You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Find out everything you need to know about smart investing right here––but first, allow us to introduce ourselves.
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I still don’t understand what Akru is, so let’s start with the most obvious: What does Akru really do?
In a nutshell, we make investing very easy––much easier than picking stocks or investment funds on your own. Opening an account with us is a breeze and only takes minutes.
One of the many advantages of using Akru is that we put your money into global portfolios almost immediately, whether you’re investing RM100 or RM1,000. You take control of your investment by mapping out your financial goals with our easy-to-use dashboard. Then, in the background, we simply put your money to work.
But Akru doesn’t stop there. We provide regular feedback about the progress your investments are making towards meeting all your financial goals, so that you can make the right decisions about what to save for and how much. This is important, because we also make sure that you stay the course by making adjustments to your investments on your behalf, if and when things change within global economies and in the stock markets.
We do all this using algorithms not only to make your money work harder for you but also to reduce the fees and costs of investing, compared to what conventional services would usually charge you.
At the end of the day, Akru wants to give you peace of mind.
On that note about peace of mind, how safe is Akru?
Akru is licensed by the Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC). They ensure we follow their rules stringently and diligently to protect you, the investor. Also, your investments go into a custodian account, which means that every single sen invested is legally owned by you. The custodian, together with the SC, both keep us in check.
Akru can only manage your money professionally, and help you make the best investments to meet your goals at a much lower cost. We definitely can’t use it to buy expensive cars or luxury watches for ourselves! Even if Akru goes belly-up, all of your money is still yours.
You know, some people call you a ‘robo-advisor’. What is a robo-advisor? Do robots run the company?
The thought of working in a company run by robots like we’re in a Hollywood blockbuster, sounds sort of cool, but to the disappointment of the sci-fi fans in the team, that is not the case.
A lot of the processes in investing—for example, calculating how much to save; the money going into each security; executing the trade properly; and so on—can be automated. At the same time, there are a lot of small, important but gruelling matters in investing, such as small-sized savings; currency conversion and remittance; volatile trading patterns; different time-zones; the list goes on. All of this can be sorted out and sped up tremendously thanks to algorithms.
Automation, as the name implies, can also automatically deal with “what if?” situations, such as: What if prices change in such a way that drives you further from your targets? What if your situation changes? What if there’s a big market crash? Robo-advisors use algorithms to address specific investment situations and to help us be a lot more efficient than ordinary humans.
So, long story short, no robots. We in the Akru team do solemnly swear to you that we’re all living, breathing people who feel pain and joy.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to investing?
Akru’s general philosophy is to let the markets work for you. We believe it’s difficult and costly to try to beat the market. A core tenet we stand by is passive investing. In very simple terms, this means buying and holding-on to portfolios representing the various stock and bond markets, and accepting their returns. This strategy is very different from active investing, which goes a little something like this: buy, sell, buy, sell, repeat—all in the goal of trying to beat the market. If you ask us, one of the major drawbacks of active investing is the high costs attached with it.
However, when it comes to most passive investment options, there are usually very low costs attached to them. Combine this with inflation-beating market returns, and you get an overall investment strategy that works well.
Let’s use a very traditional example to help explain passive investing, one that’s been around for decades: real estate. Whether it’s a condo or a bungalow, most investors hold on to the property for years and years and years. They won’t buy it today, sell it the next week, and buy it again the day after.
I’ve read on your website that you invest in ETFs. What is an ETF, and why does Akru invest in them?
Remember our philosophy, let the markets work for you? Well, exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are investment instruments that pretty much do that for us. Put very simply, an ETF buys into a basket of securities (for example, stocks, bonds or commodities) that matches an index, which is used to both track and represent markets.
The market can be further divided into asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, or commodities. Asset classes can cover particular geographical regions, sectors, or even styles of investing.
To give you a simple example, we invest in an ETF that tracks the S&P500 index, which represents the top 500 stocks in the US. This particular ETF’s top three sectors are IT, healthcare and financials; and it includes Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet (Google’s owner).
Fun fact: indices and their corresponding ETFs can be created based on anything! Some exotic ETFs that aren’t in Akru’s list includes: Guru ETF (invests in the top ideas of hedge fund managers); Obesity ETF (comprises companies within the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors that “profit from servicing the obese”); and Millennial ETF (invests in companies that tracks the spending habits of millennials).
These are just some of the more well-known examples, but there are a lot of ETFs out there. In fact, many of them usually work towards enhancing their representativeness, so ETFs and their related indices are very diversified; some even contain thousands of securities.
In other words, the ETF is working for you. And because there are low costs associated with them, investing in ETFs is a great and easy way to achieve an instantaneous market representation cheaply.
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