Industry Updates

Royal Bank of Canada is launching a robo-advisor to support its ETFs

David Tuckwell

Canada's largest company the Royal Bank of Canada is launching a robo-advisor using its own ETFs.

According to a report in The Globe and Mail, RBC is piloting its robo-advisor on its own employees, with plans for a public launch at a later date.

It is understood that RBC has named its platform "InvestEase," and will leverage RBC's website and advisor networks.

The launch comes at a time that Canadian ETF issuers are starting to learn from their American peers. Many US ETF issuers have rushed to build robo-advice platforms to complement their ETF issues in recent years.

That RBC has joined the line with Bank of Montreal, which launched a robo-advisor to support its ETF line in 2016, suggests that Canadian issuers are starting to catch on.

No set date has been given for InvestEase launch.

Robo-advisors - sometimes called digital wealth management - are beginning to bloom and blossom around the world.

Among robo-advisors, there are two types.

The first type are offered by ETF issuers like RBC and are typically free. Big issuers are often happy to sink time and money on free robo-advisors because they provide a gateway to their ETFs. Examples of this type include the robo-advisors offered by Vanguard and Charles Schwab.

The second type are independent and have no formal affiliations with ETF issuers. Independent robo-advisors charge fees. But fees allow them to be independent, and their independence allows them to choose between ETF issuers and offer clients unbiased advice on best product. Examples of this type include Betterment in the US, Nutmeg in the UK and Stockspot in Australia.

RBC is Canada's fifth-largest ETF provider with more than C$3.5bn assets under management. The company has listed several ETFs in recent months.

This article first appeared on

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