If you are not a Wealthsimple client, you have likely heard of the platform in one way or another (likely through advertisements). You may be asking yourself – who owns Wealthsimple?
Wealthsimple is a privately-owned company, meaning that it does not have shares that trade on an exchange. As of 2021, Power Corporation of Canada owns a substantial interest in the company (approximately 70%). The remaining ownership in Wealthsimple is held by private investors.
Wealthsimple – How the Company Started
Wealthsimple was started by Michael Katchen, the current CEO of the company. After Michael identified that Canada lacked a simple, low-fee platform that everyday Canadians could use to grow their wealth, he founded Wealthsimple in 2014.
Shortly after the company’s founding, Wealthsimple acquired Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc, which increased Wealthsimple’s assets under management (AUM) to $400 million and increased the company’s total client accounts to 10,000 by 2015.
In 2016, Wealthsimple partnered with Mint, a budget tracker and budget planning application. Wealthsimple clients were now able to manage their investments while also keeping an eye on their budgets.
The company also launched Wealthsimple for Advisors in 2016. This platform allowed advisors to continue working with small clients that would not normally meet their minimum asset requirements on an automated basis.
How Wealthsimple Raised Funds to Grow
Wealthsimple has continued to raise funds over several private funding rounds, meaning that ownership in the company was sold off to private investors. This has allowed the company to access more capital to develop and expand operations.
As of 2022, the company has completed nine separate funding rounds. Below is a breakdown of each:
|Announcement Date||Type of Transaction||Number of Investors||Amount of Capital Raised||Key Investors|
|May 3, 2021||Private Equity Round||21||$750 Million||Greylock, Meritech Captial Partners|
|October 14, 2020||Private Equity Round||5||$114 Million||TCV|
|May 22, 2019||Venture Round||2||$100 Million||Allianz X|
|February 22, 2018||Venture Round||1||$65 Million||Power Financial Corp.|
|May 11, 2017||Series B Funding||1||$50 Million||Power Financial Corp.|
|January 31, 2017||Series B Funding||1||$20 Million||Power Financial Corp.|
|April 9, 2015||Series A Funding||1||$30 Million||Power Financial Corp.|
|September 15, 2014||Seed Round||4||$1.9 Million||No Info|
|May 15, 2014||Seed Round||1||No Info||No Info|
Some investors in the company include Aubrey Graham (Drake) as well as Dwight Powell.
What Does Wealthsimple Offer?
Wealthsimple offers a variety of solutions for clients. Currently
Wealthsimple Invest is a Robo-advisory platform that is designed to construct portfolios for clients based on information such as goals, objectives, and risk tolerance. Robo-advisors are designed to be a low-cost alternative to working with a human financial advisor.
Since Wealthsimple Invest is entirely automated, the fees that you will be paying are significantly lower than those that you would pay for working with an advisor.
Opening a Wealthsimple Invest account is extremely straightforward.
Wealthsimple Trade is a self-directed discount brokerage that allows you to trade your own investments and be in charge of your own portfolio. One of the key features of the brokerage is that it is a commission-free trading platform, allowing you to save a substantial amount of money if you trade often.
Opening a Wealthsimple Trade account is also very intuitive.
Make sure to read our in-depth comparison of Wealthsimple Invest and Wealthsimple Trade here.
Wealthsimple Crypto is Canada’s first regulated crypto platform. The service allows you to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Wealthsimple Tax is an online tax software that allows clients to complete their taxes quickly and cheaply. Wealthsimple guarantees that using the software will provide you with the maximum refund possible.
Wealthsimple Cash is a mobile application that allows you to quickly and easily send, receive, and request money from friends, family, or anyone else.
Wealthsimple also offers educational resources on its website. These include:
- Wealthsimple Magazine
- Personal Finance 101
- Income Tax Calculator
Wealthsimple Fees – Wealthsimple Invest and Wealthsimple Trade
Wealthsimple prides itself on operating like a start-up. By keeping operations lean, the company is able to reduce fees across its service offerings and platforms and be a Canadian cost leader in the financial services space.
Wealthsimple Invest – Fees
Wealthsimple Invest’s fees are tiered based on assets held with the platform:
- Basic (clients with $0 – $100,000 in assets): 0.50%
- Black (clients with $100,000 – $500,000 in assets): 0.40%
- Generation (clients with $500,000+): 0.40%
Wealthsimple Trade – Fees
Wealthsimple Trade’s fees come in two different offerings: Basic and Plus.
Basic is Wealthsimple Trade’s regular discount brokerage platform. It does not cost clients any fees per month.
Basic clients can enjoy:
- No commissions
- No account minimums
- The ability to open TFSA, RRSP, and non-registered accounts
- Fractional shares
- The ability to instantly deposit up to $1,500
- Unlimited price alerts
- Real-Time prices
Plus clients enjoy all of the benefits that basic clients have, as well as two additional key features. Wealthsimple Trade Plus charges clients $10 per month but also adds:
- The ability to instantly deposit up to $5,000
- No foreign exchange fees on US trades
Relative to other discount brokerages in Canada, Wealthsimple is a cost leader when it comes to minimizing trade commissions and fees. Keep in mind that the platform is currently focused only on stocks and ETFs.
You will not be able to buy bonds, international stocks, mutual funds, or GICs through Wealthsimple Trade. You will also not be able to open several key accounts, including:
Make sure to take a look at our comprehensive review of Wealthsimple Trade, where we argue that it could rank as the number one platform in Canada for most Canadians.
Michael Katchen – Who is He?
Michael Katchen is the current CEO (and Co-founder) of Wealthsimple. Michael began his career at McKinsey & Company, where he advised clients in the finance and technology space.
Before creating Wealthsimple, Michael led marketing and product at 1000memories, a start-up that was eventually acquired by Ancestry.com.
Michael’s accolades include:
- Deemed an Industry Mover by the Financial Post
- Deemed a Change Agent by Canadian Business magazine
- Called one of Toronto’s 50 most influential individuals by Toronto Life
- Entrepreneur of the Year at the Canadian Startup Awards in 2017
- Winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award
- Named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 by Caldwell Partners International
- Member of the Canadian Business Council
Wealthsimple does not currently have publicly-traded shares as it is a private company. In the future, the company may decide to complete an initial public offering (IPO) in order to help the company raise additional funds.
In a 2020 interview with Michael Katchen, he mentioned that going public was a big process that introduces a lot of new costs and distractions to the business.
Wealthsimple’s valuation can be roughly estimated by looking to see how much companies’ partial ownership of Wealthsimple is worth.
When Wealthsimple secured $750 million in funding back in 2021, the company was estimated to be worth roughly $5 billion.
Given the difficult market conditions throughout most of 2022, the valuation of the company has fallen significantly. This can be seen from the write-down of Power Corp’s share of Wealthsimple from its 2022 earnings reports.
Wealthsimple is currently a privately-owned company that does not have its shares trading on a public exchange. This means that investing in Wealthsimple is extremely difficult for a regular investor and will have to be done at the private equity level.
The current CEO of Wealthsimple, Michael Katchen, has stated in the past that an initial public offering was not something that the company was considering (at the time).
Things may always change in the future, allowing retail investors to purchase shares in Wealthsimple.
If you are thinking of signing up for Wealthsimple Trade, make sure to use our referral link to get an instant cash bonus of $25 once you sign up.