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First off, this is an account of my personal journey with Wealthsimple and Wealthsimple Trade. I am in no means offering financial advice here. 🙂
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Wealthsimple Trade Review – Overview
Released in March 2019, Wealthsimple Trade boasts being the first Canadian, self directed investing app to hit the market that offers $0 commission trades.
That’s right, without paying any commission fees for trading or management fees, Wealthsimple Trade offers investors the ability to buy and sell thousands of stocks on Canadian and U.S exchanges right through your phone.
This is significant because before the introduction of Wealthsimple Trade, the closest thing Canadians had to $0 commission trades was low fee trading offered by a discount broker such as Questrade or Interactive Brokers.
The platform enables investors to easily open a TFSA or RRSP investment account and more supported account options might be added in the future.
This accessibility is a cornerstone of a company that has prized itself in making investing of all varieties more accessible.
Personally, the barrier to entry to any kind of investing was daunting.
That was until I heard about Wealthsimple and all of its different investment service offerings available to grow my money.
After initially learning about the company’s automated long term investing product and enjoying the experience, I wanted to jump into investing in individual stocks and was glad that Wealthsimple was offering me just the product to start investing my money into a my own custom portfolio.
As someone who has been using the Wealthsimple Invest product for the past year, I wanted to begin to invest in stocks and make ETF purchases on my own.
I find it fascinating!
I started researching different trading platforms, and there were some comments on forums alluding to the Robinhood app, which also does not charge any trading commission fees being available in Canada, but that was incorrect and Canadians don’t have access yet.
While searching for investing platforms, another name that I continuously came across in various reviews was Wealthsimple Trade, which had a great value proposition for self directed investing, such as offering commission free trading.
I signed up for a Wealthsimple Trade investment account and started playing around with the app.
After spending time using the trade app and testing out different features, I decided to create this Wealthsimple Trade review, to help others learn more about the platform
I found it to have a streamlined interface allowing me to filter through thousands of stocks and monitor the ones that I was interested in and then decide if I wanted to allocate some of my money to them.
I was able to track and organize stocks and ETFs based on their performance.
I was also able to clearly track the account balance in in my TFSA and RRSP accounts to prevent me from over-contributing to either account.
The trade app also provided me with various investing options.
For instance, I could choose whether to purchase a stock once the price had reached my ‘limit’ per stock or to choose the number of shares to buy.
Not only that, I could add money as easily as with my Wealthsimple Invest portfolio.
Here is an app that provides the ‘training wheels’ for rookie investors like myself to learn the ropes of trading stocks and ETFs, and to see if this is really for me.
However, I can see that this app does have limits when compared to some of the more formal brokerage service companies.
Although there is information provided about the individual stocks and ETFs, it is limited, meaning I need to gather information from other trading platforms at the same time.
Markets and stock prices fluctuate in the blink of an eye so the more information I have available, the better decisions I believe I can make.
Unfortunately, while using Wealthsimple Trade I realized that the platform does not offer in-depth analytics/market research tools
or real time stock quotes.
Update Spring 2021: The Wealthsimple Trade Premium offering which costs $3 per month now has real-time snap quotes!
It appears that Wealthsimple has paying close attention to what people are saying because as of December 2020, your Wealthsimple Trade account has access to an easy to use and intuitive web platform that you can access with your computer.
Currently, investors have desktop access to open new trade accounts and make deposits and withdrawals.
However, according to Wealthsimple, the desktop access will improve to include the following capabilities, so stay tuned!
- Seamlessly switch between your WS Trade and WS Invest accounts
- Review your investment portfolio holdings, earnings graphs and security information.
- The ability to submit market, limit, and stop-limit orders
- Manage deposits, withdrawals and institutional transfers through bank accounts (e.g. TFSA and RRSP)
Entering the Wealthsimple Ecosystem
Wealthsimple has come a long way from simply being another one of the robo advisors you hear about that are focused on long-term, automated investing.
Its flagship product, WS Invest appealed to me, the first time investor, and I have stuck with it since.
In fact, I’m glad that the company has branched out to offer self directed investing, to further service the many financial interests its users / investors may want to explore, without having to worry about management fees charged by robo advisors.
And the platform has not stopped there.
If opening a Wealthsimple Trade account is the first financial product that you are considering, you also have a much larger variety of offerings to explore using the company’s robo advisor service.
Recent products such as Wealthsimple Cash which is like a savings account that you can withdraw from for Wealthsimple, as well as Simple Tax, for tax filing, have made this organization into a real competitor against traditional banks and discount brokerage.
Overall, Wealthsimple offers a platform for individual stock investing, longer-term robo-investments, a hybrid savings/chequing account, a Visa debit card coming soon and it’s even offering tools to help with tax prep.
The full toolkit Wealthsimple currently offers:
- Wealthsimple Invest
- Wealthsimple Trade
- Wealthsimple Cash
- Visa debit card (Coming Soon!)
- Simple Tax
Although they do not consider themselves a bank, Wealthsimple is branching out into providing more and more financial services to its users.
And although it does have its gripes with not having a completely integrated portfolio with one account for its users to access all investment products, things look like they will eventually change.
When I first started using WS Invest, it was the only product on the market by this up-and-coming robo advisor.
Now, it is creating its own ecosystem and we can expect more and better offerings by the service as Wealthsimple will likely try to further gain market share.
Signing up for a Wealthsimple Trade Account
The Wealthsimple Trade sign-up process is simple and the app is easy to use, which creates a seamless user experience for investors.
The platform supports a few different accounts including a TFSA or RRSP.
Just like the original Wealthsimple Invest app, Trade requires two factor authentication, a password and a security code sent to your phone via text message, each time you sign in.
The Trade app provides the same security for its users.
Not only that, your Wealthsimple Trade accounts are also backed by the 256-bit encryption key that the robo advisor service accounts use, as a gold standard for protection.
Depositing is a simple process where you connect a bank account (TFSA or RRSP) and transfer money.
In my case it was my checking account from my brick-and-mortar bank.
Once I completed the deposit process, Wealthsimple Trade requires a three business day settling time, before the money is available.
Update Spring 2021: You can now deposit $250 every three business days instantly and $1,000 if you have a Premium Subscription.
To note, all funds in your accounts are grouped together.
This includes dividends made on previous trades and deposits as well as money not already committed to a transaction.
Therefore, initially your deposit will be in the “currently not available” field and will be moved to the “available to trade” section once the settling period has transpired.
Executing a Trade
The most crucial aspect of the app, actually trading, is very simple.
Once you’ve decided which company’s shares, what quantity and what means to purchase (market buy, limit buy, specific limit buy) you click buy and your new purchase is locked in at the market rate shown.
Of course, there is a two day settling period until the transaction is fully completed.
Now, there is a disclaimer that the stock quotes have a 15-minute delay.
This is a rolling 15-minute delay, so every minute the data is updated to that of what it was 15 minutes prior.
Since Wealthsimple Trade does not offer real time quotes, when you ‘market buy’ you’re not exactly ‘market-buying’.
When you ‘market buy’, there is up to a 15 minute delay on the price you are currently seeing for the security.
However, the price you are paying for the security is the actual real-time price (which you don’t see).
To protect from any large changes, Wealthsimple adds a 5% collar to all ‘market buy’ orders.
Meaning, if the price of the security you saw in the Wealthsimple Trade app is up by more than 5%, the order will not execute.
Update Spring 2021: While the above is still true if you have a normal Wealthsimple Trade subscription, upgrading to their Premium tier at $3/month enables real-time snap quotes.
Price of security in the Wealthsimple mobile app is $50
Price of security in real-time has jumped to $53
Since the increase is greater than 5%, this market buy order will not execute.
While Wealthsimple has an obligation to execute your trades at the best prices possible, the 5% collar is a means to solve drastic price changes that are unforeseen to users due to the delay in the data feed.
Fees and Minimums
Commission free trades, no account fees, and no minimums.
Wealthsimple makes it easy for diy investors like myself, who are new to individual investments, get into the market.
They will also reimburse any transfer fees you incur on trasnfers larger than $5,000
However, to note, many of the stocks I was thinking of purchasing were on US markets and therefore denominated in USD.
Unfortunately, Wealthsimple does not offer a USD trades account to hold your money, so you will need to convert to and from USD each time you buy and sell stocks that are listed on US exchanges, for which Wealthsimple charges a 1.5% fee.
The fee is not out of the normal for financial institutions, however we’ll discuss the USD concept more later on.
Wealthsimple Trade vs Questrade
|Promotion:||$30 cash bonus||$50 in free trades|
|Commissions: Stocks||$0||1 cent per share
Min $4.95 to Max $9.95
|Commissions: Options||N/A||$9.95 per trade + $1 per contract|
|Commissions: ETFs||$0||Buying is free
Selling is the same price as stocks
|Investment Types||Stocks, ETFs, & cryptocurrency through WS Crypto||Options, Stocks, ETFs, FX, IPOs, Bonds, CFDs, GICs, Mutual Funds, & more|
|Account Types||TFSA, RRSP, & non registered accounts||TFSA, RRSP, Margin, RESP, LIRA, Forex, Corporate, non registered accounts|
|Account Currencies||CAD||CAD & USD|
|Desktop App||Recently released||Yes|
|Advanced Data Streams & Research Tools||Limited||Various research, trading, and monitoring tools available|
|Account Protection||CIPF up to $1 million||CIPF + Private Insurance up to $10 million|
|Learn More at Wealthsimple.com||Learn More at Questrade.com|
As someone who has already used Wealthsimple’s robo advisor, using the same platform for individual stock trading is something that I’ve always wanted to look into and Wealthsimple Trade provided me with this opportunity without having to worry about a portfolio management fee!
Colleagues I’ve discussed with have critiqued Wealthsimple Trade in comparison to stock trading platforms such as Questrade.
While the reviews were mainly positive, some things that came up were not having the option of a full desktop app as well as the fact that trades get executed at a price different from what you see on screen, requiring them to toggle between another platform to see the live price if they so please.
In comparison, the low cost Canadian discount broker, Questrade has built up its reputation over 20 years by offering low fees and great customer service as stated by many reviews.
Questrade offers investors access to a comprehensive desktop app and a mobile stock trading app.
The firm also provides access to advanced stock market data streaming services and trading tools.
It is important to note that some of these tools are available at an additional cost, and while Questrade offers low cost trading compared to your traditional bank, they do not offer zero fees on stock purchases like Wealthsimple Trade does.
If you are a more advanced investor who is looking to purchase a wider range of assets such as options and you are looking to take advantage of premium trading and market research tools, and additional account types beyond the traditional TFSA and RRSP, then a discount brokerage service provider such as Questrade is definitely worth checking out.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t count Wealthsimple Trade out as your primary stock trading platform by any means – the platform will continue to evolve and grow as seen with the introduction of their desktop platform which is continuously being updated/
And while Wealthsimple Trade currently has no competition in the Canadian market at the moment, I’m sure it won’t be long before other platforms like the ever so popular Robinhood make it north of the border.
Interface and Usability
Wealthsimple Trade provides a pretty good charting feature so you can see the fluctuation in price of a certain stock over various periods of time, from the day or week, to several months and years.
This helpful when looking to buy and sell stocks because it allows you to get a good holistic sense of the price and a glimpse of the behaviour of the particular security that you’re looking at.
The platform also organizes thousands stocks by category, by recent performance, as well as those that are poor-performing, giving me a simple way to navigate through the thousands of stocks available.
Also, when it comes to a particular stock or ETF purchases, the user has different investing options to choose how they want to purchase.
As prices for stocks continuously fluctuate, the options to choose between market buying, stop limit buying, and limit buying give you some choice in an effort to help you get the shares at the price you wish.
Wealthsimple Trade product offers the same high security, 256-bit, encryption key that is used to secure your assets on its other products.
It’s great to know that you can access your financial assets with a mobile app.
It also makes me feel a bit skeptical.
Luckily, Wealthsimple takes security seriously and has used this extensive encryption key to protect from malicious harm.
Wealthsimple Trade is also a division of Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc.
Couple that with the two factor authentication system that text messages a verification code to you, along with the option for biometric login and you should be pretty comfortable.
Lack of USD Trades Account
As eluded to above, although Wealthsimple Trade works with both Canadian and U.S exchanges, it lacks a USD based account to hold funds.
So while other discount brokerages and the banks will allow you to have a CAD account and USD account, Wealthsimple Trade only has a USD account.
So regardless of the institution you using for your trading accounts, you’ll pay a currency conversion fee, however with Wealthsimple Trade you are forced to convert the USD to CAD when you sell your investments.
If you sold shares today and wanted to buy US listed stocks and ETFs after a few days, you would again need to convert CAD to USD to buy them.
While you don’t have to worry about paying a trading fee, if you buy and sell US equities, you’re getting hit with the 1.5% conversion fee, plus you’re converting currency at whatever the market rate may be, which may not be ideal for your situation.
At a brokerage that offers both a CAD and USD account, you could sell your USD investments and hold the USD in a USD account, which you could use later on to buy USD investments again.
The conversion from CAD to USD and USD to CAD only needs to happen once, whenever you’re comfortable doing so.
- For the beginner level investors, Wealthsimple provides a simple and intuitive platform that’s easy to use, allowing you to get started on your investing journey.
- For those who are also members of the Wealthsimple Invest platform, the Wealthsimple Trade investing platform is good way to take some control into your own hands.
- No trading fee and no minimums: Knowing that each investment transaction isn’t being charged a $9.99 per trade fee is a sigh of relief.
- Security: A password, texted login code, and if you chose, a biometric marker (fingerprint) to access your profile.
- Once you get going, you have the option to place the dividends from your investments into registered accounts such as an RRSP or TFSA for tax-breaks or let them remain in one of your non registered accounts
- No unified single sign on account / profile where investors can see all of their Wealthsimple products in one glance (I also use Wealthsimple Invest)
- No USD currency investment accounts, so if you’re not buying and holding for the long term, this may pose a challenge for you
- 15 minute delay on stock prices may be a no-go for some. I’m alright with it, as I know their 5% collar will stop things from getting out of hand and I think I would always try to use limit buy anyways. (Spring 2021 Premium Subscription release now offers real-time snap quotes)
Wealthsimple Trade is AN option for a certain type of investor.
This beginner level investor who is new to the market, like myself will benefit the most from a no frills platform such as WS Trade.
They are just getting started investing on their own.
They are not yet willing to pay trading fees that come with a more in-depth analysis of stocks and greater related information through traditional banking platforms such as TD Direct Investing. (A lot of that information probably means nothing to a lot of beginners like myself).
The lack of USD investment accounts is unfortunate but that’s okay because as a beginner starting in CAD currency and on the CAD market for now is a good place to learn the ropes.
Additionally, you still have the ability to access both Canadian and U.S exchanges.
All in all, WS Trade is a great $0 commissions trading platform for new investors to get started on, however I’d like to reiterate that this is not financial and if you are still unsure what platform is best for you, feel free to consult a professional and/or take a look at a couple more trading platform reviews before you make your decision!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Wealthsimple trade legit?
Yes, WS Trade is 100% legitimate. It is a platform provided by the well-known Canadian company Wealthsimple. Moreover, it is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor’s Protection Fund (CIPF), meaning that accounts up to $1,000,000 have protection against insolvency (not market volatility). The company also overs very prompt customer service to answer any questions and solve any issues you run into.
How does Wealthsimple trade make money?
Wealthsimple Trade earns most of its revenue by charging a 1.5% currency conversion fee for CAD to USD and USD to CAD conversion. They also plan on adding more premium offerings to the platform that will require fees to use, so stay tuned. It’s also worth nothing that Wealthsimple Trade is one piece of a very large company (Wealthsimple) that offers many other investment products and services that generate revenue.
What is the difference between Wealthsimple and Wealthsimple Trade?
Wealthsimple Trade offers $0 commission trades and allows you full control to buy stocks and ETFs without worrying about being charged trading fees.
In contrast, Wealthsimple (known as Wealthsimple Invest) allows you to grow your money based on your goals and risk appetite with the help of an experienced portfolio manager who has control over your investments.
Does Wealthsimple Trade charge fees?
No, Wealthsimple Trade does NOT charge fees. There are absolutely no fees charged to your trading account when you buy or sell stocks and ETFs. Additionally, there are also no account-minimums, so you can easily create an account and get comfortable with the platform before you decide to transfer money into it. You will also be reimbursed transfer fees on any deposits you make that are greater than $5,000.
Can I day trade on Wealthsimple?
Yes, you can participate in day trading on the Wealthsimple Trade platform. It is important to note that while it is possible, it is not encouraged by the company. Furthermore, there are also tax implications associated with day trading, so if this is something you are looking to get into, it’s definitely worth learning about all relevant regulations and tax rules.
Is Wealthsimple good for beginners?
Yes, Wealthsimple is great for beginners. They offer many free resources such as videos and informational guides to help you learn more about taking control of your personal finances and investments. Additionally, WS Trade and WS Invest, are both fairly to use platforms with the varying degrees of control over your investments making them perfect for different levels of comfort.
How do I withdraw money from Wealthsimple?
1. Login to your trading account
2. Click “funding” near the top left of your profile and then click “Withdraw Funds”
3. Choose your account and enter the value you’d like to withdraw
4. Click “Set Withdrawal”
If you have additional questions, you can reach out to the Wealthsimple customer support team on their web site.