Is Acorns available in South Africa? 🇿🇦 Alternatives for 2024

Maya Chidiac

Acorns is a US-based financial technology company that functions as a robo-advisor by providing automated and algorithm-driven investment services. It is most recognized for its micro-investing feature that allows users to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar and invest the spare change in the market. Investments are made into different portfolios with varying levels of risk.

The app is designed to make investing simple and available to everybody, especially those who may not have large amounts of money to invest. Acorns is a helpful tool for anyone wishing to enter the investing world because it also provides goal-based saving options and educational materials.

In this article, we will uncover Acorns’ availability and expansion plans in South Africa, as well as provide alternative solutions.

Is Acorns available in South Africa?

Unfortunately, Acorns is not yet available in South Africa and it’s currently available exclusively for US residents. According to their website, Acorns “is only available to US citizens or legal residents currently residing in the United States. Exceptions are made for active Armed Services personnel that maintain US addresses and are temporarily overseas”:

As the world of digital investing evolves, South Africans looking for sophisticated and user-friendly investment platforms have a wide range of possibilities. Acorns has grown in popularity in the United States because of its automated investment services and inexpensive costs.

This article attempts to shed light on some of the top Acorns alternatives accessible for investors in South Africa wishing to take advantage of the benefits offered by robo-advisors and other innovative investment platforms. We'll look at the top investment platforms that cater to the distinct needs and preferences of South African investors in today's volatile financial market, from cutting-edge technology to diversified portfolios.

Whether you are an experienced investor or just a beginner, keep reading to learn about the best options for achieving your financial objectives.

Acorns Alternatives in South Africa

In this section, we will be discussing 3 alternatives that share comparable features with Acorns in South Africa:

Here’s a comparison table of top local and global financial platforms that can be the best alternative you’re searching for in South Africa. 

Comparison of Acorns' alternatives in South Africa

Sygnia 

Sygnia is a financial services provider, based in South Africa, that provides a variety of asset management and investment services. The company provides a range of investment funds and strategies, pension and retirement solutions, and a platform for robo-advising, which employs algorithms to build and manage investment portfolios for customers in accordance with their financial objectives and risk tolerance.

Key Features

  • Management Fees: A 0.35% annual management fee is charged to your account with Sygnia. You must add to this fee the 15% VAT charge which makes it a 0.50% annual account management fee.
  • Minimum Deposits: The minimum amount you must deposit in your investment account is R500 per month. Of this amount, the minimum investment amount in any ETF must be R250.
  • Additional fees: In addition to the management fees, there are other fees applicable such as the Total Expense ratio that ranges between 0.10% and 0.40%, depending on the funds, ETFs, and ETNs chosen. As for the Financial advisor fees, these fees are negotiable with the financial advisor and they consist of an initial fee of 3% maximum deducted prior to investment, and an annual fee of 1% maximum per annum (both excluding VAT).
  • Asset Classes: Sygnia invests in Equity, Bonds, Indices, ETFs, Unit Trusts, and alternative investments.
  • Spare change Investing: Unlike Acorns, Sygnia does not provide any roundup feature allowing customers to invest their spare change in the market.
  • Pension and Retirement Solutions: To assist people in saving for their retirement years, Sygnia provides retirement fund solutions, such as retirement annuities and preservation funds.
  • Rebalancing: Sygnia automatically rebalances your portfolio by buying and/or selling assets to maintain your initial weight allocation to each asset class, and ensure that the portfolio is always in line with your risk profile.
  • Trading Platform: Easy to navigate and user-friendly platform that helps you manage your investments and monitor their effectiveness.
  • Security: Sygnia is regulated by the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa. The company is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and is an authorized financial services provider (FSP number 44426) in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002.

Trading 212

Trading 212 is an online brokerage platform that allows individuals to trade a variety of financial instruments. It offers a commission-free investment solution called Trading 212 AutoInvest & Pies that allows investors to create customized portfolios called "Pies" that consist of a selection of stocks and ETFs.

Key features

  • Management Fees: Trading 212 does not charge any fees for auto-investing or creating Pies. There are no management or account maintenance fees.
  • Minimum Deposits: The minimum amount required to start trading is as low as $1. No monthly contributions and deposits are required.
  • Trading 212 Autoinvest & Pies: Pies are customized portfolios that consist of a selection of stocks and ETFs. You have the option to choose your desired securities and set target allocations for each asset within your Pie with the ability to hold up to 50 securities within each pie. Each security is represented as a slice of the pie. After creating your pies, you can set your desired contribution amount and investing frequency, and AutoInvest will ensure that your portfolio stays diversified and your contributions are allocated appropriately.
  • Asset Classes: You can invest in Stocks, Forex, Commodities, CFDs, and ETFs.
  • Funding Options: You can fund your account with Trading 212 from South Africa through bank transfers, credit / debit card payments or via OnlineBanking apps.
  • Additional Costs: Trading 212 charges a 0.15% foreign exchange fee for buying assets in a currency different from the account's base currency. No commission on trading or exit fees. 
  • Rebalancing: Rebalancing is done manually. When the investments in your Pie deviate from their target allocations, you can rebalance the Pie at any time, simply by selecting the ‘Rebalance’ button. 
  • Trading Platform: Fast and easy to use platform with great trading tools. 
  • Security: Trading 212 accepts customers based in South Africa but it is not licensed by the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa. The company is registered in England, authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FCA.

InbestMe

InbestMe is a Spanish fintech company that offers robo-advisory services. InbestMe provides an online platform that allows individuals to invest their money in a diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other investment instruments based on their financial goals and risk tolerance.

Key features

  • Management Fees: The management fee charged on your trading account ranges between 0.13% p.a. and 0.41%, depending on your chosen portfolio.
  • Minimum Deposits: A minimum deposit of $5,000 is required for South African users. No monthly contributions or deposits are required. However, a minimum balance should be maintained depending on your portfolio strategy.
  • Portfolio types: Investors from South Africa can only invest in ETF portfolios. Pension plans and Index Funds Portfolios are exclusive for Spanish investors. Four available ETF investment styles are available : InbestMe ETF: invests in a selection of listed index funds that replicate the performance of the world's best indexes. InbestMe ETFs Dynamic: actively managed and combines long-term strategies with short-term tactics. InbestMe ETFs Value: favors Value ETFs and comprises between 6 and 13 ETFs. Socially Responsible Investing ETF.
  • Asset Classes: InbestMe invests in ETFs, Stocks, Bonds, and Index Funds.
  • Funding Options: You can only fund your account through bank transfers.
  • Additional Costs: Besides the management fee, you will be charged a 0.11%  trading cost and a 0.23% on average built-in costs. There are no additional fees associated with deposits or withdrawals, but free withdrawals are limited to once per month.
  • Rebalancing: InbestMe automatically rebalances your portfolio by buying and/or selling assets to maintain your initial weight allocation to each asset class and ensure that the portfolio is always in line with your risk profile.
  • Trading Platform: The platform is available through their website or Mobile app. Both interfaces are user-friendly and give you access to your investment dashboard, where you can check your investment performance across different plans.
  • Security: InbestMe accepts customers based in South Africa, but it is not licensed by the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa. The company is regulated and supervised by the CNMV (National Securities Market Commission), the body in charge of supervising and inspecting the Spanish securities markets.

Final Thoughts 

Although Acorns is not accessible in South Africa, there are still plenty of other options available to assist people in achieving their financial objectives. There are local and global solutions available, each catering to a different desire and set of financial goals.

Having said so, always remember that choosing the best fintech or robo-advisor depends on your personal goals and financial situation, so it's essential to stay informed about the latest developments and explore the ever-expanding range of financial tools available.

We hope we helped you in your search for the Best Alternatives for Acorns in South Africa.

Related Articles