Online brokers allow us to invest in the stock market more easily. Given that we invest with the goal of making more money, we generally want to pay as few fees as possible. However, low fees are not the only attributes you should look for. Ease of use, the ETF option, the availability of an application, the financial data and the quality of customer service are all things to consider. Of course, we all have different things we’re looking for. That’s why we’ve reviewed Canadian brokers for you. Feel free to use an online brokerage comparison tool to help you in your search.

 

National Bank Direct Brokerage

Prices and fees

The brokerage platform is now one of the cheapest for active investors. Moreover, their offer for young investors is rather attractive. National Bank Direct Brokerage is one of the first platforms to have reduced the commission rate. For investors making more than 100 transactions per quarter (every 3 months), they can pay as little as $0.95 per transaction. As for young investors (18 to 30 years old), they have commission prices as low as $4.95 per transaction and get 10 free transactions per year. Investors holding a bank account with the National Bank have discounts on transaction fees, which cost them $6.95.

Another price advantage is the commission on the sale and purchase of ETFs. All purchases and sales of U.S. or Canadian ETFs are eligible for free commissions. The only requirements are that you must have a minimum of 100 ETF units in the transaction and that you receive your documents electronically.

All accounts with less than $20,000 as of May 31 must pay a $100 account maintenance fee. However, you can avoid these fees if you make more than 5 trades per year, if you have an Investcube account, if you are an active investor (more than 100 trades per quarter), if you are a young investor (18 to 30 years old), or if you have subscribed to a promotion for professionals.

Type of account and investment products

You can save in a registered or non-registered account. You can trade U.S. and Canadian equities, guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, fixed-income securities, options and new issues.

At the registered account level, you can save in a TFSA, RRSP, or RESP. However, like most online brokers, you cannot invest in registered accounts on margin. Otherwise, you can invest with cash or margin in a non-registered account.

Trading Platforms

National Bank Direct Brokerage offers two platforms. The Market Q platform is offered to active investors. With this platform, you can monitor quotes in real-time, create dynamic charts, take advantage of advanced fundamental and technical analysis functions, customize your interface and create personalized alerts.

The classic platform is available to all investors. With it, you can monitor your investments, conduct your transactions with complete peace of mind, consult stock quotes, access decision support tools and benefit from analyses by National Bank Financial experts. National Bank Direct Brokerage offers Morningstar and Trading Central as resources.

Pros Cons
  • New-look
  • Seminar series
  • MarketQ
  • Service Levels
  • Educational Resources
  • Account information too basic

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Wealthsimple Trade

Prices and fees

Wealthsimple Trade stands out mainly because of its almost cost-free platform. You read that right! Compared to other online brokers who charge different fees depending on the type of transaction you make, Wealthsimple only charges a fee for currency conversion. Only a 1.50% conversion fee is charged when you buy in US currency or sell your US stocks to get your money in Canadian dollars. This is very little compared to the average of other platforms that charge around 2%. The rest of the transactions are entirely free. Transaction fees, options commissions, annual fees and account maintenance fees all cost $0.

Account type and investment products

Wealthsimple Trade allows you to trade in TFSAs, RRSPs and non-registered accounts. They are currently working on other accounts to be integrated into their platform. In terms of investment choices, you can trade guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, fixed income, options and new issues.

Trading Platform

Their platform has been designed primarily for mobile. The application is available on IOS and Android. You also have the option to invest via their web platform. It is very simple to learn and use. However, since Wealthsimple is a relatively new online broker, it lacks many important features. There is very little information about stocks. There are no analysis tools and no way to automatically buy or sell stocks. In addition, you can only trade on Canadian and American stock exchanges. There will be more options in the future, but they will be paid for.

Pros Cons
  • Unlimited commission transactions at $0
  • User-friendly application
  • No minimum account balance required
  • RRSP, RESP, RRIF and margin accounts are not available.
  • Separate dashboards for Wealthsimple Trade and Wealthsimple Invest
  • Limited security analysis functionality in the application

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Questrade

Prices and fees

Questrade offers a “self-managed investment price” where you pay a fee of $0.01 per share traded, for a minimum of $4.95 and a maximum of $9.95. For Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), the purchase is free and the sale works the same way as shares. Options are billed at a cost of $9.95, plus $1 per contract. Mutual funds are also $9.95. Finally, you must make a minimum purchase of $5,000 to buy bonds or guaranteed investment certificates (GICs).

If you are an active investor, you can choose between the fixed or variable plan. For the fixed plan, you pay $4.95 per transaction on stocks and $4.95 plus $0.75 per contract on options. You buy the ETFs for free and sell them for $4.95. The variable plan charges a fee of $0.01 per share traded, for a minimum of $4.95 and a maximum of $9.95. That’s $6.95 (plus $0.75) per option contract. You buy the ETFs for free and sell them for $0.01 per share, for a maximum of $6.95.

ECNs for electronic communication networks may be charged. Rather than including these fees in their trading commissions, they charge them to each investor who incurs these fees. ECN fees do not apply to all trades.

Account Type and Investment Products

In terms of account type, you can invest in a TFSA, RRSP, RESP or margin account. You can purchase all investment products. Like most platforms, you can buy guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, fixed income, options and new issues. With Questrade, you can also trade in the foreign exchange and precious metals markets.

Trading Platforms

You have two platforms available, IQ Web (on a website) and IQ Edge (desktop application). Both offer relatively the same functionality, but active investors will probably prefer IQ Edge because they will have access to more options and customization. The IQ Web platform is very easy to use and you will have a complete experience. IQ Web does a great job of providing the basic trading options. These include quotes, charts, watch lists, news and account management.

For the IQ Edge desktop platform, you’ll have many more customization options, including the addition of quick trade buttons, alerts, a profit and loss calculator, filtering, and a list of market participants for the U.S. and Canadian markets. You also have the ability to skip the order confirmation window by creating shortcuts on your keyboard. In addition, default order values can be set for stocks and options, as well as order parameters, including order type, duration and route. Questrade offers Morningstar as a resource for information.

Pros Cons
  • Design concepts
  • Chat capacity
  • Multiple options
  • ECN Fees
  • ETF commissions on sell orders
  • Some navigation problems

Click here to open an account

 

Interactive Brokers

 

Prices and fees

Interactive Brokers offers two plans, IBKR Pro and IBKR Lite. Since Interactive Brokers’ main clients are professional and institutional investors, they have bet on commissions at the lowest possible price.

Transactions in IBKR Pro shares cost USD 0.005 per share with a minimum of USD 1.00 and a maximum of 0.5% of the transaction value. For small orders, i.e. involving hundreds of shares, Interactive Brokers is a good choice. However, if you trade in several thousands of shares, Interactive Brokers quickly becomes expensive. With IBKR Lite, there are no inactivity or data charges. All U.S. equity and ETF trades are at $0. IBKR Pro is designed for professionals, while IBKR Lite is designed for casual investors.

Account Type and Investment Products

Interactive Brokers Canada offers registered plan accounts such as RRSPs and TFSAs. RRSP and TFSA accounts are available in both Canadian and U.S. dollars, but direct cash deposits to registered accounts are only available in Canadian dollars. In addition, a quarterly maintenance fee of $12.50 applies to RRSP accounts. There are certain restrictions on RRSP accounts that are not common with other online brokers, such as the lack of HBP support.

You can invest in all kinds of investment products with Interactive Broker. For example, you can invest in derivatives, exchange-traded funds, stocks, fixed-income securities and options, among others.

Trading Platform

The interactive Brokers platform is Trader Workstation (TWS). It offers absolutely everything, including global assets. Although TWS is not designed for new investors, it ranks among the best platforms. Watchlists can include stocks, individual options, futures, forent, warrants, etc. You have 494 column customization options. IBot, also available in TWS mobile, uses an artificial intelligence database to quickly respond to customer requests via chat.

A disadvantage of TWS is the action search function. It is tricky because of the wide range of securities available for trading. For example, if you type “TSLA” for Tesla, you will get a large number of possible results, which can be confusing for novice investors.

For less experienced investors, Interactive Brokers offers the “Portal” platform. This platform includes all the basic functionality needed to invest with a core portfolio. It is much less robust but much easier to use.

Pros Cons
  • A seamless online to mobile experience
  • Product availability
  • World Trade
  • Online platform
  • U.S.-centric formulation and messaging
  • Not designed for the average investor

Click here to open an account

 

HSBC InvestDirect

 

Prices and fees

HSBC InvestDirect charges $6.88 per transaction for North American equity transactions. For options, the commission is $6.88 plus $1.25 per contract. For active investors, i.e., those who make more than 150 trades per quarter, they are charged $4.88 for equity trades and $4.88 plus $1.25 per contract for options.

Account type and investment products

You can invest in registered, non-registered, foreign currency, and other types of accounts. For registered accounts you have access to TFSAs, RRSPs, RRIFs, RESPs, LIRAs and LRSPs and finally LIFs and LRIFs. However, with these registered accounts, you cannot use margin. In addition, options transactions in registered accounts are limited to the purchase and sale of options. That is, you cannot make any option postings. In non-registered accounts, you can make advanced option transactions and shares can also be sold short.

Trading Platform

HSBC InvestDirect only offers a web-based platform. With their platform, you can identify trends or patterns through trading volume and price changes, use pre-defined search filters to narrow your search, find funds that are suitable for your portfolio using pre-defined search filters, or create your own filters to search for specific fund categories. You will also have access to real-time stock prices, custom lists, market charts and economic indicator tracking. Finally, you will have access to several investment management and financial planning tools.

Pros Cons
  • Share commissions
  • Multi-currency accounts
  • World Trade
  • No mobile platform
  • Poor service levels
  • Educational Resources

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Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat)

Prices and fees

For Disnat Classic, shares and ETFs are charged at $6.95 per transaction. For options, you pay $1.25 per contract, for a minimum of $8.75. Mutual funds are at $0. Finally, fixed income securities are at a minimum of $50 per transaction. Inactivity fees are $30 per quarter. However, you pay no fees if the value of the portfolio is $15,000 or more, if 6 transactions were made in the last 12 months or if one of the following plans is held: RRSP, RRIF, RESP.

At the Disnat Direct level, stocks and ETFs are charged at $4.95 to $6.95 per transaction for 0 to 29 transactions per month, then $0.75 per transaction for more than 30 transactions. For options, you pay $1.25 per contract for a minimum of $8.75. Mutual funds are also at $0. Finally, fixed-income securities are at a minimum of $50 per transaction. Inactivity fees are the same as for Disnat Classic, with the same conditions for removing them.

Account type and investment products

Desjardins Online Brokerage offers a selection of non-registered and registered accounts. Regular accounts at Disnat include cash accounts (available only with Disnat Classic), margin accounts, margin option accounts and short sale accounts. Registered accounts offered by Desjardins include RRSPs, TFSAs and RESPs, as well as LIRAs, RIFs and LIFs. While most types of registered accounts are available to Disnat Direct and Disnat Classic clients, RESPs are only available to Disnat Classic clients.

You can invest in a variety of investment products such as Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, fixed income securities, options and new issues.

Trading Platforms

Disnat offers two platforms. The Disnat Classic platform is a simple web-based platform. Customers can conduct transactions, check account balances, monitor order status, create watch lists and conduct basic and technical research.

Disnat Direct offers several platform options for active brokers. Their standard offering, DD Web, is comparable to many other online brokerage web browser-based platforms and the Disnat Classic platform. Depending on the platform and whether or not a client wishes to trade the TSX-V, the cost of data ranges from $30 to $149. The good news is that discounts are offered on data costs depending on the level of trading activity. This highlights why Disnat Direct is an active broker product. Disnat offers Morningstar as a resource for information.

Pros Cons
  • Wide range of customer seminars
  • Disnat Reports (GPS)
  • Search for stocks
  • Basic account information
  • Basic Navigation Design

Click here to open an account

 

CIBC Investor’s Edge

Prices and fees

CIBC Investor’s Edge has established a standard commission price of $6.95. They also introduced a student-friendly pricing structure that reduced the standard commission price to $5.95 per transaction and waived the annual fee associated with

account balances under $10,000. There is also an active investor price of $4.95 per transaction for individuals or households making at least 150 transactions per quarter. A unique feature pools assets per household to take advantage of the Active Investor offers.

An account maintenance fee of $100 is charged annually for balances under $10,000. This fee is waived for individuals who also hold a registered account such as an RRSP, RESP, RIF, LIF or LIRA. The price of standard options is $6.95 + $1.25 per contract. Active Broker Options are priced at $4.95 + $1.25 per contract.

Account Type and Investment Products

CIBC Investor’s Edge offers clients the ability to trade online in both non-registered and registered accounts. For registered accounts, CIBC Investor’s Edge offers the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) accounts. There is an administration fee of $100 per year for RRSP accounts that do not meet the minimum balance threshold of $25,000. However, TFSAs and RESPs do not have an administration fee. Unlike others, CIBC Investor’s Edge does not have U.S. dollar registered accounts.

You can invest in these investment products: guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, fixed-income securities and options.

Trading Platform

You can transact from the online platform as well as from the mobile application. The standard web-based platform provides most of the essential functions for order entry, trade execution notification, alerts, daily market reports, watch list creation and monitoring, as well as basic charting and fundamental research. Their platform is comparable to most standard online trading interfaces. The mobile brokerage application is available on iPhone and Android. CIBC Investor’s Edge offers Morningstar and Thomson Reuteurs as a resource for information.

Pros Cons
  • Share commissions
  • FX Transfers
  • Market Notifications
  • Poor customer service
  • Management team not responding
  • Transactional processes

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Virtual Brokers

Prices and fees

Virtual Brokers has updated its commission pricing by lowering commissions and switching to a slightly different method of billing transactions. The new commission plans offer investors a price of USD 0.01 per share with a range of between USD 1.99 and USD 7.99 “per ticket” for equity transactions. For active brokers, those who trade more than 150 trades per quarter, the price is fixed at $3.99. Combined with the commission-free purchase of ETFs and the 150 commission-free buy and sell ETF transactions, Virtual Brokers offers a competitive price to investors.

“Per ticket” pricing means that you are charged by the management of a trade in a particular security. For example, if an investor buys 200 shares of TSLA at 11:00 am and then buys another 500 shares of TSLA at 2:00 pm on the same day, the total commission charged would be 700 shares x $0.01 = $7.00 (as opposed to 2 commission fees charged for 2 trades.).

There is a quarterly inactivity fee of $24.95. This fee can be waived if you make at least one commission-generating transaction worth at least $6.49 in a quarter, if you are under 26 years of age, if you have at least $5,000 in all accounts, or if you are a registered charity.

Account type and investment products

Virtual Brokers offers customers the ability to trade on both registered and non-registered accounts. In addition, you can trade guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, fixed income, options and new issues. Registered accounts include TFSAs, RRSPs, RRIFs, RESPs, LRIFs and LIFs, among others.

The non-registered account offered by Virtual Brokers is called the “All in One” account, which is a combination of equity, options, margin and short accounts

Trading Platforms

Virtual Brokers offers many more trading platform options than most other online brokers.

Their web-based platform is recommended for its simplicity and efficiency. You can view your purchasing power, net equity, margin and open orders on the same page before you trade. The dashboard allows you to trade stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, GICs and new issues, with a simple layout designed to get the job done quickly.

The mobile application platform is recommended for its ease of use. It allows you to trade from anywhere. The platform is fast, secure and reliable. You can view your account details, transactions and positions, and transfer funds in and out of your accounts.

Their desktop platform is $250 USD per month. Developed for active brokers, PowerTrader Pro was originally only available to institutional level investors. With PowerTrader Pro, you can enter, manage and route complex options orders to designated execution destinations. The Complex Options module includes order management and selected risk controls. Free quotes are available for those who trade complex options.

The desktop platform costs $400 USD per month. RealTick EMS is designed for brokers who require quick and transparent access to global liquidity and advanced real-time analysis. This trading platform provides you with centralized access to aggregated liquidity and tools to dynamically manage positions, portfolios and trading risks in the global equity, futures and options markets.

ITS TraderLite is recommended for custom configurations. The platform enables high-performance trading in all Canadian markets. It allows you to configure various displays depending on how you want to work. It also offers a wide range of benefits including a small system footprint, U.S. market data, U.S. order entry capability, friend trading capabilities and registered broker functionality.

Finally, IRESS is a sophisticated trading platform designed for scalability, flexibility and performance. The platform provides real-time quotes, sophisticated equity order routing, best price execution on multiple Canadian and U.S. exchanges, full market depth, powerful real-time and historical mapping capabilities, summary market information, company news and reports, a comprehensive database of historical time series data on security prices, exchange rates, commodity prices, economic data and market statistics.

Pros Cons
  • Video FAQ
  • Account opening process
  • Account Management Resources
  • Poor customer service
  • Management team not responding
  • Platform choices are confusing

Click here to open an account

 

Qtrade Direct Direct Investing

Prices and fees

Qtrade is an online broker offering commissions under $10. Their pricing has two levels, “investor” and “investor plus”.

For the “investor” pricing level, equity commissions are $8.75 per trade and options trades are $8.75 plus $1.25 per contract. The “Investor Plus” pricing level offers clients equity commissions of $6.95 per trade, but to qualify for this pricing level, clients must either trade at least 150 times per quarter or have at least $500,000 in assets. Investor Qtrade has an administration fee of $25 per quarter for clients with combined account balances of less than $25,000. You can waive the fee by placing at least 2 commission-generating trades per quarter.

The fee for U.S. Dollar accounts is $60 per year, or $15 per quarter. For registered accounts, the minimum threshold to waive the administration fee is $25,000 (combined for all accounts) and the administration fee amount is $100 per year.

Account Type and Investment Products

You can choose between two categories of accounts: “investment accounts” and “self-directed registered plans”. Investment accounts” consist of cash and margin accounts, both in Canadian or U.S. dollars. Self-Directed Registered Plans” include Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs).

In both categories of accounts, individuals can trade stocks, bonds, mutual funds and options. Like other Canadian dealers, there are certain restrictions. Short selling and trading in complex options is only permitted in margin accounts. Qtrade Investor offers Morningstar as a resource for information.

Trading Platform

Qtrade Direct Investing offers a primarily web-based trading platform. From the web-based platform, it is possible to perform the standard order functions present with most brokers. In terms of access to additional market data, Qtrade also offers Qtrade Streamer which provides 15 minutes of delayed data for $1.99 per month or $14.99 plus exchange fees. For Level 2 depth, the cost is $34.99 per month, plus exchange fees.

Pros Cons
  • Online account opening
  • Account dashboardOutils de portfolio
  • Lack of free resources
  • Outdated platformRessources mobiles limitées

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BMO InvestorLine

Prices and fees

BMO InvestorLine’s standard trading commission rate is $9.95 per trade for all clients. Unlike other brokers who reduce commissions for high net worth investors, BMO InvestorLine offers programs with additional features. For example, active brokers, defined as clients who make 30 or more trades per quarter, are offered additional trading and research functionality and tools under the “Active Trader Program”. For clients with balances or assets between $250,000 and $499,999, there is a “Silver Star” program. For those with $500,000 or more, these clients are eligible for the “Gold Star” program.

Account Type and Investment Products

With BMO Self-Directed InvestorLine, you can invest in guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, equities, fixed income and options.

There are several types of accounts offered by BMO InvestorLine, including: margin accounts, retirement savings accounts (RRSPs, LIRAs, RSPs), RESPs and TFSAs. A popular feature among many investors is that U.S. dollar registered accounts are available at no charge. As mentioned above, many of these accounts may incur fees if balances are below a certain level. For non-registered accounts, the minimum balance to avoid incurring quarterly fees is $10,000 for TFSA and RESP accounts. For RRSPs, the minimum balance to avoid the $100 annual fee is $25,000.

Trading Platform

BMO InvestorLine clients can trade using a web browser or mobile platform. The web-based trading platform is very similar to the platforms of other online brokers. You can do high-quality research, use analytical tools, track your performance, etc. The research tools allow you to get all the information you need to stay informed. In addition, whether you are a beginner or an advanced investor, the analysis tools are there to help you analyze the data in depth and invest. These tools are powered by Trading Central, a leading third-party trading tool that allows you to analyze potential investments in detail. Once you have analyzed your investments and completed the necessary research, you can trade stocks through the Self-Directed Investments service. Finally, once you have completed your transactions, the Self-Directed Investments service provides you with tools to track your performance. BMO InvestorLine also offers mobile trading through its mobile investing application. The broker offers Morningstar and S&P Global Ratings as resources for information.

Pros Cons
  • Online account opening
  • In-depth account information
  • Stock Picks / ETFs
  • Poor customer service
  • High Commission
  • Performance problem on cell phones

Click here to open an account

 

RBC Direct Investing

Prices and fees

The stock commission is $9.95 per transaction, regardless of the value of your account. For very active investors, i.e. clients who make 150 or more transactions per quarter, the price per transaction decreases to $6.95. You can also purchase options with a cost per transaction of $9.95 plus $1.25 per contract. Once again, active investors (more than 150 transactions per quarter) benefit from the reduced rate at $6.95 plus $1.25 per contract.

Inactivity fees are charged quarterly to those with a balance of less than $15,000. You can waive this fee in several ways. Clients who deposit a minimum of $100 per month into their RBC Direct Investing account as part of a pre-authorized contribution plan, those who make a minimum of 3 commission generating transactions per quarter, those who have a group RRSP with RBC Direct Investing, those who are eligible for the RBC Royal Circle Direct Investing program, those who currently have a student banking package (or have done so within the past 5 years) and clients who have an RBC VIP Banking package can all have their quarterly inactivity fee waived.

Account Type and Investment Products

The types of accounts offered by RBC Direct Investing are non-registered and registered accounts. For non-registered accounts, RBC Direct Investing offers cash and margin accounts. These registered accounts include TFSAs, RRSPs, RESPs and RRIFs. With the exception of RESP accounts, all other accounts are dual currency, which means that if you trade in U.S. stocks or U.S. dollars, no conversion is required between Canadian and U.S. currency. For registered accounts, you cannot use margin. Options trading in registered accounts is limited to the purchase and sale of options.

You can invest in guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, fixed income securities, options and new issues.

RBC Direct Investing also offers practice accounts for RBC clients (as well as RBC Direct Investing clients). The accounts are funded with $100,000 in practice money and individuals can use a cash or margin configuration to get their hands dirty.

Trading Platform

With their rather standard platform, you find investments using interactive tools. You can network with other investors, find investment ideas and share your experiences within the investment community. You can link your goals to your accounts, tracking and reporting on your progress and adjusting your investments as needed. You can access any information you need through the Morningstar research tool. Their Trading Central technical analysis tool helps you identify investment trends and find new opportunities. In addition, you can use the interactive charting tool to more easily identify trends or historical patterns. Finally, you can set up and manage notifications to track the progress of your investments, develop quote lists for the investments you are interested in, and stay informed of important events that may affect your investments using the calendar. RBC offers RBC Capital Markets and Morningstar as resources for information.

Pros Cons
  • Free Level II quotes
  • Education section of the magazine
  • Market information
  • Outdated design
  • ETF Commissions
  • Account notifications

Click here to open an account

 

Laurentian Bank Discount Brokerage

Prices and fees

Transaction fees on the shares are $9.95. For options, commissions are also $9.95, plus $1.25 per contract. As for account maintenance fees, for non-registered accounts you pay $25 per quarter. However, you can cancel these fees if one of the following conditions is met: maintain a balance greater than $15,000, have made at least 3 billable transactions in the last 6 months or hold a TFSA, RRSP, LIRA, RRIF or LIF account with Laurentian Bank Discount Brokerage. For TFSAs, you pay $50 per year. You can cancel these fees if one of the following conditions is met: maintain a combined balance across all accounts over $100,000, or have made at least 2 transactions in the TFSA account in the last 12 months. For the RRSP, the fee is $75 per year. Again, you can waive this fee if the balance is greater than $25,000. For the RESP, the fee is $50 per year, with no cancellation option.

Account type and investment products

In non-registered accounts you have several options: cash account, margin account, options account, short sale account and joint account. For self-directed registered accounts, you can invest in a Tax-Free Registered Account (TFSA), Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA), Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF), Life Income Fund (LIF) and an individual or family Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

You can invest in stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds, new issues and other types of investments.

Trading Platform

The platform provides you with a wealth of free-market information and research tools that will help you better understand market developments, identify opportunities and make investment decisions. Using your secure access code, you can: execute your transactions, transfer your money, obtain market information, check the status of your account and get an overview of your portfolio.

Pros Cons
  • None
  • Poor customer service
  • Management team not responding
  • Online platform

Click here to open an account

 

TD Direct Investing

Prices and fees

TD Direct Investing has a standard commission price of $9.99 per transaction. Unlike other brokers, there is no deposit or minimum number of transactions to obtain this price. For active investors, i.e. those who trade 150 or more times per quarter, the cost per transaction is $7.00. Options trading has a cost per transaction of $9.99, plus $1.25 per contract, and $7.00, plus $1.25 per contract for active brokers.

Although all investors can have a price of $9.99 per transaction, clients with a balance of less than $15,000 are subject to a $25 administration fee that is billed quarterly. You can waive this fee under certain conditions: complete a minimum of 2 commission-generating transactions in 6 months, have a TD Direct Investing registered account or be enrolled in a pre-authorized contribution plan of $100 per month or more.

Account Type and Investment Products

TD Direct Investing offers both registered and non-registered accounts. Registered account types include TFSAs, RDSPs, RRSPs and RESPs. For non-registered accounts, TD Direct Investing offers cash and margin accounts. If you want to trade options and short sell, a margin account and approval is required.

To manage currency conversions in registered accounts, TD Direct Investing has set up a “U.S. Dollar Money Market Scanning and Trading” service. The service automatically routes the funds required to settle the transaction through a U.S. dollar money market fund, so that a client does not pay the currency conversion fee. They have also extended the service to dividend payments so that customers receiving payments or making dividend purchases in U.S. dollars do not have to pay additional conversion fees.

In terms of investment products available, you have several choices including guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, fixed income securities and options.

Trading Platforms

You can choose between 4 platforms.

WebBroker – Online trading and investment platform is the most popular platform. It has several trading tools, market data and research reports to help you manage your investments online. With WebBroker, you can create a diversified portfolio of stocks, exchange-traded funds, options and bonds in the Canadian and U.S. markets.

The TD application allows you to monitor the performance of your portfolio, keep up to date on market events, learn and trade on the go. The home screen is customizable to help you access investment features. Instant real-time quotes are free, including company profiles, fundamentals, news and charts for stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and option chains. You can access the TD Direct Investing Learning Centre for training for all levels of investors. Finally, you can set up price and volume alerts directly on your cell phone.

The advanced dashboard platform allows you to take it to the next level. You’ll be able to take advantage of real-time market data, analytical tools and advanced trading capabilities.

You’ll have access to U.S. and Canadian equity and options trading with streaming real-time market data, news and charts. Advanced order types include conditional orders, cross-segment option strategies and option transfers. Finally, you will have access to a wide range of trading and application parameters that can be customized to suit your personal preferences.

The thinkorswim platform (powered by TD Ameritrade) is for advanced investors. With its professional-quality tools and resources, the thinkorswim trading platform offers a global, live Tier II advantage in US equity and options trading. The trading platform is fully customizable, with real-time streaming of Level I and Level II American equities and options data. You can trade multi-component option strategies (maximum of four). When you activate your account, the minimum deposit is US$25,000. To trade options, you must maintain a balance of US$25,000 in each account.

TD offers Morningstar and TD Economics as resources for information.

Pros Cons
  • In-depth market information
  • Analyst Overviews
  • Multiple options
  • Account Management Services
  • Mix-up in banking integration
  • Limited mobile resources

Click here to open an account

 

Scotia iTRADE

Prices and fees

Scotia iTRADE has set its standard commission price at $9.99 per transaction. Active investors are also eligible for commissions of $4.99 per transaction, subject to a minimum of 150 transactions per quarter. For options trading, the cost is $9.99 plus $1.25 per contract. Finally, for clients who make more than 150 transactions per quarter, the cost of trading options is $4.99, plus $1.25 per contract.

Scotia iTRADE charges a quarterly $25 inactivity fee to customers who have less than $10,000 combined in all their iTRADE accounts. To avoid paying this fee, investors can make at least one commission-generating trade per quarter or hold a registered account.

In terms of account maintenance fees, for non-registered accounts, you pay $25 per quarter if no chargeable transactions have been made during the quarter. For TFSAs, there are no fees. For the RRSP, it’s $100 per year and free if one of the following conditions is met: maintain a balance greater than $25,000 or make at least 12 transactions per year. Finally, for the RESP, the fees are $25 per year or exempt if you meet one of the following conditions: maintain a balance of more than $25,000 or make at least 12 transactions per year.

Type of account and investment products

Scotia iTRADE offers online trading in both non-registered and registered accounts. For non-registered accounts, Scotia iTRADE offers both cash and margin accounts. Margin accounts to be used for short selling where options trading requires additional approval and minimum capital requirements. For registered accounts, Scotia iTRADE offers Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs). Registered accounts such as RRSPs are available in both U.S. and Canadian currency, but note that U.S. account types have a quarterly fee of $30 per account. Investors with RRSP accounts who have less than $25,000 in total in all their accounts and who make fewer than 12 commission-generating trades per year are subject to an annual fee of $100.

Trading Platform

Scotia iTrade offers a desktop and mobile trading platform. For the web interface, the platform allows fundamental and technical analysis, charting and watch list tracking. They also have an order entry and review system that allows multiple orders to be managed.

Their advanced trading platform FlightDesk is designed for advanced or active brokers. FlightDesk is available in two versions, the standard version and the premium version. The premium version offers level 2 streaming quotes, option chain trading and advanced option analysis. Data pricing for both the standard and premium versions of FlightDesk is based on the amount of assets and the number of transactions. It is free for those who trade more than 30 times per quarter and $79.95 per month for the FlightDesk premium service for those who trade less.

For mobile users, Scotia iTRADE offers a mobile application on IOS and Android. There is also an iPad application. The broker offers Refinitiv and Thomson Reuters as resources for information.

Pros Cons
  • Account Management Services
  • Inventory Reviews
  • Banking integration
  • Poor customer service
  • Management team not responding
  • Minimum resources

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This article was compiled by Hardbacon, which has designed a online broker comparator listing dozens of Canadian online brokers. Hardbacon also helps you save on savings accounts, chequing accounts, credit cards, robo-advisors, life insurance, mortgages and personal loans. If you want to go one step further and take control of your finances, you should download Hardbacon’s mobile app, which links to your bank and investing accounts, helps you plan for your financial goals, create a budget and invest better.

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