- Looking for a Canadian alternative to Wealthfront's banking and investing service?
- We've done the market research and ranked what we think are the best options.
Wealthfront is an American fintech targeting millennial and zoomer investors that want all-in-one digital financial planning services. Wealthfront allows you to invest, bank, and apply for loans from your smartphone, putting the power of your finances in the palm of your hand. It's a great choice for new investors who want someone to manage their money for them so they can focus on other things.
Wealthfront is currently only available in the USA and is not available to Canadian residents. However, there are several alternatives that offer a similar service in Canada, although none of them are a direct replacement.
What does Wealthfront do?
Wealthfront helps users optimize their deposits using its unique Self-Driving Money model. When you receive your paycheck in your bank account, Wealthfront’s innovative tech splits the money between your expenses, savings, and investment accounts, organizing your budget for you. With Wealthfront, you can pay all your bills, build your emergency savings, and secure your investment strategy for the long-term. Wealthfront ensures all your bills get paid on time, and you're meeting your savings and investment targets each month.
The Wealthfront Cash Account, in partnership with Green Dot Bank, offers a checking account with no annual or monthly fees and a 0.35% annual percentage yield (APY) on cash balances, forming the cornerstone of your Wealthfront portfolio. The Wealthfront Passive Plus Program, available for a 0.25% annual fee, uses a long-term investing strategy, investment automation, and tax-loss harvesting to help you grow your portfolio.
We've spent hours researching the market to create this list of alternatives to Wealthfront. As it stands, there is no single direct replacement. Wealthsimple and Moka are about as close as you'll get to Wealthfront's robo-advisory, but there is no single service that integrates banking with investing in one elegant solution like Wealthfront have achieved. Since we're mostly interested in the investment aspect, that's what we focussed on when selecting these alternatives.
Our top pick
Wealthsimple Invest is Canada's most popular and affordable robo-advisory service. This fintech lets you invest in ETFs, stocks, and options, using robo-advisors to do the work for you. It is the ideal service for new investors that don't know anything about the market or trading.
You get comprehensive portfolio management through Wealthsimple, allowing new investors to take a hands-off passive approach to their investment strategy. You also get professional advisory services for a fraction of the cost of hiring a financial advisor or planning service.
- Commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs.
- Offers investment in ETFs, stocks, and options.
- No minimum account balance.
- User-friendly mobile trading apps for iOS and Android devices.
- Invest in TFSA and non-registered accounts.
- No margin accounts available.
- RESP accounts not available.
Formerly known as Mylo, Moka is the rebranded version of the company targeting the European markets. Moka is a leading Canadian investment and savings app helping millennials and Zoomers build sensible saving and investment habits through the process of micro-saving small amounts. Moka recently announced it is being acquired by Mogo.
The app’s roundup feature automatically rounds up your daily purchase amounts to the nearest dollar. You can choose to invest the money into a personalized investment portfolio of low-cost ETFs, save it for debt paydown or a future goal (buying a home or taking a holiday), or donate them to one of 85,000 charities. You don't need any investment or financial knowledge to benefit from the app, and it's a great way to boost your savings and investments.
- Automated saving features.
- Unlimited tax-free investment accounts.
- Offers socially responsible investment options.
- Can automatically donate to a preferred charity.
- Cashback or discount offers via Moka Perks automatically accrues to Moka account.
- Available via app only.
- Limited investment options.
- Monthly fees of $3 to $15 are high relative to amounts saved via rounding up.
This robo-advisory launched after CI Financial acquired WealthBar, rebranding as CI Direct Investing in 2020. CI Direct provides clients with automated investment management tools and financial planning advice. Unlike other hybrid advisory services, CI Direct Investing offers its clients professionally-managed private investment and ETF portfolios.
CI Direct combines robo-advisory services with a human touch by providing access to certified financial planners to help you invest in the right portfolio for your goals. You need a minimum deposit of $1,000 to start, with the option of investing in five different ETF portfolios or three private investment portfolios, based on your preferences.
- Offers eight investment options including ETFs, real estate, private equity, mortgages, and alternative assets.
- Accommodates almost every type of account, including retirement, education, trust, taxable, pension, and charity.
- Access to a certified financial planner.
- Offers socially responsible investment options.
- Higher management fees relative to competitors.
- $1,000 minimum investment.
Worth a look
Justwealth Financial Inc. launched its online investment management portfolio platform in 2016. You get 60 portfolio options with tailored investment options for investors. Justwealth offers clients low annual management fees on their portfolio, ranging from 0.4 to 0.5%, which is less than half of the traditional pricing model charged by other leading fintech and investment firms.
Justwealth requires a minimum $5,000 account balance for non-RESP accounts. Every client gets a dedicated portfolio manager, offering financial planning services, tax-loss harvesting, and portfolio rebalancing.
- Over 60 investment portfolio options.
- Low management fees of 0.4% to 0.5%.
- Accommodates CDN and US dollar accounts.
- Offers tax-loss harvesting.
- Socially responsible investment options available.
- High $5,000 minimum balance requirement for non-RESP accounts.
- Only invests in ETFs.
Features a Wealthfront alternative should have
Does your broker offer you tax-free savings accounts and retirement accounts? Can you trade these accounts actively? Some of the additional retirement financial services to look for in a potential services provider are the following:
- Corporate/Business Accounts
- Individual and Joint Accounts
- LIRA (Locked-In Retirement Account)
- LIF (Locked-In Fund)
- RDSP (Registered Disability Savings Plan)
A good mobile app
If you find yourself checking the markets on your phone, look for brokers offering mobile trading apps. Mobile apps vary in functionality, with some being excellent and others almost non-functional. Make sure you check the reviews on trading apps before settling on your broker choice.
Choice of funds and assets
What kinds of assets can you trade with the broker? Do they offer a wide range of assets and investment products to suit your investment style and strategy?
Trading fees and commissions can account for a large chunk of your profits, especially if you're trading a small account. You'll also need to check on other fees like inactivity charges and live market data rates.