Wealthsimple is one of the most popular robo-advisors around the world, with operations in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. When they launched in Canada in 2014, they ushered in an era of low-cost investing that made it easier for everyday investors to access low-cost exchange traded funds (ETFs). Wealthsimple Trade is their latest product offering.

Much has been said about the true impact of high management fees for mutual funds. With current average fees as high as 2.35% for equity mutual funds, Canada has consistently received the award for some of the highest investment fees among developed nations. What high and unrelenting fees do is to dampen the overall returns that mutual fund investors make in the long run, particularly, since mutual fund managers rarely beat their index benchmarks.

With their digital wealth (robo-advisor) service, Wealthsimple offers investors a low annual management fee of 0.50% on accounts under $100,000 (Wealthsimple Basic) and 0.40% on accounts that exceed $100K. Not only that, when you sign up using our special promo link, you get to invest up to $10,000 for FREE for one full year!

What is Wealthsimple Trade?

On August 16, 2018, Wealthsimple teased DIY investors in Canada with something exciting –  a $0 commission, no account minimum, unlimited FREE trades brokerage service. This trading service will soon launch in Canada and allow you to trade more than 8,000 popular stocks and ETFs listed on major Canadian and U.S. brokerages.

Currently, if you wanted to buy and sell individual stocks and ETFs via a self-directed discount brokerage account, you pay up to $9.99 per trade. A zero trading commission for both “buy” and “sell” transactions is a first in the market. Users of Wealthsimple trade will also have access to a top-notch mobile app that ensures they can trade on the go.

Following launching the trading service, self-directed investors will be able to open non-registered investment accounts, and there are plans to support other registered accounts like TFSAs, RRSPs, and RESPs in the future.

How To Open a Wealthsimple Trade Account?

Wealthsimple Trade is expected to launch soon. To join those who receive early access, you need to be on their waitlist by providing your email address here and they will contact you once the roll-out begins. In order to be eligible to open an account and trade, you will need to be:

  • A resident of Canada
  • At least 18 years old
  • Have a Canadian SIN and address

Wealthsimple Trade Zero Fees: How Do They Make Money?

Since Wealthsimple Trade will charge $0 trading commissions, it begs the question: “How will they make money?” Businesses exist to make profit, eh?

As per their website, they will make money on “currency exchange for U.S. trades,” and on other premium offering that are going to be introduced in the future. If you are wondering what fees are like when you buy and sell stocks and ETFs at other brokerages in Canada, here is a summary:

Wealthsimple Trade

Source: Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple vs. Wealthsimple Trade

Wealthsimple is the robo-advisor service that offers automated low-fee investing to investors who want a hands-on approach to their portfolio at the lowest fees possible using ETFs. Account holders receive automatic re-balancing of their portfolio and free financial advice.

You can open different kinds of accounts including RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF and LIRA (Canada), or Traditional IRA, Roth and SEP IRA’s (United States), and ISA and JISA Individual Savings Accounts (United Kingdom). They also provide non-registered investment accounts in all three countries. Wealthsimple currently have over 100,000 clients and $2.5 billion in assets under management.

Wealthsimple Trade will provide a trading service to self-directed investors who want a hands-on approach to their investing and who would like to purchase individual stocks and ETFs to make up their investing portfolio. You can trade with as little as $1 and there are absolutely no fees.

Client accounts (Canadian) with both Wealthsimple and Wealthsimple Trade are protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) up to $1 million.


The prospect of getting to buy and sell ETFs and stocks at zero fees is compelling. While a hands-on investment approach is not for everyone, self-directed investors will be glad to save even more money on their investing. The absence of a minimum balance also means you do not need thousands of dollars to try out DIY investing.