Canada Based Investors 1 - The Best Robo Advisors in Canada: 2020 Update

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 NestWealth Just Wealth Modern Advisor BMO Smartfolio
Minimum Investment $0 $1000 $0 $5,000(for all non-RESP) $1,000 $1,000
Fees 0.40-0.50% 0.35-0.60% $20-80/month 0.50% + ETF Fees 0.35-0.50% 0.40-0.70%
Socially Responsible Investing Yes Yes No No Yes No
Tax-loss Harvesting Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Promotion $10,000 managed for free $15,000 managed for free 3 Months for free N/A 30-day free trial N/A
Our Rating 8.9/10 8.4/10 8.3/10 8.4/10 8.5/10 8.0/10
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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 $15,000 will be managed for free!

Nestwealth

Nestwealth

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.

Other Robo Advisors for Canadians

ShareOwner

ShareOwner

Portfolio Building Service

ShareOwner is Canada’s first ETF Robo Advisor and the first Canadian Robo Advisor to hit the market. ShareOwner is popular among dividend stock investors and remains to be one of the best Robo Advisors that Canadian investors can use.

ShareOwner has no minimum deposit. New users can sign up and open an account in minutes. You can start using the service by selecting 5, 10, 20, or more stocks in a single transaction. You pay a flat fee of C$40 per order. After selecting your portfolio, you simply set your target allocations and rebalancing thresholds for each ETF, and the service will automatically rebalance your portfolio and reinvest dividends on a monthly basis. There are no minimum account size and no administrative fees.

The ShareOwner Robo Advisor charges a 0.50% fee for accounts up to C$100,000, or a flat fee of C$40 per month for larger portfolios. If you are the type of investor who likes to trade then there is a C$40 commission applied per trade.

BMO SmartFolio

BMO SmartFolio

Invest online. Not alone.

BMO SmartFolio is still relatively new. In fact, this Robo Advisor was first introduced in January 2016 but it is still a top choice for investors based in Canada. This service is powered by the Bank of Montreal and is the first Robo Advisor in Canada to be offered by a major banking institution.

This Canadian Robo Advisor offers affordable ETF portfolios that can be customized depending on your individual needs. Your BMO portfolio will allow you to track your progress so you can plan ahead and reach your financial goals.

The portfolios are managed by a team of wealth managers for an easier and hands-free investing experience. The account minimum for the BMO SmartFolio service is a comparatively low C$1,000. The advisory fee is also somewhat low – 0.7% for assets up to C$100,000, and the rates drop to as low as 0.4% the more you invest.