Wealthsimple: The Appeal of Simplicity in Action

WealthScreen

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
– Leonardo da Vinci

Wealthsimple is a robo-advisor that advertises its key benefit in its name: it’s simple. That is effective marketing.

Simplicity is a benefit that resonates with North Americans. Wealthsimple tested #2 in both the U.S. and Canada in a roundup of a dozen robo-advice offers we tested as part of our ongoing WealthScreen testing.

Here is the Wealthsimple concept respondents reviewed:

Get rich slow.  Put your money to work in a super smart, low-maintenance, low-fee portfolio with Wealthsimple and watch it grow.

What we do:

  1. We build you an intelligent, personalized portfolio using Nobel Prize winning investment strategy.
  2. We use low cost index funds and technology so we can charge a fraction of traditional advisors’ fees.
  3. In just 5 minutes, we’ll put your money to work like the world’s smartest investors.

Features:

  • World-class, long-term investment management
  • No high fees and account minimums like traditional investment managers
  • Investment in globally diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds modeled after the same Nobel Prize-winning research used by the world’s savviest investors
  • Automatic rebalancing: we precisely rebalance your portfolio as the market changes
  • Dividend reinvesting: we’ll instantly put your stock dividends back to work, earning you more
  • Human advice: our advisors are here to help plan your financial future — or just answer any questions
  • We keep your money safe; state-of-the-art security, up to $500,000 SIPC protected

Take care of yourself.  In just five minutes, you can open a portfolio that makes your money work harder for you.

This offer has broad appeal because it stands out as fulfilling “an important need.” Many believe it will “help me manage my finances better.” These claims stood out as being particularly unique and compelling: “globally diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds modeled after the same Nobel Prize-winning research used by the world’s savviest investors;“automatic rebalancing;” and “no high fees and account minimums.”  

Design guru and former MIT Media Lab professor John Maeda wrote a book called The Laws of Simplicity. In it he offers “10 laws of simplicity.” The first law is “Reduce.” He says, “The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.” Wealthsimple brings that law to life in elements of their offer.

When Wealthsimple says their approach is modeled after the same Nobel Prize-winning research used by the world’s savviest investorsthey don’t clutter things up by telling us who the Nobel Prize winner is (economist Harry Markowitz), or what the model is called (Modern Portfolio Theory). And even when you go to their website and click on a tab called “the Details,” you get a remarkably simplified description of the research. They say, “Research has proven that passive investing — tracking the market over time using a diversified portfolio — beats active investing 96% of the time.” But they are not hiding anything, because if you want to learn more you can simply click on “More about Modern Portfolio Theory” and read a succinct, plain language description. That’s a great example of thoughtful reduction at work.

Another appealing feature is “Automatic rebalancing.” Here we see Maeda’s third law in action: “Time. Savings in time feel like simplicity.” With automatic rebalancing, Wealthsimple says “we precisely rebalance your portfolio as the market changes.” This feature is unique and motivating because it makes clear that they do the work for you, thereby saving you time.

This has a powerful implicit benefit: “reducing the time spent waiting translates into time we can spend on something else,” says Maeda. In the end it’s about choosing how we spend the time we’re given in life. Shaving ten minutes off of your commute home translates into ten more minutes with your loved ones. Thus a reduced wait is an invaluable reward not only with respect to business, but to your life and well-being.”

Wealthsimple’s offer is simplicity itself. And people like that. It’s that simple.

For more information on WealthScreen and our database of investment benchmarks, please contact us.

WealthScreen benchmarks and tracks innovation in investing and provides access to well profiled consumers for ongoing concept development and testing. Offers are evaluated in an extensive online survey where consumers are asked to evaluate an offer, in depth, across a series of diagnostics. In addition to capturing appeal and appetite for the offer, we take it further by measuring impact on investing, barriers to adoption, as well as which features are most important in driving investment choices.