In this Questwealth Portfolios Review, we take a look at the offerings of one of the best robo-advisors in Canada and the low-cost leader.
Robo-advisors are low-cost alternatives to traditional mutual funds. By automating the investing process, robo-advisors make investing hassle-free and eliminate the barrier to getting started for beginner investors.
Canada has several robo-advisory services with great features and benefits, but Questwealth Portfolios stands out with its active investing approach, lower cost and support for a wide range of registered and unregistered accounts.
But is Questwealth Portfolios right for you? How do you get started with investing with the robo-advisor?
This Questwealth Portfolios review covers everything you need to know about the robo-advisor, including its fees, accounts, portfolios, and alternatives.
What is Questwealth Portfolios?
Questwealth Portfolios, formerly Portfolio IQ, is the robo-advisory service from Questrade, one of Canada’s top online brokerages.
It combines automated investing that robo-advisors are known for with active investment management by its expert portfolio managers to produce one of Canada’s top robo-advisors.
Currently, Questwealth Portfolios is the overall best low-fee robo-advisor in Canada with the lowest management fees and a host of other benefits.
Whether you’re just starting with investing or an experienced investor, you’ll probably find one of the great selections of ETF portfolios at Questwealth Portfolios to be a good fit for you.
On Questrade’s site
0.25% on balances below $100,000; 0.20% afterwards
$10,000 managed free in the first year; $150 transfer fee reimbursement when you move an account from another financial institution
0.10% to 0.12%
How Does Questwealth Portfolios Work?
Getting started with investing with Questwealth Portfolios is quite easy and straightforward.
Like other robo-advisors, Questwealth Portfolios will ask you a series of questions to determine the perfect portfolio for you based on your risk profile and investment objective.
You’ll be asked questions about your:
- number of dependents if any
- income and net worth
- the purpose of the account
- your investment knowledge
- time horizon
- how you would react to volatility and more
In all, you’ll get 13 questions.
Based on your responses, you’ll be presented with a recommended portfolio built using ETFs that invest in a broad range of Canadian, US, and international securities.
These ETF portfolios are pre-designed with varying risk profiles or asset mix. That is, the higher your risk appetite or tolerance, the higher the equity allocation in your recommended portfolio.
If you’re satisfied with the recommended portfolio, you can proceed with funding your account and setting up pre-authorized deposits to your new investment account.
Questrade will then handle all the investing and investment management from there with almost no involvement from you. You can basically set it and forget, and watch your portfolio gradually grow over time.
Is Questwealth Portfolios Safe?
Yes! Questwealth Portfolios is safe because your assets are insured up to $1,000,000 by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
Questwealth owner, Questrade is a member of the Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and also offers free private insurance that covers up to $10 million deposits on Questwealth Portfolios and other accounts.
According to Questrade, your information on Questwealth Portfolios will not be sold to anyone. Also, Questrade uses bank-grade and industry-standard security measures to protect your personal information on Questwealth.
Questwealth ETF Portfolios
Questwealth offers five different ETF portfolios with varying asset allocations reflecting the risk level of the investor.
If you’re investing for the long-term and have a high-risk tolerance, you can choose the Aggressive growth portfolio that invests 100% in equities.
On the other hand, Questwealth Portfolio has the Conservative Income portfolio with 20% equity and 80% fixed income weighting for investors with a lower risk tolerance or those saving for short-term goals.
The table below summarizes the key features of the 5 Questwealth Portfolios’ ETF portfolios.
|Aggressive growth||100% equity||Extremely high|
|Growth||80% equity and 20% fixed income||High|
|Balanced||60% equity and 40% fixed income||Moderate|
|Income||40% equity and 60% fixed income||Low|
|Conservative income||20% equity and 80% fixed income||Extremely low|
You’ll be matched with the right ETF portfolio for your financial situation after completing the questionnaire at the onboarding stage.
One other unique feature of the Questwealth ETF Portfolios is that different ETFs are used to build portfolios for small and large holding accounts.
Accounts with small holdings are invested in a portfolio made up of fewer underlying ETFs. Larger accounts however have more ETFs that are diversified across the different investing themes.
For example, Small Holding accounts in the Aggressive Growth portfolio get their US Equity allocation of 37.48% through one ETF, SPDR PORTFOLIO TOTAL STOCK MARKET ETF – a broadly diversified ETF that invests in thousands of US companies.
On the other hand, the large holding accounts are built using 14 different ETFs with different allocations that sums up to 99%.
Questwealth Portfolios Performance
As expected, each of the above ETF portfolios has varying annual returns. All things being equal, the higher the risk of the portfolio, the higher the returns you can expect.
The following is a highlight of Questwealth Portfolios performance since their inception (November 2014) to February 2023:
- Aggressive growth portfolio = 80.08%
- Growth portfolio = 63.45%
- Balanced portfolio = 47.85%
- Income portfolio = 34.16%
- Conservative income = 16.78%
Questwealth Socially Responsible Investing Portfolio
Questwealth also offers a Socially Responsible Portfolio (SRI) to investors looking to invest in companies that meet social, environmental and corporate governance standards.
Although this portfolio has the same risk profiles as the above Questwealth ETF Portfolios, it invests in different securities as follows:
- Social and corporate governance ETFs
- Low carbon ETFs
- Cleantech ETFs
The following is a highlight of the returns of Questwealth SRI portfolios since inception (November 2018) to February 2023:
- Aggressive SRI portfolio = 38.58%
- Growth SRI portfolio = 31.93%
- Balanced SRI portfolio = 24.63%
- Income SRI portfolio = 17.47%
- Conservative income SRI portfolio = 11.11%
That said, the SRI management fee is the same as other Questwealth Portfolios but it has a 0.21%-0.35% management expense ratio (MER).
Questwealth Portfolios Accounts
Questwealth Portfolios supports a wide mix of registered and unregistered accounts compared to other robo-advisors in Canada.
Here are the supported accounts as of the time of writing this Questwealth Portfolios review:
|Registered Retirement Savings Accounts||Registered Education Savings Accounts||Short-Term Accounts|
|Spousal RRSP||Family RESP||Joint cash|
|Locked-In RRSP||Corporate cash|
With this comprehensive mix of accounts, It’s safe to say that Questwealth Portfolios caters to investors with different investment objectives.
Questwealth Portfolios Fees
Next in this Questwealth Portfolios review, we’ll take a look at its fees to see whether it truly lives up to the hype as the low-cost leader in Canada.
Questwealth Portfolios does not charge fees for the following services:
- Account opening
- Trading fees
- Up to $50,000 CAD$ electronic fund transfer (EFT)
- Up to $25,000 USD$ electronic fund transfer (EFT)
- Electronic monthly statement
That said, Questwealth ETF and SRI portfolios have the same management fee of 0.25% for $1,000-$99,999 balance and 0.20% for $100,000 balance and above.
These management fees are about half of the ones at other robo-advisors with an average fee of 0.50%.
Questwealth Portfolios MER
In addition to the management fees paid to Questrade, there are also management expense ratios (MER) for the underlying ETFs used to build each of the Questwealth ETF Portfolios.
Questwealth ETF portfolios have 0.10% to 0.14% MER, while SRI portfolios have 0.21%-0.35% MER.
|Questwealth ETF portfolios||MER|
|Aggressive||0.10% – 0.12%|
|Growth||0.10% – 0.13%|
|Balanced||0.11% – 0.13%|
|Income||0.11% – 0.13%|
|Conservative||0.12% – 0.13%|
Compared to the average mutual fund management fee and MER, you will save more than 5x on Questwealth Portfolios on your investment annually.
Other Service Fees
The following are other service fees of Questwealth Portfolios:
|Account Fees||Transfers & Withdrawals||Documents Fees|
|Partial plan deregistration (RESP, RRSP, Spousal RRSP, LRSP, LIRA): $50||USD$ wire transfer: $30||Duplicate tax document: $20 per tax slip|
|Full plan deregistration (RESP, RRSP, Spousal RRSP, LRSP, LIRA): $100||CAD$ wire transfer: $20||Document retrieval: $20 per document|
|Partial deregistration (LLP and HBP): $25||International wire transfer: $40||Special courier: $35 (Canada) $70 (US)|
|Full deregistration (LLP and HBP): $50||Certified cheque: $75||Unclaimed property: $29.95 per quarter|
|CAD$ and USD$ uncertified cheque: $50||Regular mail: $10|
|Partial transfer of account to another institution: $25||Copy of account statement: $20|
|Transfer out an account to another institution: $150|
|Stop payment: $25|
|NSF cheque/returned items: $30|
|Estate settlement: $200 per account|
There’s also a currency exchange fee of 1% for CAD-USD or USD-CAD exchanges.
Pros and Cons of Questwealth Portfolios
The following is a brief overview of Questwealth Portfolios pros and cons:
- Low management fees: Considering the management fees of traditional mutual funds and other robo-advisors, it is safe to rate Questwealth Portfolios as the overall best low-fee robo-advisor in Canada.
- Freebies: Invest in Questwealth Portfolios without worrying about account opening fees, trading fees, electronic fund transfer fees, and other fees common with traditional mutual funds.
- Multiple account types: Questwealth Portfolios supports a wide range of registered and unregistered accounts, making it accessible to investors with different objectives.
- Competitive returns: Questwealth ETF and SRI portfolios have competitive returns on investment across different risk profiles. While the ETF portfolio has yielded 21.59% to 90.63% return since inception, the SRI portfolio yielded 24.26% to 50.67% return since inception.
- Automatic portfolio rebalancing: Invest hands-off knowing that your portfolio will be automatically rebalanced by Questwealth’s expert portfolio managers using active management. This saves you the stress of monitoring and adjusting your portfolio when the market fluctuates.
- Free tax-loss harvesting: If you invest in any Questwealth Portfolios cash accounts, you can enjoy the free tax-loss harvesting feature that reduces your capital gains tax.
- Self-directed investing: Questwealth Self-directed Investing allows DIY investors to save more on commissions and trading fees.
- Minimum balance requirements: Questwealth Portfolios requires a $1,000 minimum deposit to start investing. This requirement isn’t too high but it’s a barrier for investors looking to start with little money.
How to Open a Questwealth Portfolio Account
The account opening process is completely online. The following are the step-by-step processes of opening a Questwealth Portfolios account:
- Visit the Questwealth Portfolios web portal and click “Open an Account.”
- Choose your account option (self-directed or Questwealth).
- Accept the terms and conditions.
- Create a user ID and password.
- Build your profile by answering questions that Questwealth will use to determine the perfect portfolio for you.
- Choose your portfolio account type (RRSP, TFSA, RESP, cash, etc.).
- Fund your account with at least $1,000 to start investing
Questwealth Portfolios Promotions
Questrade offers a number of promotions to new clients of its Questrade Portfolios platform.
The 2 top Questwealth Promotions are covered below:
- First $10,000 managed Free when you sign up using a Questwealth Portfolios promo code ‘WALLETBLISS”
- Transfer fee reimbursement of up to $150 when you move your account from another financial institution.
In addition, you can get a $50 trade rebate cash bonus if you sign up for the self-directed investing platform instead.
You can also get access to Passiv Elite membership for free as a Questrade client – a $99/year offer.
How to Withdraw from Questwealth Portfolio
Simply log in to your Questrade account and follow the steps below:
- Navigate to the “Request” tab and click “Withdraw funds.”
- Select the account you’re withdrawing from.
- Select currency (CAD or USD).
- Enter withdrawal amount.
- Select withdrawal method (Wire transfer or Electronic Funds Transfer)
- Confirm destination account
Electronic Funds Transfers withdrawal requests are usually processed within 5 business days. However, Wire transfers are processed between 1 to 2 business days.
Questwealth Portfolios Review: Our Rating Methodology
Questwealth Portfolios deserves the 4.7 out of 5 stars rating from this review based on its fees, supported accounts, minimum deposit, security, accessibility and customer service. While the robo-advisor scores high on most aspects of comparison, its minimum deposit leaves room for improvement.
Overall, my Questwealth Portfolios review is very positive and I recommend it to investors looking for a low-cost alternative to self-directed investing in Canada.
Questwealth Portfolios vs Wealthsimple Invest
Wealthsimple Invest is arguably Canada’s most popular robo-advisor. Below, we provide an overview of how Wealthsimple’s robo-advisory offering compares to Questwealth Portfolios.
|Feature||Questwealth Portfolios||Wealthsimple Invest|
|Management Style||Active Management||Passive Management|
|Management Fees||0.20% – 0.25%||0.40% – 0.50%|
|Supported accounts||TFSA, RRSP, RESP, RIF, LIRA, LIF, cash, corporate cash and more||RRSP, TFSA, RESP, LIRA, RRIF, Cash and more|
|# of ETF Portfolios/ Risk Level||5||9|
|Socially Responsible Investing||Yes||Yes|
|Promotion||$10,000 managed free in the first year||$25 cash bonus when you deposit $500+|
Wealthsimple Invest is a top competitor of Questwealth Portfolios in Canada. Though they have several similarities, the two robo-advisors differ in terms of management style, minimum balance requirement, management fees and more.
With no minimum balance requirement, you can start investing with as little as $1 on Wealthsimple Invest. But Questwealth Portfolios beats Wealthsimple Trade in terms of low-fees and supported accounts.
The important thing to consider here is that both services let you invest in a hands-off manager with little involvement and irrespective of your investment knowledge.
So which one should you choose between Wealthsimple Invest and Questwealth Portfolios?
Go with Wealthsimple Invest if you want to start with little money and prefer a passive investing approach to your investment portfolio.
But if you want to pay the lowest cost possible and don’t mind starting with a $1,000 initial deposit, then Questwealth Portfolios may be ideal for you.
On Wealthsimple’s site
0.50% on balances below $100,000; 0.40% afterwards
$25 cash bonus with an initial deposit of at least $500; $150 transfer fee reimbursement when you move an account from another financial institution
0.12% to 0.15%
If you want to compare more trading platforms to have a holistic view of the investing platforms in Canada, check this post on the best investment apps in Canada.
FAQs on Questwealth Portfolios Review
Questwealth ETFs portfolios are good because their allocations suit investors with different risk profiles. From aggressive to conservative income portfolios, Questwealth Portfolios has something for every investor.
Questwealth Portfolio is not free. It charges a 0.25% management fee on deposits below $100,000 and 0.20% after. But this is about half of the fees at the other robo-advisors, making it the overall best low-cost robo-advisor in Canada.
You need a minimum investment amount to start investing with Questwealth Portfolios and other Questrade’s platforms.
Both Questwealth and Wealthsimple Invest are among the top leading robo-advisors in Canada. Wealthsimple Invest is better than Questwealth Portfolio if you value starting with a low investment amount and prefer a passive investing approach. Questwealth, however, comes out ahead for its lower management fees and account types.
Verdict on Questwealth Portfolios Review
With Questwealth Portfolios, Questrade has managed to provide Canadians with an investment platform with automated investing, lots of accounts supported and active management while managing to keep the cost low.
Overall, this Questwealth Portfolio review is positive. It is a robust platform and a great alternative to DIY or self-directed investing for Canadians.
If you’re ready to start investing, sign up here to get your first $10,000 managed free for the first year or use the Questrade Promo Code WALLTEBLISS.
But if you need more help deciding the ideal investing platform for you, please leave a comment below.
If you like this Questwealth Portfolios review, kindly share it to help others make an informed decision too.
Questwealth Portfolios Review
Questwealth Portfolios is the best low-cost robo-advisor in Canada for both new and experienced investors. Get $10,000 managed free in the first year using promo code WALLETBLISS