Nest Wealth Review 2021

Nest Wealth Review
  • Annual Account Fees
  • MER Commissions
  • Account Features
  • Customer Service
  • Platform User Experience
  • Overall Banking Convenience
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Nest Wealth Review Summary:

Nest Wealth is one of Canada’s first robo advisors, providing clients with low-cost, low-maintenance investing. They have a unique fee structure that uses flat monthly fees instead of a percentage-based commission.

While Nest Wealth offers a good range of investment accounts and solid investment portfolios, their services are more suited to businesses and financial advisors.

Wealthsimple (our most recommended, and the best Canadian robo-advisor) does everything Nest Wealth does and more, at a lower price point.

Pros

  • Quick and easy to open an account
  • Easy to understand fee structure
  • A selection of 7 excellent ETFs
  • Unlimited support from a portfolio manager

Cons

  • Nest Wealth fees are a worse value for smaller accounts
  • Fees are not all-inclusive
  • Fewer available ETFs than some competitors
  • No socially responsible investment options
  • No mobile app

Nest Wealth is a very decent choice for larger accounts, but there are many better options out there.

See our list of the best Canadian Robo Advisors

Nest Wealth is a digital finance company that was founded in 2014 with the goal of providing “digital wealth solutions for everyone.” In the case of Nest Wealth, “everyone” includes not only individual investors like you or me, but also:

  • Financial institutions
  • Financial advisors and planners
  • Employers who operate group RRSPs and more

Nest Wealth’s choice to focus on multiple niches is a double-edged sword. It means that individual investors don’t get the level of options and flexibility that they would from other robo-advisors like Wealthsimple.

In our Nest Wealth review, we’ll break down all the details on what Nest Wealth is, how it works, and what they do with your money. We’ll lay out the pros and cons of the service and give you a quick look at how it compares to our favourite robo-advisor.

By the end of this article, you should have a solid picture of what Nest Wealth can do for you and your investments.

How Nest Wealth Works

Nest Wealth is based on passive investing. Rather than having you make trades yourself, Nest Wealth does the investing for you based on your personal preferences. You don’t need to be an expert to invest successfully – that’s one reason why we love robo-advisors.

To open an account with Nest Wealth, you’ll need:

  • Your SIN
  • An image of your government-issues photo ID
  • An image of a void cheque

You’ll also complete a couple of questionnaires that determine your financial goals and level of risk tolerance. The entire process should take no more than 10 minutes.

Once you submit your information, Nest Wealth will review your answers and open an account for you within a couple of business days. A portfolio manager is available to answer any questions by phone, text, or email.

You can move money into your Nest Wealth account in several ways:

  • Directly from your bank account
  • Via a cash deposit
  • By transferring funds from another brokerage firm

The portfolio that Nest Wealth creates for you will be tailored to your specific financial goals and attitudes towards risk. If you want to earn income quickly and don’t mind a fair amount of risk, your portfolio will look very different from the one they’ll give you if you’re risk-adverse and looking for somewhere to grow your money slowly and steadily.

Nest Wealth Review: Fees

Nestwealth’s fees are very competitive overall when compared against the best robo advisors out there. You can read our direct comparison to Wealthsimple further down this page and see exactly how they differ.

If you are the tl;dr type, then we can sum it all up by saying Wealthsimple is a better deal for smaller accounts, while the fee structure at Nest Wealth accommodates larger accounts ($325,000 and beyond) much better.

Nest Wealth Annual Fees

Unlike most robo-advisors, which charge a percentage-based commission, Nest Wealth charges a flat monthly fee based on your account balance:

  • Accounts under $10,000 pay a minimum of $5/month
  • $10,000-$75,000 pay $25/month ($300/year)
  • $75,000-$100,000 pay $50/month ($600/year)
  • $150,000 to $325,000 pay $100/month ($1,200/year)
  • Accounts over $325,000 pay $150/month ($1,800/year)

The tiered pricing model can translate to some major, and not always favourable, differences in cost. While accounts over $325,000 can see impressive discounts vs typical robo-advisor fees, smaller accounts end up paying more with Nest Wealth than they would with a percentage-based fee.

Nest Wealth’s fee structure also rewards investors at the upper end of each range. Say you have $76,000 – your $50/month fee would represent more of your total holdings than it would for someone with $99,000.

Trading Fees

When Nest Wealth makes trades to rebalance your portfolio, you’ll incur a trading fee of up to $9.99 per trade.

These fees are added to the monthly fee and are capped at $100 annually per account – but considering that many Canadians have RRSPs, RESPs, and TFSAs, as well as a non-registered investment account, this can add up quickly.

ETF MERs

Finally, ETF management fees aren’t included in the tiered fee structure. These are charged directly by the providers and generally average 0.13% across all robo-advisors.

Nest Wealth Review: Customized Portfolios

Nest Wealth invests your money in ETFs, or Exchange Traded Funds. ETFs are globally diversified, low-cost, and well-balanced collections of investments that make it easy to invest without the added responsibility of picking and choosing stocks yourself. 

Nest Wealth offers 7 ETFs representing a range of asset classes. These funds are:

1.    Vanguard Canadian Short-term Bond Index ETF (VSB)—MER 0.11%

2.    BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG)—MER 0.09%

3.    iShares Canadian Real Return Bond Index ETF (XRB)—MER 0.39%

4.    iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (XIC)—MER 0.05%

5.    iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF (CAD-Hedged) (XSP)—MER 0.10%

6.    iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA)—MER 0.08%

7.    Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ)—MER 0.12%

Nest Wealth will build a personalized portfolio out of these ETFs that matches your risk tolerance and financial goals. As the markets change, they’ll rebalance your portfolio automatically to make sure that it remains a good fit for your preferences.

We’re big fans of ETFs, but a selection of 7 isn’t particularly impressive. Many robo-advisors invest in 10 or more. We also like to see some socially responsible investment options. Nest Wealth doesn’t offer any, which is unfortunate.

The downside of a robo-advisor like Nest Wealth is that you can’t dictate any part of your portfolio selections. With a portfolio exclusively made of ETFs, you’ll miss out on some investments that can provide excellent returns.

If you want to take advantage of the potential for income growth that dividend stocks offer, for example, you’ll have to look elsewhere (you can check out our article about the Best Canadian Dividend Stocks for more information).

That being said, Nest Wealth and other robo-advisors allow you to invest your money even if you know absolutely nothing about the stock market. It’s perfect for someone who’s just starting out or who doesn’t want to go down the rabbit hole of learning the ins and outs of investing (and if you do want to learn, we’ve got articles that can help you out!).

Nest Wealth Account Options

Nest Wealth offers a variety of investment account options. These include the most common investment accounts:

  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)
  • Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)
  • Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)

But also include other options such as:

  • LIRA
  • RRIF
  • Joint Ownership Account
  • Corporate Account
  • Trust Account
  • Cash Account

Note: Nest Wealth does not offer a Registered Disabilities Savings Plan (RDSP).

Nest Wealth Features and Ease of Use

We’ve already discussed how easy it is to begin investing with Nest Wealth. Once you’re all set up, here are some of the features Nest Wealth offers:

Bank-level security

Nest Wealth uses bank-level security encryption to keep your information safe. Your money is held by a custodian institution that’s a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

In addition, Nest Wealth is regulated by the Ontario Securities Commission, which is mandated to protect consumers.

Unlimited Support

Nest Wealth accounts are managed by experienced portfolio managers. Account holders can consult with the Nest Wealth team by phone, text, or email.

Automatic Rebalancing

If the market changes and your portfolio no longer matches your needs, Nest Wealth will automatically rebalance it and bring it back into line with your stated goals.

Nest Wealth Mobile App Review

One area in which Nest Wealth falls far below other robo-advisors is mobile apps. Nest Wealth doesn’t have a mobile app at all. It’s an odd choice for a digital finance company that claims to be a leader in technology, but it’s a fact.

I suggest you read our article about the best stock trading apps in Canada if using your mobile phone while trading is a priority to you.

Nest Wealth vs Wealthsimple

Whenever we review a robo-advisor like Nest Wealth, we like to see how it compares to our most recommended robo-advisor, Wealthsimple

Nest Wealth and Wealthsimple share some great features:

  • They’re easy to apply for
  • They offer a range of investment accounts
  • They customize an ETF portfolio based on your preferences and goals
  • They provide unlimited support and advice.

However, there are some important differences: 

Fee structure: Wealthsimple charges an all-inclusive fee of 0.4-0.5% on all accounts, while Nest Wealth charges a flat fee. We found that Wealthsimple’s fee structure provides better value for accounts under $325,000. If you have a higher balance than that, Nest Wealth’s fees are a much better deal.

ETF options: Nest Wealth has a selection of 7 ETFs to choose from. Wealthsimple has over a dozen ETFs including selections of socially responsible and Halal ETFs, which offers investors options that don’t compromise their values.

Range of services: Nest Wealth offers its individual investors robo-advising only. Meanwhile, Wealthsimple has diversified its services and offers high-interest savings accounts, cryptocurrency investing, commission-free online brokerage (see our list of the best online brokers in Canada for more information), and tax services. For the individual investor, Wealthsimple has a far more robust menu of offerings.

Mobile App: Wealthsimple has a mobile app. In fact, it has two: one for robo-investing and one for DIY trading. Not only does it have apps, it has good ones. If we could make one recommendation for Nest Wealth it would be to develop an app. Not having one is a serious downside.

Our conclusion: while Nest Wealth is a good robo-advisor, it’s lacking in several areas compared to industry leaders. Wealthsimple is our favourite for a reason, and for the everyday investor, it’s still unparalleled. You can read all about Wealthsimple and why we love it in our Wealthsimple Review.

Nest Wealth Review : FAQ

Nest Wealth Review: Our Verdict

The results of our Nest Wealth review are, frankly, mixed.

The good: Nest Wealth is a solid investment platform which offers investors a range of accounts, a portfolio made up of 7 well-diversified ETFs, and unlimited support from a dedicated team of investment advisors.

The bad: other robo-advisors, like Wealthsimple, have similar offerings – or better. Wealthsimple offers more ETF portfolio options at a lower price for all but the wealthiest investors. Wealthsimple also offers a range of other financial services, from DIY investing to tax services.

Given these advantages (did we mention they also have an app?), we can’t currently find any compelling reason to recommend Nest Wealth over them.

Meg

Meg Goodmanson is a writer, editor, virtual assistant, credit card expert, and lifelong learner-of-things. A self-proclaimed nerd, Meg’s favourite thing is collecting information and presenting it in an interesting and helpful way—especially if it helps her travel for free!
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