Wealthsimple and Justwealth are two of the top robo-advisors in Canada, each offering well-crafted products without the high fees of a mutual fund.
Weathsimple Invest, the largest robo-advisor in Canada, is part of a larger suite of services aimed at novice/hands-off investors. Justwealth offers the widest selection of portfolios out of any Canadian robo-advisor and has an innovative customizable RESP. It’s aimed at slightly more experienced customers who have at least $5,000 to invest.
While these two have some key things in common, it’s important to understand just how they differ so you can make the best choice for your own personal investment journey. In this Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth comparison, you’ll find out just how their products compare, what fees you can expect to pay and other key factors to consider before choosing which one might be best for you.
JustWealth vs. Wealthsimple: Quick Comparison
If you’re simply looking for a quick visual side-by-side comparison for Justwealth and Wealthsimple, we’ve got you. The chart below contains all the basic information from our comprehensive review.
0.12% - 0.15% for standard ETFs and 0.21% - 0.23% for responsible options (SRIs)
50 different ETFs from 9 different providers
13 different ETFs (10 standard, 2 SRI, 1 Halal)
$5,000 except for RESPs $500 for students
Over 70 different portfolios engineered to either grow your wealth, generate income, or preserve wealth
A choice of 9 portfolios (3 standard, 3 SRI, 3 Halal)
RRSP, Spousal RRSP, TFSA, LIRA, RRIF, LIF, RESP, Non-registered
RRSP, Spousal RRSP, TFSA, LIRA, RRIF, LIF, RESP, Non-registered
3.25%-8.66% annualized growth
5.3-8.2% annualized growth
All accounts: dedicated portfolio advisor, tax-loss harvesting
Between $50 and $500, depending on deposit
$50 sign-up bonus
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Security and Safety
Both Wealthsimple and Justwealth take their responsibilities seriously. Their custodial organizations (the companies that hold your funds) are regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and their accounts are protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. They both use high-level encryption to protect your information.
Basically, your money and your data are equally safe with either robo-advisor. These companies have been around for years and are both regulated and trustworthy.
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Annual Management Fee
Wealthsimple and Justwealth base their annual fee on the account balance they’re managing, which makes it easy to compare their fees:
Wealthsimple charges accounts under $100,000 0.5% (or up to $500) a year. Accounts over $100,000 pay Wealthsimple 0.4% annually.
Justwealth charges 0.5% for accounts under $500,000 and 0.4% for $500,000+ accounts. Justwealth also has a minimum fee of $4.99 (or $2.50 for RESPs).
What this means for you: if your account is between $100,000 and $500,000, you’ll pay less with Wealthsimple.
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: MER
Each ETF has its own additional management fee, or management expense ratio (MER), which is added on to the company’s annual fees.
Wealthsimple’s MERs average about 0.12-0.15% for standard ETFs and slightly more for socially responsible investments (0.21-0.23%). Combined with the annual fees, a Wealthsimple investor could end up paying 0.62-0.65% in fees each year (up to 0.73% for SRIs).
Justwealth’s SRI options have the same average MER as their standard ETFs: approximately 0.20%. This means that Justwealth account holders pay around 0.60-0.70% total fees, even if they choose SRIs.
The bottom line: If you’re looking at standard investments, Wealthsimple is a better deal, but you pay less for SRIs with Justwealth.
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Sign-up Process
Both Wealthsimple and Justwealth have similar sign-up processes.
You start by inputting your personal information, including your social insurance number. You answer a questionnaire about your finances and investment goals. Then you’re matched with a portfolio that matches your goals, timeline, and level of risk aversion.
Both sites are easy to sign up for, but we prefer Wealthsimple because we find their website cleaner and easier to navigate (more on that later).
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Minimum Balance
Wealthsimple has no minimum balance to begin investing. They’ll invest whatever you put in your account, even if it’s just $5. They’ve made it so anyone can begin investing, even if they don’t have savings.
Meanwhile, Justwealth has a $5,000 minimum balance requirement for all accounts except RESPs. Justwealth’s hefty minimum balance requirement makes them less accessible than Wealthsimple. It’s clear that they’re aiming at a different market, which is fine (although we prefer Wealthsimple’s more inclusive “investing is for anyone” approach)
Your main takeaway here: if you don’t have $5,000 to start with, Justwealth isn’t the service for you. Wealthsimple makes sure that you can start investing with anything.
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Welcome Bonus
Both Justwealth and Wealthsimple are offering a signing bonus for our readers:
Wealthsimple will give you a $50 cash bonus on a $500 minimum deposit.
Justwealth’s bonus is tiered and goes from $50 for a deposit of at least $5,000 to $500 for a deposit of $100,000 or more. They also have a promotion for students and recent graduates: $0 management fees for 6 months, plus a minimum investment of $500 (instead of the usual $5,000).
Again, it’s the $5,000 minimum that really hurts Justwealth here. They’re offering the same bonus for a $5,000 deposit that Wealthsimple is offering for $500. That’s a 1% bonus vs a 10% bonus!
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Account Selection
Both Wealthsimple and Justwealth offer the standard selection of accounts including:
- Spousal RRSP
- Non-registered investment accounts
Justwealth features an innovative, customizable RESP that allows investors to set their education target date. For more details, see our Justwealth Review.
We do like Justwealth’s RESP (and the fact that the minimum balance doesn’t apply!).
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: ETF Selection
Justwealth offers the widest range of ETFs out of any Canadian robo-advisor, clocking in around 50. Wealthsimple has far fewer options: 10 core ETFs, 2 socially responsible investments (SRIs), and one Halal ETF.
Again, this highlights the different niches they’re catering to. Justwealth provides more variety and customization to its customers, while Wealthsimple keeps it simple (see what we did there?). It partly depends whether you want lots of options, or if you just want to invest and not worry about it.
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Portfolio Options
Justwealth offers a very wide and comprehensive range of portfolios, over 60 of them in fact. When you sign up with Justwealth, you’ll let them know what your investment goals are, how much you would like to invest and when, and so on. Once they have your user profile, a dedicated portfolio manager will choose the portfolio best suited for you.
Here are the portfolio categories currently offered:
- Global Growth
- Canadian Growth
- Education Target Date
Within each category you will find a range of options, from conservative portfolios to maximum growth portfolios, and even tax-efficient options.
The process for choosing a Wealthsimple portfolio is pretty much the same. The main difference here lies in the fact that Wealthsimple has considerably fewer portfolio options.
Here’s a list of Wealthsimple portfolios currently on offer:
The winner here depends on what you’re looking for. Justwealth offers more customization, but we feel that Wealthsimple’s basic templates are enough for most passive investors.
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Performance
Comparing account returns between companies can be a challenge because there are factors that are hard to factor in. Wealthsimple says “Expected returns are impossible to predict and out of your (and our) control,” and they’re right. You can find their official line and their explanation of why tracking past returns is unhelpful here.
However, we dug a little deeper and found the information we needed. A model Wealthsimple “Growth” portfolio has grown by around 8% per year. A sample “Conservative” portfolio from the same section has an annualized growth rate of around 4%.
Justwealth has no problem showing readers detailed performance stats. Returns on their Global Portfolios range from just over 3.25% for one Conservative Growth portfolio to 8.66% for their most aggressive growth portfolios. You can find details about all of Justwealth’s many portfolios here.
We agree with Wealthsimple that monitoring past returns is not the be-all and end-all. All robo-advisors invest in the same basic manner – using an index investing strategy. Slight differences in returns aren’t likely to reflect anything other than a tracking error or slight difference in allocation.
Even in the case of this post, the numbers are misleading. While a 3.25% rate of growth seems small, it was for a newer portfolio with ETFs that happened to be in a slump when Justwealth launched it (it’s been improving ever since). If you look at the performance data as a whole (remember that Justwealth has 60+ portfolios to look at), it’s clear that nearly all Justwealth’s portfolios clock in at around the same level of returns as Wealthsimple does.
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Mobile App and Platform
Wealthsimple’s award-winning app and website user interface are streamlined, clean, and easy to use. The app allows you to contact your advisor instantly, add funds, watch your asset allocation, and monitor your portfolio’s performance.
Meanwhile, Justwealth’s website interface is among the least appealing designs we’ve seen, and they have no mobile app at all (why is this still a thing in 2023?). This is a major downside and just one of the reasons we prefer Wealthsimple.
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Perks
Wealthsimple has optional services that allow you to invest your spare change and invest any surplus money in your bank accounts. They also have tiers of service for their $100,000 and $500,000+ clients, including tax-loss harvesting and financial advising.
Justwealth offers all account holders a dedicated portfolio advisor, plus tax-loss harvesting, which is fantastic. But, that being said, they don’t give clients with larger accounts any increased perks.
We appreciate Wealthsimple’s attention to detail and additional perks. We do need to point out that they don’t offer tax-loss harvesting until the $100,000 level, which is unfortunate. It’s never too early to reduce your tax burden!
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Additional Services
Justwealth is robo-advising, pure and simple, and doesn’t offer any other services, but Wealthsimple is an umbrella company offering many financial services, including:
- Wealthsimple Trade (commission-free DIY trading)
- Wealthsimple Crypto (cryptocurrency investing)
- Wealthsimple Cash (high-interest savings account)
- Wealthsimple Tax (tax filing service).
It’s perfectly normal to have a Wealthsimple Invest account for passive income growth and a Trade account for DIY trading on the side, and that’s exciting. We appreciate Wealthsimple’s expanded range of services, but if you’re only looking for robo-advising, it may not make a difference to you.
Wealthsimple vs. Justwealth: Customer Service
Customer service seems equal between Wealthsimple and Justwealth. They both have a support team of Portfolio Managers with a fiduciary duty to give advice with clients’ best interests at heart. Their support teams are reachable by chat and email (24/7), or phone (within business hours).
Wealthsimple’s app gives clients instant access to support, which is one advantage. The easier it is for clients to get help, the better!
Wealthsimple or Justwealth: The Verdict
When it comes down to choosing the best robo-advisor in Canada, you can’t really do better than Wealthsimple.
Justwealth has some definite strengths, such as offering a wider range of portfolios and can help save you money with tax-loss harvesting as soon as you start investing.
Although Justwealth comes in at a close second, the fact that you need a minimum investment of $5,000 is a barrier for some to be able to begin their investment journey in the first place.
With Wealthsimple, you can start investing as soon as you open your account, no minimum balance needed. Not only that, but the ease of use of its website and app make investing easy and convenient. To top it off, you’ll get all of this at a lower MER than you would with Justwealth.
If you would like to learn more before choosing Wealthsimple as your robo-advisor, check out the full Wealthsimple Review.
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