Wealthsimple's first two ETFs promise to help investors stay true to commonly held social and environmental values
“Canadians are increasingly interested in investment options that reflect their values, and there haven't always been a lot of great options for them,” said Michael Katchen, co-founder and CEO of Wealthsimple. “This prompted us to create our own socially responsible funds that use clear, transparent values screens and carry lower fees than much of the competition.”
While Wealthsimple has an existing SRI offering that was launched in 2016, it was constructed from third-party ETFs. With its first ETFs, Wealthsimple is offering investors low-fee investment vehicles with improved values screening – aside from excluding controversial industries like weapons and tobacco, they screen companies for carbon emissions – and more sophisticated portfolio construction.
Trading under the ticker symbol WSRI, the Wealthsimple North America Socially Responsible Index ETF invests mainly in Canadian and U.S. equity securities from companies that do not violate commonly held social and environmental values. With a management fee of 0.2%, it seeks to track the Solactive Wealthsimple North America Socially Responsible Factor index,
Meanwhile, the Wealthsimple Developed Markets ex North America Socially Responsible Index ETF, listed under the symbol WSRD, primarily invests in equity securities issued by companies in Europe, Australia, and Asia that similarly do not go against widely held social and environmental values. The ETF comes with a management fee of 0.25%, and it will track the Solactive Wealthsimple DM ex NA Socially Responsible Factor index.
Mackenzie Investments will serve as the trustee, manager, and portfolio manager of both ETFs.