The best robo-advisors in Canada are gaining ground as a top choice for investors, and for good reason. They offer a simple, hands-off approach to portfolio management without the need for direct interaction with a portfolio manager. This makes investing a breeze and easily accessible for people without deep financial knowledge. Plus, you get to enjoy lower management fees compared to traditional financial advisors, which means more of your money is working for you in the market
But don’t let the term “robo-advisor” fool you – these platforms aren’t run entirely exclusively by algorithms. Behind the scenes, actual portfolio managers are at the helm, making crucial investment decisions. This perfect blend of human expertise and automated efficiency is what makes these 10 best robo advisors in Canada a solid choice for your investment journey.
What is a robo-advisor?
A robo-advisor is like a robot that manages your wealth for you and takes the guesswork out of investing. It’s a computer program that takes your financial details, like how much money you have and what your financial goals are, uses smart calculations to figure out the best way to invest your money – and then does the investing for you! All of this happens online, which means you can access it anytime you want!
Why do people use robo-advisors?
For starters, the best robo advisors in Canada are cheaper than human money advisors. This means more people, even those without a ton of cash to invest, have the opportunity to grow their wealth. They’re also really easy to use, which is great if the idea of investing sounds confusing or intimidating. Even if you’re a seasoned investor, robo-advisors are a fantastic choice for anyone who wants a passive, hands-off strategy.
When not to use a robo-advisor
But, like everything, they’re not perfect. If your finances are complicated, or if you like having a human to talk things over with, a robo-advisor might not be enough. And since the investing is done for you, even the best robo-advisors in Canada are not intended for hands-on investors who want to make all their own investment decisions.
You might recognize names like Betterment and Wealthfront – they’re some of the big players in the robo-advisor world. And don’t worry, even some of the old-school financial companies, like Vanguard and Fidelity, have jumped on the robo-advisor train.
A robo advisor vs a human advisor
When choosing between the best robo advisors in Canada and human advisors, it’s a matter of personal preference and financial needs. Robo-advisors offer a convenient, cost-effective solution for those seeking a hands-off investment approach, using technology to manage your portfolio around the clock.
Human advisors, on the other hand, provide personalized, comprehensive advice, catering to complex financial situations with the added value of a personal relationship – a feature that’s invaluable for some investors.
Difference in cost
As mentioned earlier, a good reason to choose a robo-advisor is to save on fees. A client of a mutual fund representative can expect to pay a fee of 2% to 3% of their assets each year. With a robo-advisor, the fees will typically be less than 1%. But unlike a financial advisor, a robo-advisor does not provide human support or personalized advice.
Types of portfolios
In terms of portfolio types, most Canadian robo-advisors invest in index-based Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). That is, the portfolio managers working for the robo-advisors are not trying to beat the stock market, but rather to achieve a similar return while minimizing fees. Therefore, their portfolios tend to be comprised primarily of ETFs, which enable you to invest in a large number of financial products at little cost. There are, however, some robo-advisor portfolios that will include stocks or mutual funds.
Types of fees
There are several types of fees to consider when investing via a robo-advisor. Management fees vary in relation to the amount of money invested. Among the most popular robo-advisors, they are generally around 0.5%. For example, if you invest $10,000, you will pay approximately $50 in management fees in the first year. There are also transaction fees, which are usually included in the robo-advisors’ management fees. However, some robo-advisors charge a fee for every transaction you make.
Lastly, don’t forget the Management Expense Ratios (MERs) of the ETFs in which the robo-advisor invests. These are not included in the management fees advertised by robo-advisors and generally vary between 0.05% and 0.50%. For example, if you invest $1,000 in an ETF through your robo-advisor, you will pay between $0.50 and $5.00 in management fees in the first year.
The 10 best robo-advisors in Canada
To find out how to choose a robo-advisor, take the time to read about investing in general and robo-advisors in particular. I also encourage you to compare the features of many robo-advisors before making a decision. To help you make your choice, we’ve compiled this list of the 10 best robo advisors in Canada.
Questwealth Portfolios by Questrade: Best robo advisor in Canada overall
Questwealth Portfolios by Questrade have the lowest management fees in the industry, from 0.2% to 0.25%, depending on the amount invested. Questwealth Portfolio ETFs have management expense ratios (MERs) of 0.17% to 0.22%. Their responsible investment portfolios have management expense ratios of 0.21% to 0.35%.
Investors with taxable accounts or investing money outside of RRSPs and TFSAs can rejoice. You can harvest tax losses, which reduces your taxes on investment gains by offsetting them with investment losses. Questwealth offers actively managed portfolios. That is, a team of experts monitors the market and adjusts your portfolio if necessary. Usually, this feature comes at an additional cost, but Questwealth provides it for free. Your investments will also be automatically rebalanced. By using the ‘set and forget’ function, your portfolio will be constantly monitored. If market conditions change, it will be adjusted accordingly. Lastly, all dividends you receive will be automatically reinvested.
If you want good customer service, you will be well-served. You can contact an agent by phone, chat or email. Alternatively, you can use the automatic assistance feature that provides information on various topics. When you transfer your assets to Questwealth, your institution will likely charge you a transfer fee. However, Questwealth may reimburse these costs.
Questwealth Portfolios Pricing
The company offers a rate of 0.25% (plus MERs) for accounts between $1,000 and $99,999. For accounts of $100,000 and over, the fees decrease to 0.2% (plus MER). As mentioned above, the management expense ratios range from 0.17% to 0.22% for Questwealth Portfolios, and from 0.21% to 0.35% for the Questwealth SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) portfolios.
You can invest in several types of accounts via this robo-advisor, such as TFSAs, RRSPs, RESPs, RRIFs and others. The only portfolios you can invest in are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). The minimum deposit required to open an account is $1,000. If you care about the environment and society, rest assured that you can invest your money into socially responsible investments. The platform is also web-based.
Wealthsimple Invest: Best robo-advisor in Canada for beginners
With this robo-advisor, your portfolio will be reviewed for free, including your portfolios that are not with Wealthsimple. Your account’s fees, its tax efficiency, and your portfolio’s allocation will all be analyzed. There is a free, tax-loss recovery feature. This feature is useful if you have taxable accounts or if you invest money outside of your RRSP or TFSA. Harvesting tax losses reduce your taxes on investment gains by offsetting them with investment losses.
You also get access to financial advice upon request. Like most robo-advisors, Wealthsimple Invest clients have access to in-depth financial planning. Besides, a team of experts will compile a personalized financial report adapted to your goals. Wealthsimple, like other robo-advisors, builds your portfolio by choosing an asset allocation based on your risk tolerance. Therefore, a $100 portfolio can enjoy the same diversification as a $100,000 portfolio.
The socially responsible investment (SRI) option enables you to build portfolios using FBN SRI, which includes low carbon companies, clean tech innovators, companies with favourable human rights records and AAA-rated Canadian federal bonds. Transferring investments greater than $5,000 to Wealthsimple is eligible for a transfer fee reimbursement. All you have to do is complete an online application. Unlike traditional robo-advisors, Wealthsimple also has a host of other offers. For example, Wealthsimple offers Halal Investing, a new investment portfolio to comply with Islamic Law, designed by experts in religion and finance.
Wealthsimple Invest now offers investments in private credit to its clients with a portfolio of 100,000$ or more. By following the advice of their portfolio manager, they can earn a 9% annual yield, with monthly payments.
Wealthsimple Invest pricing
The company offers pricing of 0.5% (plus MER) for balances up to $100,000 and 0.4% (plus MER) for accounts $100,000 and over. Management Expense Ratios are around 0.2%. With Wealthsimple, you can invest in a TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP or others. You can invest in Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and stock portfolios. There is no minimum deposit required to open an account. Again, if you are environmentally and socially conscious, you can invest your money in socially responsible investing. There are various platforms available, either web-based or mobile for Android or iOS.
CI Direct Investing: Best robo advisor in Canada if you want access to a human advisor
Like other robo-advisors, CI Direct Investing advises and offers a financial planning service including a review of your financial plan by one of their advisors. As it is beneficial to do so, there is a feature that allows you to harvest tax losses when a market event occurs. All clients have access to “high-end” investments. For example, you have access to private investments that can be advantageous in terms of diversification. In terms of transfer fee refunds, if you have an investment portfolio worth more than $25,000 with another financial institution and transfer it to CI Direct Investing, they will cover the costs up to $150. Plus, you can enjoy a risk-free trial. If you change your mind, CI Direct Investing does not charge transfer fees.
For socially responsible investments (SRI), you can invest in its Impact portfolios. They focuses on clean energy innovations and social responsibility. You also get access to automatic rebalancing, which will readjust your portfolio’s asset allocation if it drifts more than 5% away from the initial allocation. This rebalancing occurs each time a dividend is paid into your account, and each quarter.
CI Direct Investing Pricing
The company offers a rate of 0.6% (plus MER) for balances up to $150,000, 0.4% (plus MER) for accounts between $350,000 and $500,000, and 0.35% (plus MER) for accounts over $500,000. Management expense ratios vary between 0.18% and 1.55% depending on your choice of a traditional portfolio, socially responsible portfolio or private and alternative assets. With CI Direct Investing, you can invest in a TFSA, RRSP, RESP and more. The types of portfolios you can invest in are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and mutual funds. A minimum deposit of $1000 is required to open an account. Various platforms are available on the web or via mobile for Android or iOS.
Moka: Best robo advisor in Canada to help you budget & save
Moka is the savings and investing app formerly known as Mylo. If you’re new to the world of investing or find it challenging to save money (let alone invest), Moka is the perfect tool. It works by automatically rounding up your debit and credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and investing the difference for you in an ETF portfolio.
Once you’ve established your Moka account, the app takes care of the rest, offering a seamless, hands-off savings and investing experience. Just connect it to your bank account and answer a few questions about your financial situation. The app will use that information along with your transaction history to make personalized recommendations to optimize your financial well-being.
Moka allows non-registered accounts, registered accounts like TFSAs and RRSPs, socially responsible investing (SRI), quick next-day withdrawals, and monthly perks. The nature of your portfolio will depend on your risk tolerance, financial ambitions, and investor profile, determined by the questions you answered when you opened your Moka account.
Your Moka account funds are managed by a portfolio manager at Tactex Asset Management, a Moka Financial Technologies Inc. subsidiary. This dedicated portfolio manager invests your money into a diversified portfolio of low-cost ETFs.
Moka comes with a monthly subscription fee of $4.99 plus tax, while Moka 360 is priced at $15 per month plus tax. There are also third-party management fees that range from 0.09% to 0.39% for standard portfolios, and 0.16% to 0.40% for socially responsible portfolios. These fees cover the operational costs of ETFs and are separate from Moka’s subscription fees.
Justwealth: Best robo advisor in Canada to invest in an RESP
With Justwealth, you have the option of opening a US currency account for non-registered accounts, Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), and individual or spousal Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs). You’ll be treated like royalty if you invest $1,000,000 or more, as Justwealth will prepare a personalized portfolio for you.
However, even if you invest less than $1 million, you’ll get a dedicated personal portfolio manager. They will look at your finances and provide recommendations. You can also get investment or financial planning advice upon request.
There are 60 different portfolios to choose from, but your portfolio manager will help you choose the right one. Justwealth offers portfolios that have been specially designed to invest for educational purposes. That is, you can enter the date your child is expected to start post-secondary education, and as that date approaches, the portfolio will rebalance automatically. This feature is only available for RESP accounts. Lastly, unlike others, the company is completely impartial when it comes to ETFs. That is to say, you won’t be directed solely to a fund with which the company has a partnership.
Justwealth offers 0.50% (plus MER) pricing for balances up to $500,000. If you invest more than $500,000, the fee will decrease to 0.40% (plus MER). The average Management Expense Ratios are around 0.20%. With Justwealth, you can invest in a TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP or others. The only types of portfolios you can invest in are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). To open an account, the minimum deposit required is $5,000, except for the RRSP where there is no minimum. There is a minimum management fee of $4.99 per month for all accounts except the RRSP, at $2.50 per month. The platform is also web-based.
ModernAdvisor: Best robo advisor in Canada with a free trial period
ModernAdvisor offers competitive fees for smaller investors. Moreover, they offer a dummy account in which you have $1000. You can then invest online for free for 30 days.
If you open and fund the account at the end of the trial, you keep any earnings. If your trial account isn’t earning money, you’ll still get an extra month free when you open the account. Another special feature in terms of pricing is that ModernAdvisor offers the same fees for socially responsible investment accounts and regular investment accounts.
This robo-advisor is focused on quality customer service via chat, email or telephone service staffed by advisors. Like other robots, you have access to an expert to help make important financial decisions. Whether you’re renewing a mortgage, choosing your group RRSP investments, or considering purchasing CPP and Old Age Security, you can access expert advice to guide your decision.
Their portfolios are also designed to keep pace with the markets. These portfolios are put together by portfolio managers and adjusted according to the level of risk with which you are comfortable.
The company offers free pricing for balances up to $10,000, 0.5% (plus MER) for accounts between $10,000 and $100,000, 0.4% (plus MER) for accounts between $100,000 and $ 500,000, and 0.35% (plus MER) for accounts over $500,000. The management expense ratios vary between 0.06% and 0.34% for ETF portfolios. With ModernAdvisor, you can invest in a TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP and more. The types of portfolios you can invest in are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). A minimum deposit of $1000 is required to open an account. As mentioned earlier, you can invest in socially responsible investing. Lastly, there are various platforms available, either web-based or mobile for Android or iOS.
RBC InvestEase: Best robo advisor in Canada from a big bank
RBC InvestEase offers over a hundred ETFs. RBC offers you socially responsible investment portfolios, which are comprised of passive ETFs. This combines traditional investments with environmental and social investments. RBC socially responsible investing ETFs exclude companies involved in tobacco, controversial weapons and civilian firearms.
RBC rebalances automatically when your portfolio is out of balance. The robo-advisor automatically buys or sells the required ETF units to readjust to the target allocation. RBC InvestEase clients can also access the services of financial advisors over the phone. Like all robo-advisors, the ETFs recommended for your portfolio depend on your answers to a short online questionnaire. For example, someone who invests for retirement in 20 years will receive a different recommendation than someone who is saving to accumulate a down payment for a purchase in 3 years. To achieve the objectives mentioned in the questionnaire, your investment portfolio will have a combination of different categories of financial assets.
RBC InvestEase Pricing
Like the previous robo-advisor, the company offers a 0.5% (plus MER) pricing. So no matter how much is in the account, the same cost applies to everyone. Management Expense Ratios vary between 0.11% and 0.13% for standard ETF portfolios and from 0.18% to 0.23% for responsible investing. With RBC InvestEase, you can invest in a TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP and more. The types of portfolios you can invest in are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). The minimum deposit to open an account is $100. Below $1,500, your funds are invested in a minimum balance portfolio. When your balance exceeds this amount, RBC automatically transfers it to a standard or a responsible investment portfolio (which invests in four to six ETFs). You can invest through their web platform, or you can use the mobile app.
BMO SmartFolio: Best robo advisor in Canada if you prefer BMO ETFs
BMO SmartFolio has slightly higher fees than most robo-advisors. However, it is attractive for investors looking to reduce their fees and get investment management, while investing through a reputable institution.
BMO’s robo-advisor asks you to complete a questionnaire that will give you better advice. This questionnaire collects information such as your investment objectives, your investment knowledge, your current financial situation, your risk tolerance and how long you wish to invest. Based on your answers, you will be assigned an investor profile that matches your investment goals.
As a major contender in the ETF market, BMO primarily fills its portfolios with its own fund offerings. Your ETF portfolio is chosen from one of the following: capital preservation, income, balanced, long-term growth or growth stocks. These portfolios are diversified through different business sectors and regions. Your portfolio will be monitored and you will be able to oversee your goals. This is to ensure that your investments are aligned with your goals. If you wish to change your financial goals, you can let the robo-advisor know and it will readjust your portfolio.
BMO SmartFolio Pricing
The company offers tiered pricing. The first $100,000 is 0.7% (plus MER), the next $150,000 is charged 0.6% (plus MER) and the next $250,000 is 0.5% (plus MER). For more than $500,000, it’s 0.4% (plus MER). For example, if you invest $275,000, the total annual fee will be $1,725, calculated as follows: the first $100,000 at 0.7% ($ 700), the next $150,000 at 0.6% ($900), and the next $25,000 at 0.50% ($125). Management expense ratios vary from 0.20% to 0.35%.
With BMO SmartFolio, you can invest in a TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP and more. The types of portfolios you can invest in are mutual funds. The minimum deposit required to open an account is $1,000. Lastly, you can invest via their web platform or you can use the mobile app.
InvestCube: Best robo advisor in Canada for automatic rebalancing
This National Bank solution lets you invest in ETFs and also provides automatic rebalancing. InvestCube will restore the initial target proportion of each asset class following market fluctuations. Your portfolio will keep its initial balance at all times.
To do this, InvestCube automatically rebalances your portfolio at least twice a year, or up to 12 times if necessary. Rebalancing is also triggered when an asset class deviates by 20% or more from its target proportion.
You can also personalize your portfolio. The first step is to choose your portfolio’s weighting. You’ll need to select from 5 portfolios: conservative, weighted, balanced, growth or equities, and then you choose your investment strategy. You’ll have the choice between passive or active investing, or a combination of both. Lastly, you can diversify as you see fit. InvestCube also offers a refund of transfer fees up to a maximum of $150 plus tax. That is if you transfer your investments to InvestCube and your current investment company charges you a fee, you can make an online request for InvestCube to reimburse it.
The company offers a rate of 0.5% (plus MER) for accounts between $10,000 and $250,000, 0.4% (plus MER) for accounts between $250,000 and $1,000,000, and 0.3% for accounts over $1 million. These are actually a rebalancing fee and InvestCube does not charge an administration fee.
With InvestCube, you can invest in a TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP and more. The types of portfolios you can invest in are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). The minimum deposit to open an account is $10,000, which is higher than the average. Lastly, you can invest in their web platform or via the mobile app.
Steadyhand: Best robo advisor in Canada for a personalized asset mix
The company has been in existence for over 10 years and manages over $1 billion for 3500 clients in Canada. Steadyhand’s services are not offered in the province of Quebec. Steadyhand has a different offer from its competitors. The company has its own collection of actively managed mutual funds, but it has reasonable fee structures.
The company offers personalized portfolios using its own equity and fixed-income funds. Unlike others, their goal is to make money. That is, they don’t try to follow an index. Their managers, therefore, focus on a limited number of titles. The fees eventually decrease as your portfolio grows. Their fee reduction program also helps reduce your fees depending on the number of years you are a client.
Unlike conventional robo-advisors, Steadyhand works in three steps. First, managers explore your goals and your situation. With this information, they provide recommendations of what combinations of stocks and bonds are best for you. This step is called “strategic asset mix”. They build a portfolio with you using a combination of their funds that best reflects your “strategic asset mix”. They then help you manage your portfolio over time. Lastly, when the markets move, managers stay by your side.
The company’s pricing is based on the type of fund in your portfolio.
- For the Savings Fund, the MER is 0.65%.
- For the Income Fund, it is 1.04%.
- For the Founders Fund, it is 1.34%.
- For the Builders Fund, it is 1.63%.
- For the Equity Fund, it is 1.42%.
- For the Global Equity Fund, Small-Cap Equity Fund and Global Small-Cap Equity Fund, it is 1.78% or less.
With Steadyhand, you can invest in a TFSA, RRSP, RRIF and more. The types of portfolios you can invest in are mutual funds. The minimum deposit to open an account is higher than the average, at $10,000. Lastly, you can invest via their web platform.
Is a robo advisor right for you?
Now that we’ve toured the gamut of Canadian robo-advisors, all you have to do is choose the one that best suits you with the help of a robo-advisor comparator. If you have money invested in mutual funds or with a brokerage firm and you don’t want to manage your money yourself, you can easily save on fees by using a robo-advisor. You should understand, however, that you won’t get the same service as you would from a live person, so if this is something you value highly, don’t transfer to a robot.
If you usually invest by yourself through an online broker, be aware that robo-advisors’ fees will generally be higher than what you pay. However, you need to have the knowledge and interest in financial markets to match the returns of expertly compiled ETF portfolios. If you don’t, robo-advisors are a better option. You can still replicate robo-advisor portfolios with an online brokerage account.
How to choose the best robo advisor for you
The best robo advisor in Canada is the one that best meets your needs, goals, and budget. Focusing on these key aspects can help guide your decision:
Even small differences in fees can have a big impact over time. Look for low-cost options. Fees are typically charged as a percentage of the amount of money you have invested, but some charge a flat-fee regardless of the size of your portfolio.
Minimum investment requirement
Some robo-advisors have a minimum amount you need to invest to start using their service. If you’re a beginner or have a smaller amount to invest, look for a robo-advisor with a low or no minimum investment requirement.
Different robo-advisors use different investment strategies. Make sure their approach aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Some offer socially responsible investing or focus on certain types of assets.
Some robo-advisors only offer automated portfolio management, while others might offer additional services like retirement planning, tax-loss harvesting, or the option to talk to human advisors.
The platform should be easy to use and understand. A good robo-advisor should provide clear information about your investments and any associated fees. Also, consider whether they have a user-friendly mobile app.
The platform should have strong security measures in place to protect your personal and financial information. At the very, it’s best practice to choose a robo advisor on a regulated platform to avoid exposing yourself to unnecessary risk/
Look at the type of customer service provided. Can you get help when you need it and through your preferred method of communication (e.g., phone, email, chat)?
Reputation & reviews
Check out reviews from other users and financial experts to get a sense of the platform’s reputation. Not only does Hardbacon frequently review investing platforms, but we’ve also put together a list of the 25 best websites for Canadian investors to help bolster your research and make informed decisions about your money.
FAQs about the best robo advisors in Canada
The best robo advisor in Canada depends completely on your individual needs, goals, and circumstances. However, Questwealth Portfolios by Questrade ranks is considered by many to be the best overall robo advisor in Canada, mainly due to its low management fees, ‘set and forget’ functionality, and good customer service. Wealthsimple is another top robo advisor in Canada due to its popularity, easy-to-use platform, integrated tax reporting software, and full suite of money management tools including a cash account and prepaid card.
Yes, it can be worth paying for a robo-advisor. Robo-advisors provide automated, algorithm-driven investing services with minimal human intervention. They’re typically less expensive than traditional advisors, offer low account minimums, and are ideal for ‘hands-off’ passive investing, which can make them a worthwhile investment tool for many people. However, the value depends on your financial situation, investing knowledge, and comfort with letting an algorithm manage your investments.
Yes, Questrade’s robo-advisor, Questwealth Portfolios, is considered an excellent choice. It offers some of the lowest management fees in the industry and provides additional benefits like tax-loss harvesting and automatic portfolio rebalancing. It also has a responsive customer service team available via phone, chat, or email.
The risk involved with using a robo-advisor is similar to the risk associated with any investment strategy. It depends on the specific investments made on your behalf, rather than the fact that they are made by a robo-advisor. These services typically use well-diversified, low-cost ETFs, and your risk level is determined by your chosen portfolio type, from conservative to aggressive. However, as with all investments, your capital is at risk and you may lose money. It’s crucial to ensure the robo-advisor is regulated and that your investments are covered by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
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