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Axos Invest offers a robo advisor that gives you the unique ability to choose the investments in your own portfolio. You can even change your investment allocations after your portfolio is created.
But Axos Invest doesn’t just offer a robo advisor. It’s recently added Self-Directed Trading, an investment product similar to those of other major investment firms. This product provides self-directed investing with managed portfolio options. Under Axos Invest Self-Directed Trading, become one of our Inaugural Traders and claim your $200 Bonus.*
Keep reading to find out more about Axos Invest and what it has to offer.
What Is Axos Invest?
Axos Invest came about in 2019 when its corporate parent, Axos Financial, Inc., acquired robo advisor WiseBanyan. In October that year, the platform was officially renamed “Axos Invest.” As a result of the transition, few of the qualities and features of WiseBanyan remain intact. Axos Invest has been redeveloped into its own unique investment service.
Axos Invest has two primary programs on the investment side. Managed Portfolios are automated investing accounts. And the Self-Directed Trading option allows you to choose and manage your own investments.
Axos also offers banking and lending services, making it a comprehensive financial platform. It offers checking, savings and money market accounts, as well as home loans, personal loans and auto loans.
What Does Axos Invest Offer?
Here’s a breakdown of Axos Invest’s two main products, Managed Portfolios and Self-Directed Trading, as well as some of its other features.
Axos Invest Managed Portfolios
Axos Invest offers a robo advisor product. But it also offers investors the ability to choose — and modify — the investments in their portfolio for a bit more control. You need $500 to open a managed account and there’s a 0.24% annual management fee.
Using Axos Invest robo advisor service, you invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). However, Axos offers more than 1,400 ETFs, which is more than nearly any other robo advisory platform. In this way it offers the best combination of self-directed investing with robo advisor management.
And it is unique. Axos Invest departs from most other robo advisors in that it gives investors a very large measure of control over the asset classes held in their portfolios. It offers a full robo advisor service, but investors have the option to accept a portfolio designed by the service, modify it or build a new one from the ground up.
Axos Invest makes this easy to do with its unusually wide selection of investment choices. Unlike most robo advisors that limit investment options to between six and 12 asset classes, Axos Invest gives investors a choice from more than 30.
Like other leading robo advisors, you can also invest in a taxable account or through a Traditional or Roth IRA.
Axos Invest Self-Directed Trading
Axos Invest also has self-directed investing if you prefer to manage your own trades rather than using a robo advisor. With a self-directed account you get access to commission-free trades of individual stocks and ETFs like most online brokers offer. And it offers low-cost trading of options and mutual funds for a well-rounded platform.
It offers trading in thousands of individual listed stocks. But it also allows buying and selling of over-the-counter (OTC) stocks. And with more than 10,000 mutual funds, Axos Invest has one of the largest selections in the industry.
No money is required to open an account, but you need at least $50 to begin self-directed trading. Just as is the case with Managed Portfolios, you can open a taxable investment account or a traditional or Roth IRA.
Customers can also upgrade to Axos Elite, the premium service within Self-Directed Trading. Axos Elite costs $10 per month but provides perks like:
- Extended trading hours, from 4:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M., Eastern Time
- Move money instantly between accounts
- Reduced fees on options trading ($0.80 per contract instead of $1)
- TipRanks Market Research
- Margin trading at 5.5%
- Real-time market data
Note that for margin trading, you need a minimum of $2,000 in account equity. But you can borrow up to 50% of the cost of the securities you invest in. That allows you to buy up to twice as much of a stock.
It’s also worth noting that even with the potential discount for options trading, Axos Invest isn’t one of the best platforms for options trading. Platforms like Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade charge less per contract, even for basic customer plans. However, Axos Self-Directed Trading is great for stocks, ETFs, and mutual fund trading.
Most robo advisors these days offer tax loss harvesting (TLH) to minimize the impact of investment-related taxes. TLH is a process of selling losing investment positions to generate losses that offset gains on winning positions. One ETF will be sold off, then immediately replaced by a similar fund to maintain target asset allocations.
Axos Invest offers TLH. But it takes tax protection to a higher level by also offering IRAutomation.
IRAutomation: This feature allows you to set your retirement savings on autopilot. It provides guidance on choosing your IRA and managing your annual deposits. And it even helps you set your annual retirement strategy, including year-end Roth IRA conversions. By automating your IRA strategy, you get the maximum tax benefit those accounts provide.
Axos Invest offers Milestone accounts. These sub-accounts accommodate specific investing goals. Apart from general investing and retirement savings, this can include saving for a child’s college education, the down payment on a home or another medium-term goal.
Axos Invest provides for several types of goals, including emergency fund, retirement, building wealth and new home purchase.
You can use the basic portfolio for the goal. Or customize the asset classes and allocations. There’s also an auto deposit feature that lets you create automatic deposits into your Milestone accounts. Just be aware that you can’t transfer money between goal accounts at the present time.
Axos Invest has been part of the Axos family since it acquired WiseBanyan. It fully integrates with Axos Bank. This means you can take advantage of banking services, commission-free trading in stocks and ETFs and the ability to easily transfer money between accounts.
Axos is working to become a one-stop shop for financial services, combining banking, managed investments and self-directed investing all on the same platform.
Some of Axos’ other excellent products include:
Unlike most online banks, it also offers small business banking, commercial banking and commercial lending. That includes business checking and savings accounts, as well as various business financing options.
Right now, Axos is giving a $200 bonus for new customers who open a Self-Directed Trading account and an Axos Rewards Checking account. You have to fund your Self-Directed trading account with $2,500 and make one trade to complete step one. For step two, you must move $1,500 in monthly direct deposits to your Rewards Checking account. You then get paid your $200 bonus after four months.
This takes a few more steps than many broker promotions that just pay you cash for hitting a certain funding amount. But if you’re thinking about switching your banking services to Axos, it’s a great time to do so.
Axos Invest Fees & Pricing
For Managed Portfolios, Axos Invest has a single all-inclusive advisory fee of 0.24% of your account balance. There are no other fees or commissions charged, other than expense ratios charged within the ETFs you invest in. However, there’s a different fee schedule if your account balance falls below $500. If so, a flat fee of $1 per month will be charged, rather than the percentage fee.
Other fees you can pay with Axos Invest include:
- Options: $1 per contract.
- Stocks & ETFs: Commission-free.
- Mutual Funds: $9.95 per trade for no-load funds.
- Axos Elite: $10 per month.
- Margin Interest: 5.50%.
- Account Closing Fee: $50.
How do I Contact Axos Invest?
You can reach Axos Invest customer support by emailing [email protected] or by sending a support message once you’re logged into your account. The website also has a useful FAQ that covers both the managed and self-directed investing offerings.
Is Axos Invest Safe?
All Axos Invest accounts get up to $500,000 in SIPC insurance with a limit for $250,000 in cash. This is the same insurance other leading online brokers provide, and it helps protect your investments and cash in the event Axos goes out of business. Overall, Axos Invest is a safe brokerage service.
Who Is Axos Invest Best For?
Axos Invest is clearly designed for investors looking for strong elements of self-directed investing with the benefit of low-cost automated investment management. Axos Invest gives you the ability to select the asset classes of your choice. And you choose the allocation percentage you want held in each. You can even change your investment choices and allocations at any time.
This is similar to M1. M1 allows you to invest in individual stocks and a larger number of ETFs than Axos Invest offers. And Axos Invest limits the self-directed aspect of the service to a smaller selection of very popular asset classes.
Axos Invest may also be of interest to anyone who wants banking services alongside their investing.
And with its self-directed account and banking services, Axos Invest is a comprehensive financial platform similar to Ally Invest.
How Is Axos Invest Different?
Axos Invest’s Managed Portfolios is the main investing plan that is offered. Similar to other robo advisors, you need to complete a questionnaire to determine your risk score. Based on this risk score, Axos Invest designs a portfolio for you based on modern portfolio theory. It is then fully managed for you. This includes automatic rebalancing and tax protection strategies (see below).
But what makes Axos Invest different is the combination of the Managed Portfolios robo advisor and the Self-Directed Trading plan that lets you have a managed portfolio with the same broker where you engage in self-directed trading.
And another major difference is with Managed Portfolios itself. Yes, Axos Invest will provide complete portfolio management, including dividend reinvestment and periodic rebalancing. But it allows you to choose specific investments as well as change portfolio allocations. Few robo advisors provide that kind of flexibility.
Axos Invest Alternatives
With its range of products, Axos suits a number of customers. Its Managed Portfolio robo advisor is slightly cheaper than many leading robo advisors, and it gives more customization options. And its Self-Directed trading side is competitive with many top commission-free brokers.
However, certain Axos Invest alternatives might be superior depending on your investing goals and the type of advice you’re looking for.
Personal Capital is one of our favorite alternatives if you’re investing larger amounts of money and want to work one-on-one with an advisor. It also has excellent budgeting tools, an investment fee analyzer, and a net worth tracker that you can use for free.
As for Betterment, it’s a more popular robo advisor than Axos Invest, and it has excellent ESG investing options. You get less customization options than Axos Invest, and the fee is 0.01% higher. However, Betterment accounts of $100,000 or more get access to a human advisor and pay 0.40% in annual fees.
Pros & Cons
- More asset classes – You can invest in over 30 asset classes and even create your own portfolio.
- Choose your investments – You can select the specific asset allocations and ETFs you want included in your managed portfolio.
- Wide asset selection on Self-Directed Trading – OTC stocks and more than 10,000 mutual funds, in addition to listed stocks, ETFs and options.
- Simple fee structure – There’s just one fee for all account types and balances.
- Excellent banking features – Take advantage of Axos’ other products like a high-yield savings account and excellent checking accounts.
- Limited account availability — There is no option for a joint taxable account, trusts, college savings plans or custodial accounts.
- High expense ratios on some ETFs — ETF expense ratios vary and can be high, depending on the ETF.
- Expensive contract options trades — Many other brokers are also commission-free and charge only $0.65 per option contract.
- No fixed income investments offered with Self-Directed Trading — That includes corporate and government bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs).
- No fractional shares: You can’t invest in fractional shares through any Axos Invest offering.
Bottom Line: Is Axos Invest Worth It?
Axos Invest Managed Portfolios is a good choice for investors who are looking for the combination of self-directed investing and automated investment management. You can choose the asset classes you hold in your portfolio, as well as the percentage allocations in each.
Axos Invest Managed Portfolios is a hybrid between a robo advisor and self-directed investing. And if you want a greater measure of self-directed investing, you can trade individual ETFs and stocks commission free using Axos Invest Self-Directed Trading. In that way, Axos Invest is the perfect broker, where you can engage in self-directed investing while having at least a portion of your portfolio professionally managed through Managed Portfolios.
On the fee side, Axos Invest is at about the middle of the robo advisor range. In fact, the fee of 0.24% seems intentionally designed to go just one notch below the 0.25% charged by two of the most popular robo advisors, Betterment and Wealthfront.
But Axos Invest may not be suitable to new investors, because it requires a minimum initial investment of $500 for a Managed Portfolio. And since Axos Invest involves a strong element of self-directed investing, it probably is not designed for new investors.
But for everyone else, Axos Invest may provide the perfect mix of self-directed investing and automated investment management.