reinvested and reflected in the price of shares in the Fund (no distribution, no tax on dividends).
ETFmatic is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the clients are covered up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Acorns Europe Alternatives
# Scalable Capital
Scalable Capital at a glance
Established in Germany in 2016, Scalable Capital is an online Robo-Advisor that has shown incredibly rapid growth over the years. As of May 2023, it has 600.000+ customers who, in total, have placed more than £10 billion in this platform alone.
The tab “How we invest” on its website is very clear on its investment approach. It shows the requirements demanded to opt for their ETFs, which are based on costs, liquidity, tracking error and replication method, and the asset classes that they invest in, contrary to other Robo-advisor, are not concentrated in only stocks and bonds but rather a take a more peripherical view in also investing in real estate and commodities ETFs.
The portfolios are optimized and monitored to manage risk and, naturally, maximize returns. And they do all of this for much lower fees than traditional investment management firms but with a quite high fee relative to other Robo-advisors. It charges a flat fee of 0.75%, so you will not have discounts for larger amounts.
On the negative side, and in addition to the flat fee, the minimum deposit required is £10,000 (it may scare off a beginner), and it is only available in the UK, Austria, and Germany.
In safety terms, Scalable Capital is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Acorns Europe Alternatives
# Saxo Bank | Managed Portfolios
SB – Managed Portfolios at a glance
Founded in 1992, Saxo Bank is a Danish bank with an online trading platform where you have a wide range of products to trade (from stocks to more complex products like CFDs). It serves people in 170+ countries with a combined +$90 billion in assets under management.
We decided to include Saxo Bank in our preferred list of Robo-Advisors because it gives you access to “Managed portfolios” which is just another expression for Robo-Advisors. Compared to other Robo-Advisors, the big expected advantage is the partnerships developed with world-leading asset managers, including BlackRock and Morningstar, to create a range of low-cost, institutional-quality portfolios.
The management fee is 0.75% per annum for Saxo Bank services. Each portfolio is constructed to meet your risk appetite and suit your investment goals. If you feel that a professionally managed portfolio is not of great value, it reveals a higher-than-average cost structure.
A shortcoming is the minimum deposit of €10,000 for Blackrock strategies and a minimum of €30,000 when using the pre-designed portfolios of Morningstar, Brown Advisory, and Nasdaq.
Saxo Bank is regulated by several financial authorities globally, including the Danish Financial Services Agency (FSA) and the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Acorns Europe Alternatives
Birdee at a glance
Based in Luxembourg and founded in 2015, Birdee is a Robo-Advisor keen on making investments with a positive impact. Their objective is to merge your needs as an investor with doing something good for society at the same time. As stated on their website, their portfolios consist of at least 82.5% of shares that help create a better world.
Users can specify their financial goals and go through a risk profile evaluation, after which Birdee’s software will suggest an investment plan based on eight investment portfolios (including themes) adaptable to any risk tolerance. These portfolios cover investments in sectors like biotechnology, real estate, other sustainable business lines through stocks and bonds. Birdee excludes certain sectors such as tobacco, coal, and arms trade.
You can start investing with as little as €50. It “only” charges 1.00% as a yearly management fee with no hidden costs (no rebalancing fees or reporting fees). It is quite high for a Robo-Advisor but still below what other financial institutions charge you to do a similar job. They will send you all the information you need for your tax return at the end of each year.
Unfortunately, it does not display the ETFs used for each strategy in the “Key information document”, so there is a lack of transparency on that side. Also, the document itself is written in French, which might not be so handy for knowing more details about each strategy.
On security terms, Birdee is supervised by two Luxembourg financial authorities: the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and by the Commissariat aux Assurances (CAA).
Acorns Europe Alternatives
moneyfarm at a glance
Founded in 2011 and originated in Italy (now based in the UK), Moneyfarm presents itself as a “digital wealth management company”. As with any other Robo-Advisor, they do not promise you any irrealistic short-term gains. Moneyfarm gives you the tools to increase your wealth through time.
Moneyfarm is not a 100% typical Robo-advisor. In general terms, Robo-advisors firms operate on an execution basis only, meaning that all the risk lies with you when choosing your final asset allocation. However, Moneyfarm makes FCA-compliant recommendations (Personal Advice) which carry more responsibility on their side to really assess the suitability of your portfolio.
The minimum investment is £1,500, and the percentage charged in management fees will vary according to your investment amount. For instance, if you go for £10,000, it will charge you a total of 1.04% (management fee of 0.75%, ETF fees of 0.20%, and market spread up to 0.09%). If you opt for an investment amount of £30,000, it will cost you a total of 0.94% (management fee of 0.65%, ETF fees of 0.20%, and market spread up to 0.09%). The costs are a drawback.
Besides, it only accepts clients from Italy and Germany.
Finally, Moneyfarm is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Investment Management Company and as an Investment Advisor.
Note: As an honourable mention, we would like you to know that Revolut has a “Rounds-Up” feature in the same way as Acorns. So, in every purchase, you get spare change as well. We did not focus on Revolut because it only offers you that feature of Acorns and not the Robo-advisor part. So, we did not consider it as a Robo-Advisor. In our view, it is more aligned with a money management app.
In other words, if you want to have the “Rounds-up” feature AND the Robo-advisor side, you are better off having a Revolut account and another account in one of the Robo-advisors described in this article.
The bottom line
Robo advisors continue on their way to a digital revolution in asset management. Although they are new players in a challenging field, many of the long-established financial services providers now offer their own Robo-advisor as well in an attempt to catch up. More and more people are becoming financially literate, want customizable investment solutions, maximize their returns and, ultimately, create a safety net for retirement.
In general, it is crucial always to be aware of the fee charged, make sure that top-tier institutions regulate them, know the range of ETFs/Index Funds each uses for their allocation, how responsive the customer service is, the easiness of the online platform, among other factors.
Take your time and choose wisely!
A reminder that the above should not be construed as investment advice and should be considered information only. Investors should do their own research and due diligence about the services and opportunities best suited for their risk, returns, and impact strategy.
Hope we helped, and leave your comments below.