Canadian ShareOwner Review

securely through Canadian ShareOwner's website

1 Minute Review

Canadian ShareOwner Investments was the first Canadian robo-advisor. Robo-advisors are investing platforms that use a computer algorithm to formulate and manage investment portfolios with minimal human involvement. ShareOwner was founded as a traditional Canadian discount broker in 1987 and completed its automated platform in 2014. Wealthsimple, another leading Canadian automated portfolio manager, acquired ShareOwner the following year. Today, Canadian ShareOwner is the only Canadian investment dealer that allows you to create and order an entire portfolio for one low fee. In addition to its automated portfolio building services, you can place direct online stock, option and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trades for a flat fee.

Best For

  • DIY and investors who prefer a hands-off approach
  • New investors
  • Investors who want to purchase more than 9 stocks at a time

Pros

  • Automates your investments according to your specific risk profile
  • No minimum investment required
  • No annual fees on non-registered accounts
  • Can trade a specific dollar amount of a security

Cons

  • Only available to Canadian residents
  • Limited portfolio options
  • Higher fees than other robo-advisors
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Who’s Canadian ShareOwner For?

Canadian ShareOwner is best for investors who don’t want to keep track of and trade in their portfolio and prefer to delegate their investment decisions to a highly efficient computer algorithm. You can set up your own portfolio of 5, 10, 15 or 20 stocks of your choice and establish a position in your account all at once. 

You can also set up a customized dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) that reinvests your dividends immediately upon payment. In addition, you can allocate specific funds to buy certain stocks periodically. For example, you might want to invest CA$300 per month into a particular stock, which can be easily set up in a ShareOwner account.

ShareOwner Homepage Screenshot
Screenshot of Canadian ShareOwner’s homepage. Source: Canadian ShareOwner

ShareOwner is also the only Canadian investment dealer that lets you buy a specific dollar amount of a stock or ETF. This means you can buy both partial and full interest in the shares of a company, which can be advantageous if you just want to buy a portion of an expensive stock like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), for example. 

You can also take advantage of the automated robo-advisor investment services offered by ShareOwner. The broker will also allow you to execute market orders at a flat rate, which is perfect for self-directed investors and traders.

Young people who don’t have experience trading stocks and investing can benefit and begin investing at an early age with a ShareOwner automated account. Simply allow your dividend income and capital to appreciate over time. 

Canadian ShareOwner’s Portfolio Building Service allows you to order a portfolio of more than 5 stocks for a flat fee of CA$40, which can save you significant commissions compared to other automated investment services and discount brokerages. If you order a 20-stock portfolio, for example, your commission for each stock would be just CA$2, and you can arrange for regular portfolio purchases on a recurring basis each month. A discount brokerage would cost a minimum of CA$4.95 for each stock or a total of CA$99 in commissions for the 20 stocks. 

Lower Commissions from Better Diversification from Canadian ShareOwner
The lower your commissions with ShareOwner, the more stocks purchased in your portfolio order. Source: Canadian ShareOwner.  

Canadian ShareOwner’s Platform and Tools (2 Stars)

Canadian ShareOwner is not one of the best Canadian brokerages for active traders. It also doesn’t support demo accounts so you can test its platform, although you can open an account with no minimum deposit to view the platform. 

The broker also offers an interesting dollar-based trading facility that allows you to select the amount you want to invest, rather than the number of shares. Your purchase and sale orders are not executed immediately, but are pooled with the broker’s other orders and are executed on a regular schedule every Thursday so you cannot time orders very effectively. 

ShareOwner offers a useful service to make completely automated purchases via its Pooled Trades facility every 1, 2, 3 or 4 months. The broker even allows you to schedule bank withdrawals to pay for these purchases. 

Visit the broker’s website and log in to order a PortfolioPlan in your ShareOwner account. Select the Trading tab from the Accounts tab with the account you plan to use for your portfolio. 

Next, select the Co-Op Trade option and select the Create a New Order button. Select the securities you’d like to add to your portfolio and put them in your Securities Basket. You can select the securities by ticker symbol or from a list of securities available for trading. 

Hit the Proceed button and select your payment method and purchase frequency options to indicate the amount of stock in your Security Basket and the frequency of purchases. 

You’ll receive a confirmation if the order was submitted successfully and your co-op trades will take place on the next available business day. 

Canadian ShareOwner’s Research Offerings (2 Stars)

No research or 3rd-party research resources are available if you want to do your own fundamental analysis to pick stocks. The company does feed its research into its robo-advisor algorithm, which you can use. 

Canadian ShareOwner’s Commission and Fees (2 Stars)

Canadian ShareOwner commissions and fees for individual security trades are on the high side if you don’t use its discounted Portfolio Building Service. Also, you may not get the type of brokerage service you’re used to since ShareOwner pools its customers’ orders and executes trades just one day per week for the Portfolio Building Service. Prefer to buy your shares directly? Only market orders are accepted and you’ll be charged a high commission rate per trade. 

Scheduled Pool Trading

Low commissions are available to clients through ShareOwner’s scheduled pool trading. ShareOwner combines all client orders to buy and sell a particular stock into one pooled order that gets executed on the stock’s principal stock exchange. 

Buyers and sellers then get the same average price for all shares included in the pooled order. Active stocks are generally pooled into orders that get executed every Thursday, while less active stocks’ pooled orders get executed once per month on the 4th Tuesday.  

  • Portfolio trades: An order to buy a portfolio with any number of securities, you pay a flat fee of CA$40. You are only allowed one commission per cycle, which is set to occur every month, or every 2, 3 or every 4 months. 
  • Single securities: To buy or sell a single security in your ShareOwner’s Portfolio Building account, a flat CA$9.95 per trade is charged and commission is paid in full at the time of the transaction. ShareOwner has a limit of 2,000 shares per transaction to qualify for the flat commission with an additional CA$0.01 per share, which is charged for orders above 2,000 shares. 
  • Dividend reinvestment plans: There’s no charge for automatic dividend reinvestment trades. Dividends get reinvested on the following pooled trade date for each security. 

Direct Trading

Self-directed investors can enter and have trades executed at the market for their accounts, in addition to pooled portfolio trading. The costs for these types of trades are listed below.

  • Online orders: Do you want to place a direct trade? You can only buy or sell at the market and the execution for the trade is immediate. The cost of buying or selling a security is a flat charge of CA$19.95 per trade with a limit of 2,000 shares. Trades over 2,000 shares are charged the CA$19.95 flat fee plus and an additional CA$0.01 per share.
  • Telephone orders: The commission for an immediate market order trade placed over the phone is a flat CA$43 per trade, with an additional charge of CA$0.01 per share for orders over 2,000 shares. 
  • Exercises: Orders for the exercise of options, rights, warrants and other similar securities is a flat CA$29 per trade. 

Canadian ShareOwner’s Security (5 Stars)

Canadian ShareOwner is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). The firm is also a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) that gives Canadian investors significant protection for their funds in a brokerage account up to CA$1,000,000 for all general accounts combined, CA$1,000,000 for all registered accounts and CA$1,000,000 for all registered educational savings plans (RESPs). 

Canadian ShareOwner’s Customer Support (2 Stars)

Customer support options for Canadian ShareOwner clients is somewhat limited. Support staff can be accessed via a Canadian toll-free phone number or a regular phone number local to Toronto. You can also contact customer support via email at customercare@ShareOwner.com.  

Canadian ShareOwner’s Tradable Asset Classes (3 Stars) 

Canadian ShareOwner’s tradable assets include over 400 Canadian and U.S. large company growth stocks and over 50 ETFs. Dividend reinvestment, as well as the purchase and sale of fractional shares are automatic for all stocks and ETFs through the Portfolio Building Service. 

Canadian ShareOwner’s Ease of Use (3 Stars)

The broker’s Portfolio Building Service is easy to navigate once installed and it allows you to select the portfolio of stocks you want to purchase. Once you’ve opened your account and allocated your funds, you can relax and let ShareOwner manage your portfolio and dividend reinvestments. 

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

This robo-investor/broker is not for everyone, especially if you plan to be actively involved in managing your portfolio and want to be able to time your transactions accurately. ShareOwner could be a good fit for people who want to place a certain amount of money in a diversified stock market portfolio and know what stocks to invest in. 

Plan on trading short-term, medium-term or scalping strategies? You’d be better off with a more professional international broker like Interactive Brokers or QuestTrade. Also, ShareOwner has no forex trading option, so you might want to check out Canadian forex brokers or a U.S. broker like FOREX.com, which is regulated by the IIROC. 

Fees and commissions for individual securities are also on the high side at ShareOwner compared to other Canadian brokers and automated robo-advisors at CA$19.95 per trade. You won’t get a good deal on commissions unless you take advantage of the broker’s Portfolio Building Service with your own stock picks and investment plan. 

ShareOwner’s lack of research facilities and charting software might deter you. But ShareOwner does provide a dollar-based platform that directs a certain amount of money in a stock instead of a number of shares, which is a major advantage if you want to invest a small amount of money in an expensive stock.  

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