Wealthsimple Review

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

– Michael Katchen, CEO, Wealthsimple

wealhtsimplelogo

Join YoungAndThrifty.ca, the premier Canadian source for Robo Advisors, as we review Wealthsimple, the biggest Canadian robo-investing platform.

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
Bottom Line: After doing hundreds of hours' worth of 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 choice for the top spot.

Elite Low-Cost Investing Options, Excellent Usability, Market-Leading App

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.

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

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

Paul Desmarais

Chairman of Wealthsimple, VP of Power Financial

Som-Seif

Som Seif

Founder and CEO of Purpose Investments

Bertrand-Badre

Bertrand Badre

Former CFO of the World Bank

Jeff-Carney

Jeff Carney

CEO of IGM Financial

Michael-Katchen

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:

ETFSymbolDescription
iShares MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETFCRBNGlobal stocks with a lower carbon exposure than the broader market
iShares Jantzi Social Index ETFXENCanadian stocks, excluding companies with a poor social responsibility record based on broad ESG criteria
Vident International Equity FundVIDIDeveloped and emerging economies with sustainable growth, based on criteria such as human rights and low corruption
PowerShares Cleantech PortfolioPZDCleantech innovators in the developed world
BMO Mid Federal Bond Index ETFZFMFixed-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.

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-Update

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.

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 two full years.  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.

37 Comments

  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!
    Andrew



  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.
    Andrew



  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.



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