Wealthsimple scores Canadian first with zero-commission trading app

The new mobile app promises to provide an easier and more affordable investing process

Wealthsimple scores Canadian first with zero-commission trading app

The theme of “lowering barriers” is continuing to spread across all corners of the investment industry. The years-long race toward lower ETF fees continues, with reports of a radical first move into negative fee territory coming from the US. On the Canadian front, the new liquid-alternatives regime has opened the doors for providers to offer sophisticated, institutional-level strategies at retail-level costs.

Wealthsimple is putting its own spin on that trend with a new app called Wealthsimple Trade. Offered to people across Canada, the stock-trading mobile app allows Canadians to buy and sell thousands of Canadian and US-listed stocks and ETFs — without paying any trading commissions.

“Stock trading can be confusing and unapproachable, so we wanted to build a more accessible experience using the simple, beautifully designed technology we're known for,” said Wealthsimple founder and CEO Mike Katchen.

“Our approach to investing hasn't changed — a diversified, low fee portfolio that tracks the market is the best way to grow wealth over the long term,” he continued. “But there is a place for trading stocks too, and we're excited to offer Canadians a better way to do that.”

Aside from charging no trading commissions, WealthSimple Trade doesn’t impose a minimum account size, letting users start trading with as little as $1. The app promises to provide a paperwork- and jargon-free experience, with the account-opening process taking only a few minutes for new clients; for existing Wealthsimple clients, it takes just one tap.

The app was originally announced in August, with over 130,000 Canadians signing up for access to a pre-launch version.

Following the announcement, critics were quick to point out how many DIY investors discover that trading successfully is tougher than they thought. Others took the argument further, saying that users of the commission-free app, after trying to invest on their own and failing, would be convinced of the value of professional financial advice.

More than 7,000 people tested WealthSimple Trade and provided feedback on their experience. The newly launched app also comes with the following features and functions:

  • Fast order execution
  • Watchlist feature to monitor stocks without buying
  • Market and limit orders
  • Available on iOS and Android
  • Personal (unregistered) accounts

New features and improvements will be added in response to feedback from clients.


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