Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has taken its first step into the robo-advice market with a test run of its RBC InvestEase platform.

The new business will offer automated investment advice and discretionary portfolio management to consumers through a digital interface supported by accredited portfolio advisors.

RBC InvestEase is currently being tested in a small pilot project involving employees in Ontario.

“Our employee pilot is another step along RBC’s path as it evolves into a digitally-enabled relationship bank,” says Rosalyn Kent, president and CEO of RBC InvestEase, in an statement emailed to Investment Executive.

RBC is not the first of Canada’s Big Six banks to offer a robo-advisor platform. Toronto-based Bank of Montreal launched SmartFolio in 2016 through its brokerage arm, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. SmartFolio is a direct-to-consumer offering but clients can give their Nesbitt investment advisors permission to view their accounts.

In addition, Montreal-based National Bank of Canada jumped into the robo-advice market this past April through with its acquisition of a minority stake in Toronto-based Nest Wealth Asset Management Inc. for $6 million.

Furthermore, the bank signed a licensing agreement with Nest Wealth for its white label platform, Nest Wealth Pro, which will give investment advisors with the bank’s brokerage arm, National Bank Financial Ltd., access to the technology. As well, National Bank can use Nest Wealth Pro to add a digital onboarding capability to InvestCube, which is similar to the backend of a robo-advisor in that it automates asset-allocation and rebalancing.

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