European digital wealth manager Moneyfarm has announced the acquisition of the UK book of business of Wealthsimple.

Meanwhile, Wealthsimple UK will transfer its existing UK based customers to Moneyfarm and will no longer provide advisory services. The firm will focus on the Canadian market for the time being.

Wealthsimple UK customers will move over to Moneyfarm by the end of January 2022. The deal does not include any of Wealthsimple’s technology, operations or employees.

Giovanni Daprà, co-founder and CEO of Moneyfarm, said: “We look forward to welcoming Wealthsimple customers to Moneyfarm. This is exciting news for us and will have a significant impact on our business, not only from the point of view of growing our customer base and assets under management, but it is also clear evidence of our commitment to the UK market. We have a lot in common with Wealthsimple UK as both firms provide a simple, cost effective and transparent service. We are confident that customers who migrate to Moneyfarm will find our service the best on the market and an ideal solution for them. In particular our use of technology through our app and having access to a dedicated consultant.”

Caroline Murphree, CEO Europe of Wealthsimple, added: “As we shift our focus to our Canadian business for the time being, finding a partner for our UK clients that shared our belief in making investing affordable and accessible was our top priority. It’s been a privilege to serve our UK clients, and we’re confident that their investments will continue to be in good hands with Moneyfarm.”

Wealthsimple was founded in Canada in 2014 by Michael Katchen, Rudy Adler and Brett Huneycutt. Moneyfarm first launched in 2012 and is headquartered in the UK. Both companies offer simple investment advice and discretionary management that helps customers growth wealth over time by utilising a digital approach.

Joshua Gerstler, chartered financial planner at Borehamwood-based The Orchard Practice, said: “Some of these apps are a great way to get people started with investing, especially when they are only looking at small amounts and their affairs are relatively simple. However, there really is no substitute for face-to-face, highly qualified and regulated financial advice. Having your own financial planner, who really understands you, listens to what you say (and to the things you are not saying) is priceless, and you cannot get that from an app.”

Rob Peters, director of Altrincham-based Simple Fast Mortgage, explained: “The robo-advice market is currently saturated in the UK and competition for would-be investors’ business is fierce, so it’s no surprise to see Wealthsimple exiting the UK market. Unless you’ve got your full focus on the UK, it’s going to be hard to cut it, and I would expect Wealthsimple to be followed by others in the coming weeks and months, as the pecking order is more firmly established. Investors should do their research before committing funds and only invest with providers who have a UK-backed business or strong footprint in the UK to avoid getting caught in the inevitable fall-out.”