To wrap up our tour of the top robo advisors in Canada (see our Ultimate Guide to Canada’s Robo Advisors for more information), we thought we’d take a look at the first entrant into the Canadian market and one the market leaders in Canada with our Nest Wealth Review.

NestWealth Review Summary

Subscription based model is very transparent in regards to 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
Bottom Line: One of the leading robo advisors in Canada.  An innovator in terms of pure index investing principles, personalized service, and transparent subscription pricing.  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.

 4.6 / 5  – Secure, Transparent, Customized Portfolio & Perfect for High Net Worth Investors

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:

Nest Wealth ReviewThe 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.

Portfolio Creation:

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 Equities0.20%
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 – $150,000$40 per month
Over $150,000$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.  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!

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