Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
Post Reply
David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:02 am

For those who have researched the issue and made a decision between the two (or decided against using either), I am curious to know what your thoughts are about the pros and cons of these services are. The reason I am particularly interested in these (versus Betterment or Wealthfront) has to do with costs incurred by larger portfolios -- neither of these services charge a fee for AUM for basic rebalancing, and Wisebanyan caps its fees for Tax Loss Harvesting at $240 a year assuming you choose to use it all 12 months of the year (monthly cost is the lesser of 0.02% of your account value or $20).

For me, the biggest con for the Schwab Intelligent Portfolio is the cash "feature"; even if you are a financial advisor using their platform to create your own mix of ETFs to service your clients, there is a minimum cash allocation of 4%. As an individual, the minimum cash allocation is 6%. The portfolio I set up with Schwab is 85% stocks, 3.1% commodities, 5% fixed income and 6.9% cash (Equated to $34,500 uninvested ballast on a $500,000 initial investment). And that allocation seems a little aggressive for me -- Schwab does show this as having a High Risk and High Return Potential with this allocation, though I would be more comfortable with a moderate or moderate-aggressive portfolio. I would have to up the cash to 7.3% for a less aggressive portfolio 77% stocks/4.7% commodities/11% fixed income and 7.3% cash). That would be an additional $2,000 uninvested ballast in a portfolio starting out at $500,000.

Schwab has a lengthy whitepaper regarding their cash feature, but the FAQ with respect to their institutional platform reads as follows:
Q. Why does Institutional Intelligent Portfolios require a 4% cash allocation?
A. The 4% required cash allocation is a component of the overall program structure and supports program capabilities like rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting. The cash allocation also helps support the program economics, with no added cost to the advisor or client. Across all accounts that advisors custody at Schwab, the average cash balance is 7% to 9%. With Institutional Intelligent Portfolios, the asset allocation strategy is up to the advisor. Advisors can elect a higher cash allocation if that fits their investing strategy.
The Whitepaper https://intelligent.schwab.com/public/i ... ation.htmlis a little more expansive and gives a little less attention (maybe none) to the "program economics" which is a code word for "we make money off of the cash which helps lower our fees. Still, under the individual investor FAQ they do acknowledge:
Schwab affiliates earn revenue from the underlying assets in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios accounts. This revenue comes from managing Schwab ETFs™, providing services relating to certain third party ETFs that can be selected for the portfolio, and from the cash feature on the accounts. Revenue may also be received from the market centers where ETF trade orders are routed for execution.
However, just because Schwab makes money off of my cash does not mean having idle cash is necessarily a bad thing. For example, if all other asset classes drop in value, having cash on hand means some of it will be deployed because cash will have become over-weighted in my portfolio. I don't know how often that occurs, however, if it happened when I was 80/20 split between stocks and bonds, I would have no cash to buy on that dip. That may be fine for most people because having cash on hand to buy on a dip is really a kind of market timing, though not the worst kind as far as I am concerned.

Another downside to Schwab Intelligent Portfolios is that they seem to make their money by tilting toward fundamental ETFs with higher operating expenses. Still, the average annual operating expenses are pretty low. According to their websitehttps://intelligent.schwab.com/public/i ... -fees.html, annual operating expenses average: 0.07, 0.16 and 0.22 for conservative/moderate and aggressive portfolios. However, the more conservative the portfolio, the larger the cash allocation, so to get the rock bottom operating expenses you have to subsidize that with a lot of uninvested cash.

Wisebanyan's website https://support.wisebanyan.com/hc/en-us ... -any-fees-claims that their portfolios have an average fund fee of 0.12% and a range of 0.03% to 0.13%. Assuming a portfolio valued of $500,000 the expenses ratios could potentially eat an extra $450 a year on the high end (0.22%-0.13% x 500k). So, even paying the $240 a year for Tax Loss Harvesting (included free of charge at Schwab) could result in a lower overall fee at Wisebanyan if my portfolio is large enough.

Schwab's portfolios are more complex because of their use of both market cap and fundamental ETFs; also because they invest in commodities. Wisebanyan's ETF list is much smaller, but it looks more like the portfolio I'd construct form myself. Their ETFs can be found at https://support.wisebanyan.com/hc/en-us ... -any-fees-.

I think the biggest downside to Wisebanyan is how few people use it and therefore, the increased likelihood that it shuts down at some point leaving you with all the hassles of come with a brokerage account shutting down. Hopefully, if they fail, they are acquired by another robo-advisor so that at least the cost-basis information transfers over seamlessly and they won't require customers to be making claims through SIPC. Fortunately, with their tax loss harvesting package turned on, they allow you to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, so that allows for an annual conversion at a cost of $20 assuming I was not otherwise going to turn tax loss harvesting on.

Anyhow, thanks for reading if you've done the reading. And more thanks if you have anything you'd like to add. My Wisebanyan account has not yet funded as I am waiting on the micro deposits to show up so I can verify the bank account. Once it does, I look forward to taking it for a spin. I am currently leaning toward Wisebanyan even though I think Schwab appears more polished and has less risk of folding up shop over time. Still, the choice is not a fait accompli and with only $8,000 in each account at the moment, the winner is going to get a pretty big pot.

(Note: I believe that neither service will let you transfer securities in kind, unlike the case with Wealthfront and, I assume, with Betterment. This is unfortunate because it would make I much easier to transfer over a sizable account since it would not require liquidation of my existing assets. I expect this too has a lot to do with why they have so few assets under management.
Last edited by David Scubadiver on Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:03 am

I will add that my robo adventure led me to also invest with Wealthfront. I initially thought it was the best deal because I did not realize Schwab did this sort of thing and had not heard of WiseBanyan. I have two accounts with them, one for me and one for my spouse (referred one to the other to get the added $5,000 managed for free). Those investments were just made today and I have to say the interface is very slick. I know in the end I will not keep my assets with them because I can't bear the though of paying 0.25% on all assets above the freely managed $35,000 that we currently get. BUT, I do want to see what a slick interface looks like and how the tax harvesting works, and they are the only one to do that for free (Schwab requires $50,000 in the portfolio to do that).

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:42 am

What are people's thoughts on treating the "cash feature" of Schwab as an emergency fund? I've never had one of those before, but this is kind of like being forced to have an emergency fund of sorts. If I have $60,000 allocated to cash on an $870,000 portfolio, I can get at that cash immediately and treat it like an emergency fun. According to Schwab, "Yes, you can withdraw cash from your account at any time .... If the requested amount is less than the cash allocation in your portfolio, you can transfer it to another Schwab account immediately or to a linked external account overnight.... After your withdrawal, your portfolio will be rebalanced to its target asset allocation if it has drifted significantly from the portfolio’s original target."

I don't know what they mean be "drifted significantly", but even if they have to liquidate to rebalance, that seems like an acceptable risk (and also one that can be avoided by simply transferring the account to a regular brokerage at schwab and managing it oneself after taking the cash as needed.

pkcrafter
Posts: 11959
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:19 pm
Location: CA
Contact:

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by pkcrafter » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:53 am

Thanks David,

You've done your homework and have provided a very good summary. I have one question--

First, I didn't realize you could remove the cash from Schwab's portfolio, but if you do, Schwab will "rebalance" your portfolio. I suppose that means Schwab will sell something and replenish the cash, is that correct? If that's the case, in the end you have removed some of your retirement holdings for an emergency. Also, is your account a taxable one? If so, how tax efficient is it?

For tax-deferred accounts, using them as an EF is obviously not a good idea.

Paul
When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.

User avatar
indexfundfan
Posts: 1878
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by indexfundfan » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:32 am

It appears that Schwab will sell your other assets to replenish the cash position if you withdrew cash for an emergency. This makes the cash position in SIP a "poor" emergency fund.

How much is Schwab's cash position yielding in SIP? Just today, Schwab sent me an email informing me that they have made "purchased money market funds" more attractive.

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/inv ... oney_funds

Does the SIP program put cash into these funds?
My signature has been deleted.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:09 am

pkcrafter wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:53 am
Thanks David,

You've done your homework and have provided a very good summary. I have one question--

First, I didn't realize you could remove the cash from Schwab's portfolio, but if you do, Schwab will "rebalance" your portfolio. I suppose that means Schwab will sell something and replenish the cash, is that correct? If that's the case, in the end you have removed some of your retirement holdings for an emergency. Also, is your account a taxable one? If so, how tax efficient is it?

For tax-deferred accounts, using them as an EF is obviously not a good idea.

Paul
You are correct that that if there is a large withdrawal of cash there will be a sale and reallocation. The account I opened is a taxable account. I can't tell you how tax efficient the portfolio is, but if I migrate to it it will tax loss harvest, and auto rebalance. The allocation that gets me closest to 80/20 currently has 11% in fixed income (emerging market bonds and Corporate high yield bonds), so the answer seems to be NO, not so tax efficient. Wealthfront will allocate assets between taxable and non-taxable accounts, to make the overall portfolio more tax efficient, but that comes at a cost of .25% I am hoping that the tax loss harvesting will help reduce the tax drag at Schwab... [They say that they will invest in municipal bonds when and if appropriate. Not sure how they make that determination, but however they do so, they determined not to do so for my portfolio]

I am trying to get comfortable with their large "cash feature" by telling myself, "hey, you don't have a cash emergency fund now, so look at the cash drag as an emergency fund!" I don't mind "raiding" a fund for emergency cash -- my true retirement funds are in the 401(k) and IRA. To me, all money is fungible. Just trying to get my investments under one roof so my wife doesn't inherit anything that she is required to manage and that does not come with high fees.
Last edited by David Scubadiver on Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:12 am

indexfundfan wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:32 am
It appears that Schwab will sell your other assets to replenish the cash position if you withdrew cash for an emergency. This makes the cash position in SIP a "poor" emergency fund.

How much is Schwab's cash position yielding in SIP? Just today, Schwab sent me an email informing me that they have made "purchased money market funds" more attractive.

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/inv ... oney_funds

Does the SIP program put cash into these funds?
The program actually pays you the national average for money market funds, meaning you pretty much get no interest on the cash aspect unless inflation kicks up quite a bit. On the other hand, having cash in the portfolio allows them to use it in the event other asset classes drop and cash therefore becomes overweighted.

User avatar
indexfundfan
Posts: 1878
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by indexfundfan » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:30 pm

David Scubadiver wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:12 am
indexfundfan wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:32 am
It appears that Schwab will sell your other assets to replenish the cash position if you withdrew cash for an emergency. This makes the cash position in SIP a "poor" emergency fund.

How much is Schwab's cash position yielding in SIP? Just today, Schwab sent me an email informing me that they have made "purchased money market funds" more attractive.

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/inv ... oney_funds

Does the SIP program put cash into these funds?
The program actually pays you the national average for money market funds, meaning you pretty much get no interest on the cash aspect unless inflation kicks up quite a bit. On the other hand, having cash in the portfolio allows them to use it in the event other asset classes drop and cash therefore becomes overweighted.
Schwab's own money market fund is paying around 1%. If they are paying you close to zero, then they are making a bunch of money there.
My signature has been deleted.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:49 pm

"your cash earns interest that is pegged to an index. This is based on a national average of money market deposit account rates at the $100,000 level. This average is calculated by the third party RateWatch. The rate of interest will fluctuate over time as the national average fluctuate"

RateWatch states that the National average money market rate for accounts of $100,000 is 0.14

KSActuary
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:53 pm

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by KSActuary » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:09 pm

The Schwab cash requirement is a little too obvious for me as they make money using your cash for other purposes.

Regardless of interfaces, etc., how do the returns compare? Last I looked, Betterment's were not that good. How do they others compare to Betterment?

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:17 pm

Whether they make money off of the cash or whether they make it off of the higher cost fundamental ETFs seems to be irrelevant. The question (for me) is what is the cost of the service to manage a portfolio of a particular size and how does that portfolio perform.

The performance is tricky to measure. I don't know how betterment could perform "poorly" given that it invests in low cost ETFs that mimic the market it is bench-marking. I would think that the performance differences between the various robos would all be "about the same" on a risk-adjusted basis prior to netting out the fees or cash drag, if any.

Nthomas
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:46 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by Nthomas » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:55 pm

David Scubadiver wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:17 pm
Whether they make money off of the cash or whether they make it off of the higher cost fundamental ETFs seems to be irrelevant. The question (for me) is what is the cost of the service to manage a portfolio of a particular size and how does that portfolio perform.

The performance is tricky to measure. I don't know how betterment could perform "poorly" given that it invests in low cost ETFs that mimic the market it is bench-marking. I would think that the performance differences between the various robos would all be "about the same" on a risk-adjusted basis prior to netting out the fees or cash drag, if any.
The robos differ as well on asset allocation (how much allocated to international, emerging markets, reits, commodities, cash, etc.) so that makes a difference. They don't all allocate equal percentages. Betterment is pretty heavy on international and emerging markets as well as value, for instance.

Nthomas
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:46 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by Nthomas » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:58 pm

For any one interested on the robo performance and allocations, check out https://theroboreport.com/ by condor capital. It's a great summary on returns and break down of why one out- or underperformed the other.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:19 pm

Nthomas wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:55 pm
David Scubadiver wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:17 pm
Whether they make money off of the cash or whether they make it off of the higher cost fundamental ETFs seems to be irrelevant. The question (for me) is what is the cost of the service to manage a portfolio of a particular size and how does that portfolio perform.

The performance is tricky to measure. I don't know how betterment could perform "poorly" given that it invests in low cost ETFs that mimic the market it is bench-marking. I would think that the performance differences between the various robos would all be "about the same" on a risk-adjusted basis prior to netting out the fees or cash drag, if any.
The robos differ as well on asset allocation (how much allocated to international, emerging markets, reits, commodities, cash, etc.) so that makes a difference. They don't all allocate equal percentages. Betterment is pretty heavy on international and emerging markets as well as value, for instance.
That's my understanding as well. But I don't see how you can compare one to the other unless you are risk-adjusting the portfolios. I will check out the report as I am interested in seeing what it says about that, as well as to see whether they picked up on wisebanyan or ignored it.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:27 pm

For kicks and giggles... here is the portfolio they invested my portfolio:
Stocks (77.41%)

Stocks (77.42%)
US Large Company Stocks - Fundamental 15.02%
US Large Company Stocks 11.33%
International Developed Large Company Stocks - Fundamental 10.05%
US Small Company Stocks - Fundamental 7.76%
International Developed Large Company Stocks 7.11%
US Small Company Stocks 5.10%
International Emerging Market Stocks - Fundamental 5.07%
International Developed Small Company Stocks - Fundamental 4.78%
International Developed Small Company Stocks 3.14%
US Exchange-Traded REITs 3.09%
International Emerging Market Stocks 2.73%
International Exchange-Traded REITs 2.24%
Fixed Income (10.7%)
International Emerging Market Bonds 5.95%
US Corporate High Yield Bonds 4.75%
Commodities (4.74%)
Gold and Other Precious Metals 4.74%
Cash (7.14%)

By Fund:

TOTAL CURRENT ALLOCATION Asset Classes $
Stocks (77.42%)
FNDX : SCHWAB FUNDAMENTAL US LARGE CO ETF 15.02%
SCHX : SCHWAB US LARGE CAP ETF 11.33%
FNDF : SCHWAB FUNDAMENTAL INL LARGE COM ETF 10.05%
FNDA : SCHWAB FUNDAMENTAL US SMALL COM ETF 7.76%
SCHF : SCHWAB INTERNATIONAL EQUITY ETF 7.11%
SCHA : SCHWAB US SMALL CAP ETF 5.10%
FNDE : SCHWAB FUNDA EMG MKTS LARGE COM ETF 5.07%
FNDC : SCHWAB FUNDAMENTAL INTL SMAL COM ETF 4.78%
SCHC : SCHWAB INTERNATNAL SMALLCAP EQY ETF 3.14%
SCHH : CHARLES SCHWAB US REIT ETF 3.09%
SCHE : SCHWAB EMERGING MARKETS EQUITY ETF 2.73%
VNQI : VANGUARD GLBAL EX US REAL ESTATE ETF 2.24%
Fixed Income (10.7%)
EMLC : VANECK VECTORS J P MORGAN EMERGING MKTS LOCCURRENCY BD ETF 5.95%
SHYG : ISHARES HIGH YIELD CORPORAT BOND ETF 4.75%
Commodities (4.74%)
IAU : ISHARES GOLD ETF 4.74%
Cash (7.14%)
Last edited by David Scubadiver on Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:08 pm

I read the robo advisor report you linked to and found it instructive. Although the results are confusing because some accounts have fees that taper off or taper on and therefore the results would differ if the amounts invested were larger, that isn't the case for Schwab and Wisebanyan (although there is a small fee for TLH that would apply there). This report made me lean toward Schwab over Wisebanyan though you can't really judge by performance over short periods of time. However, because Schwab is not a continual laggard and because I have been using them for a while, I am somewhat inclined to go with the name brand.

My concern with Wisebanyan is twofold -- one, that it will not last and then I have to deal with headache of a forced brokerage transfer which may or may not go smoothly. And two, every time you communicate with them, they email you you. There is not a financial institution that i am aware of that communicates via e-mail. They always make you sign in to the website to communicate securely. That causes me some concern. Makes me think that they are cutting corners and if they are cutting corners is my account otherwise more vulnerable to a hacker?

Since they do not appear to be regularly outperforming these risks, small or unknown as they are, don't seem to me to be worth taking. I may still rethink this but that is what I am thinking at the moment.

Nate79
Posts: 1188
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by Nate79 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:21 pm

I don't recall if this was linked for you in this thread or another but here is the wiki on robo advisors:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Robo-adviser

Here is the other thread that was going on at the time of the wiki writing about robo advisors. In particular there was excellent info about Schwab's service:
viewtopic.php?t=223465

And here is the excellent thread on backtesting robo advisor performance:
viewtopic.php?p=3475308#p3475308

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:14 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:21 pm
I don't recall if this was linked for you in this thread or another but here is the wiki on robo advisors:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Robo-adviser

Here is the other thread that was going on at the time of the wiki writing about robo advisors. In particular there was excellent info about Schwab's service:
viewtopic.php?t=223465

And here is the excellent thread on backtesting robo advisor performance:
viewtopic.php?p=3475308#p3475308
Very helpful. My head hurts now.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:20 pm

So, Morningstar shows the Expense ratio of my Intelligent Portfolio shown above, to be 0.21 overall. That is about 3x what a 3 fund portfolio charges. On $800,000 that would cost me $1,120 a year. Not saying the two portfolios would be comparable, but I can't say that the more expensive one would outperform either.

So the question is, is it worth it for the auto-rebalancing, tax harvesting and simplicity. I don' t know. But MAYBE I'll just leave a letter of instruction to my wife. I die, call Schwab and move it all to their intelligent portfolio. :)

Explorer
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:54 pm

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by Explorer » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:23 am

I consider most robo-advisors to be bland in terms of their allocation - it is easier to create a 3-fund or 4-fund portfolio and make life simpler.

I do not believe that the Robos can create a premium performance over the lazy portfolios to make the ER (which is 3 to 4 times that of lazy portfolios) worth the effort. They tend to slice and dice too much to make believe they are producing a differential performance.

Time may prove me wrong but I am sticking with simple stuff right now.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:22 am

Soon the Wisebanyan portfolio will fund. They use mostly vanguard funds so the ER will be low.

goingup
Posts: 2701
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:02 pm

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by goingup » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:47 am

Just weighing in with an observation. Many "managed portfolio" refugees come to this board who wish to simplify their portfolio to 3-4 funds. It's very costly (in terms of taxes) to untangle from 20 funds in a taxable account. If you start down a path of complexity with a $800K taxable account you are wading into something that isn't easy to get out of.

We have a taxable account with very few index funds, built for the long haul. Rebalancing and TLH are infrequent and easily done. Just making the case for simplicity here. :beer

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:03 am

My portfolio is kind of complicated already with huge gains in Apple, and various Low cost ETFs. I am hoping Schwab or Wisebanyan will generate losses that will help unwind some of these positions with lower tax consequences.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:24 pm

The WiseBanyan portfolio (68/32 stocks/bonds) came in at an expense ratio of 0.09 according to Morningstar. That is a lot more like it. The portfolio looks like this:

VTI 40.5%
VEA 21.9%
VWO 5.1%

LQD 8.5%
VCSH 3.2%
SJNK 3.1%
VGIT 7.6%
TIP 6.1%
VNQ 3%
Last edited by David Scubadiver on Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:34 pm

And for kicks and giggles, Wealthfront came in at 0.08%. My risk profile there was at 9.5:

VTI 35% (US Stocks)
VEA 26% (Foreign Stocks)
VWO 22% (Emerging Markets)
VIG 7% (Dividend Growth)
VTEB 5% (Municipal Bonds)
XLE 5% (Natural Resources)

I like this portfolio for its simplicity, though one has to add .25% for the AUM fee, so the expense jumps up to 0.33% making it the most costly of the lot. Also, it seems awfully high in the emerging markets department.

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:33 am

Just a side note -- Wisebanyan batches its trading so that "withdrawal" requests made before 1:30 are funded by a trade made at 2pm same day. Requests made after 1:30 are funded by trading done at 2pm the following day.

That is a drawback that likely exists at Schwab as well (having less control over they purchase and sales than one would have buying the ETF directly). Also, you can't set limit orders like you can when buying directly.

Personally, I do not usually set limit orders and I like the convenience of long term auto-investments and rebalancing and tax loss harvesting. What I do not know is whether they are front-running or otherwise giving me the best price. Hopefully someone is checking them on that front...

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:07 am

My second "wealthfront" account with a risk level of 7.0 looks like this:

VTI: 35%(US)
VEA: 20% (Foreign)
VWO: 15% (Emerging Market)
VIG: 7% (Dividend US)
XLE: 5% (Natural Resources - Energy Select Sector)
VTEB: 18% (Municipal bonds).

I have to say that I actually like this allocation and I like how the Bonds are munies in the taxable account.
Morningstar calculates the expense ratio at 0.08.

The Schwab portfolio is so freaking complicated that it makes it hard to appreciate what I am invested in. Wealthfront and WiseBanyan are a lot simpler to deal with. Of course, if I am going to pay a quarter point, I am going to have to try out Betterment as well. It has the advantage of capping out the fee at $2 million -- one day that may actually matter to me. :)

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:24 am

I decided to make the Wisebanyan account 90/10 which is the most aggressive it permits. The reason being that I don't need to own bonds in a taxable account and have plenty of space in my tax deferred accounts to keep may allocation where I wish it to be.

I'll probably do the same thing over at Schwab and Wealthfront too. That'll generate some sales and let me see how these companies import at tax time.

greybus
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:13 pm

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by greybus » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:15 pm

I have a Wisebanyan account. I like them a lot and feel their web interface is better than most. I also feel like they "borrow" many good ideas from Betterment that other robos do not have, like fractional shares, Goal based investing, etc. They pick low cost ETFs, have no hidden fees and have a good product. That being said, the biggest problem with them is that they will probably go out of business or get bought out. I'm hoping if they do get bought out, they'll grandfather existing clients...

That being said, you will find not a lot of love here for robos. I think part of the reason is that many posters are retired and truly only spend 15 min per year rebalancing. Plus they already have an investment plan in place (and lots of assets in taxable, etc) so it would be tax adverse to suddenly move to a robo since you usually cannot move assets in kind. Or if you only have everything in a tax protected account, you should just put it in a target fund and call it a day.

However, for accumulators who plan to have a lot in taxable and want the convenience of auto-depositing, I think a robo is perfect (it's like a crude form of value averaging, ala https://thefinancebuff.com/rebalancing- ... -cash.html that probably works better than dollar cost averaging)

At the end of the day though, the small differences in ER, asset allocation, "cash drag", etc are probably not so important vs your saving rate and just staying invested. Automating your investment deposits is probably the most important thing you can do behaviorally, and for me personally, it's just more convenient. Prior to doing Wisebanyan, I was auto-depositing a fixed dollar amount into VG.

SIP is probably also ok, albeit you have to recognize their small/fundamental bent and fees: the "expense ratio" of having a cash allocation is the difference between what you would earn on cash outside Schwab vs any interest you get in SIP. If you can reasonably get 1.1% outside Schwab on cash, and are getting 0.1% in SIP, then the ER for the cash component is 1%. You can then parse out the individual allocations based on how much cash you are holding and figure out the total average ER.

The cash drag articles by Wealthfront and Betterment are not accurate. You should consider cash as a short term bond and part of fixed income. So suppose you have a 94% equity and 6% cash, this should be compared (via Portfoliovisualizer) to a 94% equity and a 6% bond. Of if you are holding 70% equity, 15% bond and 15% cash, this should be compared to 70% equity and 30% bond. Then you can backtest to see if the portfolio value or volatility changed over certain periods.

If you really are interested, I made a couple posts a few years ago that you may find useful:

viewtopic.php?t=160555&start=200#p2420538
This post also contains a link to a Google Docs spreadsheet that you can download and edit, it has all of the tickers/ERs and average cost for many robos. The allocations may have changed since I haven't updated in about a year.

viewtopic.php?t=194489#p2963284
This post lists some reasons why I think Wisebanyan is a good choice, plus some other cheap/free alternatives to robos in case you're not comfortable with Wisebanyan or they get bought out.

Cheers

greybus
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:13 pm

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by greybus » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:17 pm

David Scubadiver wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:24 am
I decided to make the Wisebanyan account 90/10 which is the most aggressive it permits. The reason being that I don't need to own bonds in a taxable account and have plenty of space in my tax deferred accounts to keep may allocation where I wish it to be.

I'll probably do the same thing over at Schwab and Wealthfront too. That'll generate some sales and let me see how these companies import at tax time.
Be careful having multiple robo accounts. Schwab, Wealthfront and Wisebanyan all have primary and secondary ETFs that overlap, and you will probably run afoul of wash sales. You really should only have one robo account that is active.

billthecat
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:50 pm

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by billthecat » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:29 am

greybus wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:17 pm
David Scubadiver wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:24 am
I decided to make the Wisebanyan account 90/10 which is the most aggressive it permits. The reason being that I don't need to own bonds in a taxable account and have plenty of space in my tax deferred accounts to keep may allocation where I wish it to be.

I'll probably do the same thing over at Schwab and Wealthfront too. That'll generate some sales and let me see how these companies import at tax time.
Be careful having multiple robo accounts. Schwab, Wealthfront and Wisebanyan all have primary and secondary ETFs that overlap, and you will probably run afoul of wash sales. You really should only have one robo account that is active.
I agree. So my appraoch was to abstract the whole thing into three simple approaches, instead of three funds:
  • Roth IRA: Schwab target date index fund (retirement)
  • 401K: Plan target date index fund (retirement)
  • Taxable account: Schwab Intelligent Portfolio with TLH and tax-free bonds options (early retirement)
Now if it would all just grow faster. :annoyed

David Scubadiver
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 8:40 am

Re: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. WiseBanyan

Post by David Scubadiver » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:05 am

The key to faster growth is to amp up the risk. Even if the slider only goes to 10, tell them you want it at 11!

I also recommend buying and selling options without understanding what you are doing. That is the riskiest way to invest and will therefore lead to the greatest potential returns. Not necessarily highest risk adjusted returns, but that is a minor detail.

This post written in jest. Your results may vary.

Post Reply