Wealthfront vs Vanguard vs Wealthsimple

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Lisa MacColl is a writer, investor and former compliance consultant in the group retirement and individual wealth management fields. Lisa has written about personal finance for 14 years and currently writes about investing and investment providers for Wealthsimple. Lisa's past work has been published in Canadian Money Saver, Advisor’s Edge, CBC, and CreditCards.ca. She was a nominee for the 2015 Oktoberfest Women of the Year, Professional Category. Lisa holds an M.A. and B.A. from the Wilfrid Laurier University.

We believe that making smart choices with your money shouldn't be hard. To help you choose, we compared Wealthfront vs Vanguard Personal Advisor Services vs Wealthsimple Invest. Then we created this handy comparison for you to show how we stack up in terms of key features, accounts and pricing.

Your trust is important to us. That's why we always do our best to be fair and provide complete and accurate information. We also do our best to provide up-to-date information. You should know that any of Vanguard, Wealthfront or Wealthsimple may change their product features or fees at any time. To complete your homework, we recommend visiting our competitor's site to continue your research.

About Wealthfront, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Wealthsimple Invest

Wealthfront is an all-in-one solution that helps people build a free financial plan. They have developed detailed software to allow people to manage their own accounts and goals without high fees. They currently have approximately $13 billion assets under management.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is one of the world's oldest financial firms whose first fund, the Wellington Fund was launched in 1929. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is their robo-investment platform, which offers a full range of investment products including mutual funds and Exchange-Traded Funds. It has approximately $100 billion in assets under management.

Wealthsimple is an online investment manager that combines smart technology with expert financial advice. We allow you to put your money in a managed portfolio (Wealthsimple Invest) or put your money in a high-interest savings product (Wealthsimple Save). We've been in business since 2014, and have over $3 billion in assets under management.

How Wealthfront compares to Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Wealthsimple Invest (Managed Portfolios)

See how Wealthfront vs Vanguard Personal Advisor Services vs Wealthsimple Invest stack up in this side-by-side comparison.

Not all investment providers are created equal. In just five minutes you can get started with a personalized portfolio that makes your money work harder for you — start investing with Wealthsimple.

Comparison of accounts offered (Managed portfolios)

Here's a list of the accounts that Wealthfront vs Vanguard Personal Advisor Services vs Wealthsimple Invest offer in the United States.

AccountWealthfrontVanguard Personal Advisor ServicesWealthsimple
Roth IRAYesYesYes
Traditional IRAYesYesYes
Rollover IRAYesYesYes
Simple IRANoYesNo
Non-retirement accountsYesYesYes

The bottom line

Wealthfront, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Wealthsimple Invest all offer a variety of retirement and non-retirement accounts, automatic rebalancing, dividend reinvestment and no fees for transfers or account inactivity. All three providers offer socially responsible investment options.

Only Wealthsimple Invest offers Halal investing, while Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is the only one to offer a Simple IRA. Both Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Wealthsimple Invest offer access to a financial advisor, Wealthfront does not. Wealthsimple have no account minimum and you can get started investing with as little as $1. Wealthfront requires a dollar to open and a $500 minimum to begin investing, and Vanguard requires a minimum $50,000 balance.

How much you pay in fees can eat up your bottom line, and it pays to understand what you receive in exchange for the fee you pay. Wealthfront charges 0.25% of the value of the account. There is no fee reduction for high balance accounts. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services has a sliding scale of fees starting at 0.30% for balances under $5M. Their fees reduce to 0.20% on assets from $5M-$10M, 0.10% on assets from $10M-$25M and .05% for assets over $25M. If you have less than $10K in one of your accounts and prefer paper statements and fund notices, there's an additional annual $20 charge per account. Wealthsimple charges 0.5% on $0-$100k and 0.40% for amounts over $100k.

When it comes to education and advice Wealthsimple provides educational content in the form of articles and an online investing course. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Wealthfront both offer investment and financial management tools and articles.

In an independent review conducted by NerdWallet Wealthfront scored 5/5, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services scored 3/5 stars, and Wealthsimple scored 4.5/5.

What to consider when choosing an investment provider

Comparing investment providers doesn't have to be hard. Here's some advice to get you started:

Pay attention to account minimums

Choose a provider that makes sense for what you can invest now - and in the future. Some investment providers require you to deposit as much as $100,000 to get started. And, in some cases you could face nasty penalties for dropping below the account minimum - or be forced to close your account.

Watch out for hidden fees

Nothing eats away at long-term gains quite like fees. And we're talking about more than just management fees (though they're important, too). Account transfers and trading fees can also add up. The best investment providers are upfront with what it costs to invest with them.

Look out for human support

When you need to make sense of a mysterious number in your monthly statement, nothing compares to talking to a fellow human. In the competition to offer the lowest possible management fees, some robo-advisors are quick to cut customer support. Before you commit to a provider, see what support is available - you never know when you'll want it.

Find out if you have access to a financial advisor

No two people are alike - and neither are their financial situations. But investment platforms vary in terms of how much access you get to professional advice. Keep an eye out for providers that offer access to a financial advisor. There are only a few who offer advice when you need it, regardless of how much money you have in your account.

Understand how much freedom you have

Relationships end - even when you're investing for the long term. Before you commit, find out what happens if you need to withdraw your funds or want to move on to a new investment platform - and whether there are any penalties involved.

Not your average investment provider. Say hello to human financial advice and personalized portfolios with no account minimums or hidden fees — start investing now.

Why choose Wealthsimple

We do the work for you

Using well Wealthsimple is, well, simple. In just a few minutes, we'll build you a custom portfolio that makes sense for your risk tolerance and investment timelines. And we'll do the maintenance for you, with automatic rebalancing and dividend reinvesting. All you have to do to get started is answer a few simple questions. And then you can sit back and tell all your friends how smart you were with your money.

No account minimums or hidden fees

We're the first investment company in Canada to eliminate account minimums. That means you can start investing with as little as $1. Our fees are also really, really low. We charge 0.5% on $0-$100k and 0.4% on anything above $100k. Plus, you can make a withdrawal any time you want. So you can always count on your money being there when you need it. Start investing now.

Personal touch

Our financial advisors are fiduciaries, which is a fancy way of saying that they have a legal obligation to provide financial advice that's in your best interest - not ours. They're standing by to answer your questions and provide support whenever you need it. All you have to go is drop us a line by phone, email or even Skype. Get started.

More than 100,000 people love using Wealthsimple

See the reviews for yourself:

  • 1.5k ratings in the Apple app store

  • 2019 Top Robo Advisor (NerdWallet)

  • 5 Stars - Simple.Thrifty.Living

Ready to give Wealthsimple a shot?

Put your money to work in a smart portfolio, designed to help you get closer to your financial goals. Start investing now and get access to our state-of-the-art technology, low fees, and access to advice from real humans whenever you need it.


The information on this page was compiled by Wealthsimple in April 2019. In order to uncover this information, we looked at Wealthfront and Vanguard's websites, press releases and third-party sites. The information collected relates to features, accounts and pricing. The information is provided for comparison purposes only, as at the time of publication. The comparison is only intended for U.S. investors.

Last Updated May 3, 2019

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