Nest Wealth Review

A Canadian robo-advisor that offers investors a convenient way to handle their investments.

Lisa Rennie
Updated August 27, 2020


Nest Wealth is one of many robo-advisors in Canada that offers investors a convenient way to handle their investments. Platforms like these offer the average investor with smaller amounts of capital to access professional wealth management with much lower fees than would be charged by in-person advisors. 

Launched in 2014, Nest Wealth is made up of a team of professionals to create a financial technology firm that is partnered with Metroland Media and National Bank, both of which hold a minority stake in the company. The premise of Nest Wealth is to use low-cost diversified ETF portfolios that are based on the Modern Portfolio Theory, which uses a strategic mathematical framework return that is maximized for a given level of risk.

Nest Wealth automates part of the investing process and is based on passive investing tactics that help simplify the entire process. Plus, the platform’s algorithms help maximize returns and minimize risk for a well-rounded investment portfolio that can help build wealth over the long haul.

Every Nest Wealth account is fully customized, so every investor’s needs, goals, and appetite for risk are carefully considered before developing an investment portfolio.  

Let’s dive into Nest Wealth in more detail to help you determine if this is the right investment platform for you.

How Does Nest Wealth Work?

While Nest Wealth is classified as a robo-advisor, there are real humans behind the scenes to help you maximize how hard every dollar works for you. When you sign up with Nest Wealth, you’ll be assigned an account manager right from the get-go, so you’ll always have someone to talk to and ask questions as they arise. 

As you go through the sign-up process, your account manager will gather all the information needed from you to help them come up with a fully personalized portfolio that is entirely based on your needs, so no two investment portfolios are alike. 

You’ll be charged a flat fee, an amount which will depend on the amount you are investing. This is a unique feature compared to conventional percentage-based fee structures that you’d typically find with other robo-advisors. This is a great feature for those who prefer to know exactly how much they’ll be charged every month so they can budget appropriately. 

What Types of Accounts Are Available Through Nest Wealth?

There are many investment accounts available with Nest Wealth, including the following:

  • RRSP
  • Spousal RRSP
  • RESP
  • TFSA
  • LIRA
  • RRIF
  • Spousal RRIF
  • Joint ownership 
  • Corporate 
  • Trust 
  • Cash 

Important Features to Consider When Choosing To Work With Wealthbar

Investing with Nest Wealth comes with a variety of features, including the following:

Customized investment portfolios. Your investment portfolio will be customized according to your goals, risk tolerance, timeline, and current financial situation. 

Diversification of asset allocation. Your account manager will help create a portfolio that is composed of the right weight for each asset to ensure it complies with your needs. 

Regular portfolio monitoring. Your portfolio will be monitored on an ongoing basis. 

Automated rebalancing. To ensure your portfolio is performing optimally, it will be automatically rebalanced as required based on your asset allocation.

Support from an expert advisor. You will have a dedicated account manager at your disposal whenever you have any relevant investment questions. 

Transparent fee structure. Log into your account to review the performance of your investments and the amount you’re being charged in fees at any time and from any device. 

Robust security. Your investment account will be protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), which covers you up to $1 million. 

No minimum investment amount. Unlike traditional investment accounts, there is no minimum amount required to start investing with Nest Wealth.

How Much Does Nest Wealth Cost?

Nest Wealth’s regular fee structure is as follows:

  • Less than $75,000: $20/month
  • $75,000 to under $150,000: $40/month
  • $150,000 and over: $80/month

There are also fees that will be charged by Nest Wealth’s two custodians: National Bank Independent Network and Fidelity Clearing Canada. Custodian charges are as follows:

Fidelity Clearing CanadaNational Bank Independent Network 
Trading Fee$7.99/trade$9.99/trade
Annual Account Fee (registered account)$36$100
Annual Account Fee (non-registered account)$25$75

In addition, ETF Management Expense Ratios (MERs) are charged by underlying fund companies. The average portfolio MER with Nest Wealth is 0.13%. 

How Personalized Are The Investment Portfolios? 

As mentioned earlier, you will have a dedicated account manager to go over your options and gather as much relevant financial information as possible from you to help create a fully customized portfolio. It will be entirely based on your risk tolerance, financial goals, and current financial situation. 

Once your investment portfolio is all set up, Nest Wealth will monitor and automatically rebalance it on your behalf. Nest Wealth creates investment portfolios from seven different ETFs from seven different asset classes for optimal diversification. Based on your risk score, you’ll own a specific proportion of each product. ETFs offer a cost-effective way to diversify your investment portfolio and allow you to get exposure to several asset classes.

Investment Portfolio Options

Nest Wealth creates investment portfolios with varying proportions of the following asset classes:

ETFAsset ClassMER
Vanguard Canadian Short-Term Bond Index ETF (VSB)Short-Term Bonds0.11%
BMO Aggregate Bond Index ETF (ZAG)Medium-Term Bonds0.09%
iShares Canadian Real Return Bond Index ETF (XRB)Real Return Bonds0.39%
iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (XIC)Canadian Equities0.05%
iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF (CAD-Hedged) (XSP)US Equities0.10%
iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA)Global Equities0.08%
Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ)Real Estate0.12%

What Perks Does Nest Wealth Have?

There are plenty of reasons why Nest Wealth makes a solid online investment platform to use:

  • Fee-based service. Instead of paying a percentage of your investment holdings, you’ll be charged a flat fee, which makes your payments much more predictable. 
  • Assigned account manager. Any time you have a question about your investments, you’ll have direct access to an account manager to answer them. 
  • Capped trading fees. You’ll never pay over $100 on trading fees. Nest Wealth will cover everything over that amount.
  • Robo-advisor/human advisor hybrid model. Nest Wealth offers the convenience and affordability of a robo-advisor while also offering the personalized touch of a human advisor. 
  • Low average MERs. The average MER is 0.13% for balanced portfolios, which is lower than most investment platforms. 
  • User-friendly platform. The Nest Wealth platform is very easy to use and navigate and gives you a view on your progress as it relates to meeting your goals.
  • Excellent customer service. You’ll have access to your account manager via phone or email. 
  • Automatic rebalancing. Your portfolio will be rebalanced automatically as necessary to keep your funds growing while hedging against risk. 
  • Low-cost ETFs. Investing has never been more affordable and accessible thanks to Nest Wealth. 
  • Security. Nest Wealth portfolios are protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund that gives you up to $1,000,000.

Overview of Nest Wealth

Minimum investmentNone
Types of accountsRRSPSpousal RRSPRESPTFSALIRARRIFSpousal RRIFJoint ownership Corporate Trust Cash
Tax-loss harvestingFor larger accounts
FeesLess than $75,000: $20/month$75,000 to under $150,000: $40/month$150,000 and over: $80/month
Socially responsible investing (SRI)No
Automatic re-balancingYes
Dedicated Portfolio ManagerYes
Withdrawal FeesNo
Transfer Fees CoveredNo
AccessibilityBrowser-based and mobile app
Customer SupportLive support via telephone or email

Should You Use Nest Wealth or Work With a Human Advisor?

The decision to use a robo-advisor versus a human advisor will totally depend on your style, needs, and investment strategy. Here are some scenarios that may warrant the use of a robo-advisor:

  • You’re comfortable with the investment fees that are charged based on your investment portfolio’s performance. 
  • You’re OK with not having too much direct contact with a real-life advisor.
  • You don’t have a large amount of capital to start investing with. 
  • You’re comfortable with having your investments automated and monitored without your intervention, whether by an algorithm or an account manager behind the scenes. 

On the other hand, a robo-advisor may not be the right fit if any of the following applies to you:

  • You’re uncomfortable with having your entire investment dealings conducted online. 
  • You prefer direct contact with a human advisor at all points along the investment spectrum.  
  • You want to have lots of control over your investments. 

Why Should You Invest?

Whether you need to pay for your kids’ post-secondary education, have a major home renovation to pay for, or want to have a steady income in retirement, you’ll need a significant nest egg to make that happen. That’s why making an effort to save your money is extremely important. 

But more often than not, simply “saving” your money in a typical savings account isn’t going to cut it. Instead, what you need to do is make your money work for you so it can grow a lot faster than it would in a traditional savings account. 

That’s where investing comes into the picture. Investing your money in a sound investment vehicle can help your money grow much faster and help you build wealth over time. Whether you’re a very conservative investor who doesn’t like to take big risks with your money or you have an appetite for risk and want to take more chances to help your money grow faster, there is an investment product for you, and Nest Wealth can help you find it. 

Who is Nest Wealth Best Suited For?

Nest Wealth is ideal for investors along any part of the spectrum of investing, from a complete novice to a well-rounded investor. That said, novice investors without a lot of startup capital will find Nest Wealth especially helpful because of the low fees, low investment capital requirements, and convenience of having everything you need on display on your computer monitor or mobile device screen.  

Nest Wealth is also great for investors who appreciate having their investment portfolios automatically managed and adjusted as the market changes. Rather than working with a traditional brokerage and paying sky-high fees, Nest Wealth investors can enjoy more affordable fees without having to sacrifice personalized advice and customer service.