Check out our Nest Wealth Review & get a free 3-month trial with our Nest Wealth promo offer code. Does hands-off investing fit your hands-on life?
After reviewing Canada’s most popular robo advisor: Wealthsimple, we set to closely examine some of the other leading robo advisors (see our Ultimate Guide to Canada’s Robo Advisors for more information).  Nest Wealth has a unique pricing model that benefits those who invest large sums of money: with Nest Wealth, you pay a monthly fee rather than an annual percentage of your portfolio value like most others. In this review we’ll explain why Nest Wealth is one of the market leaders.

Nest Wealth Review Summary

Transparent fees – no commission percentages to worry about

Absolutely excellent value for high net worth investors since monthly fees are capped at $80 no matter how large your nest egg gets

Unique – Customized portfolio creation for each customer

Professional support from your own registered advisor available via chat, email, or phone. You can schedule calls with your advisor at a time that suits you!

Beautifully-designed, easy-to-use interface on any computer or smartphone

The purest approach to straight index investing principles

Trading fees aren’t included in monthly subscription costs – can add up to $100 per account annually

Not a cost leader for smaller accounts because of subscription costs

Our Rating: 4.6/5

Bottom Line: One of the leading robo advisors in Canada.  An innovator in terms of pure index investing principles and personalized service.  Very cool, goal-driven website, and elite value for high net worth investors.  A small fly in the ointment when it comes to fees for smaller portfolios.
Secure, Transparent, Customized Portfolio & Perfect for High Net Worth Investors

Try Nest Wealth – Get 3 Months FREE!

Nest Wealth Promo Code not needed – just use the above link to receive the 3-month freebie offer

My favourite part about Nest Wealth is that one of the first things you see when you head to their page is a calculator that invites you to compare their fees to what you’re currently paying in mutual fund fees (the investment choice for most Canadians).  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that the fact that Canadians pay so much more than most of the world for investment advice drives me absolutely crazy.  So many Canadians watch their retirement savings grow at a slothful rate – or even shrink slightly – over the long term, simply because such a large percentage of their investment returns are garnished by mutual fund companies.

Nest Wealth is amongst the most transparent financial companies that you’ll find on the market and readers have had only great things to say about their customer service component.  Let’s see what Nest Wealth looks like behind the shiny curtain of their website.

Who’s Behind Nest Wealth:

The man that powers the machine over at Nest Wealth is Founder Randy Cass.  Randy has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and managed massive portfolios for clients such as that Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.  You also might have saw him on TV as he hosted Market Sense on BNN for several years.  Randy is like a slightly more modest, much funnier, Kevin O’Leary – with way better hair and much more actual business experience.

Randy is surrounded by a team of professionals that blends youth and experience – just what I look for in a FinTech company.  There are international MBAs, computer engineers, and a “wealth” of relevant backgrounds from many corners of the financial and tech worlds.

One of the interesting details I found while digging into Nest Wealth is that Canadian media company Metroland Media is one of their large investors, having a purchased a minority stake in the company for $1.5 million back in 2015.  I can’t say that I’ve seen a lot of media companies taking such an interest in the FinTech sector, but it will obviously mean some great deals when it comes to marketing to the Canadian demographic.

All client assets are held by the National Bank Correspondent Network (NBCN), a subsidiary of National Bank.  Obviously National Bank is one of the most trusted and well-known names in Canadian banking, and puts a lot of clients’ minds at ease.  This isn’t to say that Nest Wealth is owned by National Bank, only that they are the third-party institutional that is responsible for handling client assets.

Nest Wealth ETF Portfolio:

Nest Wealth takes a lot of pride in pointing out what goes into their portfolio creation process.  As far as pure index investing principles go, Nest Wealth is probably the most committed of the Canadian Robo Advisors.  They will construct an individualized investment plan for each client – and believe that this approach is superior to placing investors into pre-made template portfolios.

Nest Wealth will construct your portfolio to be geographically diversified and contain assets from the following seven asset classes:

  • Domestic Equities
  • USA Equities
  • Emerging Market Equities
  • International Equities
  • Government Fixed Income (Bonds)
  • Real Returns Bonds
  • Real Estate

You can see the ETFs that they use to put your portfolio together below

ETF NameAsset ClassMER
Vanguard Canadian Bond Index ETF (VSB)
Fund Fact Sheet
Short-Term Bonds0.11%
BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG)
Fund Fact Sheet
Medium-Term Bonds0.09%
iShares Canadian Real Return Bond Index ETF (XRB)
Fund Fact Sheet
Real Return Bonds0.39%
iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (XIC)
Fund Fact Sheet
Canadian Equities0.06%
iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF (XSP)
Fund Fact Sheet
US Equities0.11%
iShares Core MSCI EAFE IMI Index ETF (XEF)
Fund Fact Sheet
Global Equity0.08%
Vanguard US REIT ETF (VNQ)
Fund Fact Sheet
Real Estate0.12%

How Much It Costs:

Nest Wealth sets up their pricing slightly different than some of Canada’s other robo advisor options.  Basically there are three tiers when it comes to paying for the advice services and platform that Nest Wealth will provide you with:

Less than $75,000$20 per month$75,000 to less than $150,000$40 per month$150,000 and above$80 per month

On top of these costs, Nest Wealth gets charged trading fees when they re-balance your portfolio and has to pay the underlying ETF Fees in your portfolio.  While this might not be the easiest fee structure to understand (it’s easier for example to just say “.6% all in”) it is the most transparent in my view.

What this looks like in practice is that Nest Wealth’s third-party custodian NBCN, charges $9.99 per trade.  These trade fees are capped at $100 per account annually.  If your portfolio is relatively straightforward and there is not much movement in the market in a given year, there might not be a need to make very many trades.  On the other hand, if there is a year when the stock market hits a large downturn such as in 2009, then obviously as index ETFs go down, Nest Wealth will need to re-balance more often.

The ETF fees (aka MER) that Nest Wealth pays average out to .15% – this is why I love basic index ETFs!

Nest Wealth Review: What’s Included

For this price of admission, Nest Wealth customers get:

  • Customized portfolio creation
  • Diversified, tax efficient asset allocation
  • Optimized portfolio construction
  • Consistent portfolio monitoring by your portfolio manager
  • Threshold portfolio re-balancing
  • Annual updating of information
  • Professional support from your own registered advisor available via chat, email, or phone. You can schedule calls with your advisor at a time that suits you!
  • Transparent fee and performance reporting via your online portfolio dashboard. You can log in at any time to see exactly how your investments are doing, re-balancing that’s happening, and how much you’re paying in fees.

Types of Accounts:

  • RRSP
  • Spousal RRSP
  • TFSA
  • RESP
  • RIF
  • LIRA
  • Joint
  • Trust
  • Corporate

Account Security:

Like the rest of Canada’s robo advisors, all Nest Wealth customers are protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) which covers each client up to $1,000,000.  Check out our Ultimate Guide for more on why robo advisors are super safe and not nearly as scary as your Big Bank likely makes them seem.

What Makes Nest Wealth Unique

Nest Wealth believes that their combination of customized portfolios and subscription pricing are what gives them a different flavour than the rest of Canada’s robo advisors, including the platforms put out there by major Canadian banks, see our BMO Smartfolio review and RBC InvestEase review for a more detailed comparison there.  When new customers sign up at Nest Wealth they have a conversation with an advisor, who will design each portfolio specifically for their financial situation, time horizon, goals, and risk tolerance.  This is obviously very appealing to folks who are used to a traditional financial advising model and has a ton of value for people with fairly large portfolios.

Nest Wealth is also quick to point out that whether you have $150,000 or $1,000,000+ invested with them, your fees remain the same: $80 per month, or $1,060 per year ($960 plus $100 maximum in trading fees per account) plus the ETF’s MER.  The idea is that after the $150,000 mark, there is no extra work being done to manage your portfolio – it’s all automated.  This clearly makes the price point extremely attractive to high net worth investors.

Perhaps because of their advisor-client model or because of the attractive pricing at higher investment tiers, Nest Wealth is able to attract an older client base than you might expect when you initially see the term “robo advisor”.  In fact, their average client is in their mid-40s.

Nest Wealth Review: What It Looks Like

You can see below that Nest Wealth offers an easy-to-use platform that is accessible on multiple devices and a very simple sign-up process.The user interface is based on the goals that you identified for yourself.  The summary page gives you a clear, clean view at how you are doing in relation to meeting your goals – a nice feature that gives your investing some context.

The Accounts Page gets down to the nitty gritty of performance, balance, and overall asset allocation.  All the graphics are interactive and provide more information as your hover over them as shown below. If after reading our Nest Wealth review you want a risk-free way to try one of Canada’s leading robo advisors, simply click here to get 3-month FREE trial period!

Article comments

Gary Matson says:

I’m wondering whether a way around the double fee for a joint account would be to take out the account in one name only and have the spouse listed as beneficiary. Thoughts on this?

Lisa Jackson says:

Hi Gary, there shouldn’t be a ‘double fee’ for a joint account. Talk to a Nest Wealth rep. They’re not out to nickel and dime you. Explain your accounts and your spouse’s accounts – you should just be paying one fee per person based on the total amount of assets, not a fee for every single account (RRSP, TFSA, Non-reg, etc.).

Dale Roberts says:

Nick and Matt, Kyle et al, I did some research for my recent review of Nest Wealth. Monthly fees are per client, not per account. They should cover your first Custodian fee for life, I was told. Next account will see Custodian fees. Those Custodian fees as of November 8, 2018 are lower for new clients or new accounts as they are signed up through a different custodian, not National Bank. MERs are low at an average of .13%. Nest Wealth becomes the most cost effective at about $300,000. Questwealth is the new low fee champ of course for ‘smaller’ portfolios.

Nick says:

I’m having the same issue with the multiple accounts. I have an $850,000 portfolio split between my partner and I and a corporate holding account. That is 3 * $80 per month + trading fees + $200 in custody fees (got this confirmed via their online chat.) $3380 per year is starting to look very pricey!

For a larger portfolio though, the flat monthly subsicription pricing model is very attractive though, so I’d love to hear if anyone had any success with negotiating with them or even with promos?

Matt says:

Great site and thanks for all this info! I have an email into NW as I have similar concerns about multiple account fees. Have a portfolio of
$500 000 however that is spread between two RRSP’s (his and hers) two TFSA’s, two LIRA’s, one RESP and two non registered accounts. If these can all be managed under one account ($80 fee plus $100 cap on trades) I’m in but if not Wealth Simple starts to look like a better option no?

Kyle says:

I’m thinking for an account that size, Nest Wealth might be willing to negotiate Matt. Whatever their best offer is for you, compare it against the competition at!

P Philso says:

I was just speaking with a customer service person at Nest Wealth, I was surprised to hear the $80 capped fee is per person, as many families have at least two people holding their investments in their own name, this doubles the fee, doesn’t seem to be clear anywhere, Also besides the $100 max (9.99$ trading fees) which is pointed out, there seems to be a $100 annual administration fee per account, Again most families may have two separate RRSP accounts, a LIRA, an RESP etc, this doesn’t seem to be well known either. Could I be wrong?

Kyle says:

Nest Wealth has offered some special promos in the past on this front Philso – and I know there has been some confusion in regards to the per-account fee. Let the powers that be over there know that you came from Young and Thrifty and/or the AutoInvest calculator, and let us all know what they can do for you in terms of a deal on those admin fees – because I agree, they can add up fast!

Ian says:

As a Nest Wealth client, I pay a flat fee of $80.00 month, which covers 2 accounts (one tax sheltered, over $200K, the other not, under $150K) that total ~$350K. When I asked, I was told that the fee was $80.00/month provided the combined value of the two accounts was above their threshold of $150K, and that it was not ‘per account’. This flat fee, and the $100 cap on annual trading fees, was the selling point for me in terms of keeping costs of investment down in my situation.

Management fees as a % are the bane of investors in any situation. The cost of a transaction, or a fee for providing any financial service, should not be based on the amount of money handled, but on the cost of carrying out the transaction or providing the service, plus an appropriate profit (whatever that is).

Charles Pullyard says:

my wife & I have accumulated substantial RRSPs. My big concern is your strategy in a major market drawdown, al la 2007/08. What is your strategy? Do you hedge with puts? Do you buy market reverse (negative) etfs? Do you follow a stop loss strategy? Do you do nothing?
How do you manage risk beyond asset allocation. Looks to me your primary etf holdings are bonds and equities. In a catastrophic downturn both can go into the dumpster. risk management– what & how

Kyle says:

Hello Charles,

My question is how much are you paying every day in order to “manage risk”? You are correct in pointing our that both equities and bonds can go down at the same time (although bonds will go down much less, and it shouldn’t affect your cash flow all that much in the short term), but the next logical step will also be that they go back up. I’m assuming that even once you’re retired you won’t be pulling out huge portions of your RRSPs all at once right? It only took the stock market a few years to completely recover from 2007/08.

manjit says:

Are there any fees when cancelling your account? Is there a financial planner with Nest Wealth and if so, any experience with what they actually help with? Just retirement or other things?

Kyle says:

Hello Manjit,

There are several financial planners available at Nest Wealth – all with the Fidicuary duty that comes with being a portfolio manager. Obviously experience will vary from manager to manager, but the guy at the top of the food chain is Randy Cass – go ahead and Google him to check out his CV. They can help you with a lot more than retirement. To give a broad generalization, I’d say they could probably advise you on everything short of super nuanced, niche situations like starting up a Trust to pass along wealth to your children or something like that. As far as fees to cancel, I believe it depends what you mean by cancel. There is a small fee to transfer the money out and shut down the accoount, but most places you shift money to will pay those fees if you ask them to.

Rick says:

I have emailed twice and have not received an answer. Please give me some examples of your returns for last year. I know they are no guarantee of future results. I am interested in an aggressive portfolio.

Please get back to me.


Kyle says:

Hi Rick, I haven’t received any emails – sorry! You can check out what the portfolios are at Nest Wealth – I am not aware that they are releasing that information. I want to point out though that how a portfolio has done in the last year should be completely irrelevant to if you invest in it or not. Either you buy into the concept of index investing that robo advisors are built on (in which case the last year was definitely irrelevant) or you still don’t really undertand the difference between active and passive management – which is ok, it just means you might be best off getting clear on that debate before looking at robo investors.

Rob Nevin says:

There would be my wife and I, each with a RIF, a Spousal RIF, and a TFSA. Would this be 6 separate accounts subject to 6 separate fees?

Kyle says:

Hi Rob,

AS far as I’m aware, this would be six seperate fees. I’d recommending contacting NestWealth (let them know that we sent you after clicking through our link) and trying to negotiate a bit. If you are bringing six accounts over my guess would be that there will be some flexibility there in terms of your overall account costs.

angela says:

Your info is so helpful and easy to digest as a newcomer to investing! So, thank you for this valuable resource. A question I have pertains to re-balancing. I notice that WealthSimple re-balances “When holdings deviate from target allocation by more than 20%”… WealthBar “Quarterly or when an asset goes out of balance by +/- 5%”… and Nest Wealth “Annual or when an asset drifts beyond set thresholds”. I’m completely in the dark about re-balancing and am wondering if you can provide feedback on these different re-balancing formats in terms of risks. pros/cons etc.? Thanks so much!

Kyle says:

Hi Angela – thanks for your encouragement! I appreciate you taking the time to write that. As far as rebalancing, the basic idea is that if you determine that the right asset mix for your risk level is say hypothetically 60% stocks and 40% bonds, then you want to stay relatively close to that balance right? So – again hypothetically – say for example that stocks have a great quarter and went up 6%, and bonds had a really bad quarter and their index went down 3%, then your overall portfolio would have substantially more than 60% of its value in stocks right? The robos will rebalance by automatically selling the asset class ETF that did great (and went up in value) and purchase more of the asset class ETF that did relatively poorly (and went down as a percentage of your portfolio). This will bring you back to your original 60-40 balance that you decided you initially wanted. It also means that you’re essentially guaranteed to buy some of the assets that are at their “low” and sell some of what is at the “high” so it’s mathematically proven to give a bit of juice to your returns over time.

Manda says:

“Price-wise WS has a bit of an edge for smaller portfolios and NW a bit of a edge for high net worth investors.”

What the boundary though? What portfolio size is considered “small” enough to benefit from Wealthsimple? What portfolio size is considered “high net worth” enough to switch to Nest Wealth?

Kyle says:

You’ll have to run the numbers for your specific situation Manda. It depends how many accounts you want to open, your risk profile, etc.

Amer says:

Wealthsimple or this? I read over and over your articles and can’t make up my mind. It surely helped me see clearly why I should use robo advisor, but which one!

Kyle says:

Hey Amer – after hearing a lot of feedback from different people I can honestly say both are excellent options. Here is the best case in my opinion – use our promotions to try them both for 3 months. You don’t need to put a lot of money in to get a feel for the platform right? Then decided which fits you best after that. Price-wise WS has a bit of an edge for smaller portfolios and NW a bit of a edge for high net worth investors.

Manda says:

For people who’re with Wealthsimple now, at what portfolio amount should they switch over to Nest Wealth to minimize fees?

Potato says:

I think your VSB MER is missing a decimal place.