The bottom line: With socially responsible investing (SRI) and halal-compliant portfolio options, along with various levels of financial advisor access, Wealthsimple offers something for everyone.
0.40% - 0.50%
no promotion available at this time
Pros & Cons
- Access to human advisors.
- Free portfolio analysis.
- Socially responsible investment options.
- No account minimum.
- Higher account management fees.
- Limited personal finance tools.
Compare to Other Advisors
per year (approximately)
career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit
No advisory fees
your first 90 days of Vanguard Digital Advisor investment management (Enrollment requires a Vanguard account with a minimum of $3,000)
Up to 1 year
of free management with a qualifying deposit
Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox
Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.
Editor's note: Wealthsimple's U.S. book of business was acquired by Betterment in early 2021. The company is no longer accepting new clients in the U.S. Existing clients will have the option to move their accounts to .
There’s a lot to like about Wealthsimple’s offerings, such as its diverse lineup of portfolio choices (including socially responsible and halal-compliant options) and unfettered access to a team of financial advisors (including some certified financial planners) for all clients, regardless of account balance.
All those goodies come at a price, though, and the 0.40% to 0.50% advisory fee puts it on the pricier side of the competition. However, for values-based investors in particular, the extra money may be well worth spending.
Socially responsible investment options: One of Wealthsimple’s marquee offerings is socially responsible investments. Investors can choose from three risk-weighted SRI portfolios.
The portfolios draw from six that screen and weight companies for adherence to certain environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria, along with performance. The screening process removes investments in controversial companies and those involved in fossil fuels, tobacco and weaponry.
Wealthsimple's SRI portfolios seek companies with a track record for socially responsible values. For example, it eliminates the top 25% of carbon-emitters in each industry and every company in the fund has 25%, or at least three, women on the board of directors.
Shariah-compliant portfolio: A halal investing portfolio — one that complies with Islamic law — is another standout offering. It contains 50 individual stocks (not ETFs) screened by a third-party committee of Shariah scholars. No companies that profit from gambling, alcohol, firearms, tobacco or other restricted industries or derive significant income from interest on loans are permitted.
The halal investing portfolio risk profile is in line with Wealthsimple's growth portfolio offerings because it is invested 100% in equities and designed to track the broad market's performance. Customers with a lower risk tolerance are advised to hold a certain percentage of their portfolio in cash since investment in interest-bearing assets (such as bonds) isn't allowed under Islamic law.
Low account minimum and no extra fees: The $0 account minimum for the Wealthsimple Basic offering is a low hurdle to get started. That service includes free automated deposits, automatic rebalancing and dividend reinvestment. Wealthsimple charges no fees on transfers (in or out) or trading and all accounts receive a few extras, discussed below.
Maintaining a $100,000 minimum balance qualifies customers for the Wealthsimple Black service, which offers the same features as the Basic account at a lower management fee (0.4% versus 0.5%), along with tax-loss harvesting. Tax-loss harvesting is a strategy used to lower an investor’s taxes on investment gains or other income by offsetting it with any investment losses. Often it is a paid add-on service but Wealthsimple provides it complimentary for clients qualifying for its Black tier.
Service extras: Since Wealthsimple opened its doors for business in the U.S. in 2017 — it was already the largest robo-advisor in Canada — it has been steadily adding services, which now include:
Investment in fractional shares: Like other robo-advisors, at Wealthsimple, each customer's portfolio of ETFs — the exact mix of growth, international, fixed income, cash and other asset classes — is based on answers to questions about financial goals, investing experience, financial situation and risk tolerance. But the company has a bonus feature for customers who may be adding small amounts to their account over time: Wealthsimple buys fractional shares of ETFs, which means your entire deposit can be invested in full instead of hanging out in low-interest-bearing cash until there’s enough to purchase a full share.
Access to a team of financial planners: Wealthsimple allows all customers, regardless of account balance, email and phone access to its financial advisors, including some certified financial planners. The advisors can discuss portfolio allocation, retirement planning, estate and tax planning and do cash-flow analyses.
Customized service for high-balance account holders: Wealthsimple Generation, a premium-tier service, serves clients who maintain a $500,000 balance (individually or per household). Generation customers are assigned two dedicated advisors who will create a holistic financial plan that includes cash-flow analysis, projections and actions to take to achieve your goals. This level of service is ideal if you have more complex planning issues, such as establishing a retirement income strategy, legacy planning and are seeking maximum tax efficiency. Generation portfolios are tailor-made for each client's needs. Advisors take into account all assets (including investments outside of Wealthsimple, homes and owned businesses). Wealthsimple charges a 0.40% management fee only on assets the firm manages.
Simplicity: Practically everything about Wealthsimple's service — clear, straightforward pricing; beginner-friendly customer experience; a slick, no-nonsense website — is stripped down to provide just what the customer needs (hence the "simple" in Wealthsimple's name). We're particularly impressed with the company's "Help Center," where details you need to know about fees, portfolio holdings, performance and account management are laid out clearly and transparently.
Account management fees: Account fees are where both customer and provider fortunes are made and broken. Wealthsimple’s 0.50% management fee on account balances of less than $100,000 and 0.40% on accounts over $100,000 is higher than that charged by the other companies on NerdWallet’s list.
In comparison, and charge a 0.25% management fee. Even big-name brokers such as (0.3%) and (0.35%) undercut Wealthsimple by a large margin, although many of those providers have account minimums ranging from $500 to $5,000.
Lack of personal finance tools: Those seeking a fuller financial advisory experience — calculators, planning tools, educational material and a money command central — may find Wealthsimple’s streamlined website and app sparse compared with other providers. There can be beauty in simplicity: The approach is designed to merely cover the important concepts of saving and investing and keep customers apprised of what’s happening in their accounts. It’s ideal for savers who want to set it up and forget it, but maybe less so if you like to play with what-if retirement planning scenarios.
With its multiple SRI and halal portfolio offerings, Wealthsimple is a clear winner in the values-based investing category. Other pluses — email and phone access to financial advisors and a $0 minimum balance requirement — put it in the same class as other robo-advisors that have higher brand-name recognition in the U.S.
The biggest check in the “cons” column is Wealthsimple’s account management fees of 0.40% to 0.50%. Given the effect management fees can have on long-term investment returns, this is an important consideration, especially for investors with account balances that don't qualify for Wealthsimple's lower advisory fee rate.
Tiffany Lam-Balfour contributed to this review.
How do we review robo-advisors? Here’s our methodology.
NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers by assets under management, along with emerging industry players, using a multifaceted and iterative approach. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgments on which ones will best meet your needs.
DATA COLLECTION AND REVIEW PROCESS
We collect data directly from providers, and conduct firsthand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. Our process starts by sending detailed questionnaires to providers to complete. The questionnaires are structured to equally elicit both favorable and unfavorable responses from providers. They are not designed or prepared to produce any predetermined results. The questionnaire answers, combined with product demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.
Evaluations vary by provider type, but in each case are based upon the weighted averages of factors that include but are not limited to: advisory and account fees, account minimums and types, investment selection, investment expense ratios, trading costs, access to human financial advisors, educational resources and tools, rebalancing and tax minimization options, and customer support including branch access, user-facing technology and mobile platforms.
Each factor can involve evaluating various sub-factors. For instance, when gauging the investment selections offered by robo-advisors, 80% of the score is based on the potential for diversification (how well-diversified a resulting portfolio of investments could be) combined with the availability of specialty portfolios and level of customization for investors. Expense ratios form an additional 10% of the score, and low or no management fee the remaining 10%.
The weighting of each factor is based on our team’s assessment of which features are the most important to consumers and which ones impact the consumer experience in the most meaningful way. The factors considered, and how those factors are weighted, change depending upon the category of providers reviewed.
Writers and editors conduct our broker reviews on an annual basis but continually make updates throughout the year. We maintain frequent contact with providers and highlight any changes in offerings.
THE REVIEW TEAM
The review team comprises seasoned writers, researchers and editors who cover stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds, alternative investments, socially responsible investing, financial advisors, retirement and investment strategy on a daily basis. In addition to NerdWallet, the work of our team members has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, USA Today, Bloomberg News, Nasdaq, MSN, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance and other national and regional media outlets.
The combined expertise of our Investing team is infused into our review process to ensure thoughtful evaluations of provider products and services from the customer perspective. Our writers and editors combine to have more than 70 years of deep experience in finance, ranging from a former Wall Street Journal reporter to a former senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
While NerdWallet does have partnerships with many of the reviewed providers, we manage potential conflicts of interest by maintaining a wall between our content and business operations. This wall is designed to prevent our writers and the review process from being influenced or impacted by our business partnerships. This way, all reviews can provide an unbiased review that serves the interests of our users. For more information, see NerdWallet’s editorial guidelines.