Wealthsimple Review

An online investment management service designed to help Canadians better manage their money.

WRITTEN BY
Lisa Rennie
Updated August 27, 2020


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Wealthsimple is an online investment management service that is designed to help Canadians better manage their money and put it to work for them. The platform is one of the more popular “robo-advisors” in Canada that tends to be focused on millennials. Anyone looking for expert guidance on investing in and maintaining low-maintenance, profitable investment portfolios to attain specific financial goals like buying a house or saving for retirement may find Wealthsimple helpful.

The team behind Wealthsimple is made up of experts with experience working for tech-leading companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon to bring you a platform that allows you to manage your money quickly, simply, and conveniently. Based In Toronto, it has clients all over the world thanks to its innovative platform. 

Let’s take a closer look at Wealthsimple to help you decide if this is the right platform on which to make sound investment decisions. 

How Does Wealthsimple Work?

To determine your goals, current financial situation, and tolerance for risk, Wealthsimple requires that you complete a quick questionnaire to assess your specific situation. The results of the questionnaire will determine both your risk level and the potential future outlook of your investment portfolio. The investment platform is based on the idea of diversifying your portfolio so that it is made up of a variety of different types of investment vehicles to maximize your returns and minimize risk. 

You’ll then be required to complete an online application, after which an Investment Management Agreement contract will be signed. Once your name and other information is verified, your account should be up and running within a few days. The makeup of your portfolio will be based on your risk profile that was determined from your initial questionnaire. Depending on your assessment, your portfolio may be more geared toward conservative investing, balanced investing, or growth investing, and the distribution of your assets among different companies in various industries will reflect that. 

Wealthsimple will develop your investment portfolio, then manage it so it performs well as the values of the assets in your portfolio change. It’s essentially hands-off, as you’ll have robo- advisors doing all the heavy work for you, which manages your money via an algorithm. 

Important Features to Consider When Choosing To Work With Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple comes with a slew of features that you may want to get familiar with before you jump aboard:

  • $0 minimum investment required for the Basic account
  • Various account types, including RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, LIRA, corporate, personal, and joint
  • Automatic deposits
  • Portfolio rebalancing
  • Automated advice, with expert, real-person advice provided on-demand as well
  • Fractional shares that ensure that every dollar is invested right away so you can start earning interest immediately without waiting for enough money to buy a full share
  • Tax-loss harvesting for investors with taxable accounts outside of RRSPs or TFSAs to lower taxes on any gains made by offsetting them with losses
  • Free portfolio review service
  • Socially responsible investing to build portfolios using ETFs that include clean-tech companies, low carbon firms, and organizations with a track record of protecting human rights
  • Free transfers of investment accounts over $5,000 in value
  • Wealthsimple Trade that allows you to buy and sell stocks and ETFs without paying any commissions 
  • Wealthsimple Cash, a high-interest savings account with a 0.90% interest rate
  • Halal Investing that complies with Islamic law
  • Overflow feature that lets you transfer money from your checking account to your Wealthsimple Cash or Invest accounts 
  • Roundup tool that rounds up your credit and debit card purchases and uses those extra funds to boost your investments

How Much Does Wealthsimple Cost?

Wealthsimple charges a fee based on how much money you have invested with them:

Basic Account – 0.5% management fee

  • Up to $99,999 investment 
  • Automatic rebalancing
  • Automatic deposits
  • Dividend reinvestment 
  • Free portfolio review
  • Expert financial advice 

Black Account – 0.4% management fee

  • Over $100,000 investment
  • All features of the Basic plan
  • Financial planning consultation
  • Tax-loss harvesting 
  • Tax liability reduction 
  • VIP airline lounge access

Generation Account – 0.4% management fee

  • Over $500,000 investment
  • All features of the Black plan
  • Asset location
  • Comprehensive financial planning
  • Dedicated team of investment advisors 
  • Individualized portfolios
  • Personalized financial report 
  • Discounts on Medcan health plan

There is also a fee built into the ETFs that Wealthsimple buys on your behalf, which works out to be approximately 0.1% to 0.2% annually. For Socially Responsible Investments (SRIs), the fee ranges from 0.25% to 0.4%.

These fees are very reasonable for what you get, such as access to tax-efficient tools, financial planning, money-saving features, and even complimentary airline lounge passes. 

How Personalized Are the Investment Portfolios? 

Wealthsimple promises to design a customized financial report that is entirely personalized according to your goals. No matter what you are trying to achieve financially, your portfolio will reflect that. The creation of your investment portfolio will include an analysis of net worth and cash flow, projections of your financials, and the exact steps to take to reach your goals. 

Wealthsimple will assess your risk tolerance when you fill out the initial questionnaire, and the answers you provide will dictate how your investment portfolio will be diversified. There are plenty of portfolio options available and the proportion that each type of investment vehicle takes up in your portfolio will be customized based on your goals and desired risk level. 

Your accounts will be further optimized with individualized asset allocation, tax-efficient funds, and tax-loss harvesting. 

What Perks Does Wealthsimple Have?

Start with a minimum investment amount. The barrier of entry to investing with Wealthsimple is very low. You can start off with as little as $1 to invest, compared to other investment firms that typically require thousands of dollars to start. This makes Wealthsimlpe ideal for investment newbies who don’t have a lot of money to invest upfront. 

Socially-conscious investing options. Now, you can make your money work for you and grow while also contributing to a better world. There are many socially-conscious companies that make the world a better place with their operations, such as those involved in creating biofuels and bioplastics, affordable housing, reduction in carbon exposure, and so forth. Choose a company to invest in that matches your values.

Free portfolio review. Get the experts to review your investment portfolio for free to help make sure it is optimally diversified with the types of investment distribution and weight that matches your financial goals and tolerance for risk. 

Complimentary retirement calculator. If one of your goals is saving for retirement. then you’ll find the free retirement calculator useful. This handy tool will tell you exactly how much you will need to provide you with a comfortable financial cushion in your Golden Years based on your current financial situation.

Make every penny count. Anytime you make a transaction using any of your cards, the amount will be rounded up to the nearest dollar through the smart Roundup feature. All those pennies will add up quickly over time until you have a handsome sum of money invested. 

Commission-free stock trades. Through the Wealthsimple Trade app, you can buy and sell more than 8,000 stocks and ETFs without any commissions charged on your trades. 

Simple user experience. The streamlined interface of Wealthsimple makes navigating the site and app easy, even for those who may not be tech-savvy. The sharp graphics also make the use of the platform simple and straightforward, and the calculators provide you with customized information at a glance. 

Excellent customer service. While Wealthsimple may be a robo-advisor for investments, you’ll still have access to real experts on the other end who are always available to answer your questions and provide you with sound investment advice. 

Halal investing options. Investors will have the opportunity to invest in investment vehicles that are in line with Islamic values.

Tiered investing options. Choose which type of account you want based on how much you plan to invest with Wealthsimple, each with its own price structure. 

Who is Wealthsimple Best Suited For?

Wealthsimple is well suited for those who are new to the world of investing and may not have a huge amount of capital to invest upfront. It’s also great for investors who like the idea of having a convenient platform that can be accessed digitally while still having access to a real-live financial advisor. Wealthsimple is also perfect for anyone looking to kill two birds with one stone by growing their capital with sound investments while also playing their part to better the world by investing in companies that share the same values they do. 

Current Promo Offers

Right now, Wealthsimple is offering $10,000 managed for free for 12 months on a new account.  

Overview of Wealthsimple

FeatureWealthsimple Basic PlanWealthsimple Black PlanWealthsimple Generation Plan
Fees0.5% per year0.4% per year
Minimum investmentUnder $100,000$100,000 and up
Reinvests dividendsYesYesYes
Automatic rebalancingYesYesYes
Financial adviceYesYesYes
Automatic depositsYesYesYes
Dividend reinvestingYesYesYes
Portfolio reviewYesYesYes
Financial planning session NoYesYes
Tax-loss harvesting NoYesYes
Tax-efficient funds NoYesYes
VIP airline lounge access NoYesYes
Comprehensive financial planningNoNoYes
Asset location NoNoYes
Dedicated team of advisors NoNoYes
Customized financial report NoNoYes
Individualized portfolios NoNoYes
50% off Medcan health plan NoNoYes

Should You Use Wealthsimple Or Work With a Human Advisor?

The idea of a robo-advisor as provided by Wealthsimple is an innovative idea that comes with plenty of perks. But there may also be some benefits of working with a human advisor that you may also want to consider. Let’s assess the pros of using a robo-advisor versus a human advisor. 

Pros of using a robo-advisor:

  • Affordability. One of the biggest advantages of using a robo-advisor is the cost savings you’ll benefit from versus paying a person to assist you in your investing. 
  • Passive. The premise of the robo-advisor is passive investing, which is great for investors who want to invest conservatively but still want to maximize their investment by buying and holding a broadly diversified investment portfolio.
  • Automation. Robo-advisors automatically buy and sell assets and ensure that your portfolio is rebalanced over time. 
  • Simplicity. Robo-advisors make it a lot easier to get started investing without the high barriers to entry that often come with traditional investing.
  • Low capital to start. You don’t have to have thousands of dollars to invest using the assistance of a robo-advisor. 
  • Eliminates human error. Since an algorithm is doing all the work, there will be no room for error that might occur with human calculations.

Pros of using a human advisor: 

  • Identify areas of opportunity. Real advisors can identify opportunities for improvement and profit.
  • Identify and rectify issues. Humans can customize their service by helping you identify any personal financial problems that may be negatively affecting your investments. 
  • Provides advice. If you have any complexities involved with your investments or are the type to make hasty decisions about investing, a human advisor can walk you through the process and make sure you don’t make the wrong decisions. 

Why Should You Invest?

Unless you make hundreds of thousands of dollars or more per year, trying to save enough money for retirement, to pay off a large debt account, or to achieve any other significant financial goal can be difficult. Rather than just putting your money in a savings account and accumulating very little interest, why not make your money work for you? 

By investing your money in a sound investment vehicle, it can earn much higher interest than what you would see in a traditional savings account. You can also diversify your assets so that you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. Rather than invest in just one vehicle, diversifying your assets will minimize risk while increasing the chances of profiting. And with an investment platform like Wealthsimple, you can put any extra money that you may have to invest and plug it into ETFs that can grow your money faster than any savings account could. 

Final Thoughts

The name “Wealthsimple” really says it all about this platform. This investing tool makes getting started in investing as easy as possible, especially since very little capital is required to invest and minimal effort is required on your part to optimize your investment portfolio. The robo-advisor-based platform will use tactical algorithms to ensure your investments are appropriately diversified to minimize risk and maximize profits. The platform is simple to use and navigate, even on your smartphone or tablet. And the fact that Wealthsimple is so affordable makes this a fabulous platform for the novice investor.