Are Canadians Using More Apps to Manage Their Finances?

Over a six-month period in 2020, Environics Research reports, COVID-19 has advanced the adoption of digital financial tools in general by at least three to five years.Jesse Johnston / The Canadian Press

As Canadians turned to investing and trading during extended pandemic shutdowns, market participants, new and seasoned, have helped spur the growth of financial tools and applications designed to keep portfolios organized, and to generate and share ideas.

Over a six-month period in 2020, Environics Research reports, COVID-19 has advanced the adoption of digital financial tools in general by at least three to five years. With regard to investors in particular, two-thirds say they use at least one tool offered by their broker to help them manage their investments, according to a recent survey of independent investors conducted by the Ontario Securities Commission. .

In 2021, fintech has achieved mass adoption – at least south of the border – as 88% of U.S. consumers said they use technology to manage their finances, according to a report released in October by financial services firm Plaid, with savings and investment. applications increase the most year over year.

While there are thousands of investing tools to choose from in an app store, with trading platforms and brokers like Wealthsimple Trade and TD Canada near the top of the charts in terms of downloads, investors also use a few additional apps to help them. monitor, filter and aggregate their holdings. Here’s a look at some of their choices:

Portfolio aggregation

Wealthica

Wealthica is a portfolio tracking application that allows investors to link, view and analyze their holdings with different financial institutions on a central dashboard, including their individual investment or portfolio fees, diversification, performance and downside protection, with daily data synchronization.

Earlier this year, the platform also added support for over 65 cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets to its app, allowing users to sync their digital currency accounts with their dashboard. Investors can sign up for free, but premium tiers are also offered.

Bob Lai, a Vancouver-based investor and blogger who pursues a self-directed dividend investing strategy, is a fan of Wealthica as a visual tool for making a quick record of one’s investments.

“It’s free for the most part and I’ve grown to love Wealthica over time – you can just quickly check your net worth and how things are going on a regular basis,” he says. “If people aren’t familiar with spreadsheets, Wealthica is great to use. ”

Jason Pereira, financial planner at Woodgate Financial and host of the Fintech Impact podcast, says portfolio tracking tools can be invaluable for some investors when it comes to aggregating the investments they hold in multiple locations; the tools will also allow them to keep their background and other data if they change counselors.

“A lot of times if someone deals with two, or let’s say three advisers in their lifetime, they really have no idea what their total experience was from start to finish,” he says. “This is the reality and therefore, is this data valuable to them? Absoutely.”

One downside for Mr Lai is that Wealthica is always up to date and available – and he aims to leave his wallet alone for the most part. “When these tools are at your disposal, you tend to check more often than necessary,” he says.

Portfolio rebalancing

Passive

For those investing in exchange-traded funds or wanting to put their portfolios on autopilot, Passiv is a portfolio management tool with free subscription and elite-level tiers that allows self-directed investors to create a strategy of passive investment with their online broker. (the app has partnered with Questrade in Canada) by setting a target allocation and automatically rebalancing the portfolio based on their available liquidity.

Mr Lai signed up and gave Passiv a try – although he says it doesn’t suit his investing style – and recommends the tool to those looking for a more automated approach.

“You can set rules like, ‘If I deposit $ 500 per month, then buy this. “So I think that’s pretty cool – you put yourself on autopilot,” he says.

Analytic

Stock Rover

In the first 10 months of 2020, investors took interest in equity and ETF research and analysis platform Stock Rover, which said it had grown its user base to over 450 % over the same period in 2019. The tool, which offers three plan levels, selects some 8,500 North American stocks, 4,000 ETFs and 40,000 mutual funds using more than 250 financial metrics, to compare , evaluate, classify and plot investment options.

Moncton-based computer scientist and technical analysis investor Jason Tremere is a subscriber to Stock Rover, as well as stock and commodity charts and quotes provider Barchart.com, both of which track hundreds of different metrics, including factors such as implied volatility. The only downside to tools like these, and another site he has used for years – stockcharts.com – says Tremere, is the complexity of the analysis.

“You go into StockCharts and you could spend about a month reading up on each different indicator,” he says.

Seeking to provide a more streamlined way to track trends and stock performance in today’s market, Mr. Tremere himself joined the ranks of developers earlier this year and created his own tool that uses a “map” system. thermal ”color coded. It combines price trend and momentum to determine if and how fast a stock is on the rise, and allows it and other users to create personal watchlists and filters.

Portfolio viewer

The Portfolio Viewer is another tool that has caught the attention of online investors looking to verify the asset allocation of their portfolios. The platform, which also offers portfolio optimization, asset analysis factor models and Monte Carlo simulations, is available for free, with more comprehensive paid models available to subscribers.

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Lance B. Holton