Wealthsimple is one of several online investment firms that have launched in Canada this year. They’ve often been referred to as robo-advisors, though they reject that name, and with good reason. While some parts of the process are automated, clients of these new firms do interact with humans, and all the trades are made by a flesh-and-blood portfolio manager.
At Weathsimple, that portfolio manager is David Nugent, and we recently sat down to discuss the firm’s advice model and investment strategy. Here’s the first part of our interview.
The first step in building a client’s portfolio is determining an appropriate asset allocation. How do you do that?
DN: The first step is a 10-question risk assessment clients do online when they sign up for an account. After that they book a call with me—or, as we grow, someone else on our team. We try to get an understanding of their past investing experience and any biases they might have, and then we talk about the asset mix. The real conversation happens over the phone.
Surprisingly, we’re more likely to see people increase their risk level after the phone call.