Are you sitting down? Well actually, you shouldn’t be. Science tells us that sitting down is not all that good for you. Either way, we’ve got some really great news: Wealthsimple Trade is now available to all Canadians.
That’s amazing! So pumped! Wealthsimple Trade! Small question, what is Wealthsimple Trade again?
Trading stocks has mostly been terrible in Canada. Why? Technology that's overly complicated and hard to use and not very pretty. And fees. Really horrible fees. Most trading services charge Canadians a commission between $5 and $10 per trade. Wealthsimple Trade solves those problems. It lets you buy and sell thousands of Canadian and U.S. stocks and ETFs with zero commissions. And it’s available for both iOS and Android devices.
Can we take a minute to talk about what exactly “zero-dollar trading commissions” means?
When we say Wealthsimple Trade is the first $0 commission stock-trading app in Canada, we mean that, you know, we do not charge you commissions to buy or sell stocks. And we also mean you can make as many trades for that same commission fee: $0. And that's whether you're buying a single share of Apple or 10 shares of Netflix or 100 shares of Vanguard’s Total Stock Market ETF. The only fee you’ll ever see is for currency exchange when trading stocks on American markets (and even then, our 1.5% is well below the 2% that most brokerages levy).
So is it like a bank? I need to walk into a branch and deposit like a zillion bucks into a Wealthsimple brokerage account in order to get the perks?
No, but we commend your cynicism! Trade has $0 account minimums. And, no, we don't even have branches. Just sign up on your phone in five minutes and deposit some cash. And if you're already a Wealthsimple client, it'll probably take you about 60 seconds.
Is Wealthsimple Trade at all like the Fyre Festival? Because that sounded really cool too, but then when people actually showed up to that island...
Wealthsimple Trade is the anti-Fyre. We like to test things before we pull back the curtain. Maybe you remember that in August we announced that Trade was launching in what they call “beta.” More than 130,000 people raised their hand and signed up to be willing Trade guinea pigs. We took that as a sign there was some demand out there to not pay any commissions to buy stocks.
In the last few months, a cohort of 7,000 Wealthsimple early adopters executed 60,000 trades. And we’re happy to report that neither Hulu nor Netflix is producing a documentary on the experience. There were a few glitches and bugs, but that's the price you pay for being an early adopter: you get early access so we can smooth out the experience for the masses.
It also means you kind of got to decide what Trade looks like. We prefer to launch really simple products, let clients play with them, and then build what they want. It's part of our very user-centric approach to making stuff.
Interesting. So what did all those testers tell you they wanted? Will it dispense free ice cream cones every time you trade?
Yes! (No.) But beta users told us about a bunch of features they wanted, and we’re currently working on building them into the product, including: account types like TFSAs and RRSPs, notifications when stock prices change, news and updates about stocks you follow, and enhanced security features.
If you have your own ideas about how to make Trade better, just send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. You shouldn't be penalized if you weren't as early adopter-y as you wish you'd been. We plan on launching a ton of new features for Trade in the next year.
Ok, cool. You're working on adding RRSPs and TFSAs?
Yep. Right now we only support Personal (read: taxable) accounts, but we're already working on adding support for registered accounts.
Is Trade really hard to use?
We get why you'd think so. Most trading services seem designed by people who have framed posters of Ikea instructions on their walls. This one is completely intuitive, surprisingly simple, and, if we do say so ourselves, damn easy on the eyes. A few swipes, and a few minutes, and newcomers have themselves a Wealthsimple Trade account. Existing Wealthsimple clients can sign up with a single tap.
Then all you have to do is pick a stock or ETF and you can buy it instantly. Trade also has a Watchlist feature if you'd rather monitor a stock's performance before trading, and the option to make a limit order — which means triggering a trade only after a stock or ETF gets above or below a specific price.
And like all of our company’s products, Wealthsimple Trade comes with the kind of investor protections you’d expect when you do business with any stuffy, established 100 year old bank, like CIPF protection of up to a $1,000,000 to reimburse you should something happen to the company.
Stock trading is, of course, speculative in nature, so we unfortunately can’t insure against any losses you might sustain in the market.
Doesn’t Wealthsimple recommend that clients hold a widely diversified portfolio of stock and bond ETFs and not bet on specific stocks?
Yes, we say that a lot. Because it's true. Glad you've been paying attention! And the fact that we help you invest more responsibly is part of what's different about Trade — other services tend to just throw clients into the fire.
It's true, most people know us and love us for Wealthsimple Invest, in which we'll build and maintain automated, diversified portfolios for a tiny fee (0.4-0.5%). But we’re pretty sure we’re the only platform that reminds you that — should you decide to buy an individual stock rather than creating a diversified portfolio — you should only buy and sell stocks with money you can afford to lose some, or all, of.
There are also lots of Wealthsimple clients who, though they want us to build and maintain their long-term investing portfolios, also want to buy and sell stocks. Because maybe they believe in Tesla, or Amazon, or the Brazilian energy sector. With Trade, they can do it all in one place.
What's next for Trade?
This is just the beginning. We want Trade to grow and evolve with you, the folks who will use it, to accomplish all manner of exciting things. So don't be shy about telling us your hopes and dreams. Want to Trade on other foreign markets? We'll work on it. Want to Trade cryptocurrency? Let's form an exploratory committee of engineers. Shall we make even more Trades on behalf of the Raptors so they finally perform well in the playoffs? Well, I'm not sure we have the technology for that. But you never know.