Answering the “robo” question

Oakville, Ont.-based Invisor Investment Management Inc. has partnered with two large asset-management companies to offer more portfolio options to its clients, the robo-advisor firm announced on Friday.

Invisor clients will now have access to ETF portfolios designed by BlackRock Asset Management Canada Ltd. and Vanguard Investments Canada Inc., both of which have head offices in Toronto.

More specifically, after an Invisor client fills out an online questionnaire, the client will be presented with three portfolio options to choose from: one designed by Invisor, one created by BlackRock, and one crafted by Vanguard.

“While our portfolios have performed well and in line with our expectations,” says Josh Miszk, vice president of investments with Invisor, “one of the benefits of adding more household names is that we can offer the option to our clients to leverage portfolios built by large and very experienced companies.”

The Invisor portfolios incorporate ETFs from numerous providers, including BlackRock’s iShares ETFs and Vanguard ETFs, while the BlackRock and Vanguard portfolios will carry their own products exclusively. Invisor charges a tiered management fee of 30 basis points (bps) to 50 bps plus the underlying cost of the products, which range from roughly 14 bps to 20 bps.

Invisor will recommend one portfolio over the other two based on factors such as risk tolerance, performance and cost. However, clients will clearly be able to see and review all three portfolios and make a decision for themselves.

“This is the first step in offering Canadians more choice in this type of environment, the robo-advice or online advice environment, without overwhelming them with options,” says Miszk.

Once a client decides which portfolio to invest in, Invisor will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the investments and will make changes to the portfolios as necessary.

“[BlackRock and Vanguard are] not managing the money directly, everything is held at Invisor,” says Miszk. “It’s just the overall design of the portfolio that’s been leveraged from those firms.”

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