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The best robo-advisors in Canada for 2024

Robo-advisors use technology to grow your money, help you save on fees, and take the work out of investing. The cost of a robo-advisor depends upon which firm you go with and what services you use. Below is a comparison table of some of Canada’s best robo-advisors. The table below lists robo-advisors and their account minimum deposits, ETF management fees, and annual management fees.


Wealthsimple Invest

Expertly designed portfolios built for long-term success.

Managed investing tailored for your growth.

Simple, low cost portfolios with access to dedicated advice when needed.

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0.50% on $100K
0.40% on $100K+

Administrative transfer fees are reimbursed when you transfer $5,000+ from your bank or other brokerage.

Average MER

0.40 - 0.50%

Frequently asked questions

Should you use a robo-advisor instead of a financial advisor?

What are robo-advisor fees?

What is a good robo-advisor fee?

Are robo-advisors insured?

Is a robo-advisor better than trading?

What are the advantages of robo-advisors?

What are the disadvantages of robo-advisors?

The best Canadian robo-advisors

Our guide to Canadian robo-advisors

What is a robo-advisor?

A robo-advisor is a cloud-based technology platform revolutionizing the world of investing. These platforms automatically invest user funds in various exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on individual risk tolerance and financial goals. You begin by completing a questionnaire, which informs the robo-advisor's strategy. Then you link your bank account, specify the investment amount, and the robo-advisor handles the rest, continually monitoring and adjusting the portfolio to align with your goals. 

Robo-advisors streamline portfolio management by trading ETFs instead of individual stocks. This rebalancing process ensures that the portfolio maintains the desired balance over time, responding to market fluctuations. This approach is more mathematical, simplifying the investment process and making it accessible to a wide range of investors. Robo-advisors have gained popularity for their ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and ability to deliver personalized investment strategies. 

Why choose a robo-advisor?

Robo-advisors offer a time-efficient and cost-effective investment solution by eliminating the need for extensive stock research and high-priced financial advisors, ultimately benefiting clients. 

By opting for ETFs, you eliminate much of the uncertainty associated with individual stock investments. This not only takes away the gambling aspect of the stock market but also alleviates the anxiety associated with equity markets.

You save money with robo-advisors because these accounts typically incur lower fees compared to traditional brokers or financial planners. Robo-investing is automated, so you avoid the higher costs associated with human advisors who might charge substantial fees for their services. These cost savings are usually passed on to clients in the form of lower fees. 

How to choose a robo-advisor

When looking for a robo-advisor, be sure to compare the following features: 


Be sure to compare both the annual account management or administration fees as well as the average MER of the funds you invest in through the platform. Some robo-advisors like Questwealth offer account fees as low as 0.25%. MERs tend to be lower for robo-advisors in general, but they can range from 0.2% up to 1%.

Account types

Understand the type of account you want to open with a robo-advisor. Some robo-advisors offer a few registered accounts as well as unregistered trading accounts. For example, Wealthsimple’s robo-advisor - Managed Investing - offers registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), first home savings accounts (FHSAs) and tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs).

Investing options

Robo-advisors give investors a range of options for their portfolios. Usually there are two portfolio types: standard and socially responsible investing (SRIs). Some robo-advisors even offer Halaal investing portfolios. From there, you could get a portfolio that ranges from conservative to aggressive in terms of risk tolerance. Some robo-advisors give you only a few options on the scale from conservative to aggressive, while others have several more. Most robo-advisors match you with a portfolio based on a series of questions designed to understand your risk tolerance.

Platform usability

Every investor has different preferences, but most people will want a few things from their robo-advisor platform:

  • The ability to easily see how your portfolio is doing
  • Benefitting from automated reinvestment of dividends so you can grow your account balance further
  • The ability to customize your portfolio and risk tolerance if your situation or investing goals change

From there, there are some other more important features to consider, such as how diversified portfolio options are, as well as whether you can invest in global or foreign ETFs and how much that would cost. You’ll want to consider the range of ETFs and markets you have access to with the robo-advisor compared to other options.


Compare the average returns of different robo-advisor portfolios over 1, 3 and 5-year periods to see how they perform over the long term. If a robo-advisor has higher-than-average fees and MERs, but performs the same or worse than other robo-advisors with lower fees, then you may want to consider going with another option. The average 5-year returns on most robo-advisors range from around 5% up to 8%.

Who should use robo-advisors?

Robo-advisors are particularly ideal for newbie investors who want someone else to take the reins, or those who want reliable returns without putting in hours of work. Robo-advisors make investing extremely easy because all you usually have to do to get started is provide some basic information about your investment goals and risk tolerance and then you get matched with a pre-built portfolio that fits your comfort level.

Since robo-advisors generally operate on the principle of passive investing without a human advisor actively managing your portfolio (at least to the degree of traditional investment managers), fees are also significantly lower than with traditional brokers. As Canada has some of the highest investment management fees in the world (fees that can take a chunk out of your returns) robo-advisors are also a perfect fit for fee-averse investors. 

Robo-advisors are also particularly well-suited for people looking to make medium to long-term investments (think five to ten years) because robo-investment firms embrace the principles of passive investing and riding the market.

There are, however, some cases where a robo-advisor may not be right for you. For instance, if you’re looking for quick, short-term gains, robo-advisors are not a good fit as their investment strategies rely on a long-term market outlook rather than on immediate returns.

Robo-advisors are also not intended for investors who need a lot of guidance and hand-holding. Passive investing provides a service rather than a one-on-one personal investing relationship. They’ll invest your money but don’t expect advice on how you should change your strategy if you plan on buying a house (i.e. less fees means less advice).

Furthermore, if you’re an extremely high-net worth individual, a robo-advisor may not offer all the tax optimization and planning benefits you’ll get from a traditional human advisor. That being said, many robo-advisors like Wealthsimple offer a unique higher tier service for people who invest large sums of money.

What is MER? 

MER is a term you’ll frequently come across when investing so it’s crucial to understand what it means. MER stands for “management expense ratio” and it’s an annual fee that is associated with managing a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund (ETF). The fee covers a spectrum of expenses, including the salaries of fund managers, operating expenses, market research, taxes and more. 

The fee is expressed as a percentage and indicates the amount that is subtracted annually from the fund’s overall holdings. You don’t pay the fee yourself directly, rather the amount is paid by the fund itself before its overall returns are calculated (i.e. the fee is deducted before the mutual fund’s returns are calculated). While you don’t need to understand all the fine points of how an MER works, it’s vital to be aware that an MER will cut into your earnings. For example, if you invest $10,000 in an ETF with an MER of 2%, you’ll pay $200 in MER fees annually. 

Furthermore, investors pay this fee no matter how well the fund performs so an MER can take a big bite out of your earnings especially if the fund doesn’t do well. To make matters worse, Canadian investors pay some of the highest MERs in the world, with many funds charging MERs of over 2%! 

Luckily, robo-advisors usually offer investing portfolios with ETFs that feature MERs well below even 1%. Be aware, however, that the management fees charged by robo-advisors are separate from the MERs charged by individual funds like ETFs - although ETFs often have low costs, their cost is added to the management fee you pay to the robo-advisor. A management fee (which is a percentage of the overall amount of money you have invested) is something you pay directly to the robo-advisor company. The management fee covers things like rebalancing your portfolio, dividend reinvestment and customer assistance.

Robo advisors vs. mutual funds

Mutual funds have long been a favourite investment of Canadians - you may even own some yourself. According to The Investment Fund Institute of Canada (IFIC), Canadians have over $1.71-trillion invested in more than 4,000 mutual funds, managed by 140 different firms.

When you invest in a mutual fund, you’re pooling your money with others to buy a portfolio of investments that are taken care of by a management company. Rather than doing the work of picking investments yourself, you simply buy into the fund that is managed on your behalf. The fund manager buys and sells investments according to the fund’s ethos while you relax.

This may sound a lot like the value proposition of robo-advisors; your money is invested on your behalf and someone else takes care of the details. All you have to pick is which funds you want to invest in. The problem with this is that all mutual funds are not created equal. They all have different strategies, different asset mixes and different fees. It’s very unlikely that your investment needs will be met by a single mutual fund.

According to the WallStreet Journal, between 71% and 93% of U.S. stock mutual funds either closed or failed to beat their closest index funds over a ten year period.

Human financial advisors also take on a big role in helping Canadians navigate the world of mutual funds. By understanding your needs, they can recommend a mix of investments including mutual funds that will, hopefully, help you meet your financial goals. However, even the best financial advisors aren’t likely to know the details of literally thousands of different mutual fund products and rarely make the right moves to beat the stock market in the long term.

A key difference with robo-advisors is that they skip mutual funds and instead invest your money in a number of different ETFs. Rather than being actively managed by people, ETFs cover an entire segment of the market. For example, the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF is invested in “approximately 100% of the investable U.S. stock market.” The fund includes shares of practically every stock and holds on to them whether they’re going up or down. This takes advantage of an investing strategy that acknowledges that people who invest in the entire market have typically seen better returns than those who pick and choose their stocks.

Like a human financial advisor, the robo advisor’s job is to select and invest in ETFs on your behalf. Unlike a human financial advisor, who may review your portfolio as little as once a year, the robo-advisor continues to monitor your ETFs, buying and selling them automatically as needed to keep your portfolio balanced according to your risk tolerance.


Robo advisors vs. financial advisors

Handing your investments over to a “robot” may sound scary, but it offers several benefits over using a human advisor.

When it comes to costs, robo-advisors are much more affordable than humans. Traditional advisors make their money by selling you actively managed stocks and mutual fund investments that pay them a commission on the money you earn. These fees can add up and take a big bite out of your returns over time. The logic to this is that it’s in your advisors best interest to make you as much money as possible; the richer you get, the richer they get. Fee-only financial planners do not make a commission on assets sold, however.

Since the overhead costs are much lower and investments are more efficient, robo-advisors can be very profitable while charging far lower fees, and a result, let you pocket higher returns. When it comes to portfolio performance, the investment methodology behind robo-advisors (of passively managing ETFs) has also proven to outperform human advisors.

The theory of using human advisors goes as follows: people who’ve accumulated years of experience in the financial industry are equipped to strategically pick the right investments that will outperform and make you richer. The problem is, in reality, human advisors have a particularly poor track record of outperforming the market overall.

Robo-advisors get around this by using a well-diversified portfolio of ETFs to invest in entire markets, regardless of how the individual stocks or companies perform. The goal of robo-advisors is to match the market, and while that may sound underwhelming at first, this methodology beats most human advisors, costs less in fees, and can earn lucrative returns of 10% annually over the long term (if past stock market performance is an indicator).

For safer and conservative investment options, also consider:

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