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One of the best things mutual funds can offer an investor is a way to build a fully diversified portfolio in an instant.

Balanced funds and “portfolio solutions” – basically funds holding other funds – vary widely in cost and quality. But collectively, they’re a popular and practical way to invest for any long-term objective.

The exchange-traded fund sector does balanced funds even better – that is, cheaper and with more transparency. But balanced ETFs haven’t tapped their full popularity potential, even while investors have poured billions into these products since they were introduced by the Canadian arm of U.S. investing giant Vanguard in early 2018.

Story continues below advertisement

A positive step in the growth of balanced ETFs has been taken by TD Asset Management through the introduction of three new funds. They’re called TD One-Click ETF Portfolios, a reference to the fact that they give you a complete portfolio with one click of your mouse.

TD’s marketers made an interesting choice saying “one-click” as opposed to, say, one tap or one swipe. Boomers will get the click reference immediately, but millennials and Gen Z may trip over it. Still, the name is conceptually smart because it conveys the idea of a simple solution to the complex problem of building a diversified investment portfolio.

When you click – or tap – the button to confirm a trade for a balanced ETF such as the ones from TD, BMO Global Asset Management, BlackRock, Horizon ETFs Management (Canada) and others, you achieve instant exposure to stocks and bonds from Canada and the rest of the world.

The TD One-Click Moderate ETF Portfolio (TOCM-TSX) has 40 per cent of its assets in the FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index, 20 per cent in the Solactive Canada Broad Market Index, 25 per cent in the Solactive U.S. Large Cap CAD Index and 15 per cent in the Solactive GBS Developed Markets ex North America Large & Mid Cap CAD Index.

All of this is yours for the cost of an ETF trade, which will run you $5 to $10 at some brokers and zero at a few others that let you at least buy ETFs at no cost. The management fee for the TD one-click funds is 0.25 per cent, which suggests that the management expense ratio will be a bit higher when it’s disclosed in the months ahead. This would make TD balanced ETFs a little more expensive than the competition, with MERs as low as 0.2 per cent.

For a survey of what’s available broadly in balanced ETFs, check out The Globe and Mail ETF Buyer’s Guide 2020 (tgam.ca/ETFbuyersguide). TD’s new funds are not a low-cost leader, but they do point the way to making balanced ETFs easier to understand and approachable, which means a win for investors.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

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