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HGRO Review 2023: Horizons All-in-One Growth ETF Portfolio Explained

This article provides a comprehensive HGRO review, including its asset allocation, historical returns, fees, holdings, pros and cons, methods of purchasing HGRO, and how the fund compares to VGRO.

Investors often spend hours conducting research into different companies and different industries to build a well-balanced portfolio.

Purchasing individual stocks is a time-consuming task, and commissions can quickly add up on multiple purchases.

To take the onus off of investors, ETFs like the Horizons All-in-One Growth ETF (HGRO) are a great way to ensure that your portfolio is well-balanced and acceptable to your risk level.

Often holding hundreds or even thousands of individual stocks, ETFs allow investors to invest in a “basket” of companies with just a few simple clicks.

For Canadians, using a trading platform like Wealthsimple or Questrade makes this process even easier, with commission-free purchases for ETFs such as HGRO.

ETFs usually charge very low management fees, resulting in cost savings compared to robo-advisors or mutual funds.

Horizons All-in-One ETF Portfolios

Horizons is a Canadian financial services company and ETF provider.

Since the creation of its first fund in 2006, which tracked the S&P/TSX, the company has expanded into leveraged ETFs, inverse ETFs, and sector-specific ETFs like the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ).

The ETFs offered by Horizons provide convenience for traders and peace of mind without the need to manually rebalance their portfolios.

The ETFs also come with different risk levels, allowing investors to better understand the potential upsides and downsides of the funds that they are purchasing.

For example, Horizons Conservative TRI ETF Portfolio (HCON) lowers risk by holding 50% of funds in fixed-income assets, while HGRO is classified as riskier as it holds 100% stocks.

There’s also HBAL (Horizons Balanced TRI ETF Portfolio) which offers a portfolio with 30% bonds and 70% stocks.

Learn more about all-in-one ETFs.

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What is HGRO?

Horizons Growth Total Return Index ETF Portfolio, or HGRO, is an ETF offered by Horizons that seeks long-term growth through an equity-focused portfolio.

This is done through holding a portfolio of Horizons Total Return Index ETFs.

The funds are not positively correlated, meaning that efforts are made to reduce overlap between holdings and increase diversification.

HGRO can be held in any registered and non-registered account, opening up opportunities for a wide range of investing strategies.

This ETF trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticket HGRO.

Here are some of its key facts as of February 4, 2023:

  • Inception date: Sept 13, 2019
  • Net assets: $176,268,770
  • 12-month trailing yield: 0.03%
  • Distribution yield: 0.04% 
  • Eligible accounts: All registered and non-registered accounts 
  • Management fee: 0.0% (but underlying fees from ETFs are charged and factor into the price of HGRO).
  • Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.17%
  • Listing currency: CAD
HGRO Review

HGRO Asset Allocation

HGRO’s asset allocation is 100% stocks. The ETF invests in the broad market through the following underlying funds.


Geographically, the funds held within HGRO are 17.4% Canadian assets, 26.31% global assets, and 54.03% U.S. assets.

By sector, the ETF is weighted heavily towards technology, with 27% of holdings consisting of companies from that industry.

The top five are rounded out by financial services (15.6%), communication services (12.53%), consumer cyclical (11.43%), and healthcare (8.55%).

HGRO Returns

As a relatively new ETF, there is not as much historical data available about HGRO’s performance. In the calendar year 2020, the fund was able to achieve a return of 17.29%.

In 2021, performance was slightly better, with a return of 22.31%. Understandably in 2022, HGRO provided a loss for shareholders of -19.20%, which brings the total returns since the fund’s inception to 8.93%


HGRO does not charge any management fees. This is because the underlying ETFs within HGRO charge management fees, which are reflected in the return of HGRO.

For example, HGRO’s top holding – Horizons US Large Cap Index ETF (HULC), charges a management fee of (0.08%), which is indirectly charged to HGRO.

HGRO’s management expense ratio (MER) is 0.17%.

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Pros and Cons of HGRO


  • Broad market diversification across a variety of different geographical areas.
  • No management fee (although they are indirectly charged through underlying ETFs).
  • Ability to hold ETF in tax-sheltered or tax-differed registered accounts.


  • Being a newer ETF means that there is no historical price data and performance to evaluate.
  • Heavy weighting in a small number of sectors (i.e. technology and financial services make up over 40% of holdings) increases risks.


Vanguard Growth ETF Portfolio (VGRO) is a similar ETF to HGRO. Both ETFs focus on growth and invest in broad market indexes to achieve this goal.

The underlying funds that are contained within VGRO are all Vanguard-managed funds. The list includes:

  • Vanguard US Total Market Index ETF (34.92%)
  • Vanguard FTSE Canada All Cap Index ETF (23.67%)
  • Vanguard FTSE Developed All Cap ex North America Index ETF (15.99%)
  • Vanguard Canadian Aggregate Bond Index ETF (11.62%)
  • Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap Index ETF (5.79%)
  • Vanguard Global ex-US Aggregate Bond Index ETF CAD-hedged (4.08%)
  • Vanguard US Aggregate Bond Index ETF CAD-hedged (3.93%)

VGRO charges a 0.24% management expense ratio, compared to the 0.17% charged by HGRO.

How To Buy HGRO ETF in Canada

You can purchase HGRO using a self-directed brokerage account. Top trading platforms offering this ETF in Canada include:

  • Questrade
  • Wealthsimple Trade
  • Qtrade

How To Buy HGRO ETF on Questrade

Questrade is a great option for Canadians looking for a simple and affordable trading platform. The company offers Canadians commission-free purchases of ETFs.

If you are a new user, you can get $50 in free trades by funding your account with $1,000.

Below is a quick step-by-step guide for using Questrade

1 – Click on “Trading” and enter the ticker symbol of the ETF you want to purchase in the “Symbol Lookup” box.

2 – Click on the Buy/Sell button.

3 – The order entry box is populated with the bid and ask prices.

4 – In this example, I am entering an order to purchase 50 units of HGRO using a “market order”, meaning the order will fill based on current market prices.

Market orders are easy to execute but have additional risks over other order types like market orders.

If the price increases as you are purchasing, you may end up paying more than you expected for HGRO.

Learn more in this Questrade review.

Aside from market orders can choose to buy HGRO using buy orders such as limit, limit-on-open, limit-on-close, stop, stop-limit, trailing-stop, or trailing-stop-limit order.

How To Purchase HGRO ETF on Wealthsimple Trade

Another great option for Canadians is Wealthsimple Trade. Customers of Wealthsimple can take advance of commission-free buying and selling of stocks and ETFs.

New users can open a Wealthsimple Trade account here to take advance of a special $25 offer when you deposit $200 or more in your account. This company also waives your transfer fee of up to $150 when you move in assets from other brokerages.

The process to purchase HGRO through Wealthsimple Trade is simple. It is as easy as logging into your account and searching for HGRO.

From there, click on buy and select either market buy, limit buy, or a stop-limit buy.

After choosing your order type, enter your preferred price (if using a limit buy).

Finally, enter the number of HGRO shares you want to purchase.

Learn more in this detailed review.


Is HGRO a good ETF or investment?

There are many benefits to investing in an ETF like HGRO. The ability to instantly invest in thousands of companies through one fund is great for investors who do not have the time to conduct research into the details of every company they are interested in.

With these upsides, it is also important to acknowledge the risks of investing in an all-equity ETF. While many ETFs hold some portion of their funds in either cash or safer assets like fixed income, HGRO holdings are 100% equity.

Although this provides more potential upside, any drops in the stock market will be felt harder by HGRO holders than those who held more conservative ETFs.

How often does HGRO rebalance?

HGRO rebalances semi-annually, with the rebalances occurring in January and July of each year. While some investors may choose to look at their portfolio and rebalance quarterly or semi-annually, HGRO takes the stress and time needed to do this work out of your hands.

Is HGRO an index fund?

HGRO is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that trades on major exchanges like the Toronto Stock Exchange just like any other stock. As the ETF holds a basket of different stocks, price movements of stocks held in the fund will move the ETF price either up or down.

Index funds aim to track the performance of an underlying index. For example, an S&P 500 index fund would try to replicate the performance of the S&P 500 as close as possible. HGRO holds many index ETFs which track various different indexes.

What are the benefits of ETFs?

ETFs give investors the ability to invest in a diversified portfolio through one simple holding. In addition, ETFs offer the benefit of lower fees and lower risks by spreading investments across different companies.


HGRO ETF review


Horizons is a top ETF provider in Canada. This HGRO review covers its holdings, returns, fees, pros, cons, comparison to VGRO, and how to purchase HGRO ETF in Canada.


Editorial Disclaimer: The investing information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended as individual investment advice or recommendation to invest in any specific security or investment product. Investors should always conduct their own independent research before making investment decisions or executing investment strategies. Savvy New Canadians does not offer advisory or brokerage services. Note that past investment performance does not guarantee future returns.

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Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in Forbes, The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, CBC News, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, and many other personal finance publications. You can learn more about him on the About Page.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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