Robo Advisors for Canadian Pension Participants

  • Denis Latulippe, Laval University
  • John A. Turner, Pension Policy Center
A robot hand in front of a graphic of a globe and a stock chart.


Portfolio management has evolved. Robo advisors provide financial advice to clients who previously did not have access to such assistance because they lacked sufficient amounts of investible assets, and because they could not afford the fees charged by financial advisors. Robo advisors are automated online services that use computer programs to provide financial advice about investments and to manage clients’ investment portfolios. Investing is inherently complex, but robo advisors are easy for people with basic computer skills to use, which simplifies investment decisions. In this paper, we focus on the use of robo advisors to assist Canadian pension participants in defined contribution plans. In Canada, robo advisors have been available since 2014 and they are growing in popularity. Robo advisors reduce the need for pension participants to have advanced levels of financial literacy, which is generally necessary to construct a low-fee, well-diversified portfolio that is aligned to the individual’s risk tolerance.