Robo-investing is typically a process where you answer some risk tolerance, age, and income questions to determine a model portfolio that is invested in funds and periodically rebalanced. While Titan offers this service, the company does more than that. Titan offers its investors access to more actively managed funds, which seek to outperform index funds. Titan also allows customers to have an actual hedge against its funds’ long positions to protect against lower market prices. Beyond this active hedge fund-style investment approach, Titan also offers direct access to alternative asset classes often reserved only for accredited investors, including real estate and venture capital. We’ll dig into the pros and cons of Titan’s more active approach, so you can determine whether the company’s offerings are right for you.
Pros & Cons
Active stock management
Access to alternative assets
Innovative Smart Cash algorithm
Standard robo services offering is limited
Limited goal planning tools
No tax-loss harvesting
|0% for automated portfolios, 0.7% to 0.9% for active portfolios
|Cash management, short- and long-term investing, retirement
|Stock and bond ETF, mutual funds, private credit, venture capital, cryptocurrency, Treasuries, managed equity strategies
|Interest Paid on Cash Balances
|3.2% (as of Sept. 8, 2023)
|View Portfolio before Funding
|Live chat 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. virtual chatbot, and email support
|Financial Advisor Available
|Titan Smart Cash, high-yield savings account, traditional savings account
|External Account Sinking/Consolidation
The account setup is typical for a robo-advisor. Titan requires you to enter your address and contact information and then complete text verification in order to move forward into the basic information-gathering process, mainly identifying your age, net worth, goal for opening the account, investment time horizon, and risk tolerance. For each piece of information obtained, there is an option to click and learn why it is necessary.
When you are done inputting your data, the system recommends three different strategies that include more traditional accounts as well as alternative asset accounts. For the passive and actively managed funds, Titan suggests three options: a diversified growth portfolio, an automated stocks and bonds portfolio, and a low-risk portfolio. Custom portfolios are also available.
The minimum account size for passive and actively managed funds at Titan is $500. Expense ratios are passed on for the passive accounts, and there are additional fees and expenses for the actively managed accounts.
Once you decide to move forward, the process is similar to other accounts. You fund the account, then get up and running with your portfolio. A nice feature of Titan-managed accounts is that they support fractional share trading, so you can get invested right away.
Goal planning on Titan is somewhat limited. There is a retirement planning tool that takes in your annual income, current retirement assets, and years to retirement to calculate whether you are on track. Beyond that, Titan’s planning tools are unable to account for large purchases such as a home, vehicle, or college. All clients have access to an external retirement account analyzer, as well as wealth calculator tools.
Investopedia Robo-Advisor Survey
According to Investopedia's 2023 Robo-Advisor Consumer Survey, when asked to choose from a list of up to three top investment goals that they are most likely to use their robo-advisor to plan for, the majority of respondents chose using these digital wealth management platforms to invest for making large purchases like houses, vehicles, and travel.
Many robo-advisors provide a variety of services for their account holders, including cash management products and customization, as well as supporting various features some investors look for, such as charitable giving tools; a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing; and the ability to sync and analyze outside accounts. Titan offers some cash management options at this point, but little else.
Titan has a cash management program called Smart Cash, which provides an APY as high as 5.30% right now. Titan searches for the best short-term rates across treasury securities for Smart Cash, so that cash is invested at the highest possible rate for a high after-tax interest rate. Further, the Smart Cash program also spreads investments across institutions to maximum FDIC protection.
Although the Smart Cash cash management services provide a competitive interest rate, Titan does not offer any cash management tools such as checking, bill paying, or other traditional banking services. Compared to other robo-advisors, Titan’s cash management tools are limited, even if the interest rate paid through Smart Cash is competitive.
Portfolios are created utilizing modern portfolio theory (MPT) and mean-variance analysis optimization. The passively managed portfolios are rebalanced when they are flagged by Titan’s algorithms. At a minimum, the rebalancing is quarterly. Actively managed portfolios are also constructed using modern portfolio theory, but are managed more opportunistically in an attempt to obtain better returns than the S&P 500.
In addition to the automated stock and bond offerings, Titan gives investors access to three actively managed portfolios:
- Titan Flagship: A fund focused on U.S. large cap companies
- Titan Opportunities: A fund looking for small cap growth
- Titan Offshore: A fund looking for non-U.S. stocks
Titan also has a cryptocurrency fund with exposure to Bitcoin and Ethereum.
There are also non-proprietary alternative investment funds, including Carlyle Tactical Private Credit, Apollo Diversified Credit, ARK Venture, and Apollo Real Estate. These funds often have a higher minimum investment than the Titan funds.
|Socially Responsible or ESG Options
Portfolio customization at Titan is primarily related to the specific answers each client provides when creating or maintaining an account, including the goals they have for the account, how risk-averse they are, and which asset classes they want to invest in. These decisions help Titan determine the portfolio suggestions and mixes. For actively managed strategies, these same client inputs help determine whether the portfolio will be hedged using inverse ETFs. While the portfolios can’t be customized for each client, specific securities can be omitted from a portfolio.
Actively managed strategies include a hedge, the amount of which is a function of the individual investor’s risk preferences. Although this hedge is available, portfolios are not managed for tax-loss harvesting and there is no ability to direct charitable giving from these accounts.
Clients can, however, see progress towards their goals in real time. Another positive about Titan is that it supports fractional shares, allowing new funds and dividends to be invested into the portfolio quickly.
|Key Portfolio Management Features
|As needed; triggered by portfolio drift
|Statements, tax information
|External Account Syncing/Consolidation
The desktop platform works smoothly. It is a basic website that covers all the key information effectively. You can also see the various investment options available without logging in. If you have an account, you can easily choose products to add. The retirement calculators are relatively basic and easy to use on the desktop platform. The website lacks a traditional search bar, but a chatbot and answers function fulfill that need, providing content based on your query.
The mobile platform largely mirrors the desktop experience, and is easy to navigate. The platform is clearly designed with a mobile-first tilt, so the app and mobile site experience are intuitive and fast. The app has ratings of 4.4 and 4.6 on Google Play and the Apple App Store respectively.
- Live chat 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Virtual chatbot
- Email support
Customer service at Titan is limited, but prospective and existing clients can speak with customer service via online chat between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. There is no phone support available at this time; however, Titan’s Investor Relations team is staffed with series 7 and 63-licensed professionals who are available to chat with clients about portfolio construction, investment strategies, and more. Access is available via the Titan app, email, or text chat.
Titan does not provide access to financial planners that can help map out long-term strategies and detailed retirement goals, but it does integrate with some third-party applications. This includes linking to Empower (previously called Personal Capital), which offers free financial planning and personal wealth management services that include the ability to link multiple external accounts, including Titan accounts, to show an investor’s complete financial picture. Titan does not provide integration with Mint.com, but an account at Apex, Titan’s clearing firm, can be linked to directly from Mint.com. Titan does not currently integrate with Quicken or any applications related to crypto positions.
Titan provides standard security, which includes encrypted websites that utilize two-step authentication and/or biometrics for safe connections. Titan also provides SIPC and FDIC coverage for accounts. On cash equivalents, Titan is able to utilize multiple banks, which provides coverage for up to $5 million, allowing more investor cash to fall under the FDIC insurance umbrella.
Titan provides educational and research content on its website. It has research and news update articles, as well as a suite of videos on various educational topics. The videos are typically less than two minutes in length and offer introductions to topics such as “what is venture capital,” “what is the stock market,” “what is robo-investing,” and so on. There is separate retirement planning software on Titan Invest, as well as calculators to see future projections.
While it is nice to see educational and other supporting information, the larger brokerage companies typically have much more to offer for investing education and market research and it is often available for free without even opening an account. So, while Titan has some decent content, it is not especially unique. Further, while there is an FAQ section on the Titan website, it was difficult to find the page and more than a few topics don’t have a corresponding FAQ.
Commissions and Fees
Fees from Titan vary based on the investments chosen. In general, Titan’s fees are high relative to other, more traditional robo-advisors. This is largely because of its active management approach for accounts and also because it provides access to asset classes, such as venture capital and credit strategies, that are not typically offered by robo-advisors.
The fees and minimums for various accounts are as follows:
- Smart Cash has no management fees and just a $5 minimum for getting started and subsequent additions.
- Automated strategy accounts, which act like more traditional robo-investing accounts that provide a model portfolio and periodically rebalance against the portfolio, have no management fees, but the fund expense ratios are passed through to the investor. This is a low-cost option, as the fund fees are just 0.039% for the “Automatic Stocks” offering and 0.10% to 0.12% for “Automated Bonds.” While these fees are low, other traditional robo-advisors often have more portfolios available and have lower fees and minimums.
- Actively managed stock accounts require a minimum of $500, and have a management fee that begins at 0.90% of AUM per year up to $25,000 in account value, then 0.80% of AUM per year up to $100,000, and a fee of 0.70% on all remaining assets above $100,000. These rates and minimums apply to the Flagship, Opportunities, and Off-Shore actively managed funds. These rates also apply to Titan’s crypto and strategy offerings. These management fees are high relative to more traditional robo-advisors, but if performance outpaces the S&P, the higher fees may be worth paying.
Titan offers additional actively managed, non-proprietary funds. These have different fee structures. For example, the Tactical Private Credit strategy fund has a $2,000 minimum investment, and the same 0.90%, 0.80%, or 0.70% Titan management fee, but there is also a 1% management fee to the external managers, which increases to 15% once a hurdle rate of 6% is achieved. The ARK Innovation Fund only has a $500 minimum investment amount, although management fees are 2.75%.
Titan works well and is easy to use, but is it right for you? That depends on what you are looking for. If you want a no-frills robo-advisor with low fees, Titan may not be the best robo-advisor for you. However, if you are looking to have your portfolio actively managed and hedged, or if you want access to private equity, real estate, and credit strategies, Titan may be a good fit because it offers access to these markets to non-accredited investors for less than what actual hedge funds charge.
Regarding Titan’s actively managed strategies, the performance of the investments needs to be high enough to make up for the higher management fees. Returns on Titan’s funds benchmarked against the S&P were strong through the first six months of 2023, but Titan’s Flagship Fund has returned 10.62% relative to the S&P 500’s 11.33% return since inception on February 20, 2018.
Is It Safe to Use Titan to Invest?
Yes, Titan is safe to use. The company is registered with the SEC, and is reputable. The safety of the company and the assets invested in the company, however, is not the same as the safety of the investments chosen. The various investing options at Titan span from a traditional portfolio of ETFs to exposure to other markets, including private equity and real estate, so there is a range of potential investment outcomes.
Is Titan FDIC Insured?
The Titan cash product, which is a higher-yield savings vehicle, provides up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance. Customers that sign up for Titan’s Cash Sweep program receive up to $5 million in FDIC insurance; this higher coverage is achieved by the program manager using partner banks to invest cash.
Investment accounts are provided with standard SIPC protection against failure of the brokerage firm, up to $500,000, with a maximum of $250,000 in cash.
What Is the Minimum You Can Invest With Titan?
The minimum investment amount at Titan Invest changes based on the investment vehicle. The Smart Cash product requires just $5. Automated and actively managed accounts require a minimum investment of $500, and some of the specialty funds require at least a $2,000 investment.
Who Is the CEO of Titan?
Clayton “Clay” Gardner is co-CEO and founder of the company. Joe Percoco is the other co-CEO. Clay and Joe were friends at Wharton. Their other partner, Max Bernardy, graduated from Stanford. While working at hedge funds and large banks, they thought it would make sense to provide smaller investors with access to the same trading strategies, including access to alternative strategies, offered by hedge funds. Their platform dream, which also included actively managed funds utilizing strategies used by other hedge funds, evolved into Titan. Gardner is responsible for the portfolio creation and active management strategies for the portfolios.
Providing readers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of digital wealth management companies, more commonly known as robo-advisors, is a top priority of Investopedia. Over a period of two months, our team of researchers, data collectors, and industry experts conducted an exhaustive review process that included in-depth industry research, company survey data collection, and hands-on demonstrations and evaluations of 19 robo-advisor platforms.
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Separately, our research team conducted a survey of 205 U.S. adults aged 18 to 72 who are current clients of one of 18 robo-advisors. While the information collected did not influence the development of our ratings model, it was instrumental in gathering the valuable insights published in Investopedia's 2023 Robo-Advisor Consumer Survey.
Participants in our 2023 Robo-Advisor Survey opted-in to an online, self-administered questionnaire from a market research vendor. Data collection took place between Aug. 30, and Sept. 15, 2023, with 11 video interviews conducted with volunteer respondents from Sept. 7, to Sept. 17, 2023. Multiple quality checks, including screeners, attention gauges, comprehension evaluations, and logic metrics, among others, were used to ensure only the highest quality responses were included.
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Titan. "Crypto Strategy."
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Trade That Swing. "Historical Average Stock Market Returns."
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Titan. "Smart Cash."