The Best Robo Advisors in Canada: 2020 Update 1

Canada flagRobo advisors first became popular in the United States, and they are now becoming the service of choice for investors around the globe – notably in Canada.

Robo-advisors are less expensive than human financial advisors, and they help small investors gain access to premium wealth management services.

Many Canadian investment companies will only consider investors who have more than $250,000 in assets, and those that accept smaller investments only offer high-cost mutual funds. Robo-advisors give investors with fewer assets an opportunity to build a diverse portfolio that grows over time.

Robo-advisors also use algorithms and your personal financial goals to invest in low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs), so you can enjoy more hand-off investing. Depending on your budget and risk tolerance, each robo-advisor will build a personalized investment portfolio. Some Canadian robo-advisors also offer access to personal financial planning online and over the phone.

We’ll start with our side-by-side comparison of the best Canadian robo-advisors and then go more in-depth on our top choices:

  Wealthsimple WealthBar Nest Wealth Just Wealth
Minimum Investment $0 $1000 $0 $5,000
Fees 0.40-0.50% 0.35-0.60% $20-80/month 0.50% + ETF Fees
Socially Responsible Investing Yes Yes No No
Tax-loss Harvesting Yes Yes No Yes
Promotion $10,000 managed free $10,000 managed free 3 Months free Up to $500 cash
Our Rating 8.9/10 8.4/10 8.3/10 8.4/10
Visit Site Visit Now Visit Now Visit Now Visit Now
Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple

Investing on Autopilot

Highlights

  • Access to human advisors
  • No minimum investment
  • Tax-loss harvesting

Wealthsimple is the largest robo-advisor in Canada, with over $1.9 billion of assets under management (AUM). It is also the definitive robo-advisor for Canadian investors, especially those who are new to the investing world.

Wealthsimple will build a customized and diversified portfolio of low-fee ETF portfolios after you open an account and answer a few questions regarding your financial goals. It’s fully automated, and all investors will benefit from premium features such as automatic rebalancing, automated dividend reinvestment, and efficient tax strategies.

Wealthsimple offers two types of investment services: Wealthsimple Basic offers no minimum deposit, and the fees are 0.50% for accounts up to $100,000. The first $5,000 is managed for free. 

Wealthsimple Black is ideal for high net-worth investors, with a $100,000 minimum balance and a 0.40% fee. Wealthsimple Generation is an account for even bigger investors with $500,000+ to invest. Generation customers get all the Black features, plus in-depth financial planning, a team of advisors, individualized portfolios, 50% off Medcan health plans, and more.

Account types offered

  • Registered Retirement & Education Savings Plan
  • Tax-free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Personal
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
  • Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA)
  • Joint
  • Business

Who is Wealthsimple best for?

Wealthsimple’s goal is to help you get rich slow. By investing in lost cost ETFs, Wealthsimple will help you grow your investments and prepare you for the future. Clearly, this isn’t a get rich quick scheme. The tools that Wealthsimple offers are perfect for investors with long-term goals, and the Wealthsimple Black and Generation help plan for the future.

WealthBar

WealthBar

Wall Street investing for Main Street Canadians

Highlights

  • Access to human advisors
  • Socially responsible investments
  • Private investment opportunities

Established in 2013, WealthBar was one of the first robo-advisors in Canada. Wealthbar offers a unique type of automated investment service that combines automated investing with human financial advisors. WealthBar is also the only Canadian robo-advisor that provides access to private investment pools.

The hybrid system means you get access to a team of financial experts while taking advantage of the lower costs and less maintenance of robo-advising.

The minimum investment is $1,000, and the annual management fees range from 0.35% to 0.60%. The fees are structured so that the more you have in your portfolio, the less you pay. This makes WealthBar better for high net-worth investors.

WealthBar manages your investment portfolio with a long-term, low-risk philosophy. This investment strategy means that your money is invested in a wide range of markets, and you will experience less volatility as the market moves up and down.

Account types offered

  • Retirement, Education, & Disability Savings Plan
  • Savings Account
  • Non-Registered Accounts
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
  • Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA)
  • Locked-in Fund (LIF)
  • Corporate
  • Group RRSP
  • Informal & Formal Trusts
  • Individual & Personal Pension Plan

Who is WealthBar best for?

WealthBar has a higher minimum investment than some other robo-advisors, and the management fees are 0.60% APY for accounts under $150,000. This makes WealthBar better for high net-worth investors. You will also have access to a dedicated financial advisor, so if you’re looking to be more involved in the process, WealthBar offers everything you need.

If you open an account using our link, we have a special promotion with WealthBar, and your first $10,000 will be managed for free!

Nest Wealth

Nest Wealth

Digital Wealth Management

Highlights

  • Flat monthly fees
  • Access to financial advisors
  • Easy setup

Nest Wealth is the first subscription-based investment firm in Canada. The service is easy to access and easy to understand, even if you’re new to investing.

After filling out a survey about your specific financial goals, Nest Wealth will build a custom portfolio of 7 asset classes made up of low-cost ETFs. Each ETF portfolio consists of different stocks and bonds, and your risk score will determine how your money is invested in each ETF.

Your portfolio is automatically rebalanced, and dividends are reinvested to maintain the optimal potential for growth. Nest Wealth also offers access to personal financial advice over the phone, email, or in-person if you’re in the Toronto area.

Nest Wealth charges a flat monthly fee based on your account balance, which can be good or bad, depending on your investment balances.

If your portfolio is less than $75,000, the fee is $20 per month. Portfolios between $75,000 and $150,000 will be charged $40 per month, and accounts $150,000+ will be charged $80 per month. This fee structure is simple but doesn’t benefit everyone. Investors on the lower end of the pricing tiers will be paying a higher percentage.

  • Cash Account
  • Corporate Account
  • Joint Ownership Account
  • Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA)
  • Registered and Non-Registered Accounts
  • Registered Retirement & Education Savings Plan
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
  • Spousal RRIF
  • Spousal RRSP
  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

Who is Nest Wealth best for?

Overall, we think Nest Wealth is best suited for Canadians with over $150,000 to invest. The subscription-based fee structure benefits those with higher account balances because the most you’ll ever pay is $80 per month. If you have a large portfolio, you can save a significant amount of money in management fees with Nest Wealth. And if you sign up for Nest Wealth using our link, you’ll get 3 months managed for free.

Justwealth

Justwealth

Investing the way it should be. Just for you.

Highlights:

  • Dedicated Personal Portfolio Manager
  • Cash bonus if you sign up using our link
  • Tax-efficient portfolios
  • Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar accounts

Justwealth is a Canadian robo-advisor founded in 2015 and it has quickly become a popular wealth management service provider. Justwealth has made it their mission to provide exceptional service to investors who are unknowingly paying high fees and getting limited customer service.

There is a minimum balance of $5,000 to open an account with Justwealth, with the expectation of a Registered Educational Savings Plan (RESP). You can open an RESP account with no minimum balance and start saving for your children’s college education. Justwealth offers a range of other account types and 70+ unique portfolios designed to grow your wealth, generate passive income, or reach long-term goals.

Justwealth’s fees are straightforward, and you won’t need to worry about the hidden fees that most mutual funds charge. Justwealth charges a 0.50% management fee for the first $500,000, and 0.40% for accounts over $500,000, plus a 0.20% ETF fee.

If you want to get an overview of your current portfolio, Justwealth offers a free review service. Their investment professionals provide an unbiased opinion of your investment portfolio. Justwealth will send a custom report that gives you an overview of your investments, hidden fees, diversification, and account structure. 

Justwealth also offers personal financial planning services at no extra charge, which sets them apart from other robo-advisors. This service is complimentary and available to all Justwealth members upon request. 

Account types offered

  • Individual & Joint Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Educational Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Locked-in Retirement Accounts (LIRA)
  • Life Income Fund (LIF)
  • Non-registered investment accounts

Who is Justwealth best for?

Justwealth offers all of the necessities and is a great overall choice for Canadian investors. The highlight of Justwealth is the personalization. They offer over 40 different ETFs, and investors have access to a team of experts to help customize their portfolios and monitor their performance over time. The minimum account balance of $5,000 may be out of reach for some investors. You can also invest USD, which most robo-advisors charge an extra fee for.

If you sign up using our link, you also get a cash bonus of up to $500, depending on the amount invested.

Other Robo Advisors for Canadians

What we love:

  • Springboard free trial
  • Access to financial experts
  • Socially responsible (ESG) investing

What could be better?

  • Minimum investment ($1,000) and $1,500 minimum yearly contribution

Who is Modern Advisor best for?

Modern Advisor is a simple, low-cost way for Canadians to invest. The lower management fees mean you keep more of your investment gains. There is also a free trial where you can use Modern Advisors money to invest for 30-days and keep the profits. This is great for anyone interested in investing but doesn’t want to take the risk yet.

BMO SmartFolio

BMO SmartFolio

Invest online. Not alone.

What we love:

  • Easy SmartFolio and BMO online banking integration
  • Human personal advisors
  • BMO is a well-established bank

What could be better?

  • Management fees are higher than other robo-advisors

Who is BMO best for?

Most BMO Smartfolio customers are already banking with BMO. It is convenient to have all of your accounts in one place, and easily transfer money from one account to another. The 0.70% management fees for accounts under $100,000 are higher than most Canadian robo-advisors. Access to human advisors and the long history of BMO makes Smartfolio a good choice for existing customers.

Summary

When it comes to choosing the best way to invest, it largely depends on your specific needs. We believe that these are the best robo-advisors in Canada, each one for specific reasons.

Your budget, financial goals, and risk tolerance all affect which robo-advisor is best.