Wealthsimple Unveils No-Fee Trading

#Lifestyle Wealth

Automated investing platform Wealthsimple is opening up its free trading to all Canada-based customers, the company announced, and U.S. customers could see a similar offering soon. The service, called Wealthsimple Trade, had been in beta for four months, with 7,000 consumers executing 60,000 trades over that time. Interestingly, the top three stocks traded turning the beta launch, Aurora Cannabis Inc., Canopy Growth Corp. and Aphria Inc., were all cannabis-related.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed that products for Wealthsimple generally launch with the company's Canadian customers and make their way south to the U.S., saying it's "likely" American customers will see a similar offering. The spokesperson did not outline when that might happen.

Wealthsimple Trade allows for no-commission-fee market and limit orders on stocks and ETFs listed on Canadian and U.S. stocks exchanges. The company does charge a currency exchange fee of 1.5 percent when trading equities in USD, which is how the company monetizes the product. Wealthsimple explicitly notes it doesn't make money from selling data or information to third parties or by selling order flow. Robinhood, another zero-commission trading platform, has been criticized for earning revenue from the sale of customers' orders to high-frequency trading firms.

There is $1 account minimum and trading is available to existing Wealthsimple clients, as well as new signups. Over 130,000 Canadians have signed up for the trial.

Wealthsimple's announcement comes after similar announcements of free or heavily-discounted commission charges from SoFi's Invest and JPMorgan Chase's You Invest services.


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