Best Robo Advisors in Canada: Reviewing the Benefits of Using a Hybrid Approach

You can find some of the best robo advisors in Canada, as Canadians like to use today’s technology to stay ahead with their investments.

So, from which companies should you seek guidance?

Let’s review three of the best robo advisors – companies that offer a hybrid model when investing.

Wealthsimple – The Biggest Robo-Advisor in Canada

You cannot review Canadian Robo-advisors without reviewing Wealthsimple, the biggest and most popular robo-advisor in Canada. There is a reason for this distinction.

How Wealthsimple Invests

Wealthsimple offers socially responsible investment (SRI) options allowing investors to select from 3 risk-weighted SRI portfolios. These portfolios highlight six exchange traded funds (ETFs), all which pare down companies according to social, environmental and corporate governance and performance. Therefore funds avoid companies that focus on weapons, tobacco, or fossil fuels.

A Shariah-compliant Portfolio for Islamic Investors

Moreover, Wealthsimple offers a portfolio that is Shariah-compliant, or one that follows Islamic law. Fifty stocks are screened by a committee of Shariah scholars. This portfolio avoids specific companies, many of which are involved in alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and gambling. In addition, companies that make substantial earnings from interest on loans are not included in the portfolio.

Islamic investors who have a lower risk tolerance are advised to hold a part of their portfolio in cash, as investing in interest-bearing assets is forbidden under Islamic law. Interest bearing instruments would include bonds.

Wealthsimple’s Basic Offerings

It is easy to get started using Wealthsimple, as the company offers a basic offering that starts out with a $0 account minimum. The service includes amenities, such as the following:

  • A roundup feature allows the customer to add spare change to his or her account by linking a debit or credit card. The money is included every week as a debit to the customer’s bank account.
  • A portfolio review is included where an analyst checks your allocations – fees, time horizon, and tax efficiency, discussing the findings. (Customers can always get support from financial plaanners to get a clearer understanding of investing, so they can meet their financial and investment objectives.
  • Free automated deposits
  • Dividend reinvestment
  • A Smart Savings account is provided for money that is considered for short-term savings, carrying an interest rate of 1.83%.
  • Purchases of fractional shares allows investors to start making their money work for them right away instead of waiting to buy a full share.
  • Instant rebalancing 


While you don’t have to open a Wealthsimple account for a specific amount, the firm does charge higher account management fees. The company assesses 0.50% on balances under $100,000 and 0.40% on accounts above that amount.

Who Should Use It?

Anyone who wishes to invest in stocks or ETFs and wishes to direct their money toward companies that are environmentally or socially responsible will like Wealthsimple’s offerings. For anyone who truly wants to make investing simple, Wealthsimple lives up to its name.

Questwealth Portfolios

Questwealth Portfolios represents Questrade’s robo-advisory section – a trading service rebranded from Questrade IQ. While most robo-advisors are fully automated, Questwealth also takes a traditional approach and uses portfolio managers to decide what ETFs to buy and sell. The company also makes sure your portfolio is balanced to meet market conditions. So, this robo-advisor allows you to experience a bit of a human touch when trading.

By using portfolio managers, the company allows investors to stay on top of their stock accounts just about anytime, beyond a set schedule. That is why Questwealth is a standout competitor in the marketplace.

How Questwealth Invests

Questwealth follows a hybrid investing approach. Its portfolios are designed and based on both diversification and passive management. This model allows conservative investors to experience long-term and stable gains.

Besides this method, the robo-advisor firm actively manages accounts, again using human portfolio specialists to rebalance positions and sell securities. This type of approach is more closely aligned with the practice management of a mutual fund.

Methods of Investment

Because it employs passive management, Questwealth can create more wealth for its customers. Research shows that this approach is the best way to build long-term wealth gradually.

Among Questwealth’s five portfolios, you can choose a portfolio that best meets your tolerance for market risk. The portfolios highlight EFTs featured across a variety of asset classes.


You will like the fees associated with Questwealth, as the are extremely affordable, and are designated as follows:

  • ETF fees – 0.13%
  • First $99,000 – 0.25%
  • Over $100,000 – 0.20%

The Minimum Investment

To take part in the program, you need a minimum of $1000 to invest. If you are a non-registered stockholder, your management fees are tax-deductible.

Questwealth’s Product Line

Questwealth features single and joint non-registered margin and cash accounts, plus registered RRSP, TFSA, LIRA, RIFF, LIFF, and spousal RRSP accounts.

Brief Recap

Questwealth features the lowest fees in the market and follows a hybrid passive and active model. People who use the products can contribute to socially responsible portfolios.

Who Should Use It?

Choose this robo advisor if you want to save on fees and wish to invest in securities that represent environmental conscientiousness and sustainability.


This robo-advisor lives up to its name, as clients really do focus on building wealth when using an innovative technology of this type. However, JustWealth wants to stand out from the crowd, as they also want, like Questweatlth,to have humans, not bots, interact with their clients.

The company wants its customers to feel like using a robo-advisor can be a technologically sound approach but also more personal. This set-up appeals to investors who may be switching from a mutual fund to algorithm investing. It helps them slowly transition in using the technology.

Investment Approach

JustWealth’s approach toward investing differentiates itself from other robo-advisors, like Questwealth, which usually feature 5 portfolio models. Justwealth provides 60 portfolio choices, using a traditional passive management and buy-and-hold method.

How the Company Divides Its Portfolio Classes

The company features six primary categories, representing the following:

  • Global growth
  • Income
  • Canadian growth
  • Educational target date
  • Social responsible
  • USD

Each of the 6 options highlights 10 selections. While having this large range of choices is certainly interesting, it does not necessarily guarantee better market performance.

How JustWealth’s Robo-Advisor Supports Long-term Planning

The use of a robo-advisor can really help you balance things out, regardless of your portfolio choice. For instance, as the portofolio ages, an equity-income mix maximizes growth while rebalancing minimizes losses and preserves your capital.

For example, the education target date portfolio’s algorithm balances your holdings so you can realize a 100% fixed income balance when your child begins college. Everything is done automatically for you.

JustWealth’s 60 model portfolios span over various asset classes featuring ETFs. The company uses 29 ETFs, giving them different weightings to meet the risk tolerances of its investors.


JustWealth’s fees are listed as follows:

  • To open up an account, you need $5,000 for all non-RESP accounts
  • A transfer out ranges from $50 to $150 
  • The management fee for non-registered users is tax-deductible
  • The first $500,000 is assessed 0.50% with a minimum of $4.99 monthly
  • Over $500,000 – 0.40%
  • The average ETF fee is assessed at 0.20%

Who Should Use It?

Given all the portfolios offered and the company’s educational target date portfolio, this robo-advisor company is ideal for anyone interested in investing in their children’s education. The company’s offerings also appeal to those who are extremely selective when building a portfolio

Account Types

Both single and joint non-registered margin and cash accounts are welcome. Plus, the robo-advisor firm offers a full offering of registered accounts, including RRSP, spousal RRSP, TFSA, LIFF, RIFF, and LIRA.


If you have over $100,000 to invest, you can customize your ETF portfolio for meeting your financial goals.

Frequently Asked Questions about Robo-Investing

When you invest manually or use an algorithm, such as a robo-advisor, you will hear the term asset allocation used frequently. What does this term mean?

Asset allocation represents an investment approach that distributes an investor’s money among the assets in a portfolio, based on risk tolerance. For example, a younger investor has a higher tolerance for risk than an investor over 60 years old.

In this scenario, a portfolio manager may choose to invest a far higher percentage of money into stocks (which are more volatile) and a much lower percentage into bonds (which is more stable) for the younger investor. The algorithm rebalances the portfolio to meet the risk tolerance of the investor and what he or she has allocated in their portfolio.

What are ETFs?

ETF is the abbreviation for Exchange Traded Fund. Most ETFs monitor an index of assets, including commodities, stocks, and bonds. A standard ETF is not designed to outperform its chosen index. It merely is used replicate an Index’s performance. In turn, the investor can see moderate and conservative returns.

What are no-load mutual funds?

When you use a robo-advisor, you can choose to direct your money into a no-load mutual fund, also known as an F-Class fund. This share class allows you to invest without paying a commission on the purchase price. However, there are some ongoing costs, which can vary for each fund.

What Is a Hybrid Approach?

This approach to investing in stocks or ETFs combines the automatic algorithm of a robo-advisor with the advice of a traditional financial advisor. The best robo-advisors try to mix better-performing stocks with ETFs to reflect better returns – returns that beat the market occasionally.

Final Thoughts

If you want to make sure your long-term investment goals are met and you have a balanced portfolio, it pays to use a robo-advisor to ensure lower risk and higher returns. The above three mentioned companies offer both technological and human support to give you the best of both worlds.

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Smarter Loans Staff

The Smarter Loans Staff is made up of writers, researchers, journalists, business leaders and industry experts who carefully research, analyze and produce Canada's highest quality content when it comes to money matters, on behalf of Smarter Loans. While we cannot possibly name every person involved in the process, we collectively credit them as Smarter Loans Writing Staff. Our work has been featured in the Toronto Star, National Post and many other publications. Today, Smarter Loans is recognized in Canada as the go-to destination for financial education, and was named the "GPS of Fintech Lending" by the Toronto Star in 2019.