RBC InvestEase Review 2022: Invest With a Big Bank Robo-Advisor

Fintech companies like Wealthsimple and Questrade pioneered the growth of the Robo-advising industry in Canada. And with advancements in financial technology, big banks have been joining the movement.

RBC InvestEase is one of the top bank-owned Robo-advisors in Canada. Another one is BMO SmartFolio.

There are two main reasons why people consider the investing services of a Robo-advisor like RBC InvestEase instead of mutual funds or DIY investing via online brokerages, including:

  • High fees charged by traditional fund managers: Mutual funds are quite expensive. Equity funds in Canada levy an average fee of 1.98%. 
  • DIY Investing is challenging: It takes an impeccable set of skills and time to research and pick stocks, invest, and manage one’s own portfolio.

Robo-advisors employ modern financial technology backed by a team of financial experts to help investors build wealth with a diversified, low-cost ETF portfolio at a fraction of the fee charged by mutual funds and without the hassles of everyday portfolio management.

They also offer unbiased financial advice to DIY investors looking to make good investment choices while still going on their own.

Thus, they are a top choice for time-strapped and conservative investors looking to put their money on autopilot.

In this RBC InvestEase review, I take you through how RBC InvestEase works, account types & portfolios, RBC InvestEase fees, performance and returns, and more.

RBC InvestEase Top Features

Below is a rundown of the features that make RBC InvestEase a great Robo-advisor in Canada.

  • Comprehensive ETF offering: Portfolios are built with up to 150 ETFs, the most comprehensive ETF offering in Canada.
  • Reasonable fees: RBC InvestEase fees are in line with Wealthsimple, the most popular Robo-advisor in Canada.
  • Owned by a big bank: Investors enjoy the reliability and security of RBC.
  • Responsible Investing: Offers RI portfolios built with ETFs that support environmental & social causes and governance(ESG) ratings so that you can invest in companies that are in line with your values.
  • Automatic-rebalancing: Portfolio advisors rebalance your assets automatically to ensure that your portfolio stays in line with your goals.
  • A team of accredited advisors: You get quick and easy access to accredited portfolio advisors to help you invest wisely.
  • Transfer fee coverage: RBC InvestEase covers transfer fees up to $200 when transferring $1,000 and above from another firm.
  • Low minimum investment: Your portfolio is invested once your balance reaches $100+.
  • Mobile and online banking integration: RBC InvestEase integrates with RBC Online Banking and RBC Mobile app so that existing RBC clients can enjoy seamless account management and instant transfers from bank account to investment account.

How Does RBC InvestEase Work?

RBC InvestEase’s onboarding process is pretty similar to other Robo advisors.

You start by providing basic personal and financial information, then proceed to answer a few questions to help the system determine your risk tolerance, goals, and investment time horizon.

Depending on the information you provide, you’ll get matched with an appropriate portfolio customized to your needs. You can then proceed to open an account for your portfolio and deposit a minimum of $100 to start investing right away.

Their accredited portfolio advisors take it from there and invest the money on your behalf in a portfolio of carefully selected ETFs. They also monitor and rebalance your assets so that you can stay on track without any further action on your part.

RBC InvestEase Account Types

RBC InvestEase offers 3 account types in which you can hold your investment portfolio. They include:

  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  •  Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Non-registered account

How To Sign Up For an RBC InvestEase Account

Follow this link to visit the RBC InvestEase sign-up page. Once there, follow these steps to open your account.

  • Fill out a questionnaire: Provide your details, including age, investment goals, and more.
  • Give more financial details: Select whether you are a new investor, a self-directed investor, or own some investment with another firm.
  • Disclose your investing knowledge: Answer questions about your investing knowledge, experience, your investment plans, and more.
  • Choose your risk profile: Choose your risk tolerance level, ranging from very low risk to very high risk.
  • Get matched with a portfolio: Based on your answers, you get matched with a personalized portfolio.
  • Choose portfolio type: Select whether you want to invest with a Standard or SRI portfolio.
  • Fund your account and start investing: Once your account is set up, make an initial deposit of at least $100 or transfer money from your current broker.

RBC InvestEase Standard Investment Portfolios & Products

RBC InvestEase offers five standard portfolio types to accommodate the risk tolerance and investment needs of different investors, ranging from conservative (low risk) to aggressive (high risk).

Each portfolio is built with low-cost ETFs that track established market indexes. Depending on your risk profile and goals, your portfolio will consist of a mix of equity ETFs, fixed income ETFs, and cash.

RBC InvestEase uses the following ETFs in Standard Portfolios:

  • iShares Core Canadian Short-Term Bond Index ETF
  • iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF
  • iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI Index ETF
  • iShares Global Government Bond Index ETF (CAD-Hedged)
  • iShares Core Canadian Universe Bond Index ETF
  • iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF
  • iShares Core MSCI EAFE IMI Index ETF

RBC InvestEase Responsible Investing Portfolios & Products

RBC InvestEase also offers an RI portfolio to enable its clients to invest in their future and a better world. They are built with globally diversified low-cost ETFs with higher environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores.

ETFs used in SRI portfolios include:

  • iShares ESG Aware Canadian Short Term Bond Index ETF
  • iShares ESG Aware MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF
  • iShares ESG Aware MSCI Canada Index ETF
  • iShares ESG Aware Canadian Aggregate Bond Index ETF
  • iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA Index ETF
  • iShares ESG Aware MSCI EAFE Index ETF
  • iShares Global Government Bond Index ETF (CAD-Hedged)

RBC InvestEase Fees

RBC InvestEase levies a flat fee of 0.5%. Their Management Expense Ratio (MER) is also in line with other Robo-advisors, ranging between 0.11%-0.13% for the Standard Portfolio and 0.18%-0.23% for the Responsible Investing (RI) Portfolio.

Overall, you can expect to pay a fee of 0.61% to 0.72% for the Standard Portfolio and 0.68% to 0.80% for the RI Portfolio.

Portfolio management fee0.5%
Standard MER0.11%-0.13% 
RI MER0.18%-0.23%

Though the RBC InvestEase management fee may seem high, it is still lower compared to BMO SmartFolio’s fee of up to 0.7%. It’s also comparable to Wealthsimple’s fee of 0.5% on accounts with a balance below $100,000.

RBC InvestEase Performance and Returns 

RBC InvestEase portfolios are relatively new. Thus, information about their performances and returns is scant online. But one thing you should note is that portfolio performance and returns are never guaranteed.

That said, your RBC InvestEase dashboard displays your portfolio’s performance and returns over time, which is calculated using the time-weighted rate of return that factors in performance and your account’s cash flow.

What is RBC InvestEase?

RBC InvestEase is a Robo-advisor owned and operated by the Royal Bank of Canada, which is the largest bank in Canada by market capitalization that has been in operation for more than 150 years.

Like other online investment services, RBC InvestEase employs financial technology to help its clients invest their money at a low cost.

The platform also keeps a team of accredited portfolio managers who offer you quick and easy access to financial advice and answer your questions so that you can make the best investment decisions.

It is a great choice for investors who want to cut investment fees while keeping their portfolio with a big bank.

Is RBC InvestEase Legit and Safe?

Money in your RBC InvestEase account is just as safe as the funds in your bank account. First, you get the confidence of investing with a Robo-advisor backed by the largest bank in Canada by Market cap.

Your funds are then held with their Custodial broker, RBC Direct Investing Inc, which is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC) and is a member of the Canadian Protection Fund(CIPF), which protects your investment account against insolvency up to $1 million.

RBC InvestEase vs RBC Direct Investing

Both RBC InvestEase and RBC Direct Investing are investing platforms owned and operated by the Royal Bank of Canada, but they offer different investing services.

RBC InvestEase is their Robo-advisor, which offers managed investing services through expertly designed and managed portfolios at a fee. It is great for hands-off investors looking to build wealth at a low cost and without the hassles of everyday portfolio management.

RBC Direct Investing is a stock trading platform that offers online trading software and charting tools to self-directed investors. It is a good choice for active, experienced DIY investors with the knowledge and skill to research stocks, invest and manage their own portfolios.

Pros and Cons of RBC InvestEase

Pros

  • Offers the largest and most comprehensive ETF list
  • Investors enjoy the reliability and security of RBC
  • Get help from accredited portfolio advisors
  • Offers Responsible Investing (RI)
  • Low minimum investment of $100
  • Automatic rebalancing for your assets

Cons

  • Limited investment accounts and portfolio options
  • No fee discounts for large investment amounts
  • No tax loss harvesting
  • Doesn’t offer fractional shares

RBC InvestEase vs Wealthsimple Invest

The main difference between Wealthsimple and RBC InvestEase is how they levy their fees. 

RBC levies a flat fee of 0.5% and doesn’t offer tiered fee discounts for larger account balances. There’s also an account transfer fee of $135.

Wealthsimple has a two-tier fee structure: 0.4% for accounts with $100,000 and above and 0.5% for an account with less than $100,000. Wealthsimple doesn’t charge a transfer fee.

Wealthsimple doesn’t have a minimum investment requirement, but RBC InvestEase has a $100 minimum investment requirement.

Again, Wealthsimple offers standard Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Halal portfolios. RBC InvestEase offers only standard and RI portfolios.

Other RBC InvestEase Alternatives in Canada

If RBC InvestEase doesn’t work for you, there are other alternatives that you can check. The table below breaks down how RBC InvestEase stacks up against other Robo-advisors in Canada.

RBC InvestEaseWealthsimple InvestQuestwealthJustwealthBMO SmartFolio
Fees0.5%0.4%-0.5%0.20%-0.25%0.4%-0.5%0.4%-0.7%
Minimum Investment$100None$1,000$5,000$1,000
Account typesTFSA, RRSP, non-registered accountTFSA, RRSP, LIRA RESP, RRIF, and non-registered accountsTFSA, RRSP, LIRA, LIF, RRIF and non-registered accountsRRSP, RESP, TFSA, LIRA, LIF, RRIF and non-registered accountsTFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, RDSP, LIRA, LRIF and non-registered accounts

FAQs

Are RBC InvestEase and RBC Direct Investing the same?

No, RBC InvestEase and RBC Direct Investing are not the same.

RBC InvestEase is a Robo-advisor that offers automated, managed investing services at a fee. It allows hands-off investors to build wealth with professionally designed and managed low-cost ETF portfolios.

RBC Direct Investing is a DIY online stock trading platform packed with trading features and tools to enable self-directed investors to build and manage their own portfolios. It is great for active, skilled investors and traders.

Is InvestEase better than Wealthsimple?

Both are great Robo-advisors that charge comparable fees. However, Wealthsimple offers multiple portfolio options and lower fees for accounts with a balance of $100,000+.

Also, Wealthsimple doesn’t have a minimum investment requirement or account transfer fee.

That said, RBC InvestEase gives you the security and reliability of investing with a Robo-advisor owned by a big bank.

What ETFs does RBC InvestEase use?

RBC InvestEase uses ETFs provided by the RBC Global Asset Management and Blackrock iShare, making a combined total of 150 ETFs, Canada’s most comprehensive ETF offering.

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