Questwealth Portfolios by Questrade Review

Questwealth Portfolios by Questrade Review

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated October 14, 2021

Questwealth is an online robo-advisor investment platform offered by Questrade. Questrade manages over $9 billion of assets and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), which means that accounts are protected up to $1 million in the unlikely event that the company goes bankrupt. Formerly known as Portfolio IQ, Questwealth Portfolios is best suited for clients looking for a passive investment management approach as they offer a variety of low-cost ETF portfolios. For those looking to actively manage their own investments, they would be best suited to use Questrade’s self-directed trading accounts.

How Does Questwealth Work?

Investors have choices when investing with Questwealth. There is the DIY self-directed investing option whereby you build your own investment portfolio with a self-directed account or have a portfolio built for you by experts.

With self-directed investing, you manage your investments yourself, which can save you a ton of money in fees. In this scenario, you can buy and sell stocks, bonds, precious metals, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options, mutual funds, and GICs. There are no account opening or closing fees, commissions are super low, and ETFs can be bought commission-free.

With expert-backed Questwealth Portfolios, your investments will be managed by Questrade’s experts. Rather than choosing your own investments, you will be asked a few questions regarding your financial goals and risk tolerance to have your assets accurately chosen for you. 

Your investment goals are matched with smart technology, and you’ll receive a portfolio of ETFs, which invest in the market much like mutual funds but with lower fees. Average mutual fund fees cost around 2.16%, whereas you can pay a total fee of just 0.38% (which includes management fees and the MER of the ETF). 

While Questwealth is considered a robo-advisor, it does not rely entirely on algorithms or automation to keep tabs on and rebalance your portfolio. Instead, there are real humans behind the scenes who manage your portfolio for you.

Once you create an account and fund it with $1,000, you can begin trading. Questwealth can be used to trade and invest on the web or via the Questwealth app so you can buy, sell, and make changes on the fly.

Questwealth Features

Investment options. Investors can tap into any of the following investment options with Questwealth:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • GICs
  • Equities
  • IPOs
  • Precious Metals
  • New Issues

Account options. Investors can also invest in:

  • RRSPs
  • RESPs
  • TFSAs
  • RIFs
  • LIFs
  • LIRAs
  • Real-time data access. You’ll be trading with real-time, live-streaming data.
  • Questwealth Portfolios. This is Questrade’s robo-advisor that will handle all your investments for you and build your investment portfolio based on answers to questions you’ll be asked.  
  • Socially responsible investing (SRI). For socially conscious investors, there are even specific portfolios that focus on social responsibility – this includes social and corporate governance ETFs, low carbon ETFs and Cleantech ETFs. You can invest in companies that match your values and make a positive impact on the world. 
  • IPO Centre. This research tool allows you to find out important information about the latest IPOs, then lets you buy the ones that have caught your eye. 
  • Intraday Trader. This tool will help you identify opportunities in the equities market in Canada and the US. Powered by Recognia, this tool makes use of pattern recognition to pinpoint opportunities, then cross-references them with your investment goals. When a target trade is triggered, Intraday Trader will alert you with charts and a description of what’s taking place.
  • Reinvest Dividends – Any dividends you earn from your investments are reinvested, and portfolios are automatically rebalanced based on market conditions; meaning that you won’t have to actively monitor your investments.
  • Market data. Get free snap quotes that provide real-time bids and ask prices for securities on North American stock exchanges.
  • Refer a Friend program. Receive a $25 bonus for referring a friend who opens a Questrade account, and $50 for every third referral.
  • Trading app. Use your smartphones or tablet to make trading decisions and moves on the go through the Questrade mobile app. 
  • Automatic deposits. Easily set up automatic deposits without having to do so manually. 
  • Customer Support – Questwealth customer service is available through phone, email or virtual chat – a feature that allows clients to instantly connect with a representative during working hours (Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM).

Learn why passive income is important.

Overview of Questwealth

Minimum investment$1,000
Fees0.20% for accounts holding $100,000
+0.25% for accounts holding below $100,000
MER Fees0.17%-0.22% for standard ETFs
0.21%-0.35% for socially responsible investment ETFs
Types of accountsTFSA
RRSP
RESP
LIRA
LIF
RIF
Trusts
Corporate
Margin
Socially responsible investing (SRI)Yes
Automatic re-balancingYes
Reimbursement for transfersYes (up to $150 per account)
Automatic depositsYes
Professional portfolio managementYes
Fractional investingNo
AccessibilityBrowser-based, desktop-based, and mobile app

How Personalized Are the Investment Portfolios?

If you opt for Questwealth Portfolios, you can expect to have a fully customized investment portfolio created for you based on your needs, goals, and investing style. Designed by experts, your investment portfolio will include assets that are perfectly diversified to match your financial goals and appetite for risk. 

Based on the answers you provide, Questwealth’s algorithm will select a portfolio on your behalf from one of the following:

  • Aggressive. Suitable for investors with a high level of risk adversity, these portfolios are entirely comprised of equities. This portfolio also offers the highest possible returns and the MER ranges from 0.15% to 0.23%.
  • Growth. Slightly less aggressive, these portfolios are weighted 80% in equities and 20% in fixed income. The MER ranges from 0.14% to 0.22%.
  • Balanced. Ideal for medium-risk investors, this portfolio invests in 60% equity and 40% fixed income and comes with a MER of anywhere from 0.13% to 0.20%.
  • Income. Those who are looking for a medium to low-risk investment will find the Income portfolio best, which invests in 60% in fixed income and 40% in equity. The MER ranges from 0.12% to 0.17%.
  • Conservative. Those with a lower risk tolerance will be better suited with the Conservative Portfolio, which invests in 80% fixed income and 20% in equity. The MER ranges from 0.11% to 0.14%.

Based on client feedback, the weighting for the above portfolio options have typically done well to balance their needs and wants. Questwealth portfolios are meant for investors who wish to manage their investments using a passive approach – those who are looking to make frequent trades or take a more hands-on approach with their investments would be better suited to use a self-directed investment account.

Questwealth has a great track record in regard to the historic performance of its various portfolios. Four out of the five portfolio types have over ten years of positive performance. Public records displaying each portfolio’s performance can be found on the Questwealth website, providing full transparency for both clients and prospective clients.

How Much Does Questwealth Cost?

When investing with Questwealth, you will be subject to one of two fee structures. A 0.25% management fee for accounts holding up to $100,000 and 0.20% for accounts that hold more than $100,000. This fee includes portfolio set up, account rebalancing, and dividend reinvestment.

The management expense ratio (MERs) of typical ETFs range from 0.17%-0.22% and 0.21%-0.35% for socially responsible investments. The minimum investment for an ETF portfolio with Questwealth is $1,000. Investors with taxable accounts (outside of TFSA and RRSP accounts) can take advantage of Questwealth’s free tax-loss harvesting feature to lower capital gains taxes.

When switching to Questwealth from another investment brokerage, transfer fees of up to $150 are waived.

Self Directed Investing Costs

Stocks start at $0.01 per share for self-directed investing, with a minimum of $4.95 and maximum of $9.95 per trade. More details are as follows: 

Stocks$0.01/share
Minimum $4.95 to maximum $9.95
ETFsBuy for free$0.01/share to sell
Minimum $4.95 to maximum $9.95
Options$9.95 + $1/contract
Mutual Funds$9.95/trade
BondsMinimum $5,000 purchase
GICsMinimum $5,000 purchase
International equities1% of trade value
IPOsBuy for free
Precious metals$19.95 USD/trade

Active traders get special deals, as outlined below:

FixedVariable
Stocks$4.95/trade$0.01/share
Minimum $0.01 to maximum $6.95
Options$4.95 + $0.75/contract$6.95 + $0.75/contract
ETFsFree to buy
$4.95/trade to sell
Free to buy $0.01/share to sell
Minimum $0.01 to maximum $6.95

What Are The Perks Of Questwealth?

  • Paid transfer fees. If you are planning to switch to Questwealth from another financial institution, Questwealth will reimburse up to $150 in transfer fees per account. 
  • Low commissions on stocks. Questwealth is known for its low commissions. You’ll pay $0.01 per share, with a minimum of $4.95 and up to a maximum of $9.95 per trade to purchase stocks.  
  • No commissions on bonds and GICs. At Questwealth, trading GICs is commission-free, with a minimum order of $5,000.
  • No commission on ETF purchases. Buy ETFs with zero commissions.  
  • Zero annual fees. Questwealth doesn’t charge any annual fees, compared to other brokerages that may charge anywhere from $50 to $100 per year to maintain your accounts. 
  • Great customer service. If you need to get a hold of someone at Questwealth, you’ll have a few channels to do that. Customer support is available through telephone, email, or online chat. There is also a section that lets you search information on a wide array of topics. 
  • Accessibility. Buy and sell stocks using Questwealth’s browser-based, desktop, and mobile platforms.
  • Hold both US and Canadian dollars in registered accounts. Investors can hold both US and Canadian dollars in registered accounts without having to pay currency conversion fees with each trade. 

What To Expect When You Open A Questwealth Account?

The process to open a Questwealth account is done completely online, and is fairly quick and easy. From the website, you simply need to click on “Open Account”, select Questwealth Portfolios, review and accept the terms and conditions, and fill out your personal information. You will be required to provide your full name, home address, email address, social insurance number, phone number, and valid government identification.

The client platform is very sleek and user friendly, with everything laid out in a very intuitive manner. Customer service is also excellent, as the support team is very helpful in each part of the process for both new and existing clients.

Should You Use Questwealth Or Work With a Human Advisor?

It’s tough to argue against the use of a human advisor when it comes to investing your hard-earned money. After all, you want to make sure that whatever you invest in will not only maximize your chances of profiting but also minimize risk. 

The great thing about Questwealth is that although this can be considered a robo-advisor, there are also real extracts working behind the scenes to help you optimize your investment portfolio. With Questrade, you get the best of both worlds: low fees and convenience of robo-advisors, and expert assistance from actual human advisors

Questwealth FAQs

How does Questwealth work?

When signing up with Questwealth, new users will be given a questionnaire (10 questions) that covers their net worth, income, investment objectives, knowledge, and risk adversity. Based on the user’s responses, they will be recommended one of the five investment profiles: Aggressive, Growth, Balanced, Income, or Conservative. Each investment profile is comprised of five to seven low-cost ETFs and unlike most other robo-advisor platforms that rely entirely on algorithms to monitor and rebalance portfolios, Questwealth employs human advisors to manage the portfolios.

Should I start investing?

Investing your hard-earned money will allow you to grow your savings to beat inflation and build long-term wealth. Investing is a major component of financial literacy and essential to good money management as it ensures both present and future financial security. Everyone’s financial situation is unique, and you should look to invest in a manner that fits your goals and risk profile.

Is Questwealth better than a human advisor?

Questwealth provides their clients with the best of both worlds, as they are a robo-advisor investment platform that also employs human portfolio managers to monitor and manage accounts. While Questwealth’s costs are comparable to other fully automated robo-advisor platforms, they are significantly cheaper than the fees that (human) money managers typically charge.

Is my money safe with Questwealth?

To safeguard client funds, Questwealth portfolios are covered by CIPF which covers accounts up to $1 million. Questwealth also offers free private insurance which provides an additional $10 million in coverage and the company is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). As a sign of Questwealth’s commitment to excellence, they have won the award for best operated Canadian business a total of eight times.

Who Is Questwealth Best Suited For?

Both novice and experienced investors will find Questwealth a fantastic trading platform. Newbies can take advantage of a clean interface, low fees, and expert-managed portfolios to make investing easy, while seasoned investors who are interested in buying their own ETFs, stocks, bonds, or other assets can take a DIY approach while enjoying some of the lowest trading fees out there. 

The portfolio options are also vast and are designed for all types of investors, from the more conservative to the more aggressive with an appetite for risk. Questwealth is an excellent option for investors considering taking the robo-advisor route.

Lisa has been working as a writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same. She's used a variety of financial tools over the years and is currently growing her money with Wealthsimple, while stashing some capital in a liquid high-interest savings account so that she always has a financial cushion to fall back on. She's also been avidly using her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect as many Aeroplan points as possible to put towards her travels!

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