Questrade vs Wealthsimple: Who is best to invest with?

James Rodriguez James Rodriguez  updated on 2022-06-23

It can be difficult to know which financial institution to trust when it comes to your investment portfolios. Every financial institution will set its own fees as well as its own perks.

So how do you know which is the best investment service for you?

This guide will lay out the pros and cons of both Questrade and Wealthsimple to help you choose who to invest with.

Which is better Questrade or Wealthsimple?

Neither Questrade nor Wealthsimple is objectively better and there is a reason both are strong companies with a large client base. A more useful question is, which is better for you?

To answer this question users should consider what type of account they want to open, how they want to invest their money, and how much direct control they will be taking in day-to-day trading.

Who is Questrade?

Questrade is a Canadian non-bank online brokerage with services for trading and investing in stocks, options, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds. Questrade has a number of different account types to accommodate different kinds of investors making it great for beginners.

Questrade offers both self-directed accounts and passive investing accounts. Questrade has no minimum to open an account but requires a minimum balance of $1000 to begin investing.  

Who is Wealthsimple?

Wealthsimple is a Canadian online management service known for its robo-advisor and straightforward trading and investing platform. As a Canadian-based company, Wealthsimple is great for Canadian users as it offers many benefits to trading in the Canadian market and investing in Canada. 

Wealthsimple allows users to create an investment portfolio catered to their investment goals, morals, and trading habits. This allows users to be as hands-on or hands-off as they like.

Account Types: Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: 

In deciding between Wealthsimple and Questrade one of the most important things to take into consideration is what types of accounts they offer. Both trading platforms offer a great range of products and services but each has accounts that lend themselves to more specific investing and saving needs.

Wealthsimple allows users to invest using an RRSP, TFSA, RESP, LIRA, joint or personal non-registered account. While this sounds like a lot Questrade offers even more with TFSA, RRSP, RESP, Cash, Corporate Cash and Joint Cash accounts. 

Investment products: Questrade vs. Wealthsimple: 

Wealthsimple offers stocks, cryptocurrency trading and ETF trading making the variety of assets and investments more limited than Questrade. Wealthsimple does offer crypto trading rather than crypto ETFs making it a better crypto platform.

Questrade on the other hand offers stocks, fixed income, mutual funds, options trading, foreign exchange, precious metals, and contracts for different CFD trading. This greater range of investments is a big selling point when it comes to making a decision between Questrade and Wealthsimple.

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Fees: Wealthsimple vs Questrade

Questrade and Wealthsimple both charge fees for their services. Users should look at how they are going to be using the services to see which one will save them more money while giving them the trading options they need. For example, Questrade's yearly management fee is 0.25% while Wealthsimple is 0.4% or 0.5% depending on how much the user has in their account. This means a user will pay less in yearly fees on the Questrade account. On the other hand, Questrade charges users to buy and sell stocks while Wealthsimple has free stock trading on Canadian markets and a percentage-based exchange fee on US markets. 

These factors make it so that depending on how the user is trading and investing they could end up spending more in fees depending on which platform they choose to use. For a full breakdown of costs and fees please refer to the charts below. 

Wealthsimple's productsAssociated costs and fees
Wealthsimple Invest yearly Account Management Fee0.5% fee for accounts less than $100 000 and 0.4% on accounts over $100 000
Investment Expense RatiosBetween 0.09% and 0.11% on Standard Portfolios
Between 0.13% and 0.14% on SRI Portfolios
Savings or Cash management account (this account is optional)0.25% Management fee
Wealthsimple Trade Conversion FeeWealthsimple charges a 1.5% currency conversion fee to convert between USD and CAD
Wealthsimple Crypto Trade FeeWealthsimple charges a 1.5% fee for crypto transactions
Wire Transfer Fee$30
Wealthsimple TSFA FeesNo TSFA fees when trading Candian assets but a 1.5% on US assets. 
Wealthsimple ETF FeesNo ETF fees when trading Canadian ETFs but a 1.5% on other ETFs.
Wealthsimple Stock Trading FeesNo fees on Canadian stock and EFT transactions
Wealthsimple fees

Questrade costs and fees:

Questrade's productsAssociated costs and fees
Questrade yearly management fees0.25% yearly management fee
Stock Trades Buy and Sell$4.95 per trade or $9.95 per 1000 trades
Questrade Options Fees, Buy and SellQuestrade Option Fee stands at $9.95 (plus $1.00 per contract)
Mutual Funds Buy and Sell$9.95 per transaction
Questrade ETF FeeBuy: Free / Sell: $4.95
Questrade Currency Conversion Fees (CAD/US)Questrade exchange rate: 1.45% average over the proceeding business year. 
CAD Electronic Fund TransferFree up to $50 000
USD Electronic Fund TransferFree up to $25 000
Full Transfer to Another Institution$150
Partial Transfer to Another Institution$25
Account OpeningFree
Account ClosureFree
Inactivity FeeFree
Monthly Electronic StatementFree
Questrade fees

Robo-advisors:  Wealthsimple vs Questrade

Before we go into Wealthsimple vs Questrade Canada’s robo-advisors let's define a robo-advisor.

A robo-advisor works by gathering data on the user through a short survey when creating the account. The robo-advisor will then use this information to start automatically investing for the user based on the data. These investments will then be made based on the risk level, morals and industries that the user chooses. Often times these will be more passive index investing strategies to ensure stable long-term growth rather than risky short-term investing.

Robo-Advisors: Wealthsimple Invest vs Questwealth Portfolios?

Wealthsimple invest is considered one of the top robo-advisors in Canada. Users can create a customized portfolio based on financial goals and risk levels that will automatically rebalance if the program deems certain industries become at risk. Users can also adjust specific settings such as dividend reinvesting, tax-loss harvesting to minimize taxes, and roundup investing which invests spare change on purchases allowing users to grow their count with their spare change on card purchases. Wealthsimple also has financial planning assistance for users and is backed by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund which covers users' assets up to $1 million per account.

Questwealth Portfolios is Questrade's robo-advisor platform and was launched in 2018 to compete in the emerging robo-advisor market. One of the biggest pros of Questweatlh is its low management fees. At just 0.25% it is one of the lowest on the market and the fee goes down to 0.20% if the account balance exceeds $100 000. Like Wealthsimple, Questwealth automatically rebalances users' portfolios with market trends and user portfolio preferences and is back up to $1 million per account. The main drawback is the $1000 minimum account requirement.   

Take a look at our guide to 2022's best robo-advisers

Online brokerage:  Wealthsimple Trade vs Questrade

For users that are looking for a more hands-on style of investing there is Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade. These accounts allow users to directly trade and invest instead of allowing a robo-advisor to invest for them. These accounts require more knowledge about investing and offer greater risks and rewards to investors.

Wealthsimple trade allows users to buy and sell Canadian and US stocks and ETFs. Users can also create a Wealthsimple Crypto account in the Wealthsimple Trade app. This allows them to trade in crypto-currencies using the same Wealthsimple Trade platform. As shown in the charts above, Wealthsimple trade does not charge a trading fee but does charge a conversion fee for buying US stocks. The biggest drawback of Wealthsimple's trade is that it is limited to Canadian and US stocks and ETFs. 

Questrade allows for a much larger range of investing and trading. With Questrade users can trade over 55 currencies, global stocks, precious metals, ETFs, mutual funds and options trading. The one area they are missing most is cryptocurrency. Questrade's biggest drawback is their fees. They charge fees on most trades and transactions but give users more options. 

Who should pick Wealthsimple:

Canadians looking to trade mostly in the Canadian and US markets should choose Wealthsimple. By reducing fees, providing both robo-advisors and trading accounts, and offering personal financial services Wealthsimple has created an affordable and easy-to-use platform for Canadian citizens looking to invest how they want. 

Who should pick Questrade:

Investors looking to diversify their portfolio to more than just Canadian and US stocks and ETFs should choose Questrade. With its services to global markets and assets such as precious metals and foreign currencies, Questrade has a much larger variety of investing opportunities. Users should be aware of the risks associated with any kind of investment but especially when investing in foreign markets and options trading as these are areas of investing that contain a much higher risk but can also offer a much more fruitful reward.

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How to transfer from Wealthsimple to Questrade?

Wealthsimple does not charge any fees to transfer an account to another institution. To start the process users will go to the receiving institution. They will have a transfer form which will need to be completed and signed. 

The receiving institution will need the following information:

  • Wealthsimple Account number
  • Relinquishing Institution information: Wealthsimple Investments Inc.
  • Wealthsimple Address: 201-80 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5V 2J4
  • Phone: 647-535-3404
  • Fax: 647-245-1002
  • Email too: [email protected]
  • FINS#T003 CUID# CSIT DLR# 7829 REP# HX1

After the transfer out request is processed it can take 2-4 weeks to complete. During this time all trading activity and withdrawals on the account will be halted.

How to transfer from Questrade to Wealthsimple?

Questrade charges $150 to transfer an account to another financial institution but only $25 for partial transfers. They do this so users will hopefully keep an account open with them even if they move the majority of their assets elsewhere. 

To Transfer a Questrade account into Wealthsimple the user will first need to determine the account type being transferred. It will either be a Wealthsimple invest account if you are transferring a robo-advisor account or Wealthsimple Trade if it's an active trading account. 

  • First Wealthsimple will generate a transfer form to be sent to Questrade.
  • You can transfer the account as cash, as in-kind assets or as part cash.
  • Questrade will locate your account and process the transfer.
  • Questrade will then deduct fees and sell certain assets that can not be transferred.
  • The account will be transferred as either an electronic funds transfer or a cheque.

This process can take 2-4 weeks depending on the account type.

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