What Makes Wealthsimple Different?
Wealthsimple advertises itself as “democratizing”, giving the tools for financial success and independence to everyone. Wealthsimple’s corporate philosophy is focused on allowing everyone to accumulate wealth – or so they say.
The firm wants to make what was once a bastion of esoteric knowledge to an opportunity that everyone can access, regardless of age, education level, or investable income, but they forget to prioritize personal interaction – unless you’ve got the funds and aren’t “basic”.
The Toronto-based company has become especially popular with younger retail investors. It features some investing strategies based on various social causes, from climate change to assuring that Muslim investors can be certain that all of their assets are halal. These are all social causes many online investment platforms are also dedicated to.
Betterment is an example of a platform that offers a Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) portfolio with direct lines of contact to customer service. Trusting your money with a service is no small thing. Sure, Wealthsimple has contact avenues such as a service number and email, but we like how Betterment has real financial planners at-the-ready.
If you visit the Wealthsimple site and navigate over to the Financial Advice category, all you’ll see is a list of portfolio managers with no clear way of booking them, scheduling an appointment, or even seeing their photo – not very reassuring.
- It’s “simple” – It’s not difficult to get started, but you do have to provide your social insurance info and answer some questions that some may prefer to disclose to an actual person to get their portfolio risk assessed.
- Moral Investing – Yep, they do this indeed, but so do a lot of other platforms like Betterment and M1 Finance
- Varying Plans – Whether you have $1 or $1,000,000 to invest in the market, Wealthsimple has a subscription plan for you. But you don’t want to be “basic” and go with the basic plan if you want to be prioritized.
- Management Fees – Betterment and M1 Finance are just two platforms out of the bunch that charge lower fees than Wealthsimple. That’s a big con to a lot of people.
- Lack of Intricate Tools – Wealth”simple” lives up to its name by having a lack of more advanced investment tools.
- Personal Interaction – Unless you have a lot of funds to invest, Wealthsimple does not offer a lot of personal interaction for its users. The company has no physical branches, so you can’t just walk in and sit down with an advisor on a whim. There is a virtual help center, but basic members do not have access to personal financial advisors.
- Retail Roundup– After connecting your credit or debit card to the Wealthsimple application, you can exercise the option to round every purchase you make with a given card to the next dollar. Does this sound like an idea they got from Acorns? Yah, it’s not a groundbreaking feature by Wealthsimple at all.
- Portfolio Advice– All you have to do is upload your most recent portfolio statement, and Wealthsimple’s help center will give professional analysis on your asset ratios, tax efficiency, and how on track you are based on your overall goals and time horizon – but we’re still waiting for a groundbreaking feature that hasn’t been done.
- Fractional Shares– Fractional shares are useful, for sure, but again, where is the originality? Even NFTs have fractional shares now.
Is Wealthsimple Worth It?
Nah, we’ll try our hand with one of the competitors we mentioned like Acorns, which is widely recognized as the first round-up platform.
SRIs are great, but why not go with M1 Finance or Betterment, both of which also have SRIs and have lower management fees?
We saved the best for last. As of 2021, Wealthsimple has basically deserted its U.S. clients. Maybe they sent out notification letters for its U.S.-based clients to vote on the decision – but we doubt it. In other words, if you were one of their clients based in the states, you had no say and had your accounts transferred to Betterment. While we think it’s a good move since Betterment is a more awesome platform, we view it as abandonment.
Why would you choose a platform that can sell off your accounts to another company at the drop of a hat? Trust us, pick Betterment or M1 Finance.