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Questrade vs. Wealthsimple Review

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Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: two of the most popular online investment platforms in Canada today. They both claim to save their customers thousands of dollars in fees and offer a completely online interface through which to invest your hard-earned dollars.

That said, there are some critical differences between Questrade and Wealthsimple. In this comparative analysis, Wealth Rocket hopes that our Wealthsimple vs Questrade 2022 review will help you choose which of these two acclaimed robo-advisor investing platforms (Wealthsimple Invest or Questwealth Portfolios) is the right choice for your money.

First, let’s discuss how each of these online brokerages works, starting with Wealthsimple, followed by Questrade

Questrade Wealthsimple
Products Questrade, Questwealth Portfolios Invest, Trade, Cash, Crypto, Tax
Account Options Registered & Non-Registed Registered & Non-Registed
Investing Options Stocks, fixed income, ETFs, mutual funds, options, new issues, foreign exchange, precious metals, contract for differences (CFDs) Stocks, ETFs, Crypto
Fees ETF MER: 0.25% - 0.35% Stock Trading Fee: 0.1¢ per trade, $4.95 trading minimum Stocks, ETFs, Crypto
Minimum Investment $1,000 None
Platforms Web, Desktop, iOS, Android Web, Desktop (Beta), iOS, Android
Available in Quebec? Oui! Oui!

Wealthsimple: Overview

Wealthsimple is a financial platform that offers five financial products: Wealthsimple Invest, a robo-advisor, Wealthsimple Trade, an online brokerage, Wealthsimple Crypto, a cryptocurrency trading platform, Wealthsimple Tax, a tax-filing service, and Wealthsimple Cash, a hybrid savings account.

However, we’ll focus primarily on Wealthsimple Invest, it’s robo-advising service.

Wealthsimple Invest uses algorithms to automatically (and inexpensively) invest your money in a diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds.

Their technology helps you earn a competitive return while optimizing your tax bill, automatically rebalancing your portfolio to suit your target risk tolerance, and reinvesting your dividends for future returns.

When you sign up for Wealthsimple, you’ll complete a short questionnaire that automatically chooses between several pre-built portfolios. When you fund your account and make future contributions, Wealthsimple automatically adds this money to your portfolio and rebalances as necessary. It’s all done for you, just set it and forget it.

Questrade: Overview

Questrade, on the other hand, was founded before the phrase “robo-advisor” was part of the financial lexicon, and this platform gives users a more hands-on approach. While they continue to be the largest online discount brokering service in Canada, they now offer a robo-advisor, Questwealth Portfolios, which we will be looking at in this comparison.

When you sign up for Questrade, you have free rein to invest your money as you see fit.You could follow a passive investing strategy such as the Canadian Couch Potato portfolio or choose to buy and sell individual stocks and bonds for your portfolio.

Unlike Wealthsimple Invest, Questwealth Portfolios is not a 100% automated service. On their website, they make it a point to mention that the “difference” they offer comes from the fact that portolios are actively managed by human advisors.

Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: Account Types

Questrade or Wealthsimple, for that matter, are both known to offer a wide variety of account types. While both platforms differ from one another, both are excellent choices for new investors because of their versatile account options.

Both Questrade and Wealthsimple offer non-registered and registered account options. As far as non-registered account options, Questrade and Wealthsimple both offer the standard Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Non-registered are available from both online financial platforms.

Let’s dive into the details of Wealthsimple vs Questrade account types to see what these Canadian financial platforms have to offer.

Wealthsimple Invest: Account Types

Wealthsimple allow you to invest your money with a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA), or joint or personal non-registered account.

Wealthsimple’s portfolio options include growth, balanced, conservative as well as Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Halal investing.

Questwealth Portfolios: Account Types

Questrade is much more advanced when it comes to its account options. Some of the account options it provides include both registered and non-registered accounts, which include TFSAs, RRSPs, RESPs, Margin, Spousal RRSPs, LIRA, Locked-In RRSPs, RIFs, LIFs, Family RESPs, Cash, Corporate Cash and Joint Cash accounts.

Portfolio options include balanced income, aggressive, growth, conservative and SRI.

Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: Types of Assets

When it comes choosing between Wealthsimple or Questrade, it’s fairly easy to notice that both offer the bare minimum of what the average Canadian requires to accrue wealth.

However, Questrade undoubtedly has more assets to choose from, leaning more towards the more learned investor. Still, both offer the most basic assets.

Below, we’ll take a look at the types of assets offered by both financial platforms.

Wealthsimple Invest: Asset Types

Wealthsimple assesses your risk tolerance preferences to build you a portfolio made up of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), which are essentially bundles of securities that allow you to purchase dozens of stocks or bonds when you buy a single fund. These ETFs include Canadian, US, and foreign stocks, corporate debt, government bonds, and gold. The proportions of each ETF depend on your risk tolerance as assessed by your sign-up questionnaire.

Questwealth Portfolios: Asset Types

You can also buy ETFs on Questrade and build a balanced and diversified portfolio yourself. If you’d prefer to purchase individual stocks and ETFs, you can also do that with Questrade, making this platform more flexible than Wealthsimple. You can also buy options, forex, mutual funds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), and precious metals with Questrade – again, individually and without the help of an advisor.

Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: Fees

As with any financial product, you’ll need to pay fees to invest with either Wealthsimple or Questrade.

That said, both Questrade and Wealthsimple have very low fees, much lower than the average 2% to 3% commission fees you’ll pay when investing in mutual funds in Canada. Here’s how the costs of these two online brokerages compare:

Wealthsimple Invest: Fees

  • Wealthsimple Account fee for opening or closing: None
  • Annual RRSP or TFSA fees: None
  • Annual management fee: 0.5% of value for portfolios under $100,000, drops to 0.4% for portfolios over $100,000
  • MERs: 0.1% to 0.2% (weighted avg) and 0.23% for SRIs

Wealthsimple has very few fees, but they charge 0.5% of the portfolio’s value per year to invest and rebalance your portfolio automatically.

Questwealth : Fees

  • Account opening or closing fees: None
  • Annual RRSP or TFSA fees: None
  • Annual management fee: 0.25% of value for portfolios under $100,000, drops to 0.20% for portfolios over $100,000
  • MERs: 0.2% (avg) and 0.21% to 0.35% for SRIs

As you can see above, Questrade charges lower on management fees compared to Wealthsimple.

Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: Funding

Both Questrade and Wealthsimple allow you to transfer existing registered accounts directly, so you won’t have to withdraw from your RRSP and pay taxes on that money before transferring it on.

After that, you can fund either your Wealthsimple Invest or Questwealth Portfolio accounts by linking them with your chequing account. You can set up automatic monthly contributions to your investment accounts or make your transfers manually.

Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: Resources

Wealthsimple and Questrade are online platforms, which means you can’t go to a local branch and speak with a financial advisor about your investing needs. That said, both have customer service reps available by phone, email, and chat if you have questions about how to use their software.

If you’d like more advice, Wealthsimple offers a free Investing Masterclass which takes you through investment basics. Or you could request a portfolio review with an expert through their website.

Questrade has a library of helpful articles to answer your questions. You can also attend their webinars for tips of portfolio management.

Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: Safety and Security

While all of Canada’s big six banks offer online banking and web portals for their services, they aren’t wholly online. So, when it’s Wealthsimple vs Questrade, which is safer to use? The short answer is both.

The long answer is that Wealthsimple uses state-of-the-art encryption and is protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund, which means if anything ever happened to Wealthsimple, your money is protected.

Questrade was established in 1999 and has a long track record of safe operations. They also use state-of-the-art encryption and are members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

Additionally, both Questrade and Wealthsimple are members of the Investment Industry Regulatory Board of Canada (IIROC). The IIROC is Canada’s regulatory board which oversees traders such as Questrade and Wealthsimple.

Questrade vs Wealthsimple 2022 Review

While these two online investing platforms have many common features, their differences make them ideal for slightly different investing scenarios.

Wealthsimple takes much of the confusion out of investing, offering premade, automatically rebalanced portfolios, a beautiful mobile app, and no minimum account balance. Portfolios are 100% automated, leaving no room for human error. For these reasons, we think that Wealthsimple is perfect for any investor that is new to self-directed investing (or investing in general, for that matter).

Questrade, on the other hand, is less expensive overall. If you have $1000 to invest and are comfortable with relying on the judgement of the human advisors that oversee your investments, then this is the robo-advisor for you.

Now that you’ve gone through our detailed review, which will you choose, Questrade or Wealthsimple?

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