These are nascent sub-sectors in the general asset management space. While that doesn’t translate into a specific social or political climate, it should be noted that there is a “buzz” about these services. We can expect specific rules to develop as more and more entrants to these sub-sectors emerge.
Accenture released a report in early January 2017 entitled 2017 Global Distribution & Mar-keting Consumer Study which studied, amongst other things, the appetite for robo-advice across 18 countries, and Canada was the country with the lowest demand for robo-advice. That said, more than half of Canadian consumers surveyed indicated that they are willing to use robo-advice.
The number of Robo-Advisors in the Canadian market rose approximately 22% between 2015 and 2016.
The text in Canada/Asset and portfolio management/legal affairs applies here as well. This is because these business are regulated only if they trigger registration by virtue of being in the business of advising others regarding investing in securities, or because they operate a securities trading business. As described above, these businesses do trigger registration.
We do not have information about the total size of the market but some of the key compa-nies in the Robo-advisory market in Canada include: BMO SmartFolio, Invisor, Justwealth Financial, ModernAdvisor, Nest Wealth, Portfolio IQ, Responsive Capital Mgt. RoboAdvisors+, Smart Money Capital Management, Wealth Simple. Some other Canadian companies in the market are: Questrade, Virtual Brokers, Interactive Brokers, Responsive Capital Management.
The level of competition is rising as well, particularly in the area of costs. Most firms now include trading costs in their advice fees, and several are using cheaper investments than last year for portfolio building.
There is a shift of focus from the young who were the original targets of these businesses to catering to older, wealthier investors. As comfort with the products are increasing, higher-net-worth clients are turning to them to pay lower fees and see competitive returns. Some of the robo-advisers that cater to these higher net worth individuals in Canada are: Wealthsimple Black, Nest Wealth and WealthBar.
Nora F. Osbaldeston
William L Northcote