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Wealthsimple Trade in-depth review 2021: The pros and cons

March 5, 2021 Michael White
Wealthsimple Trade in-depth review 2021: The pros and cons

But there are moderate potential fees you’ll want to know about. 

When trading U.S. equities listed on the New York Stock Exchange, you’ll have to pay a 1.5% foreign-exchange fee, since the trade is a non-Canadian currency. This isn’t exclusive to Wealthsimple, but whereas some other platforms allow you to hold U.S. dollars and leverage “Norbert’s gambit” (meaning you can strategically and cheaply convert your Canadian dollars to buy U.S. stocks), Wealthsimple doesn’t. An upside, though, is that you can buy ETFs and stocks listed on Canadian exchanges that track the performance of multiple U.S. companies (for example, the Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF).

There are small fees associated with other transactions—such as $45 for a broker-assisted phone trade, or $20 for a paper account statement—but you’ll rarely, if ever, require these. 

Is there anything you can’t buy on Wealthsimple Trade?

Yes. But if you’re a passive, long-term investor without a lot of experience, you’re probably not going to mind. 

Wealthsimple clients are restricted to trading equities like stocks and ETFs. So, if you want to, for example, buy mutual funds or participate in a company’s IPO, you’ll have to go elsewhere. It’s for this reason that more ambitious or experienced investors may opt for the likes of Qtrade or Questrade*—which, while not as easy to use as Wealthsimple (and with different fees), offer a greater range of options. Wealthsimple is also restricted to stock exchanges within North America, therefore ruling out major international exchanges.

How to use the Wealthsimple Trade interface 

At the time of this article’s publication, Wealthsimple Trade’s desktop version was still in its beta (testing) phase. So you’ll probably want to stick with the smartphone app for now. 

That said, buying stocks and ETFs is as easy as it gets. Simply search stocks by their three- or four-letter ticker abbreviation, then click to buy shares. Done! 

To help guide your choices, you can also access basic statistics about specific equities, such as their P/E (price-to-earnings) ratio, plus snapshots of trending and top stocks across various market segments and categories. Again, these can be found with just a click or two. The overall experience is extremely intuitive, so novice investors are unlikely to feel intimidated.

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