Looking for the best portfolio tracker - MoneySense

Looking for the best portfolio tracker

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

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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

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