Wealthsimple Review and Promo Code By Canada’s Robo Expert

Join YoungAndThrifty.ca, the premier Canadian source for Robo Advisors as we review Wealthsimple, the biggest Canadian robo-investing platform. Read on for our in-depth Wealthsimple review and take advantage of our exclusive Wealthsimple promo code.

Wealthsimple Review Summary

Are the largest robo advisor in Canada.
Have a $0 Account Minimum.
An eye-poppingly well designed platform that is incredibly easy to use.
Wealthsimple will pay the transfer fees that your bank will charge you to switch over to them.
Easiest on-boarding process of all Canadian robo's. You can also sign up through the app.
Partnership with Mint.co makes investing/budgeting easier to track than ever before
Wealthsimple Black offers absolutely excellent value for accounts over $100,000!
Not the absolute lowest fees on accounts under $100,000 (although very close to the lowest)
Being the largest robo advisor company in Canada, you do come across some negative comments in regards to customer service here and there. We have personally only had great experiences when using Wealthsimple, and we think these comments are likely due to overall massive number of recent accounts opened as opposed to poor customer service.

Our Rating: 4.9/5  Elite Low-Cost Investing Options, Excellent Usability & Intuitive App

Bottom Line: After hours' worth of thorough research for this Wealthsimple Review, we have come to the conclusion that Wealthsimple is currently the best Canadian robo advisor for the average Canadian investor.  The combination of very low fees on small accounts, excellent value on large accounts (via “Wealthsimple Black”), overall usability, and the variety of unique perks highlighted above, make it our top choice.

Wealthsimple Promo Code not needed – just use the above link to receive the $10,000 offer

Intro – Why Consider Robos Like Wealthsimple

Canada’s financial industry has been doing things a certain way for decades.  To sum up that gold tarnished brass standard:

  1. Convince Canadians that their money is only safe with you – not risky new guys.
  2. Tell Canadians that they need to save 10-20% for retirement – show them “The Graph” that illustrates how compound investment returns will make everyone a millionaire.
  3. Sound super confident while repeating a whole bunch of financial acronyms and worlds like “asset allocation”, “diversification”, and “5-star fund manager”.
  4. Never ever bother people with small details such as the price they are paying for your services, or even how that price is arrived at. Instead, continuously state that your services are “free”.
  5. Rinse and repeat as each you promise to fix all clients’ problems by “putting them into this new, better fund,” – which of course has a bonus commission attached to it at that time.

To recap, when Wealthsimple says that their mission is to bring smarter financial services to Canadians – and to do it for a price tag that is upfront and far below the traditional model – that’s no small feat.  Essentially, what Wealthsimple (and other companies like them) are doing is upending an entire industry business model that has working fabulously for many decades (just take a look at the dividend history of Canada’s major banks for proof).  These new “Fintech” companies that offer an exciting new middle ground between the old Canadian way to manage money and the DIY methods that personal finance geeks have been touting for a long time, are collectively known as robo advisors.

Visit wealthsimple.com – Promo: $10,000 Managed for Free

What This Review Entails

Wealthsimple definitely isn’t the only dog in the Canadian robo advisor yard – but they are the biggest by a significant margin.  (It’s worth noting that even Wealthsimple is a relatively small entity when compared to American robo advisors such as Betterment.)  Check out our Complete Guide to Canada’s robo advisors  if you want to read a bit more about why these new guys on the block are making such a big splash.  We cover:

  • Why they are super safe.
  • Why they don’t have anything to do with robots.
  • What they cost.
  • Why we think they’re awesome.

Wealthsimple Review: Canada’s Market Leader

“We’re on a mission to bring smarter financial services to everybody, regardless of age or net worth.”

– Michael Katchen, CEO, Wealthsimple


The good folks behind the curtain at Wealthsimple describe what they do as:

We provide world-class, long-term investment management without the high fees and account minimums associated with traditional investment managers. We invest your money in a globally diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds modeled after the same Nobel Prize-winning research used by the world’s savviest investors.   Our cutting-edge technology helps you earn the best possible return on your money, while also lowering your tax bill. This means we do things like automatic rebalancing, dividend reinvesting, and tax loss harvesting—services that most people couldn’t afford until now or found too time-consuming and tedious to do on their own. Our financial advisers are always available when you need them. They can help plan your financial milestones and answer questions you might have about potential risks or what sort of investment accounts you should have.

Like their competitors, Wealthsimple wants to help you invest your money using the principles of index investment and asset allocation that have long been labelled as “couch potato” strategies.

In a nut-shell, what they’re going to do is “sit down” with you (through an email, online conversation, or on the phone) and discuss what route they think is best for you considering your savings goals and investment risk tolerance.  Then they’re going to explain how after you put your money into your RRSP, TFSA, or other account, it will automatically get split up in the buckets that you agreed upon in your initial conversation. Wealthsimple’s advisors can answer almost any question that you might have (they might not be able to answer super complex corporate tax shelter stuff off the top of their head) and their customer service in regards to opening and using their platform has been widely reported as excellent. They’re going to do all that for you – for as cheap as possible!  They are able to cut significant costs by relying on email, Facetime/Skype, and phone calls, as opposed to having an expensive brick and mortar location to maintain.  They even partner with other Canadian FinTech companies such as Borrowell to produce products such as RRSP loans.  More on costs later in the show…

The People Behind the Website

If you’re like most Canadians and terrified of putting your savings and investments in any sentence that also has “new” in it, then you should be reassured that the folks behind the computers at Wealthsimple are long-time professionals in the wealth management industry. First and foremost, you should know that Power Financial Corp. (one of Canada’s oldest and largest financial institutions with $780 billion+ in assets around the world) believes strongly enough in this type of wealth management to buy into the company for $50 million! Their impressive Board of Directors reads as follows:


Paul Desmarais

Chairman of Wealthsimple, VP of Power Financial


Som Seif

Founder and CEO of Purpose Investments


Bertrand Badre

Former CFO of the World Bank


Jeff Carney

CEO of IGM Financial


Michael Katchen

CEO of Wealthsimple

Needless to say, there are brains behind the aesthetic beauty that strikes you when you open their website!

How Wealthsimple Works

You can read in more detail exactly what robo advisors do by checking out our all-encompassing article on them.  For this specific Wealthsimple review it's probably easiest to simply state Wealthsimple and most other leading robo advisors are more similar than not in how they approach taking a piece of your paycheque and investing it in a wide variety of diverse assets.

Wealthsimple likes to highlight fact that they didn’t create this approach, but instead based it on the Nobel Prize-winning work in Modern Portfolio Theory done by Harry Markowitz.  If you’ve read any of our articles on index investing with ETFs or any of Dan Bortolotti’s musings on the Couch Potato Portfolio, then you’re familiar with the basic ideas behind the way Wealthsimple will manage your money.

As a 100% devotee of index investing, a warm glow settled over me when I read the following on Wealthsimple’s webage: Expected returns are impossible to predict and out of your (and our) control. We prefer to focus on things we can control: fees, diversification and emotions. The stock market will take care of returns over the long term. The key is to stay disciplined and stick to your strategy in order to build wealth. You can read more about our investment strategy here.

There is absolutely full transparency at all time when it comes to your investments.  Wealthsimple will show you your returns in a variety of formats.

For example, every $100 you put into Wealthsimple's “growth” portfolio (recommended for people with relatively high risk tolerances and long investment horizons) your money would be put into the following places: $15 into iShares Core MSCI EAFE (IEFA ), $10 into iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets (IEMG), $22.50 into iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index (XIC), $12.50 into BMO Short Corporate Bond Index (ZCS), $20 into Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI), $7.50 into BMO Mid Federal Bond Index (ZFM), and $12.50 Vanguard US Total Market ETF (CAD-Hedged) (VUS).  Basically, you just bought small slices of the entire US and Canadian markets, roughly 20 emerging market countries, dozens of companies from Europe, Asia, and Australia, short-term bonds, and mid-term bonds!  All that in one easy $100 transfer to your bank.  Basically you're getting the average of how the world economy does – which is a relatively great deal compared to how most people do when trying to pick their own stocks or mutual funds.  To be honest, this portfolio is slightly more complicated than I think it has to be (I could do without the two different types of bond ETFs and Canadian-dollar hedging) for example), but the total cost is still very very low, and it simply does not get more diversified than this.  Talk about not putting all of your eggs in one basket!

Finally, like most of the their robo brethren, Wealthsimple is CIPF-insured up to $1 million.

Wealthsimple Review: What Makes This One Different?

Many of Canada’s robo advisors share broad features, but Wealthsimple is unique in that they:

  • Are the largest robo advisor in Canada.
  • Have a $0 Account Minimum.
  • Have the only mobile app in Canada that allows you to sign up for an investment account.
  • Own their own broker (they purchased ShareOwner last year).
  • Can invest in fractional shares (smaller account balances).
  • Automatically reinvest dividend income from your investments back into the ETFs that have fallen below the portfolio target that you initially set.
  • Are incredibly easy to use.
  • Have design aesthetics that are off the charts.
  • Are partnered with the Mint App.
  • Pay the transfer fees that your bank will charge to switch over.
  • Statements that offer a fully-interactive breakdown of your deposits, buys/sells, capital gains, and dividends, as well as your current balances.

Finally, Wealthsimple is one of only a few robo advisors that have embraced Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).  I have to admit that this is not a major concern for me, but I understand that for a lot of folks my age this is a primary consideration.  Your Friendly Fintech Front-runner describes SRI as:

“Investing in companies that meet a certain threshold of social responsibility. SRI takes into consideration environmental impact as well as social and governance concerns. SRI has become an incredibly popular way to invest, growing tenfold over the past 20 years—there are now $22 trillion in assets worldwide in SRI funds. In Canada alone, SRI accounts for 30% of all financial assets.”

Wealthsimple SRI portfolio includes the following ETFs:

ETF Symbol Description
iShares MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF CRBN Global stocks with a lower carbon exposure than the broader market
iShares Jantzi Social Index ETF XEN Canadian stocks, excluding companies with a poor social responsibility record based on broad ESG criteria
Vident International Equity Fund VIDI Developed and emerging economies with sustainable growth, based on criteria such as human rights and low corruption
PowerShares Cleantech Portfolio PZD Cleantech innovators in the developed world
BMO Mid Federal Bond Index ETF ZFM Fixed-income exposure via Canadian government bonds, in order to optimize for risk

It’s worth noting that people that are much more involved with SRI than I am have stated there are many different standards of “socially responsible”, and that these ETFs do include some companies that individuals might object to.  You may want to do a bit more research if this is important to you.

You should also realize there is a relatively small price premium (.2% MER or so) to investing this way since the ETFs that are being used are a little more niche-oriented than your basic bread-and-butter index ETFs.

Wealthsimple Review: How Much Does It Cost?

Wealthsimple has recently re-structured their fees and now have two basic levels in terms of costs and features.

1) For Wealthsimple Basic accounts of up to $100,000, there is a .5% fee that includes any trading, account fees, rebalancing costs, or transfer fees.  Everything already mentioned in this article is included at that price point.

2)  An account reaches newly-launched Wealthsimple Black status when it hits the $100,000 mark.  Once you hit $100K, in addition to the Wealthsimple Basic benefits you get:

  • .4% MER fees
  • Automatic Tax-loss Harvesting
  • Full-service Financial Planning
  • VIP airline lounge access – Enjoy Global access to more than 1,000 airline lounges in over 400 cities.

To me, this is where Wealthsimple really starts to shine.  The lower .4% MER is really quite cheap considering what you get for that fee.  The tax-loss harvesting alone could save you enough to replace that .4% if you are investing outside of a TFSA or RRSP.  I have not experienced Wealthsimple's full-service financial planning yet, but with 100K+ in assets invested, you might start to have a few more complications beyond maxing out your registered accounts and buying insurance.  Finally – who doesn't love the feeling of being a VIP?  If you've never been inside these airline lounges, they can actually make layovers enjoyable (not a typo).  Think of the most luxurious Starbucks that you've been to – and everything is FREE – that's VIP lounges at some airports.  Obviously I don't recommend making investment decisions on the basis of who has good baristas and comfy chairs – but hey, when it comes to perks, that's a cool perk.

Visit wealthsimple.com – Promo: $10,000 Managed for Free

Types of Accounts Available

As a leader in the robo advisor space, Wealthsimple offers the full monty of accounts including:

  • RRSP
  • TFSA
  • Personal
  • RRIF
  • Joint
  • LIRA
  • Corporate

Once you choose your account and have taken your risk tolerance quiz, your investment funds will be split between many asset classes including Canadian equities, international equities, real estate, and various types of bonds.

How Does Wealthsimple look?



Wealthsimple Dashboard

The Wealthsimple dashboard is obvisouly easy on the eyes and lets you know at a glance:


  • What your expected returns are at various ages.
  • Your savings on fees versus traditional Canadian options
  • How many free trades you’ve saved on
  • Total portfolio performance


Activity Report

The activity report gives you a more in-depth look at your deposits, investments, dividends, fees, and withdrawals. Each item can be toggled on or off to show you exactly what has went on in your account since you last checked.  Some people may choose to never look at this screen, but it’s comforting to know that it’s there for transparency purposes.


Wealthsimple Funding Page

You can see from this screenshot how easy it is to keep track of your automated investing (your best option for building wealth according to most studies) and/or do a one-off shot of cash.

Is Wealthsimple Safe and Secure?

As robo advisors have been growing in popularity the last couple of years we’ve been getting a ton of questions about if online platforms like Wealthsimple are safe and secure – both with our money and information.  While there is likely nowhere on the internet that is completely “hack proof” (if they can get into politician’s emails, Sony’s database, retail giants like Target, and even the credit rating companies, then I hesitate to guarantee anything) Wealthsimple and other robo advisors are about as safe as you can get from everything that I’ve read.  Even Canada's major banks have jumped on the robo bandwagon, check our our BMO Smartfolio Review and RBC InvestEase Review for more details.

Admittedly, when it comes to the purely tech side of things I’m a little less sure of my expertise.  Here’s what I know, Wealthsimple states that they use “bank-level security”.  This includes a 128-bit SSL certificate that uses the latest encryption methods available to make sure your personal information and passwords don’t end up in the wrong hands.  They also reference the fact that they use industry-standard backups and firewall technology to prevent large-scale problems from manifesting, and automatic backups occur throughout the day – every day.  Logically speaking, any type of internet security problems with keeping information safe and secure would mean almost instant death for a company like Wealthsimple.  They have to know that as a relatively recent type of company in Canada, that they are under the microscope in terms of Canadians feeling safe and trusted with their money (especially relative to the ultra-stable presence of the big banks).  Given that reality, I have to believe that Wealthsimple is doing absolutely everything possible to keep information and money safe and secure – and that it is the absolute highest priority.  If you look at their Board that we highlighted above, you have people who have overseen the safety of people’s money for generations in Canada.  That all leads to me sleeping well at night.

When it comes to asking if your money is safe with Wealthsimple, that I can answer more confidently.  Your money is absolutely safe and secure with Wealthsimple!

Here’s why I can say that:

1) Wealthsimple (and most of Canada’s other robo advisors) are registered as portfolio managers.  This means that they have a legal fiduciary duty to clients.  The reason this is so important is that they must by law recommend and give advice that is in the client’s best interests.  Absurdly enough, this is not the case with many of Canada’s “financial advisors”.

2) When you invest with Wealthsimple your money in insured by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).  This means that clients’ money is protected up to $1 Million per individual account.  This means that if you have a TFSA, a RRSP, a RESP and a non-registered personal account, you’d collectively have $4 Million worth of investments automatically insured.  The CIPF’s website states that since the regulatory body opened up shop in 1969 only 20 members have ever went insolvent.  The key part here is that even in the case of these few insolvencies, the CIPF has paid out $43 million, net of recoveries, and no eligible customers have suffered a loss of property.

3) If you use the Wealthsimple high interest savings account your money is insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).  This means up to $100,000 is automatically insured without you filling out any extra paperwork.  Wealthsimple does have optional additional coverage for up to $800,000 per account available, although why you’d want to keep that much money in a high interest savings account is beyond me.

4) Even if the thriving robo advisor world were to take a complete nosedive and for some incredibly ridiculous reason Wealthsimple were to suddenly go bankrupt – the answer to “Is my money safe with Wealthsimple?” would still be: YES!  Chances are that way before Wealthsimple ever went completely broke, another financial entity would buy them up and business would continue as usual.  However, even if Wealthsimple went under, your money is technically held by Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc (ShareOwner) – which is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).  That means that while Wealthsimple would be out of luck, your personal money and investments would be just fine.  Your money could never be taken out of your account(s) and used to shore up Wealthsimple’s balance sheet or pay for any Wealthsimple expenses!

Wealthsimple High Interest Savings Account

While I am not a big fan of parking your retirement nest egg in the Wealthsimple High Interest Savings Account (HISA), I think it’s a really cool option for people saving for their short term goals.  Previously people wanting to save for something that they may need money for in the short-to-medium term such as a house downpayment, new furniture, a car purchase, or even just an emergency fund, had to store it in a bank account seperate from their robo advisor-based investments.

Wealthsimple changed all that when they recently became the first Canadian robo advisor to offer a high interest savings account option.  The 1.1% non-teaser rate is a really solid effort that is certainly superior to the high interest accounts offered by Canada’s major banks!  To top it all off, these accounts will cost you absolutely $0.  (Technically I can’t say they’re free because Wealthsimple takes a .25% cut BEFORE you get your 1.1% interest payment.  I think that’s a very transparent way of showing the costs and benefits of the account because they show your interest rate net-of-fees instead of hiding them in fine print.)  To me, the real benefit to these accounts is that you can now keep all of your investments on the same easy-to-use online platform instead of having to remember yet another password and toggling between screens in order to keep track of your savings and investment goals.

Open Your TFSA or RRSP Today and Get $10,000 Managed for Free

Because our readers are right in the sweet spot of potential Wealthsimple customers they have decided to extend a special promo offer code as part of our Wealthsimple Review.  If you click here and open an account, Wealthsimple will pay any fees associated with moving your investment accounts over to them, and manage up to $10,000 for free for a full year!  It will literally cost you nothing to try this fresh new approach to investing in Canada.  We'll keep this Wealthsimple review updated going forward so you don't have to worry if any information is not applicable.

Disclaimer: Young & Thrifty has entered into a referral and advertising arrangement with Wealthsimple US, LTD and receives compensation when you open an account or for certain qualifying activity which may include clicking links. You will not be charged a fee for this referral and Wealthsimple and Young and Thrifty are not related entities. It is a requirement to disclose that we earn these fees and also provide you with the latest Wealthsimple ADV brochure so you can learn more about them before opening an account.

  • Credibility
  • Account Minimum
  • On-Boarding Process
  • Fees
  • Re-Investment Policy
  • Additional Functionality
  • Large Accounts
  • Customer Service


Wealthsimple is by far the most popular robo advisor investing platform in Canada. The sign-up process is easier and smoother than with similar platforms, and all transfer fees charged by your current financial institution are covered by them! The Wealthsimple product is incredibly user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. Support staff is quick to respond using non-traditional customer service routes such as texts and various types online support (as well as traditional phone calls of course). Moreover, when you use our Wealthsimple Review link to sign up today, you can try the service for 0$!

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Kyle is a high school humanities teacher by day, and freelance personal finance author by night. He has been published in academic journals, and has also co-authored the book "More Money for Beer and Textbooks". In his free time Kyle likes to limp up and down a basketball court and pretend to be a tough guy in a boxing ring.


  1. Ed on February 15, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Thank you! I’ve been waiting for this article on Wealthsimple! I signed up because it was so easy. From my phone I just downloaded the app and it took me about 2 min.

    I haven’t invested anything yet and have actually been awaiting your review. I just have a question. Disclaimer- I’m brand new to investing.

    They recommended to me the growth portfolio because of my age (27) and goals etc. One thing I had heard for mutual funds is that you should consider funds with good long term track records such as 10 years. I tried to apply that advice to the ETFs in the growth portfolio but I notice that the inception date of some of these is fairly recent (e.g. 2012, 2013). This concerned me and made me hesitate a bit. Am I interpreting this advice wrong? Do you have any thoughts on the ETFs in Wealthsimples Growth Portfolio?

  2. Kyle on February 16, 2017 at 10:18 am

    You ask good questions Ed – glad you liked the review. Please don’t be afraid to detail your experience with WS so that we can all benefit from your wisdom!

    To answer your queries: If you have decided to go with a robo advisor you should Google Index Investing or read our robo advisor article again. With mutual funds the reason they tell you to look for track records (which is almost completely useless btw – track records are generally pretty poor predictors of future gains) is that they rely on trying to pick stocks or bonds (or other assets) that will do better than the market average. With the ETF portfolios that robos create (along with any other indexing approach) the idea is simply to diversify our money as much as possible, and then just take the basic market average for the next 20+ years (if you’re saving for retirement that is). An ETF that tracks the TSX 60 for example isn’t trying to do better than anything, it’s just going to automatically put your money into the 60 biggest public companies in Canada at any given time. Does that make sense? Track records and inception rates don’t matter, only that the ETFs being used are tracking broad indexes that make sense in your portfolio. I find all of the robo advisors in general do this pretty well.

  3. Ed on February 16, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks very much for the reply. That totally makes sense. I think I understand index investing from what I’ve read in your e-book, website, and some other sources. I understand now why that mutual fund does not really apply. That really helps alleviate some fears and I plan to get started right away. Thanks again!

  4. Susan on February 19, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Although I would like to use them, I found trying to open a joint investment account extremely difficult, non-intuitive and hugely frustrating, and finally I gave up ( and I have experience opening online accounts. ) Worst experience by a landslide for opening a joint online account I have ever had! It involved back & forth emails over a week with two different customer service reps giving conflicting advice , neither of whom could actually solve the problem ,, as the process via the website is poorly explained (nor does it work as explained ) , and admitted this was an area their tech team needed to improve. I finally gave up in frustration and am trying out a different roboadvisor. It may be a great robo if you want to open an individual account, but if you want to open a joint investment account- good luck with that! I would reconsider them if they ever got this simplest of tasks sorted out. But until then, I will go elsewhere . Unimpressed with my experience & it didn’t exactly instill confidence in them as a company when the ” opening steps “. were such a mess.

  5. james bright on February 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Interesting in finding out more. Are you a Canadian company? How much of my initial investment is safe? I understand that the government insures up to $60,000.00. Does this apply to your institution. What are the rate of returns for growth over how long of a time period. How do I research to find out if you are a legit company and credible to the public?
    Yours. James Bright

  6. Jon on February 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    No offering of RESP with Wealthsimple yet?

  7. Kyle on February 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    No RESP that I’m aware of Jon (as of February 2017).

  8. Kyle on February 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Hello James, I am not a WS representative. But I’ll do my best to answer your questions:

    1) They are a Canadian company.

    2) I’m not sure what you mean by “investment is safe”. Your money will be invested in various asset classes such as stocks and bonds. They go up and down. WS invests according to index investing principles. Perhaps reading up on “index investing” would be to your benefit. I recommend the Value of Simple or The Millionaire Teacher.

    3) In regards to your rate of return, see #2 😉

    4) You’re researching if they’re a legit company right now! If you read the whole article, WS is CIPF insured, so you’re good up to $1 million.

  9. Kyle on February 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience Susan – good to get firsthand accounts like this! I have never tried to open a joint account with a robo before, so unfortunately I can’t recommend anywhere. Let us know if anywhere else meets your expectations.

  10. Jenny on February 19, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    I just joined in January (my new years resolution! Invest!). Signing up for the TFSA was simple, especially on the app.

    My suggestion though is to check up on each activity. My first deposit priced one of the ETFs at over $9000/share (an obvious mistake. I googled the actual share price at about $16). My second deposit was invested about 1 week after the deposit, and that was after I emailed them. So each deposit so far had issues.

    The good thing is their customer service team is pretty quick to respond and resolved each issue the following day. The bad thing is… the problems! I’ll test it out for another few months and hopefully the system will work the kinks out of my account. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep an eye on what they do with my money until they earn my trust (or I leave, whichever comes first).

  11. Kyle on February 20, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Always a good policy Jenny – appreciate the firsthand review. If you wouldn’t mind, could I bother you to come back in a few months when you’ve made your decision about WS one way or the other?

  12. Jason on March 4, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Your referral says “$20,000 for free” but the landing page says $10,000.

  13. Kyle on March 5, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Sorry Jason, I’ll change that ASAP.

  14. Kent on March 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    They do have RESPs. We transferred ours the other day.
    Good write-up. Very informative and detailed. I would also encourage others to use them as their investment manager.

  15. Kyle on March 15, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Thanks Kent – appreciate the update!

  16. Philippe on March 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    I have a number of registered and non-registered investments with Tangerine, including RRSPs, TFSAs, etc. I am quite happy with their performance and their low MER of 1.07% compared to what other financial institutions charge. What would be the advantages of switching to WealthSimple?

  17. J McTaggart on March 25, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    I would like to see a verifiable historical portfolio, preferably a single deposit and all expenses shown.
    I would also like to know all relationships you may have to fund vendors

  18. Kyle on March 26, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I assume you want this question directed to WS JM?

  19. Kyle on March 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    There would be a few perks Philippe, but first and foremost, you’d have more possibilities for your portfolio, substantially lower MER fees (.5% or so) and access to an advice component Tangerine doesn’t provide.

  20. Jason on April 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I am a WealthSimple black client and i have been with them for over 6 months now. My experience is that the company is still not established, and you should not expect service level like big banks.

    For example:
    1. my recurring deposit stop working in Jan due to a software bug when the 2017 starts.
    2. Also, when investing a large sum, WS allows you to cost average (vs investing when you deposit), but that did not work for the first 2 months.
    3. On rare occasions, the transaction posting delay can happen. Meaning, you deposit $100 on Monday, and transaction is processed, but only show up in your activity report on Thursday.
    4. Being a Black client, it only means lower MER and perk, service level stays the same. I had a missing 20K transaction, and sent them an email inquiry, and it took them 4 days to respond, and you also don’t get to jump the queue when booking up appointment. This means you are not treated differently.

    But overall, they do provide a valuable service.

  21. Sumar on April 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

    The trouble with Wealthsimple are: 1) if they messed up with your money their liability is limited to the amount of fees you paid (read the fine print, its small, unreadable for a reason). 2) Their fees are lower than mutual funds’; but is that the standard? They have already monkeyed around with their fees in the short time they have been in existence. Are they planning to jack up their fees once they are well established and hooked you? Is Wealthsimple willing to provide assurance, in writing, that the fees won’t change as long as you are their customer?
    3)Why are their fees a function of the amount of money you invest rather than their cost plus some profit. Why don’t the fees max out after a while.
    4) Their fees are in addition to the fees charged by the ETFs
    5) What is this incestuous relationship with a fund vendor – Purpose? Head of Purpose is on Wealthsimple’s board.
    6) Has anyone tried their service? At Sharowner the service has gone down the drain since Wealthsimple bought it. Is this a sign of things to come at Wealthsimple?

  22. Kyle on April 24, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Sumar – have you actually tried the service? A few things to point out:

    1) Sure, WS’s liability is limited but the 3rd party holder of the account is still on the hook. Do you have a case of WS not making it right with someone? I’ve heard only positive feedback on their customer service.

    2) I highly doubt given how competitive the robo market is that WS will be able to jack fees up very high. They are right up front (and indeed we go to great lengths to point out in our main robo article) that robo investing is not DIY through a discount brokerage. It’s the midway point between the ultimate cost-cutting option and traditional 3%+ MERs.

    3) This is a legit gripe in my opinion. Frankly it will take decades before I have an account big enough to hit an account max like that. The good thing is that you can always compare overall price options at AutoInvest.ca

    4) Once again, head over to AutoInvest.ca where we do our best to compare apples to apples.

    5) If anything isn’t this to their advantage?

  23. Kyle on April 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Interesting Jason – was this during peak RRSP season by chance?

  24. Jason on April 24, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    It was early January. This month (April) the cost average trade did not go through again (manual process), I sent a high priority request, and it took 3 days to resolve. The turnaround time is that bad, consider they will backdate the trade so there is no risk. But this kind of issue should not happen in the first place.

  25. Kyle on April 27, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I agree Jason – I’ll pass this along.

  26. Andrew on June 8, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Kyle – great review. It sold me on WealthSimple and overall, I’ve been quite happy with my decision.

    Just wanted to let you know that your point “Wealthsimple will pay the transfer fees that your bank will charge you to switch over to them.” isn’t *entirely* true. The transfer has to be a minimum of $5,000 before they pick up the fee. I learned that the hard way when I transferred only $3,000 from a Scotia RSP over. The link to this policy is: support.wealthsimple.com/hc/en…sfer-fees- .

    Keep up the great work!

  27. Kyle on June 13, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Ah… I see. I was not aware of this Andrew. I’ll leave this comment up for future eyes to see! Other than that though – your experience so far has been quite good?

  28. Andrew on June 13, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    My experience has been quite good.
    Sure, their email response isn’t super fast, but perhaps I have lower expectations having banked at Scotia for the last ~30 years.
    What I really like is the quality of reports, how they break down the deposits/investments and demonstrate how each account did each month. The visual graphs are also quite good comparing the deposits vs actual growth. Lastly, it appears that they are auto-rebalancing the portfolio every transaction, which is pretty handy to take advantage of the dips in the market.

  29. Ognacho on July 19, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    The reviews I read by blogs such as your Wealthsimiple as 8 out of 10. In reading the comments it makes me gun shine about signing up. Problem with customer service. Being a Canadian firm and their fees are higher than other Robo firms (.50%/yr). I am a potential Black Program customer, which charges (.40%.yr). I am impressed with the the funds offered. Has anyone had experience with the Black Program, or contacting financial advisors.

  30. Kyle on July 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Why not try it with a small amount that you can get managed for free Ognacho? If you’re a black customer, there is only one or two other companies that will compete based on price over the long term. As with any product, keep in mind that people are much more likely to comment if they had a negative experience than a positive one right? Wealthsimple has had some customer service growing pains, but I think if you’re comfortable with live chats and communicating in an online setting it should go pretty smoothly.

  31. Bill Silverberg on August 1, 2017 at 9:51 am

    My wife and I are seniors
    ( over75 years of age)
    Our portfolios total 1 million plus
    Would robo advisor make sense for us?
    If so can someone call me
    To discuss
    Safety of capital is prime concern

  32. Kyle on August 6, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Hello Bill, robo advisors can work with people of any risk tolerance and investment horizon. The real question is what sort of overall advice are you wanting from the financial world (as opposed to doing it all yourself) and do you want to pay large amounts of money to use mutual funds as your main investment vehicle.

  33. MANJIT on August 9, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Its mentions that tax harvesting is automatic with Wealthsimple? How is this so? Also, how does the financial planner help you beyond just managing you money?

  34. Mstar on August 12, 2017 at 5:09 am

    Hi, has anyone had experience with transitioning from non black to black account? I presume once your investment gets up to 100k, fees automagically drop? I ask because the comments don’t inspire confidence in the simple automations that should be flawless for tech /finance company (if this size). Thanks!

  35. Kyle on August 12, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Wealthsimple Black means that your account is large enough that they will automatically take a look at it to see if they can make it more tax efficient via tax loss harvesting Manjit. Much like my response to your comment on the other article, I’ll say that WS’s advice component could be broadly generalized as being able to help with 98% of the questions most investors would have. For example, do you have questions about asset allocation or TFSA vs RRSP? They can help with that. For more nuanced/niche questions such as, “How do I set up an investment trust to pass assets on to my children” – I might go check in with a specialized lawyer instead.

  36. Jason on August 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Transition from non black to black account is automatic. You will get an email regarding the WS Balck benefits, and perks (Priority Pass). I suspect they review account either monthly or quarterly. Also, tax harvesting feature will be available to you. This is a feature you can turn on and off manually.

  37. Kyle on August 19, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Thanks for taking the time to clear that up for us Jason!

  38. Maasgar on October 9, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Hi Kyle,

    As I understand, there are two ways of investing in indices: ETF and index funds. Why does WS offer only the ETF option? Based on my reading online, some experts would prefer index funds to ETF.

    Both types follow an index as the benchmark and I know that both types have pros and cons. But as a simple, novice investor, I would be inclined toward index funds. Had WS offered that option, I would have certainly approached them.

    Like a reviewer commented, WS charges 0.5% on top of ETF charges. In case of index funds, there would not be any charges other than 0.5%!

  39. Kyle on October 12, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Hello Maasgar,

    If you’re referring to index mutual funds, it wouldn’t make much sense to have a fund of index funds – because you’d have to pay their higher MERs vs ETFs. It’s the smae underlying index. You are correct in that you could get say TD’s eSeries of funds for a lower MER than what WS charges, but that’s definitely not an apples to apples comparison. You get so much more from WS than just a single index mutual fund. I’d check out our robo advisors article for a better overall look at the entire industry.

  40. Russell Schachar on October 29, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Rob Carrick lists the asset-weighted average management expensive ration for WS as .1-.2% (Globe and Mail, October 28, 2017). This blog seems to have it at .4% Which is it? Does that stated MER include ETF fees or not?

  41. Kyle on November 1, 2017 at 11:13 am

    .4% is the WS fee RS, .1-.2% is the ETF fee.

  42. Ty on November 17, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Hi, I’d just like to post my personal and specific experience to see if anyone else has run into this. I opened a small TFSA account with WS as a trial. After reviewing my September statement, I noticed that 81.07 shares of ZCS were sold on Sept 15 for $1146.18 ($14.14/share), then 86.8362 shares of the same ZCS shares were purchased back, 3 days later for $1229.60 ($14.16/share). This was about 20% of my account. My question is why would selling and re-buying the same shares in a short time period make sense, especially at a (minor) loss? It doesn’t help with re-balancing. Is there a reason for this kind of action? Has anyone else seen something like this in their account?

  43. Shippy on January 23, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Hello Ty,

    They did sell my shares of ZCS but replaced them with XSH and sent an email explaining why.(see below) Did they send you a similar email explaining the reason for the sell off?

    From WS:
    “Specifically, we replaced a BMO ETF (ZCS) — which invests in short-term corporate bonds — with an iShares ETF (XSH) that invests in similar bonds.

    So why the change? The iShares fund recently lowered its management fee to only 0.09%, which is lower than the 0.12% fee that the BMO fund charges. That makes it the lowest cost way to invest in short-term corporate bonds. And as of right now, as we send this email, it has a higher yield. In addition, it has the benefit of investing in Maple Bonds – bonds issued in Canadian dollars by US-based companies — making it slightly more diversified.

    Lower fees, more diversification. We think it’s a winning combination. “

  44. Peter on March 15, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    In the past 12 months on a “balanced portfolio”, I made 1.6% return. Is this a normal ROI? Are others getting same numbers?

  45. Val on May 3, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I would like to see a chart of return on investment myself! If it is 1.6% as last comment mentioned, that doesn’t seem better than a regular bank….
    Average return on investments for both stocks and bonds would be helpful to decide

  46. Kyle on May 6, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Val – the chart of ROI is really irrelevant if you understand the math behind the underlying assets. What it boils down to is that you either think that you (or a mutual fund manager) can outperform the index by picking stocks. There is a mountain of evidence going back 6+ decades now that, that assumption is incorrect. What you’re left with is asset allocation, diversification, and index investing. That’s what a robo does. Looking at a performance chart for the last 5 years is too short a time frame in the investing world anyway. When you say “1.6… regular bank” I’m not even sure what you’re comparing to there? A high interest savings account? That’s a wildly different asset than stocks and bonds.

  47. Peter S. on July 4, 2018 at 11:08 am

    One of the disadvantages is that you cannot pick your allocation of stocks/bonds ETFs at the beginning. They ask you few questions to assess your risk tolerance and assign you the ratio- e.g. mine is 80% stocks ETFs and 20% bonds, while I would be comfortable with 90/10 or even 100% stocks ETFs given that I have investment accounts also in other institutions.

  48. Karen on July 13, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    What about very young investors <19 with very little money. Is this a place to start or are they better off with a savings account for a few years more

  49. Kyle on July 22, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    It depends what their goal for the money is Karen. If they are saving for university or a new car (in other words, they will be needing the money relatively soon) then I would argue a high interest savings account is probably a better bet.

    If on the other hand they want to start putting away a small sum for their retirement each month, then this is the perfect place to get started.

  50. Rob on September 29, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Good day. My question is as follows: I am approximately 2 years away from retirement and have the majority of my funds invested with a mainstream bank which is paying out monthly income in dividends, but am finding the management fees are high and my monthly income is lower than what my mainstream bank advisor stated it would be ($2,000 per month). Would switching to another institution be more beneficial?

  51. Jim on November 5, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    This comment is not unique to Wealthsimple. It applies to most, if not all, robo advisors.

    For stocks and mutual funds it is easy to find the actual returns for a year, for three years, etc. However, robo advisors only show what returns would have been if they had been invested in the current ETFs in the current proportions in the past. They do not show what the actual returns were for the ETFs they were invested in. I want to see real world returns not simulated returns

  52. Lisa Jackson on November 8, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Hi Rob, discount brokerages and robo advisors can help you set up a diversified portfolio using passive investing strategies (e.g., the “couch potato” strategy) with much lower fees than you’d pay through a bank or traditional brokerage. To find out more about how robo advisers can save you money, take a look at Young and Thrifty’s Complete Guide to Canada’s Robo Advisors: youngandthrifty.ca/compl…-advisors/

  53. Steve on January 24, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    The problem I find with wealth simple is that for a young investor with a long time horizon, they would likely be better off with just the S & P 500 index, then they would just be paying the low cost of the index fund without paying the WS fee on top, which is basically an admin/re balancing fee. They would probably have better long term performance as well. For a older investor with a 60i 40e, passive ETFs typically under perform active for fixed income funds after fees so you’d be better off with a traditional mutual fund. Also, they seem to show some bias towards the funds managed by some of their board members. That being said, the user experience with WS is very good and the marketing is awesome.

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