Many robo-advisors offer additional benefits for customers with higher deposits. This is usually in the form of lower pricing, financial advice and other perks.
Wealthsimple Black is one of such plans from Wealthsimple, one of the most popular robo-advisors in Canada.
This post provides a Wealthsimple Black review, covering its benefits and perks, fees and some alternatives. It also covers Wealthsimple Generation review; the plan for clients with deposits above $500,000.
Wealthsimple is a Toronto-based financial technology company that was founded in 2014 with operations now spanning Canada, USA and the United Kingdom.
Their goal is to “democratize wealth by giving the financial tools of the rich to everyone.” They accomplish this by providing easy and low-cost investing through their robo-advisor offering, Wealthsimple Invest.
Over the years, they have expanded their products and services to now include Wealthsimple Trade (commission-free trading app), Wealthsimple Cash, Wealthsimple Tax (free tax-filing service), Wealthsimple Crypto (Cryptocurrency trading).
It currently serves more than 1.5 million people worldwide, with over $10 billion assets under management (AUM).
Wealthsimple Invest Pricing
Wealthsimple is Canada’s largest robo-advisor. It provides this service through Wealthsimple Invest, with the pricing and benefits varying based on your deposit amount.
- Basic: $100k and below
- Black: Deposits of $100,000+
- Generation: Deposits of $500,000+
Wealthsimple Black is the mid-tier level and we’ll cover its review in details below.
What is Wealthsimple Black?
Wealthsimple Black is available for clients with more than $100,000 in total deposits – both in their individual and joint accounts.
Clients can access Wealthsimple Black in 2 ways:
- Grow their deposits gradually over time to more than $100,000. The reduced pricing and additional benefits will become effective once they get to the threshold
- New clients can deposit or transfer their existing accounts with a value of $100,000 or higher to access Wealthsimple Black.
With Wealthsimple Black, investors get all the benefits of the basic plan, a reduced management fee and additional perks.
The benefits of Wealthsimple basic plan include:
- Low management fees of 0.50%
- Personalized portfolio and financial advice
- Automated investing: auto-deposits and automatic rebalancing
- Dividend reinvesting
Wealthsimple Black Perks & Benefits
In addition to the benefits of the basic plan of Wealthsimple Invest, Wealthsimple Black clients also get the following perks:
Once you qualify for Wealthsimple Black, your management fees drop from 0.50% to 0.40%. This works out to about $100 per year on a $100,000 portfolio or $250 on a $250,000 portfolio.
The cost savings may look insignificant, but it is a sizeable savings when compounded over many years. For example, the savings over 10 years on a $250,000 portfolio compounding at 5% per annum will be $3,300.
Note: If the market dips and your assets drop below $100,000, you’ll still maintain the reduced fees of 0.40%.
Financial Planning Session
Wealthsimple Black customers also get access to personalized financial planning with one of Wealthsimple’s experienced portfolio managers. As your asset balance grows, the value of such advice that are tailored to your financial goals can not be over-stated.
Finally, Wealthsimple Black clients can invest in a more tax-efficient manner. This is available through
- Tax-efficient funds: You’ll get access to funds that will minimize your taxes. Great for non-registered accounts and even registered accounts (to avoid foreign withholding taxes in TFSAs for example)
- Tax-loss harvesting: Proactively selling your losing investments to offset gains made in the year
Wealthsimple Black clients used to have free Priority Pass membership that grants them access Airport lounges. But the program was discontinued in May, 2020 for both Black and Generation plan clients.
Wealthsimple Generation Review
Wealthsimple Generation is the highest plan for the Wealthsimple robo-advisor service. Clients get access to its additional perks once their deposits, or that of their household, exceed $500,000.
The fees and pricing remain the same as Wealthsimple Black at 0.40%. They also retain all the other benefits and perks of the Basic and Black plans.
In addition, Wealthsimple Generation comes with the following extra perks:
- Dedicated team of advisors
- In-depth financial planning
- Personalized financial report
- Individualized portfolios
- 50% discount on Medcan Comprehensive Health Plan – a $2,353 value
Alternatives to Wealthsimple Black
Wealthsimple Black looks like a great bargain if you’re looking for a low-cost diversified portfolio with some investment advice.
But how does it compare against some of the other alternatives available to Canadians?
Wealthsimple Black vs Questrade (Questwealth Portfolio)
Like Wealthsimple, Questrade also provides a discounted management fee for clients with deposits above $100,000. It’s a 20% discount on the already low fees of 0.25% for a final management fee of just 0.20%.
Questwealth Portfolios also provide tax-loss harvesting, real-time rebalancing and dividend reinvesting. However, the portfolios are actively managed unlike Wealthsimple that uses a passive investment strategy.
Despite this, and interestingly, Questrade still manages to keep the costs of its robo-advisor offering low.
One other obvious difference between Wealthsimple Black and Questrade is the lack of the free financial planning session with Questwealth Portfolios.
Questrade’s fees is just half of those of Wealthsimple. On a portfolio of $100,000, you’ll be paying $200 less. So based on fees alone, Questrade wins.
But fees are just one part of the picture especially as your asset value increases. If you believe you’ll benefit from some financial planning advice, then weigh its value against the cost savings you’ll be getting.
Wealthsimple Black vs Nest Wealth
Nest Wealth is another robo-advisor serving Canadians. They offer their customers a unique pricing model through monthly subscriptions that vary depending on the asset value.
- Under $75,000: – $20 per month
- $75k to under $150k: $40 per month
- $150k and above: $80 per month
That means the management fees is capped at $960 ($80 * 12 months). Even if your deposits get to $1 million, you’ll still pay the same $80/month.
This makes Nest Wealth a cheaper choice compared to Wealthsimple once your deposits exceed $240,000.
For example: With a $500,000 portfolio, you’ll pay just $960 at Nest Wealth, but $2,000 with Wealthsimple Black.
Again, the best one between the two will come down to your personal circumstances – your portfolio value and whether you need the financial planning advice or not.
You also get some financial advice from Nest Wealth, but it’s difficult to compare the value or quality of advice you’ll be getting from either one.
Wealthsimple Black vs Fee-for-service Planners
Fee-for-service planners or Advice-only planners provide unbiased financial and investment advice. They’ll work with their clients to produce comprehensive financial plans, retirement planning, portfolio reviews and many more.
Even for experienced investors, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion about your portfolio. Fee-for-service planners offer this without the potential conflict of interest of financial advisors that are paid commissions to sell you investments.
And they’ll offer more than just investment advice. So anyone could benefit from their services, especially when the portfolio grows to thousands of dollars.
Which one should you choose? Again, it depends on your situation. Compare the fees you’ll pay for either option and the level of advice you need.
Is Wealthsimple Black Safe?
Wealthsimple accounts are held at Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc.
Canadian ShareOwner is their affiliated custodial broker and a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
In the event that ShareOwner becomes insolvent, your investments is protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
In addition, all your financial information is protected using state-of-the-art data encryption.
FAQ: Wealthsimple Black Review
Existing clients with deposits of $100,000 and above will automatically become eligible for the reduced pricing. New clients that fund their account or transfer from other financial institutions will also have access to it if their deposit is more than $100k.
Wealthsimple Black clients get a discounted management fee of 0.40% (0.50% for basic plan). In addition, they’ll receive free financial planning session, access to tax-efficient funds and tax-loss harvesting.
You need a combined deposit of $500,000 in your account and that of your family members. This applies to both new and existing clients.
Wealthsimple Generation get all the benefits of the basic and black plans. Plus in-depth financial planning, personalized financial report, dedicated team of advisors, individualized portfolios and 50% discount on Medcan Comprehensive Health Plan (a $2,353 value).
Wealthsimple Black Review
Wealthsimple Black is for Wealthsimple clients with more than $100,000 in total deposits – both in their individual and joint accounts. The benefits include lower management fees, free financial planning and tax-efficient investing.