Spaceship Voyager Review: Spaceship Voyager offers 3 portfolios to investors looking to set-and-forget.
Twenty-twenty has compounded the continued success of microinvesting apps like Raiz, CommSec Pocket and Spaceship Voyager as millennial investors zealously pour their spare change and more into these low-cost investing platforms.
A reason for this may include one of Spaceship Voyager’s portfolios managing more than 54% in returns in the year ending November 2020, making microinvesting sound like a misnomer.
This begs the question: What’s the catch with the rise in adoption of microinvesting apps and are they a sustainable investing strategy?
If you’re here for a free $5 to start off your Spaceship Voyager investing journey, sign up with my code S8307GS7QC or use my referral link.
For an in-depth breakdown of its features and fees and my personal opinion, read on for one of the most comprehensive Spaceship Voyager reviews on the internet.
Contents – click to jump!
- What is Spaceship Voyager & Microinvesting?
- Is Spaceship Voyager a secure investment?
- The Portfolios
- Will I receive dividends from investing in Spaceship Voyager?
- How do deposits and withdrawals work?
- What about competitors?
- Wrapping up
What is Spaceship Voyager & Microinvesting?
Spaceship launched in 2016, but did not make available to the public its microinvesting platform, ‘Spaceship Voyager’ until 2018.
It is backed by venture-capital firms like Sequoia (the only venture investor in WhatsApp, a Series B investor in Google), NEA, billionaire tycoon Li-Ka Shing’s Horizons Ventures, and others.
According to Spaceship, microinvesting is ‘when you invest using small amounts of money regularly.‘
It is an investing model that is used to make investing more accessible to the general public through an easy to use UI, low investment costs and the ability to invest in tiny parcels.
Spaceship Voyager is a microinvesting platform that allows users to pick from one of three managed portfolios and regularly dollar-cost average into the fund as a diversified investment strategy.
The funds hold a variety of both US (NYSE, NASDAQ) and Australian (ASX) stocks to expose investors to a broad range of sectors both locally and internationally.
Is Spaceship Voyager a secure investment?
Spaceship Capital Limited, a registered company with an Australian Business Number (ABN) both issues and is the responsible entity for the portfolios/funds.
All three portfolios have registered Australian Registered Scheme Numbers (ARSNs), which are issued to managed investment schemes like Spaceship Voyager.
That’s why we’ve employed physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards—including 256-bit encryption and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) — to keep your money and personal information safe. We’ve also appointed an external custodian to hold the fund’s assets. The custodian is the legal owner of the assets, but not the beneficial owner.Spaceship FAQ
However, the odd thing is although they mention the use of a custodian for investors’ assets, they fail to state exactly who they are using as a custodian. Would you trust your money with a custodian you do not even know the name of?
UPDATE 29 Dec 2020: Spaceship has confirmed they use a reputable broker, Interactive Brokers (IB) as their custodian via their live chat support.
Although this is good news, I expected it to be at least mentioned once in their reference guide or product disclosure statement – needing to ask support for something so important is not the way in my opinion.
@Spaceship you need to update your documents!
On the safety of the investment itself – that you’ll have to figure out for yourself based on your risk preferences and perspectives on value.
The Portfolios – Which one to invest in?
Spaceship Voyager has three portfolios: Universe, Origin and the recently launched Earth.
One thing to note about these portfolios is that they all consist only of equities and cash. This means while you are diversified in companies from various sectors and industries, you will be solely investing in stocks and cash (0-10% allocation for Universe/Origin & 0-15% allocation for Earth).
The portfolios are also not exchange traded funds (ETFs) as they are not traded on a stock exchange. It is more like a mutual fund, where the price of the fund/portfolio is updated once daily.
What do you get by investing?
By investing into a particular fund/portfolio, you will receive ‘units’ in the fund/portfolio. These units represent a proportionate beneficial interest in the fund/portfolio’s assets as a whole.
Having a beneficial interest in the assets means your share of the assets as a whole is held on trust for you by Spaceship – while they retain the legal title, you retain the beneficial title and can enforce it against them.
Spaceship Voyager’s most popular portfolio, Universe, is actively managed by portfolio managers who invest in stocks that meet their ‘Where the World is Going’ criteria, which includes major tech companies like:
Along with smaller companies like:
To check out the full list of companies Universe is invested in and the allocations, click here.
The Universe Portfolio has done immensely well over the course of its lifetime since its launch in 2018, having returned over 54% in the year ending November 2020 and over 30% p.a. since its inception in May 2018 till November 2020 (these figures have taken into account fees).
Of course, this year’s returns have been propelled greatly by the great tech boom and recovery that occurred since March 2020, with companies like Tesla and Square returning around 644% and 278% YTD respectively (both of which are part of the Universe portfolio).
A key thing to note is that while past performance is not an assurance of future returns, looking at the companies providing the returns and why they did is key to intelligent and informed investing.
Credit where credit is due: one of my favourite parts about Spaceship Voyager are the little nuggets of information they provide with each investment – the profile, what they like about it and the risks.
Although, I do wish they made it more comprehensive – if you’re listening Spaceship, I want more financial report numbers and competitor analysis!
Origin is Spaceship Voyager’s somewhat passively managed portfolio – because of its thesis to invest top companies globally by market capital through a ‘rules-based investment strategy that identifies companies with large market capitalisations and applies an equal weighting within each asset allocation’.
Thus, despite it being actively managed, it takes has stricter rules to follow, which makes it more akin to index investing rather than an actively managed portfolio.
- Origin aims to gain exposure to the top 100 Australian
listed companies and top 100 international listed companies
as measured by market capitalisation.
- Companies within Origin are subject to eligibility and accessibility requirements, including whether we can access the relevant stock exchange.
- Origin applies an equal-weighted investment approach within each asset allocation to support diversification and broad sector participation.
- Origin is generally rebalanced on a quarterly basis.
- During a quarter, investment weightings may fluctuate due to changes in the market value of companies.
- Spaceship maintains the ability to invest in more or less than the target number of companies (i.e. we may invest in more or less than 200 companies).
It still holds leading stocks like CSL and Microsoft while investing in safer dividend stocks like Coca-Cola and Visa.
To check out the full list of companies Origin is invested in and the allocations, click here.
Since its inception in May 2018 up till Nov 2020, the portfolio has returned close to 11% p.a. but delivered somewhat lacklustre performance during the year ending Nov 2020, with a performance of only 5.62%, which underperformed compared to the S&P500 which returned approximately 18.6% during the same period, but outperformed the ASX200 which dropped 1%.
This is a lower risk portfolio compared to both Earth and Universe because it has fixed asset allocations which disallow one company’s performance to affect the overall returns by a substantial degree.
The downside however, is that if a few companies do extremely well, the benefit is limited by others going through a rough patch and by nature, its own allocation size.
Example 1: Apple stock goes up by 50% but 5 other stocks in the other portfolio of equal weightage drop by 10% each - no change in value despite a stock doing extremely well Example 2: Apple stock dips by 50% but 10 other stocks of equal weightage in the same portfolio rise by 5% - no change in value despite a stock doing terribly
The new kid on the block is the Earth portfolio, which launched on Spaceship Voyager in November 2020.
Named ‘Earth’ to show its commitment to sustainable investing, it uses the investing approach introduced in Universe (‘Where the World is Going’), coupled with what it claims to be ‘sustainable investing criteria’ which states that investments have to be ‘socially and environmentally acceptable’ and must ‘contribute towards one or more of the UN SDGs’.
To check out the full list of companies Earth is invested in and the allocations, click here.
I would imagine it would not be difficult to find a company that contributes to at least one United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – almost every company that is investable by Spaceship Voyager’s standards (exceeding AUD 150m) will definitely at least contribute to ‘Goal 8 – Decent work and Economic growth’.
Both the reference guide and product disclosure statement (PDS) are provide nebulous or unsatisfying definitions or qualifications of what Spaceship deems to be sustainable investing, which is deeply troubling for a public product which is marketed to many individuals who may invest based on superficiality rather than careful thought.
While Spaceship Voyager may mean well, I think there should be clearer explanations and guidelines showcased in its PDS or reference guide for a portfolio marketed solely on its focus on sustainability and ethical considerations. (This blogpost does provide more detail about how they crafted the Earth portfolio and probably does a better job than both the PDS and reference guide combined).
For example, Earth currently has a 2.53% allocation to Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), which is not so favourably looked upon by Ethical Consumer, an independent guide on ethical shopping.
Furthermore, it also has an allocation of the same percentage to Lululemon (NASDAQ: LULU) which has been accused of underpaying and overworking its workers in the past.
This just begs the question of how thorough Spaceship actually is with its investment research in the sustainable and ethical space, despite having continuous assessment and removal on the violation of the sustainable criteria.
The Caveat + Workaround
As of December 2020, investors do not have a straightforward process to sign up for more than one portfolio under the same account.
Each investor is limited to one portfolio, and is locked into that portfolio after choosing without the ability to switch between different portfolios or add new ones.
While Spaceship is working on bringing multiple portfolio support, there is a workaround where you can have multiple portfolios under the same account by opening another account with the same email you used initially, but with ‘+new portfolio name’ before the @.
- 1st portfolio on signup: Universe (email: [email protected])
- 2nd portfolio that you want to sign up for: Earth (email should be: [email protected])
By doing this, your second/third portfolio will be under the same account.
The portfolios are benchmark agnostic and have no mention of any benchmarks in either the PDS or reference guide. This makes it harder to put into perspective its returns.
However, one should note that funds like Universe share many holdings with the NASDAQ-100, which has returned over 50% in the year ending November 2020 (compared to Universe’s ~54%).
A quick comparison summary of the 3 portfolios:
|Free on first AUD 5k balance, 0.1% p.a. for every cent after
(eg AUD 10k balance, AUD 5 yearly fee)
|Free on first AUD 5k balance, 0.05% p.a. for every cent after
(eg AUD 10k balance, AUD 2.50 yearly fee)
|Free on first AUD 5k balance, 0.1% p.a. for every cent after
(eg AUD 10k balance, AUD 5 yearly fee)
|Returns since inception (p.a.)
|Returns Nov 2019- Nov 2020 (p.a.)
|Longer term capital growth using ‘Where the World is Going’ strategy
|Longer term capital growth by investing in
companies with large market capitalisations
|Longer term capital growth by investing in
companies that contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development
|Recommended investment timeframe
|# of companies in the fund
Spaceship’s fee comparison table:
Will I receive dividends from investing in Spaceship Voyager?
Short answer: Technically no, but yes.
Long answer: Managed funds do not pay out dividends. Rather, they pay distributions, which are paid annually (yearly within 90 days of 30 June in Spaceship Voyager’s case).
- Income earned from holding (dividends from the individual stocks)
- Capital gains from the disposal of the fund/portfolio’s assets during the year, taking into account taxable gains and losses.
- Foreign income and foreign income tax offsets
- Franked dividends/franking credits
- Tax deferred distributions.
How do deposits and withdrawals work?
Spaceship Voyager can only be funded through direct debits from your linked bank account, which has to be linked to Spaceship Voyager when you register for an account.
After linking, you can either manually add a one-off investment or set up an investment plan on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.
If you chose to do a one-off investment, after you lock-in your amount you will receive units of the fund/portfolio you have chosen within 1 business day, if you invested before 5pm the previous day.
However, if you choose to go with a recurring investment plan, ensure your bank’s transaction account has the sufficient funds to go through with each recurring transaction!
Perhaps set-up an auto transfer from your saver to your transaction account with Up Bank so you won’t have to remember to replenish the transaction account after an expensive night out.
Withdrawals work pretty much the same way as deposits do, but in reverse – Spaceship will credit your linked account with any withdrawals (although in my experience it took longer than a business day).
All withdrawals and deposits are free of charge.
What about competitors?
However in this comparison, I’ll include the lesser known microinvesting wildcard from the fund behemoth, Vanguard – the Vanguard Personal Investor (VPI).
For a better mobile experience with the table below, please switch to landscape mode.
AUD 5k balance: Free
0.1% p.a. (Universe & Earth) or 0.05% (Origin)
(buy or sell) valued at AUD 1k and below:
AUD 2 (at best, 0.2%)
Trades valued at above AUD 1k:
|Under AUD 10k:
Above AUD 10k:
Sapphire portfolio only: AUD2.5/mo +
0.275% p.a. regardless of balance
|Account keeping fees:
0.2% p.a. on account total (inclu. cash balance, capped at AUD 600 p.a.)
ASX-listed Vanguard ETFs and Wholesale Funds:
Free trades, yearly management fee depends on fund
Other stocks on the ASX:
Greater of AUD 19.95 or 0.15%
|Yearly fee on AUD 10k balance
|AUD 10 (Universe & Earth)
|Depends on number of trades
AUD 9 to AUD 67 depending on the ETF
|AUD 20 + fund management fee (depends on fund)
|No minimum deposit/
investment or withdrawal
Lowest annual fees of the 4
3 portfolios to choose from including a sustainability focused portfolio
|Ability to trade 7 ETFs from AUD 50 including ETHI, a sustainability focused portfolio
Buy first and settle later (direct debit is 2 days after purchase)
|Exposure to Bitcoin (5% allocation) with Sapphire portfolio
Raiz Rewards allows users to get cashback on retailers invested into Raiz
Round-up feature that invests the difference into Raiz
(eg $4.5 purchase is rounded up to $5 and 50c goes into Raiz)
7 portfolios to choose from based on risk preferences
(includes ‘Emerald’ – a sustainability focused portfolio)
|Brokerage free access to Vanguard ETFs on ASX
Access to Vanguard’s Wholesale Funds which usually require
AUD 500k minimum
Earn interest on cash balance
portfolio year ending 30 June 2020 (p.a.)
|Vanguard Active Global Growth Fund:
portfolio year ending Nov 2020 (p.a.)
|Vanguard Active Global Growth Fund:
There is no doubt Spaceship Voyager has had a phenomenal year – beating out all of its microinvesting rivals in 2020 returns.
However, there has never been a better opportunity to restate the old saying that ‘past performance is not a good indicator of future returns’.
This is especially true as Spaceship has recommended a holding period of 7 years and all of Spaceship Voyager’s portfolios are relatively young at just under 2 years old – anything could happen in the years that follow.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that their performance this year should be discounted – it just means that one should not expect the gravy train to continue on consistently forever.
This platform is a fantastic choice for individuals looking to dollar-cost average while staying hands-off with their investments but still seeking high capital growth.
However, if you have a more conservative risk profile but still wanting to be hands-off, you might want to look at index fund investing on a brokerage or check out a less risky Raiz portfolio with bond allocations.
If you’re looking for a way to expose yourself to some Bitcoin through microinvesting, the Raiz Sapphire portfolio may be something of interest – however I personally would not bother as the fees are unjustifiably high and would recommend buying Bitcoin from a cryptocurrency exchange instead (eg Binance & Australian exchange Independent Reserve).
For those of you who are more hands-on with investing – I should not even need to explain to you why Spaceship is not for you. Perhaps, in the future if Spaceship allows users to start customizing their portfolios while still keeping costs low it may be worth a second look.
As for VPI, I would not bother with either considering the fees are cutthroat. You’d be better off saving and buying through an actual brokerage instead as VPI will eat through your investments faster than you can say, ‘I started investing!’. Their funds on the other hand, I would highly recommend to index and managed fund investors (eg VGS, VDHG, VTS, VAN0722AU).
An alternative can be found in CommSec Pocket if you’d like to buy ETF units instead to have more control over the variety of stocks your portfolio, but paying AUD 2 on an AUD 50 trade is a bad idea (that’s 4% in fees!). You’d probably want to at the very least invest AUD 200 (1% fee) each time for the platform to be even worth looking at.
Now back to Spaceship Voyager:
In the few queries I have had with Spaceship Voyager support – the response has been friendly and efficient. The best part is you can access support through an easy to use chat-like interface within the ‘help’ section of the app.
Spaceship also offers educational blogposts on its blog, Spaceship Learn which illuminates readers on several subjects like personal finance, investing and using the platform.
The title poses the question, ‘to the moon or engine failure?’
It seems that Spaceship has a clear course set for the moon and beyond – this year Spaceship has really taken off with hitting 100k users and massive returns with its Universe portfolio – no small feat for a homegrown startup out of Sydney.
While it is far from a complete engine failure like Vanguard’s Personal Investor, it still has a few asteroids to steer clear of before it reaches its goal, and only time will tell whether it will ever reach the moon or surpass it.
Whether you’re a newbie looking to start their microinvesting voyage or an investing guru curious about Spaceship Voyager, there’s no better way to test out a platform than by jumping into the deep end and downloading the app (you’ll even get AUD 5 if you use my referral!).