Nest Wealth Review | Best Robo Advisors in Canada

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Robo advisors have become an incredibly popular way to invest in Canada. Thanks to cheaper fees and solid long-term investment strategies, Canadians are finding robo advisors to be a smart, easy, and safe way to invest and save for their future.

So what exactly is a robo advisor? Despite the name, it’s important to know that a robo advisor is not a robot. The investing process is taken care of by an algorithm, however, that algorithm is both created and monitored by professional human beings who are also available to handle customer service.

Robo investing is best for those who are considering a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of strategy. There are several robo advisors in Canada, each one offering their own unique perks and strategies. I’ll be digging further into one of these robo advisors in this Nest Wealth review.

Nest Wealth prides themselves in creating personalized portfolios for each of their customers based on your investing style, goals, and risk tolerance. It has a unique fee structure compared to other Canadian robo advisors and is a favourite among mature investors. Here’s what you need to know about Nest Wealth to determine if it’s the right robo advisor for you.

Bonus: Money We Have readers get their fees waived for the first three months when they sign up using my referral link.

Nest Wealth Review

Nest Wealth accounts

Nest Wealth has several account options including the following:

  • RRSP
  • Spousal RRSP
  • TFSA
  • RESP
  • LIRA
  • RIF
  • Joint Account
  • Trust Account
  • Corporate Account

With Nest Wealth, there is no minimum requirement for investing. Another great perk for Nest Wealth is that by opening an account with them, you have access to professional support from a registered advisor who can be available to speak with you via email, chat, or phone.

Considering transferring your RRSP? Learn how Nest Wealth

Nest Wealth fees

When it comes to Nest Wealth fees, this robo advisor has a different set up than other Canadian robo advisors. Instead of an annual percentage based on your portfolio, Nest Wealth charges a monthly fee. The fee breakdown looks like this:

  • Under $75,000: $20 per month
  • Between $75,000-$150,000: $40 per month
  • Over $150,000: $80 per month

Of course, on top of these monthly fees, investors will also have to pay MERs which equal to about 0.13%. They also charge custodian fees which vary a little since they use two custodians: National Bank Independent Network (NBIN) and Fidelity Clearing Canada ULC. With custodians, you pay for each trade, but they cap at $100 a year. They also charge an account fee, but Nestwealth covers the custodian fee for your first account. Here’s how the custodian fees break down.

Fidelity Clearing Canada 

  • $7.99 per trade
  • $36 annually – registered accounts
  • $25 annually – non-registered accounts 

National Bank Independent Network

  • $0.99 per trade
  • $100 annually – registered accounts
  • $75 annually – non-registered accounts 

Remember, if you sign up via Nest Wealth, you can have the management fees for your first three months waived as a bonus for being a Money We Have reader.

Nest Wealth review

Nest Wealth was started by Randy Cass, a name you may recognize for being a host on BNN for Market Sense. Mr. Cass has over 15 years of experience in the finance sector and a background in managing huge portfolios successfully. Using his experience, he has assembled a great team of fellow professionals from the finance and tech words to run this Canadian robo advisor.

For those who are on the fence about robo advisors, you may also be interested to know that National Bank owns a minority stake in the company. While they aren’t in control, the fact that one of the big banks in Canada has an interest in this robo advisor may help put some of your worries to ease.

Nest Wealth is available to everyone, but definitely targets those with larger amounts to invest or those who are further along in life and thinking closely of retirement. Their unique fee structure best benefits these types, as do their EFTs and portfolio options which are more suitable for those who have a low-risk tolerance.

Like everything else, Nest Wealth isn’t perfect and does have its downsides. Here is a breakdown of the main pros and cons of Nest Wealth robo advisor.

Nest Wealth pros

  • Good options of low risk investments with low fees
  • Fee schedule is ideal for those with larger accounts
  • No minimum investment required
  • Money We Have readers get Nest Wealth

Nest Wealth cons

  • Fee schedule is expensive for smaller accounts
  • Investment options are lacking for those interested in high risk portfolios

How Nest Wealth compares to others

So, how does Nest Wealth compare to other popular Canadian robo advisors?

The fact that there is no minimum requirement makes it an attractive choice to those getting started in investing. However, the fee system isn’t great for those with small accounts and is better structured for individuals with larger amounts. Individuals with smaller investments would be better off with a robo who takes an annual percentage, such as Wealthsimple or Justwealth, rather than on who charges a monthly rate.

One of the biggest draws of Nest Wealth is the fact that there are so many low risk options. This is ideal for those who are at a later stage of life, but not for someone who likes to have high risk options; in this case you would be better off with another robo with more portfolio options such as Justwealth, Wealthsimple, or Questwealth Portfolios.

Final thoughts

My Nest Wealth review is positive. They definitely deserve a spot as one of Canada’s top robo advisors, the benefits of this robo advisor are really more tailored towards larger accounts or mature investors who are closer to their retirement.

Nest Wealth Review | Best Robo Advisors in Canada

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

7 Comments

  1. DJ on January 17, 2020 at 2:53 PM

    I ‘m a Nest Wealth client and happy with their service and their fee structure, however, your article missed mentioning the additional annual custodian charges. Although these charges are not large, customers should be aware of them. They are listed at the bottom of this Nest Wealth page: https://www.nestwealth.com/pricing/

    • Barry Choi on January 17, 2020 at 3:07 PM

      DJ,

      I don’t know how I missed that, thanks for catching that. I’ve updated the review to include those fees.

  2. Tangerine Bank Review - Money We Have on March 20, 2020 at 2:46 PM

    […] fee of 2.50%. That said, if you invest with a robo advisor such as JustWealth, RBC InvestEase or Nest Wealth, you would pay less than 1% in […]

  3. Keith Tse on March 23, 2020 at 1:20 PM

    Do their flat rate fees apply to the entire portfolio? Or is each type of account that you hold charged a separate flat fee? That’s a big difference.

    • Barry Choi on March 23, 2020 at 1:22 PM

      Keith,

      It should be total, but you’ll want to double check with them.

  4. Ellen Lundy on March 16, 2021 at 12:15 PM

    In the past month NestWealth has become totally non responsive to email requests or phone requests. There is no way to contact anyone. All emails are responded with an auto-response that they are experiences a higher than usual volume of requests and there may be a delay in replying. I received that reply on Feb 22 when trying to move more money into my account. My calls have not been returned not my email to the CEO. They appear to be understaffed to continue to be in this business.

  5. Brett Moore on May 23, 2021 at 7:59 PM

    I am a Nest Wealth client. This review’s pricing details need updating as Nest Wealth’s fee structure has changed (effective April 22, 2021 for new Clients, effective July 1, 2021 for existing Clients).

    Custodian fees and trading costs are no longer being charged separately but are now baked into the monthly fee structure which now has 4 bands instead of the 3 bands they launched with:

    https://www.nestwealth.com/for-individual-investors#close

    Old Fee Structure:

    $10k to under $75k: $20 per month
    $75k to under $150k: $40 per month
    $150k and higher: $80 per month

    New Fee Structure:

    $10k to under $75k: $25 per month
    $75k to under $150k: $50 per month
    $150k to under $325k: $100 per month
    $325k and above: $150 per month

    This is a notable change from the previous approach. Even if considering maximum trading costs of $100 per account and maximum custodian fees per account, the new approach’s higher fees more than absorb the trading and custodian fees and represent a net cost increase.

    This changes the calculus for the break-point where Nest Wealth retains a cost advantage relative to providers that charge a percentage of Assets Under Management (AUM).

    That breakpoint for an individual investor is now $450,000 as Nest’s new monthly fee of $150 nets out to the same 0.4% you would pay at Wealthsimple (150*12/450000 = 0.004).

    That said, you also need to consider the impact of multiple investors in the household, each of whom has their own Client ID. All accounts for each Client ID are grouped together and the total AUM for that Client ID is used to calculate the applicable monthly fee which is charged to one investment account only.

    Note that a Client ID is generated by individual accounts, joint accounts and corporate accounts. This means that, for example, a family of 4 with two adults and two children could have three Client IDs (one Client ID for each adult’s individual accounts and one Client ID for joint accounts held by both adults).

    For example, in my situation I pay 3 monthly fees:
    1. A monthly fee for the Client ID for my individual investments
    2. A monthly fee for the Client ID for my spouse’s individual investments
    3. A monthly fee for the Client ID for a joint account holding a Family RESP for our kids

    Annualizing those monthly fees at the new rates and dividing that into the total portfolio in my case means that I will effectively pay 0.44% MER at Nest in July which means the cost advantage is no longer there relative to Wealthsimple (0.4% for portfolios over $100k).

    Looking into the details will help you make an informed decision what makes sense for your circumstances and situation which may be different from what I have discussed here.

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