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17 Best All-In-One ETFs in Canada (2021): Your 1-Decision Investing Solution

Last updated Mar 24, 2021

All-in-one ETFs were created with two main purposes in mind: The ultimate convenience in ETF investing, and lower fees for Canadians.

Vanguard led the charge by becoming the first company in Canada to introduce the offering of all-in-one Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) back in 2018. 

As more ETF providers like iShares, BMO, and Horizons entered the market with all-in-one ETFs, sales are exploding for all-in-one ETFs in Canada.

The increasing demand for all-in-one ETFs (also known as model ETF portfolios) in Canada should not come as a surprise. Mutual fund products in Canada are some of the most expensive in the developed world, and ETFs are leading the charge in reducing fees for investors.

What is an All-In-One ETF?

Before all-in-one ETFs came around, it was a lot harder to make an ETF portfolio. You had to buy several ETFs, and you would have to rebalance them at times to match your fixed income to equity that is suited to your risk tolerance.

Created as a fund of funds, all-in-one ETFs are built using several ETFs and usually give worldwide diversification. All-in-one ETFs are much simpler to use, and you won’t need to rebalance it.

How to Use All-In-One ETFs

It’s extremely easy to use all-in-one ETFs, and it’s suitable for beginners and experts.

  1. First you figure out what type of asset mix is right for you. You can start by filling out an online questionnaire such as the one that is provided by Vanguard here. This will help to determine your asset mix of fixed income to equity.
  2. After you know your proper asset mix, find a suitable ETF from the list below.
  3. Purchase the ETF, using a platform such as Questrade or Wealthsimple Trade.
  4. You won’t need to rebalance it, as the portfolio will automatically do so.

Top All-In-One ETF Providers in Canada

ETF Provider# of All-In-One ETF PortfoliosAvg MERLink to Portfolio Info
Vanguard0.25%Link
iShares0.20%Link
BMO30.20%Link
Horizons30.16%-0.28%Link

Best Model ETF Portfolios in Canada

I have listed down below all-in-one ETF portfolios in Canada that you can consider. I divided them among the various providers to give you a better idea of what each provider has to offer.

Vanguard All-in-One ETF Portfolios

Vanguard Logo

Vanguard’s asset allocation ETFs were designed by the provider in its efforts to pioneer the simplification of investing while managing risk through global diversification and balance. Each of the five ETF portfolios are all-in-one ETFs that invest in various mixtures of several core Vanguard ETFs. 

Each of these portfolios is balanced regularly to maintain the corresponding allocations and limit the risk levels within the determined risk tolerance to help investors remain aligned with their goals.

1. Vanguard Conservative Income ETF Portfolio

Ticker: VCIP
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.25%
# of holding/ETFs: 7
Asset Allocation Target: 80% Fixed Income / 20% Equity

2. Vanguard Conservative ETF Portfolio

Ticker: VCNS
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.25%
# of holding/ETFs: 7
Asset Allocation Target: 60% Fixed Income / 40% Equity

3. Vanguard Balanced ETF Portfolio

Ticker: VBAL
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.25%
# of holding/ETFs: 7
Asset Allocation Target: 40% Fixed Income / 60% Equity

4. Vanguard Growth ETF Portfolio

Ticker: VGRO
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.25%
# of holding/ETFs: 7
Asset Allocation Target: 20% Fixed Income / 80% Equity

5. Vanguard All-Equity ETF Portfolio

Ticker: VEQT
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.25%
# of holding/ETFs: 4
Asset Allocation Target: 0% Fixed Income / 100% Equity

6. Vanguard Retirement Income ETF Portfolio

Ticker: VRIF
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.29%
# of holding/ETFs: 8
Asset Allocation Target: 50% Fixed Income / 50% Equity

Buy ETFs for Free with Questrade

iShares All-in-One ETF Portfolios

ishares logo

iShares’ Core ETFs are its all-in-one ETF products that it offers as an option for investors to help build a strong foundational portfolio. The ETFs are a selected group of ETFs and come in various combinations to help investors achieve a variety of financial goals. The different mixtures of ETFs they comprise allow investors to capitalize on the all-in-one ETFs based on their risk tolerance.

7. iShares Core Equity ETF Portfolio

Ticker: XEQT
Management Expense Ratio (MER):0.20%
# of holding/ETFs: 4
Asset Allocation Target: 0% Fixed Income / 100% Equity

8. iShares Core Growth ETF Portfolio

Ticker: XGRO
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.20%
# of holding/ETFs: 8
Asset Allocation Target: 20% Fixed Income / 80% Equity

9. iShares Core Income Balanced ETF Portfolio

Ticker: XBAL
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.20%
# of holding/ETFs: 8
Asset Allocation Target: 40% Fixed Income / 60% Equity

10. iShares Core Conservative Balanced ETF Portfolio

Ticker: XCNS
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.20%
# of holding/ETFs: 8
Asset Allocation Target: 60% Fixed Income / 40% Equity

11. iShares Core Income Balanced ETF Portfolio

Ticker: XINC
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.20%
# of holding/ETFs: 8
Asset Allocation Target: 80% Fixed Income / 20% Equity

Buy ETFs for Free with Questrade

BMO All-in-One ETF Portfolios

The Bank of Montreal was not going to be left behind the rest of the ETF providers. It has become a prominent all-in-one ETF provider in Canada with the offering of six different all-in-one ETF portfolios that offer investors an affordable option to set and forget their capital for returns based on their risk tolerance and financial goals. The ETF portfolios comprise various combinations of ETFs offered by BMO. 

12. BMO Conservative ETF Portfolio

Ticker: ZCON
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.20%
# of holding/ETFs: 7
Asset Allocation Target: 60% Fixed Income / 40% Equity

13. BMO Balanced ETF Portfolio

Ticker: ZBAL
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.20%
# of holding/ETFs: 7
Asset Allocation Target: 40% Fixed Income / 60% Equity

14. BMO Growth ETF Portfolio

Ticker: ZGRO
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.20%
# of holding/ETFs: 7
Asset Allocation Target: 20% Fixed Income / 80% Equity

Buy ETFs for Free with Questrade

Horizons All-in-One ETF Portfolios

horizons logo

Horizons is the latest entry among providers offering all-in-one ETFs in Canada. The unique swap-based structure of Horizons’ ETF portfolios allows the provider to maintain a relatively low MER compared to the other three providers. It also offers three different ETF portfolios that combine various underlying ETFs to match investor risk tolerance and financial goals. Another unique aspect of Horizons is that it does not charge a management fee, per se. The cost will be based on the MER of the underlying ETFs.

15. Horizons Conservative TRI ETF Portfolio

Ticker: HCON
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.18%
# of holding/ETFs: 7
Asset Allocation Target: 50% Fixed Income / 50% Equity

16. Horizons Balanced TRI ETF Portfolio

Ticker: HBAL
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.20%
# of holding/ETFs: 7
Asset Allocation Target: 70% Equity / 30% Fixed Income

17. Horizons Growth TRI ETF Portfolio 

Ticker: HGRO
Management Expense Ratio (MER): 0.28%
# of holding/ETFs: 5
Asset Allocation Target: 0% Fixed Income / 100% Equity

Buy ETFs for Free with Questrade

All-In-One ETF Portfolio Alternatives

Robo-Advisors

If you need a bit of basic advice but want to invest in an ETF portfolio, you can look into investing with a robo-advisor. The fees will be slightly higher than an all-in-one ETF portfolio, as the robo-advisors will charge around 0.25% – 0.5% extra as a management fee per year, on top of the ETF MER.

You can get $10,000 managed for free at my top 2 Canadian robo-advisor picks, Wealthsimple and QuestWealth

Build Your Own Portfolio of ETFs

If you want the cheapest option for investing, you can build a portfolio of several ETFs, which will usually be a mix of equity and bond funds. For example, if you have $10,000 to invest and you want to make a similar ETF portfolio to VGRO, which is an 80% equity 20% fixed income split, you could buy something like:

  1. 40% US equity fund ($5,000)
  2. 20% Canadian equity fund ($2,000)
  3. 10% International equity fund ($1,000)
  4. 20% Bond fund ($2,000)

The benefit of this approach is it will be cheaper, with MER’s around 0.07-0.15%. But the downside is you will have to rebalance this portfolio periodically, so it is slightly more time consuming than the all-in-one solution. 

I construct ETF portfolios using Questrade to buy the ETFs with no commission charges. 

How to Buy All-In-One ETF Portfolios in Canada

I have been using the discount broker Questrade for all my stock and ETF trading for the past eight years. The platform is easy to use, and the support has been outstanding so far.

If you want to buy any of the all-in-one ETF portfolios listed in this article, consider opening a free Questrade account. You can purchase ETFs for free on the platform. There is a $50 free trade bonus when you sign up. 

Conclusion

When it comes to picking out the best all-in-one ETF Portfolios in Canada, each of the four providers offers various products to investors that they can consider. Vanguard is the pioneering provider that introduced all-in-one ETF portfolios to the Canadian market. 

Still, providers like iShares, BMO, and Horizons have rapidly moved in with substantial offerings of their own.

Choosing the right portfolio becomes a matter of personal preference when it comes to your risk tolerance and financial goals.

If you’re still unsure of where to start or aren’t sure what asset allocation to choose, read about how to start investing in Canada.

Best All In One Portfolio ETF Canada
Christopher Liew, CFA

Christopher Liew, CFA

Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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