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    Account Setup 

    Wealthsimple gets personal on the first screen of the account setup process. This means you can’t look at the questionnaire or review portfolio allocations before giving out your date of birth, address, and tax ID number. After that, the questionnaire asks you a series of typical questions about financial goals, time horizon, risk tolerance, past investment experience and level of investment knowledge.

    Your responses are used to generate a portfolio of ETFs customized in response to the completed profile. You can change proposed allocations, but the system may ask for reasons if alterations conflict with prior responses. Accounts are funded through bank account links and can be accomplished with a one-time payment or recurring deposits.

    Wealthsimple’s account types vary according to which region you live in. In the United States, Wealthsimple provides support for individual and joint taxable accounts, trust accounts and the standard range of retirement accounts.

    In Canada, Wealthsimple offers a full range of accounts, including tax-free savings accounts (TFSA), corporate accounts, joint accounts, retirement savings plans (RSP), locked-in retirement accounts (LIRA), registered retirement income funds (RRIF), registered education savings plans (RESP) and taxable accounts.

    In the United Kingdom, Wealthsimple offers pension accounts, individual savings accounts (ISA), junior individual savings accounts (JISA) and personal taxable accounts.

    In addition to a regular investment program, Wealthsimple offers a Smart Savings account that pays higher interest than traditional savings accounts by using low-risk ETFs. The account is taxable and incurs a 0.25% fee instead of a 0.50% fee, lowering net interest. The Smart Savings account is insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insurance rather than the FDIC. As an added incentive, Wealthsimple pays transfer costs on new accounts funded with at least $5,000.

    U.S. citizens who make reading disclosure statements part of their decision to open an account will be disappointed. The Wealthsimple U.S. site provides no ADV-2A investment advisory brochure as mandated by the SEC, defying a rule that advisors are “required to deliver to clients and prospective clients a brochure disclosing information about your firm.” The ADV-2A is intended as a consumer protection document, and company disclosures within those brochures are vitally important in establishing trust between advisor and client, so this marks a major omission.

     

    Wealthsimple designed its Halal portfolio with global index provider MSCI, using a methodology approved by its committee of sharia scholars.

     

    The all-equity portfolio, which uses the same passive investment strategy as Wealthsimple’s other portfolios, is composed of 50 stocks designed to maximize diversification and closely track the MSCI ACWI Islamic Index.

    The stocks included in the portfolio are filtered using two processes. A business activity screen filters companies that are directly active in, or derive over 5 per cent of their revenue from, a prohibited Muslim activity such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling or pork production. A financial screen filters out companies that derive significant income from interest or have considerable leverage.

    Katchen said Wealthsimple will continue to launch new products that introduce solutions for investors who are underserviced or improve upon offerings that are already in the market.

    “If you look at our history, we generally try to lead with innovative new products and services a few times a year, so I think you can expect more stuff from us.”