Looking for the best portfolio tracker

Does the ultimate online portfolio tracker exist? Bruce Sellery looks at the top contenders.

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Online only.

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Question

Is there a good portfolio tracker on the web? I want to be able to input the stock, the price I paid on the date I purchased it, commission, etc. and then track when I sell it to see how much I made or lost.

Answer

Yes. In fact there are many “good” portfolio trackers on the web.

I would love to be able to tell you that there is one “great” portfolio tracker out there, one that outperforms all others by a country mile, does it for free, and is therefore the default choice. I’m willing to be proven wrong, but from what I can see, the ultimate portfolio tracker doesn’t exist quite yet.

The functionality that you mention in your question is fairly common—you can find them on a bunch of sites, some of which I’ll mention below. The key attribute that is missing, in my opinion, is seamlessness. You can set up a portfolio tracker on a site like Google Finance, but you have to import your portfolio and/or your transactions using a CSV file or keying the data in manually.

It doesn’t seem like the discount brokers have figured this out yet either. Mine shows me book value versus market value, by security, but not the specific transaction details you’re looking for. I have the option of setting all that up, but it is done on a separate part of the website and I would have to do it manually. The thought of this makes me want to have a beer, then take a nap, which would put me further behind on the task at hand.

Here are some of the leading contenders for Canadian investors:

  • Google Finance: The functionality you asked about, but not much in the way of pretty.

  • Morningstar.ca: More functionality than you probably need, and visually appealing. The challenge is the premium features come at a premium price of $24.95 a month and the free portfolio tracker doesn’t allow you to track profit and loss on individual securities.

  • GlobeinvestorGold.com: As with the Morningstar Premium site, you’ve got to fork out some cash for this one: $15.95 per month. But you get access to their investor site as well as the Globe’s electronic edition and archives.

  • Discount brokers: Go to where you already have an account and see what they have on offer. I was surprised that I couldn’t find a seamless portfolio tracker so I actually picked up the phone and called them. Alas, the friendly call centre could only point to the one that I mentioned above, which is no better than Google Finance.

This is clearly not meant to be a comprehensive list; a quick search will yield many other sites with portfolio tools with varying degrees of functionally and sophistication. What portfolio trackers do you use? What do you love about them? What drives you mad? Perhaps you can argue convincingly that I’m wrong—that there is, indeed, the ultimate portfolio tracker already out there.

ask@moneysense.ca

14 comments on “Looking for the best portfolio tracker

  1. Create your own in MS Excel that automatically updates every time you open the spreadsheet.

    Reply

    • I would be interested in how to do that. Where can I find a tutorial?

      Reply

  2. I like google finance a lot… but I just realise that it does not calculate right your gains when you have multiple transactions (buys and not selling selling everything and buy some more) with the same company stock. It does not average accuratly… really weird. To bad, I really do like it and all my datas are there. Don't know where to go and where I could easily transfer (export) my datas. I would like to adress the problem to google finance but I fear they won't care because if I read right: google finance will stop beeing supported after november 2013, doesn't it?

    Reply

  3. There is a new service, an online portfolio tracker http://www.beatthebenchmark.net. I think it offers a lot of useful statistics, even attribution statistics. Pretty charting and it is free.

    Reply

  4. Morningstar tool isn’t as good as globeinvestor watchlist for simple “what’s my portfolio worth today?” stuff. No conversion of USD to CAD for a true CAD value, for example.

    Tried it, didn’t like it.

    JMO – others may like.

    Reply

    • amen to that… I didin’t like it either, didn’t allow me to edit

      Reply

  5. The Globe and Mail are moving their subscribers out of the current GlobeInvestorGold portfolio tracking program and into another that provides far less data. They haven’t offered a price reduction. I see many subscribers cancelling in the future.

    Reply

    • The globe’s new tracker doesn’t really seem to work for me. Not as intuitive as morningstar or google finance so I am not even sure if it’s me that’s doing something wrong but it doesn’t end up with the same numbers after reinvestments etc. Morningstar and google finance both do, It doesn’t seem to allow me to edit any entries either. fixing a single typo means deleting the whole holding and starting again. I’m really liking Morningstar right now. The x-ray feature is very cool (my strategy is pretty simple so I don’t really need all that info, but it is still cool!)

      Reply

  6. I utilize yahoo.ca which is quite good so far, but it is American based and therefore lacks the ability to search some canadian investments, like bonds. So for most blue chip stocks it gives a very extensive view of your portfolio

    Reply

  7. I’ve been using Google Finance to track my portfolio for a long time but recently found a better portfolio tracker.

    https://www.marketvis.io/howto/portfolio-feature

    Provide better insight into your trades and help you analyze your realized gain/loss

    Reply

  8. After trying almost every portfolio tracking app out there I found this one – Portfolio Trader. It covers almost every aspect of stock tracking and portfolio managment (at least for me), and is by far the best I’ve found. I’ve been using it every day for about 3 months now and it’s a dream to use. Highly recommended. There is also a free Lite version here:

    https://itunes.apple.com/app/portfolio-trader-lite/id585286372?mt=8

    Reply

  9. Big banks will slowly improve until they’re eventually the premier portfolio trackers… Make sure who ever you’re with it’s easy to switch over at some point with your data. I use RBC

    Three Million Dollar Mission
    For more check out http://www.retirementrush.com

    Reply

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