Round Review – An Investment App With Human Managers

round review

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Round is an investment app with a twist. Unlike many other investment apps that automate investment management, Round relies on real human investors to manage your money.

By using a professional investment team to manage your money, instead of computers, Round claims to provide you with better returns.

Like most financial experts, Round advocates small weekly contributions to your investment accounts so that you can grow your nest-egg over time.

And with a team that has $10 billion of investing experience and counting, Round is a welcome alternative for investors seeking an alternative to the purely automated approach employed by many of its robo-advisor rivals.

Round Spotlight

ROUND SPOTLIGHT
round logo

InvestorMint Rating

3.5 out of 5 stars

  • Human Investors Manage Money
  • Custom Tailored Portfolios
  • Affordable Investment Management

via Round secure site

Round Review:
How Round Invests

When you invest your money with Round (InvestRound.com), your custom built portfolio is diversified with over 2,500 underlying assets.

If the idea of a plain vanilla, diversified portfolio offered by the vast majority of robo-advisors doesn’t whet your appetite, Round may be a good alternative.

Although Round is a newcomer, it may threaten the best investment apps soon because it caters to investors who are worried about a simple buy-and-hold strategy.

Because its investment team has real world investing experience, they can apply hedges to mitigate portfolio risk during downturns. This distinguishes Round from most of its competitors.

While Round invests in areas that are the bread and butter of most ordinary investors, like stocks and bonds, they also recognize the demand among more adventurous investors for new asset classes, like cryptocurrencies, and plan to support them too.

Investment Areas Description
Alternative Debt
  • Corporate debt
  • Mortgage debt
  • Auto debt
Value Stocks
  • Stocks trading at prices below fair value
Growth Stocks
  • Stocks with higher growth expectations than the general market
Bank Loans
  • Loans to companies issued by banks and traded in financial markets
High Yield Debt
  • Corporate borrowings that pay high interest to lenders
Hedges
  • Investments designed to reduce risk of major portfolio loss
Bonds
Real Estate
  • Real estate investments in companies that own, operate, and finance property holdings
Large Company Stocks
Small Company Stocks
  • Small companies by market capitalization with the potential to grow
Emerging Markets
  • Investments in companies that are based overseas in emerging economies
Cryptocurrencies
  • Coming soon, investments in cryptocurrencies like ethereum, litecoin, and bitcoin.

Round Performance Returns

According to Round, the returns earned by its human-led investment method outperformed the returns produced by other investment apps over a ten year period by 3% annually.

round 10yr return comparison

In its disclosures, Round highlights that these returns are based on hypothetical, back-tested simulations, so no inference can be made about future returns performing equally well.

The returns highlighted are net of fees.

Impressively, Round assumed fees it charged were 1% compared to just 0.25% by robo-advisors.

They represent Round’s most aggressive portfolio allocation and compare the results to the most aggressive portfolio allocation of robo-advisor competitors.

One major difference between Round and its robo-advisor rivals is that the digital advisors use passive exchange-traded funds primarily whereas Round combines ETFs and mutual funds to construct portfolios.

Round Review: Fees & Expenses

During its invite-only launch phase, Round fees were zero but thereafter a 1% annual management fee is expected.

For accounts with balances below $1,200, a monthly charge of $1 is applied.

If you invested say $3,000, the annual fee would be $30 which translates to a monthly charge of $2.50.

In addition to management fees, most robo-advisors, human advisors, and investment apps that manage your money also pass on expense ratio charges to you.

Vanguard is famous for keeping expense ratios low and leading robo-advisors like Betterment select low cost funds too.

While fees are a big factor in affecting overall returns, Round claims that in spite of its higher fees, a regular capital commitment over a ten year period could still save you money in the long term.

Weekly Contribution Round Other Investment Apps Savings Account*
$25 $19,560 $17,605 $13,041
$50 $39,120 $35,211 $26,081
$100 $78,239 $70,422 $52,163
$200 $156,478 $140,844 $104,326
$500 $391,196 $352,109 $260,814

*The Savings Account amounts shown represent the national savings rate calculated by the FDIC as a simple average of rates paid by all insured depository institutions and branches for which data are available at the time of the calculation.

The returns are net of a 1% fee charged by Round and 0.25% charged by robo-advisors.

Where Round Shines

round build portfolioWhere Round earns top marks is its highly intuitive and easy-to-use mobile interface. It’s a breeze to connect your bank accounts and deposit funds.

But more than an investing portal in the palm of your hand, Round shines when it comes to helping you target your financial goals.

round review portfolio

You can get started with as little as $50.

Whether saving to buy a home, preparing for a bigger family, building a retirement nest-egg, putting money aside for a wedding, or taking a trip, Round helps you to keep better financial track.

You can also view your portfolio allocation in a polished interface that leaves you with no doubts about where your money is invested.

Round Pros and Cons

Round Pros Round Cons
Performance Returns: Based on back-tested simulation returns, Round has superior returns than many robo-advisor investment apps. Fees: Compared to many investment apps that feature digital advice only, Round expects to charge a higher annual management fee of 1%.
Minimum Account Balance: As long as you deposit at least $50, you can get started with Round. New Investment App: Round is a new investment app so it still has to prove that its human-led investment method performs better over time.
Diversified, Tailored Portfolios: Round portfolios are diversified across 2,500 securities and are tailor-made to you. Limited Account Selection: Unlike leading robo-advisors, Round doesn’t support a wide range of account types like trusts and partnerships.
Financial Goal Setting: You can easily create financial goals to save for a home, wedding, trip, or new baby among other aims.
Human Led Investment Team: Unlike robo-advisors that automate the investment management process using computer algorithms, Round relies on a human-led investment team with over $10bn of management experience to make investment decisions.
Cryptocurrencies & Hedges: For risk-seeking investors, Round is willing to include cryptocurrencies in its portfolio plus hedges to mitigate risk during downturns.

Round FAQ

Can you use a credit card to fund your Round account?

No, you are only permitted to fund your Round account with a checking or savings account.

What is the minimum account size or deposit?

The minimum account size is $50.

How secure is Round?

Round uses bank-level security, featuring 256-bit encryption and HTTPS Secure Socket Layer certificates. Your social security number and bank / login information is not stored by Round.

How safe is your money?

Your investments are covered up to $500,000 through the Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC). Your money is held in a brokerage account in your own name at Round’s custodian bank, Apex Clearing, which has supplemental insurance through Lloyds of London.

Round Team

round team ron rojany

Ron Rojany

round team saul cohen

Saul Cohen

Round was founded by Saul Cohen and Ron Rojany.

Saul Cohen worked at Guggenheim Partners, where he was part of a portfolio management team that managed billions of dollars.

He’s an award-winning investor for hedge fund and mutual fund strategies.

And he previously worked in investment banking with a focus on financial derivatives.

Ron Rojany was previously a software engineer at a big data marketing company called Bridg.

He’s also headed up product development for a health tech company that built hardware and software.

Round Review Summary

Round is an investment app with a twist. Unlike the many automated investment management solutions available to hands-off investors, Round uses a human-led investment approach.

Both conservative investors seeking diversification and risk-seeking investors seeking exposure to alternative asset classes like cryptocurrencies are provided tailor-made portfolios.

The fees are higher than those charged by most digital investment advisors but equally the back-tested, historical, simulated returns are highly competitive.

The bottom line is that while Round is a newcomer, it may be a good fit for you if you prefer the idea of human investment managers overseeing your portfolio, even if it means paying a premium for the potential to earn more.

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