Are you looking for a more hands-off approach to investing? Do you dislike interacting with humans to get what you need? The robo-advisor industry has heard you loud and clear. For investors looking to invest a lot or little with the help of a combination of human and computer algorithms, robo-advisors are a great option. However, the competition for robo-advisors is thick, as financial companies started to see its value. That means more options for you. But, where do you start? Which is right for you? Which will assure you the best return on your investment? In this article, we list the best robo-advisors in Canada for all types of investor types.
Best for Human Touch
More Canadian banks are starting to add robo-advisors to their list of features. BMO was one of the first banks to offer SmartFolio, which uses ETFs to build your portfolio. After you’ve answered a few risk tolerance questions, the software matches you with one of its 5 model portfolios, which vary widely to offer an asset mix. You can also benefit from the experienced team of 17 dedicated advisors to help you personally select ETFs for your portfolio.
Users must invest a minimum of $1,000 and expect fees to range from 0.4% to 0.7%. In addition, the MER (Management Expense Ratio) of the ETFs held within your portfolio will be a weighted average of approximately 0.20% to 0.35% of the value of your SmartFolio account.
Best for User-Friendly Platform
Invisor is owned and run by Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. They look at investing a little differently than the others. Instead of answering risk tolerance questions, users are asked to input their goals. Based on the goals, the user will then be presented one of the 7 ETF portfolios, which range from Safety (lowest risk) to All Equity (highest risk). Along with investing, this platform offers insurance products such as life insurance, disability, critical illness, and travel insurance.
No account balance is required to invest with Invisor. However, every deposit will be held in cash until the account reaches $1,000. The average total cost calculates to 0.5% based on Invisor’s management fee, plus 0.2% average management expense ratio (MER), which is embedded in the securities in the portfolio management.
Best for Great Quality in Every Category
Wealthsimple is one of the leading advisors in the world. Yes, they thrive in Canada, but their offices expand to the USA and Europe as well. Today, Wealthsimple has 230 employees and $5 billion in assets. They serve 175,000 global clients and are the largest robo-advisor in Canada. How did they get so big? They secured significant funding from various investment firms and collected a board of directors and a leadership team with extensive knowledge.
There’s no minimum investment amount so that anyone can open an account. Your portfolio is invested in international ETFs, and your portfolio is tailored to your style and risk tolerance. Pricing is divided into 3 tiers:
Basic – deposit up to $100,000 and pay a 0.5% fee.
Black – deposits of $100,000 to $500,000 and pays a 0.4% fee.
Generation – $500,000+ deposits and pay a 0.4% fee with perks.
Best for Competitive Fees
Questwealth Portfolios is a part of Questrade’s robo-advisor division. It’s easy to get confused between Questrade and Queswealth portfolios because they aren’t the same. Questrade’s self-directed investment account is a robo-advisor. However, Questwealth Portfolios has an active management approach that combines technology with human, financial experts to create 5 portfolio options for investors looking for an automated procedure.
Questwealth offers two fee structures. The management fee is 0.24% on account balances of $0-$99,999 and 0.20% on accounts over $100,000. The MERs for the ETFs range from 0.11% to 0.23%. Questwealth has a socially responsible investing portfolio with MERs that range from 0.21% to 0.23%. Among the robo-advisors in this list, Questwealth offers some of the lowest fees for investors. You must have a minimum balance of $1,000 to open an account.
Best for Affluent Advisors
Nest Wealth is made for the less risk-averse crowd. They mainly cater to the boomers and individuals that undergo an early retirement. Those who don’t mind investing large amounts may also benefit the most from this robo-advisor. Nest Wealth’s accounts are held by the National Bank Independent Network, a subsidiary of CIPF member National Bank. In case Nest Wealth declares bankruptcy, investments up to $1M will be safeguarded.
Investors can choose from various customized portfolios that offer broad ETFs with low MERs of approximately 0.13%. Trades are all made automatically. While there is no minimum to open an account, fees will be disproportionately higher if you keep your account at low-investment. Fees and prices depend on your level of investment, starting at a breezy $20/month for $0 to $75,000, $40/month for $75,000 to $150,000, and $80/month for $150,000 to $500,000.
Best for Access to Private Investment Portfolios
WealthBar takes a different approach to investing by practicing a hybrid investment model. The model allows for passive investing of a robo-advisor with unlimited financial advice for all investors. It’s also flexible as investors can build a financial plan from scratch or use WealthBar’s team of advisors to help out. Aside from ETF portfolios, WealthBar also offers access to Private Investment Portfolios, which give investors better asset class diversification.
Like Nest Wealth, Wealth Bar leans towards big-time investors. Its fee structure is less appealing to investors with balances less than $150,000. Users who invest less than $150,000 are charged a 0.6% management fee while users with balances between $150,000 and $500,000 are charged between 0.4% and 0.35%. The robo-advisor trades hold an average MER of 0.18% and 0.25%. Private Investment Portfolios MERs are much higher, at 1% and 1.55%.
Best for Best Service Offered by a Canadian Bank
RBC InvestEase became available to every province in Canada in November 2018. After creating an alliance with BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited, this robo-advisor grew massively in popularity. Together, they created RBC iShares ETF, which is now the largest and most comprehensive ETF offering in Canada. The ETF portfolios are low cost, and clients are provided with excellent human advisors.
There is no minimum to open an account. However, the account balance needs to reach $100 to start investing. Flat management fees are charged at 0.50% for all clients holding both the Standard Portfolio and the Responsible Investing Portfolio. The MER charge is 0.11% to 0.22% for ETFs in a Standard Portfolio and 0.18% to 0.30% in a Responsible Investing Portfolio.