The world of investments has been an exciting place over the last few years, primarily due to one thing – robo-advisors. Canadians pay some of the highest fees in the world for investing services. Lowering your fees can help you save a lot of money in the long-run. Saving on fees can be a big boost to the size of your investment portfolio, which helps you hit your investing goals such as retirement, buying a home, or funding a child’s education.
What is a robo-advisor?
A robo-advisor builds a portfolio based upon your risk tolerance, financial goals and personal situation. Robo-advisors use low-cost ETFs, leading-edge technology, and sophisticated computer investment models to offer Canadians sophisticated wealth management services without minimum account sizes and high fees.
One of the companies on the cutting edge of this new investing trend is Nest Wealth. They offer non-registered investment accounts, RRSPs (both individual and spousal ones), TFSAs, RESPs, LIRAs, and RRIFs – essentially, they have accounts for almost every Canadian’s need.
Nest Wealth Review
Nest Wealth was founded in the year 2014 by (current CEO) Randy Cass, one of the first robo-advisors in Canada. Nest Wealth works with two custodians – National Bank Independent Network (NBIN) which is a subsidiary of one of the National Bank (one of the largest banks in Canada), and Fidelity Clearing Canada ULC (FCC).
When you open an account with Nest Wealth and fund your account, your funds are held with these two custodians are insured by CIPF which covers individual accounts for up to $1,000,000. A unique value proposition at Nest Wealth is that each account opened is unique (which is why you need to chat with one of the advisors on the team when opening an account) and is treated as such by offering a custom portfolio built for you using ETFs.
Let’s start by looking at the Nest Wealth fees. Most people are initially interested in a robo-advisor like Nest Wealth for the lower fees. When presented with the potential impact fees can have on your investment portfolio, a low-fee solution can seem pretty compelling. While most robo-advisors in Canada are charging a percentage fee on your account balance, Nest Wealth charges a fixed amount (that is potentially lower than your monthly cellphone bill). Based on your portfolio size, Nest Wealth fees are between $20 to $80 per month.
- For a portfolio of up to $75,000, you pay only $20 per month.
- For a portfolio of more than $75,000 but less than $150,000, you pay $40 per month.
- For a portfolio of more than $150,000, you pay $80 per month.
These fees can be hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars less than what you pay for a comparable portfolio of mutual funds (depending on your portfolio size). If you want to see what the fee difference would be for you, Nest Wealth has a mutual fund fee calculator available right on their homepage.
Historically, personalized wealth management services were available, but they were limited to people with huge portfolios. This was typically due to the cost and work involved. Now that technology has caught up with the investment industry there are a few different features available only to a larger portfolio (such as tax-efficient asset allocation), but all portfolios get a similar set of basic features:
- Creation of a portfolio customized to your investment goals, timeline, and circumstances
- Diversified asset allocation within your investment portfolio
- Consistent monitoring of your portfolio
- Automated portfolio rebalancing based on your individual asset allocation
- Support from a registered advisor
- Transparent fee and performance reporting available online
Considering that you might be paying as little as $20 per month, that doesn’t sound like a bad deal at all.
While there are no guarantees when it comes to investment performance, there is research that suggests a diversified, risk-balanced, passive all-index fund portfolio is likely to outperform an actively managed mutual fund portfolio. Essentially, while you might come for the low-fees, you stay for the low-fees and performance. Not a bad combo.
The account setup experience was surprisingly easy. Start-to-finish it appears to take about 15-20 minutes to open a Nest Wealth account. However, be sure to have your banking information, employer address, photo ID, and other items handy. I wasn’t completely prepared for how easy the application would be, so it took me longer than necessary.
Once you’re finished signing up, it takes Nest Wealth about three days to process your account paperwork, and then you’re ready to go. Before they can approve your account, a Nest Wealth representative will reach out to chat with you about your savings needs, and set you up with an account. If you have any questions, post them in the comment section. And if you’re ready to start investing, try Nest Wealth free for three (3) months.
Should I Use Nest Wealth?
I put my details into the Nest Wealth investment calculator and based on their estimates, choosing Nest Wealth over a portfolio of mutual funds could help me earn $253,963 more for retirement, or help me retire six years earlier. For investing 20 minutes of time, that seems like a pretty good rate of return if all those assumptions work out.