Luisa Rollenhagen is a journalist and investor who writes about financial planning for Wealthsimple. She is a past winner of the David James Burrell Prize for journalistic achievement and her work has been published in GQ Magazine and BuzzFeed. Luisa earned her M.A. in Journalism at New York University and is now based in Berlin, Germany.
If you’ve been in the market for a robo-advisor, there’s a strong chance you’ve come across a company called SigFig. Although the name might sound like a fancy portmanteau that finance big shots came up with to further shroud their business in obscurity, it’s actually an online investment advisor that aims to manage portfolios of all sizes.
What is SigFig and is it available in Canada?
As mentioned before, SigFig is part of the robo-advisor boom that’s been building up for a while now. The company is based in San Francisco, California, and has been around since 2007. Their focus is on “wealth management,” which means that they provide portfolio management and investment advice calibrated toward specific financial goals (like retirement). However, they function a little differently to other robo-advisors, which work directly with individual investorsin creating and managing bespoke accounts and portfolios. SigFig instead works with three established brokerages—Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade—to manage your investment account via them. Think of SigFig as sort of like an add-on manager to your existing investment account: The account you have at one of these brokerages are directly plugged into SigFig’s Asset Manager, where you’ll then be advised and guided on how to manage your portfolio. And if you don’t have an account yet at one of these brokerages, SigFig will automatically create one for you at TD Ameritrade. And like all robo-advisors, SigFig mostly deals in low-cost ETFs, which in addition to commission-free trading helps keep down costs and helps diversify portfolios. Keep in mind that in order to get started, you’ll need an account minimum of $2,000.
SigFig is available as an app on iPhone and Android in addition to its desktop version, and there are added perks like automatic portfolio rebalancing and included tax-loss harvesting. However, Canadian investors hoping to try out SigFig will be rather disappointed, as the company is not active in Canada yet.
Other investing platform available in Canada
But Canada is not at a loss for reputable, low-cost, and modern robo-advisors that’ll help you create and manage a diversified portfolio at a low fee. Obviously there’s our personal favorite, which happens to be… well, us! Jokes aside though, Wealthsimple doesn’t require you to have an account via a third party—and you can easily transfer your existing investment account over to us if you’ve already got something going on elsewhere—and we host everything in-house. We’ll even reimburse your transfer fees on accounts that are greater than $5,000 in value! Whether you’re looking for a low-cost retirement savings account like a TFSA or an RRSP or need a personal investment account for additional investment projects, we’ve got it covered.
Although our personal investment account deals in managed portfolios consisting of low-cost ETFs, investors who’d rather take a more proactive approach in the stock market can also sign up for Wealthsimple Trade, an app that will execute commission-free trades on your behalf. And like our regular investment accounts, there’s no account minimum and no annoying paperwork: All you need to sign up is your laptop and an Internet connection.
Are there any limitations to Wealthsimple?
One of the main reasons an investor might choose SigFig is that it’s a pretty seamless add-on if you already have an investment account at Charles Schwab, Fidelity, or TD Ameritrade (in the United States, that is). No fees, no reimbursement requests, nothing.
But for Canadian investors, we do happen to think that Wealthsimple really delivers in terms of accessibility, low-fee portfolio creation and management, and commission-free trading. Accessible on both your phone and your desktop, you’ll get top-notch expert advice, state-of-the-art technology, and a pretty sleek design to boot, if we may be so bold.
Ready to get started investing? When you take our risk-free survey, we’ll provide you with a personalized investment portfolio to suit your needs and provide you with expert advice along the way. What are you waiting for — get started investing with Wealthsimple.