• Goal Setting 

    Wealthsimple provides you unlimited financial planning sessions and a one-time session for non-clients who submit account statements in advance. You can also talk with a human advisor upon request. During the setup process, new account holders are asked to choose from a goal planning list that includes home ownership, retirement, education, long-term growth, and income. Multiple goals can be created under a single account, offering greater sophistication and diversity if required. You can review transactions and relative performance statistics, sub-divided by goals, on account management pages after funding is complete.

    Account Services 

    Funding your Wealthsimple account is simple—log into the account management interface and request a deposit, or set up recurring deposits through a linked bank account. Withdrawals can be requested with a few clicks, but it can take up to 10 business days to receive the funds if your account has unsettled transactions. If your account is clear of transactions to settle, it can take up to 3 business days.

    Individual and joint taxable accounts cannot use margin or borrow from the account, and Wealthsimple offers no additional banking services at this time.

    Canadian clients can use the integrated SimpleTax tax preparation service to file their returns. This partnership was announced in late September 2019, and combines two Canadian fintech firms under a single virtual roof.

    Cash Management

    Wealthsimple Save, the savings account offered, invests your cash in low-cost conservative ETFs, which can generate a higher rate of return than a regular savings account. It may, however, lose value since it's not a cash account. You can quickly transfer money from the Save account into your Invest account. There is a 0.25% fee for a Save account, plus the management fees incurred for the underlying ETFs.

    With the Save account, you can activate the Roundup feature after linking credit and debit accounts. This feature calculates and deposits “spare change” accumulated by rounding up charges to the next whole number. Roundup is a painless way to put more money away.

    Portfolio Construction 

    There are five possible portfolios generated after you've gone through the Wealthsimple questionnaire: Conservative, balanced, growth, socially responsible or Halal.

    • Conservative, balanced and growth portfolios: ETFs (U.S.), ETFs and mutual funds (Canada), or mutual funds (U.K.)
    • Socially responsible portfolios: Select ETFs
    • Halal portfolios: Comply with Islamic law using pre-screened stocks; no ETFs or fixed income

    You can review your current allocations on an Investor Policy Statement that’s accessible through the account management interface. For the U.S. offering, there is a relatively small universe of 10 funds that populate the ETF list, divided into an equal number of asset categories. The Canadian version has the same number of funds but contains a real estate fund that doesn’t have an equivalent in the U.S. version. The U.K. offering has 12 funds. A screenshot of a socially conscious portfolio contained just six “green” funds, but others may be undisclosed.

    Each Wealthsimple portfolio can include eight to 10 instruments, giving the impression that most customization is done through percentage changes rather than ETF selection. The funds are all from the usual suspects for the U.S. offering, including iShares, Vanguard, VanEck, and WisdomTree. The Canadian offering has ETFs from Vanguard and iShares as well, with additional offerings from Purpose Invest and BMO. The conflict of interest disclosure for Canadian accounts notes that two institutions providing mutual funds have personal or business relationships with Wealthsimple principals. The U.K. version offers funds from Vanguard in addition to Legal & General, PIMCO, BlackRock and Amundi Asset Management.

    Wealthsimple’s portfolio contents and construction are selected according to Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) principles, as is the case with most robo-advisories. That said, there seems to be little to differentiate Wealthsimple’s approach from lower-capitalized rivals. The limited fund universe can still be used to create a diversified portfolio, but rivals of similar size have gone to greater lengths to build in checks against asset or geographical concentration and more robust target date functions.

    Portfolio Management 

    Wealthsimple manages your portfolio through tried and true market strategies that include diversification across asset classes, passive buy-and-hold investing, dividend reinvestment, and client feedback through the profile and risk scoring process. Progress toward your goals generates coaching from the system to either increase funding or stay the course. Changing the risk score associated with your profile at any time will trigger a portfolio rebalancing.

    Even without a change in your profile, Wealthsimple automatically rebalances your portfolio after deposits, withdrawals, and changes in asset values. You cannot request rebalancing, nor make changes to ETFs beyond the socially responsible and Halal options. Tax-loss harvesting is available for Wealthsimple Black and Wealthsimple Generations customers, and requires a minimum of $100,000 in the account.

    User Experience 

    Mobile Experience

    Wealthsimple offers an easy-to-read, mobile-ready website, and native mobile apps for iOS and Android with enhanced account management features. iPhone and many Android devices provide biometric identification, and both apps support two-factor authentication. There are no tablet-specific apps or other secondary operating systems.

    Desktop Experience

    The website highlights major account features, explains the company’s philosophy, and provides a comprehensive FAQ covering most areas of interest.

    Customer Service 

    As mentioned, clients can speak with a financial advisor upon request, although contact information is a bit harder to find than it should be. You can contact Wealthsimple by phone and email, but there is no live chat for prospective or current account holders. The contact number for Wealthsimple can be found on the bottom of some web pages as well as in the help center. There isn’t an explicit “contact us” page outside of an FAQ. Phone hours are listed as 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday for the United States. In Canada, the call center opens an hour earlier. The U.K. call center lists no hours.

    Several calls to the U.S. phone number during business hours produced contact with a customer representative within one minute. The initial recording gave different contact hours than the FAQ, extending Monday through Thursday coverage to 8:00 a.m. Wealthsimple’s office addresses are listed on the “Who We Are” page without phone numbers.

    Education & Security 

    Wealthsimple’s website features a comprehensive Investing 101 glossary, a broad-brush investment FAQ and an excellent monthly magazine/blog with dozens of “how-to” articles. However, it’s difficult to locate subjects of interest because there’s no internal search function for the educational content. In addition, many of the tutorials lack the quantitative tools needed to help you with short-term goal planning and long-term financial planning.

    Wealthsimple’s website uses 256-bit SSL encryption and features a clearly stated privacy policy that gives you a sense of security. Logging into account management requires two-factor authentication through a text message. For U.S. accounts, Apex Clearing Corporation holds all your funds in investment accounts, providing you access to SIPC insurance and excess insurance. Standard SPIC coverage insures against losses due to failed brokerages (not losses due to market movement) for up to $500,000.

    ShareOwner plays the custodian role in Canada and SEI Investments does the same in the United Kingdom. The U.K. and Canada also have differing levels of account protection through the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (up to $1 million) and the U.K. government’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (up to £85,000).

    Commissions & Fees 

    Wealthsimple’s fees vary by region as mentioned, but they are in line with industry averages. In the U.S. and Canada, 0.50% fee includes all investment advice, portfolio management, and trading costs. The fee drops to 0.40% for accounts at and above $100,000. In the United Kingdom, the fee is 0.7% with a drop to 0.5% with £100,000 in assets under management. The Smart Savings program fee is lower at 0.25%. Disclosures state that average ETF fees run around 0.15%. Apex charges for wire transfers and transferring the account to another broker.

    • Monthly cost to manage a $5,000 portfolio: $2.10 (U.S. and Canada)
    • Monthly cost to manage a $25,000 portfolio: $10.42 (U.S. and Canada)
    • Monthly cost to manage a $100,000 portfolio: $33.33 (U.S. and Canada)

    Is Wealthsimple a Good Fit For You?

    Wealthsimple offers a good fit for investors of all ages looking to save money and take the next step on the road to long-term financial security. The fees are slightly higher than average for the robo-advisory space, though the account minimum of $0 removes a hurdle for investors who are just starting out. Conversely, lower management fees and more robust features on accounts at and above $100,000 could attract the interest of higher-net-worth individuals.

    The appeal of Wealthsimple is broadened by the fact that it offers its services outside the U.S. to investors in Canada and the United Kingdom. The fact of operating in multiple jurisdictions may be behind the missing U.S. disclosures, but that is not a great excuse for an omission that will create unease with more seasoned investors who depend on those documents.

    Overall, the approach Wealthsimple takes in constructing and managing your portfolio is not revolutionary. The portfolio is built with plain vanilla MPT with limited customization beyond the socially responsible and Halal options. This lack of customization is compounded by a small fund list compared to the larger selection available through competitors. Wealthsimple employs basic buy-and-hold diversified across assets with rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting as needed, and this approach does have a history of success in the market that most individual investors fail to match. That said, Wealthsimple may not be the best fit if you are looking for a portfolio that is customizable at the asset level. If you appreciate the simplicity and want to have a hands-off portfolio, however, then Wealthsimple’s approach may be just right.

    Compare Wealthsimple

    Wealthsimple is a good fit for investors of all ages looking to save money. See how it compares against other robo-advisors we reviewed.

    • Wealthsimple vs. Betterment

    Investopedia Robo-Advisor Rating Methodology

    Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of robo-advisors. Our 2020 reviews are the result of in-depth evaluations of over 20 robo-advisor platforms, including the user experience, goal-setting capabilities, portfolio construction, costs and fees, security, mobile experience, and customer service. You can read our full robo-advisor rating methodology for a much more in-depth explanation than the summary below.

    Overall Star Rating Explained

    With the individual investor in mind, we took a critical look at the services and technology provided by robo-advisors. We organized our methodology into nine categories, scoring each advisor across multiple variables to rate performance in every applicable category. The score for the overall award is a weighted average of the categories.