Investing

Best Self-Directed Investing platform?

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 23rd, 2021 9:22 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 8, 2011
755 posts
481 upvotes
Etobicoke

Best Self-Directed Investing platform?

I am relatively new to investing (1 year in) and not a short term trader. My only experience is with CIBC’s platform and have not found it to be efficient. I was enticed by the lower transaction fee but beyond that it has been a hindrance.

TD seems to be a popular choice. Before I make the move to transfer my registered accounts and before I begin a non-registered account I wanted to understand what the experienced investors here would recommend and why.

My plan is to build my portfolio with 80% in a CPP style and 20% for more active investing.

Thanks in advance!
33 replies
Member
Feb 27, 2011
221 posts
219 upvotes
We've used TD Direct for years, and have been broadly satisfied. The wait times for CS are terrible if you call their public tel #s, but are actually quite reasonable if you call through their app.

That said, the main reason we go started with TD Direct was the fact that (at the time) it was the only place self-directing investors could buy TD e-series mutual funds. That's no longer the case, so I'm not sure I would go with TD again, if I was only starting out now. Especially if you are planning on frequent trades, then one of the discount brokers would definitely be most cost effective than TD.
Deal Addict
Jun 8, 2004
2026 posts
1089 upvotes
Oakville
DToronto wrote: I am relatively new to investing (1 year in) and not a short term trader. My only experience is with CIBC’s platform and have not found it to be efficient. I was enticed by the lower transaction fee but beyond that it has been a hindrance.

TD seems to be a popular choice. Before I make the move to transfer my registered accounts and before I begin a non-registered account I wanted to understand what the experienced investors here would recommend and why.

My plan is to build my portfolio with 80% in a CPP style and 20% for more active investing.

Thanks in advance!
What exactly do you find wrong with CIBC's platform? What are you trying to do that isn't offered? Since you say you are not an active trader, how much more efficient are you expecting in time saved doing something?

Personally, I haven't really used their app, but I don't find anything inefficient with their web based platform. When I make a trade, I enter everything in on one screen, and then it asks you to confirm everything on the second screen. Nothing seems to be more than one or two clicks away either, so I don't see what is inefficient unless you are trying to be an active day trader, and if you were an active day trader, you probably wouldn't be using the app and would be using a desktop, multiple monitors, and the browser.
Deal Fanatic
Jun 3, 2009
5515 posts
1367 upvotes
Montreal
As of Aug 23rd, NBDB will be removing commissions on equity trades but options will stay at the 6.95 or higher per trade.
Member
Jul 26, 2015
369 posts
433 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
cba123 wrote: What exactly do you find wrong with CIBC's platform? What are you trying to do that isn't offered? Since you say you are not an active trader, how much more efficient are you expecting in time saved doing something?

Personally, I haven't really used their app, but I don't find anything inefficient with their web based platform. When I make a trade, I enter everything in on one screen, and then it asks you to confirm everything on the second screen. Nothing seems to be more than one or two clicks away either, so I don't see what is inefficient unless you are trying to be an active day trader, and if you were an active day trader, you probably wouldn't be using the app and would be using a desktop, multiple monitors, and the browser.
CIBC app is simply terrible. May be the worst trading app on the market in Canada.
It does not show you ANY dividend info. It does not even show you the historic cost of the shares you purchased, only the overall invested amount into shares. You need to use a calculator to figure out the cost… they are sooo behind competition.
It shows you a weird book value for your stocks based on the PREVIOUS trading day, it also shows you the “most recent” stock value adjustment compared to the previous trading day. So if you look at the most recent stock value you have no idea if you are making money or loosing money, it compares you to the previous day value and does not show your cost. It’s simply too archaic compared to a platform like TD has.
I am not talking about market info, analyst targets etc. CIBC app has NONE. TD has it all.
Therefore the ONLY way to use their APP efficiently is if you base your research on other platforms.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Sep 19, 2004
25960 posts
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where I belong
I use TD mostly
but recently I'm using Wealthsimple Trade more for its $0 CAD commission
1.5% on USD stocks though so I'm not using it for US stocks
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Jr. Member
Oct 22, 2020
110 posts
91 upvotes
If you like to read analyst reports, maybe joining more than one platform would be helpful. Sometimes a broker is restricted from issuing reports on a company if they are involved in a particular transaction or share offering. For instance, if broker A is involved in a share offering (company X buying company Y) you won't be able to see new reports on this from broker A on whether this is a good transaction or not, the financials, etc. But on the other hand large deals can involve multiple brokers as well, so no guarantees there either.
Jr. Member
Dec 16, 2018
197 posts
278 upvotes
cn_habs wrote: As of Aug 23rd, NBDB will be removing commissions on equity trades but options will stay at the 6.95 or higher per trade.
Hey @cn_habs
Can you provide link for this. I don't see it on their website.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 8, 2011
755 posts
481 upvotes
Etobicoke
cba123 wrote: What exactly do you find wrong with CIBC's platform? What are you trying to do that isn't offered? Since you say you are not an active trader, how much more efficient are you expecting in time saved doing something?
Some of my issues with the visibility of basic data on CIBC app were touched upon by one of the posters above.

I have also had instances wherein I sold shares from my USD account to be deposited into the USD account but the amount was deposited into my CAD account, losing out on exchange rates twice.
Deal Fanatic
Jun 3, 2009
5515 posts
1367 upvotes
Montreal
applexs wrote: Hey @cn_habs
Can you provide link for this. I don't see it on their website.
My buddy who works there confirmed it for me today.
Jr. Member
Dec 16, 2018
197 posts
278 upvotes
cn_habs wrote: My buddy who works there confirmed it for me today.
If that happens, I would say its going to be game changing.
As Aug 23rd is not too far, they will do high level marketing about 0$ commission on equity trades.

but I feel you guys had some miscommunication regarding this.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jun 19, 2001
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well, it is only .95 lower then it is now (for anyone doing 100 trades in 3 months), so I wouldnt be too surprised

But I wonder of that is made up by the data feed, you get it free, but not while you are on the free trade intro offer. Paid trades only count
If you aren't willing to take small losses, then you will take big losses. This is my guarantee. -
Mark Minervini
Deal Addict
Dec 4, 2011
2307 posts
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Montréal
cn_habs wrote: My buddy who works there confirmed it for me today.
Edit: Guess I was wrong, apologies!
Last edited by admiralackbar on Aug 23rd, 2021 7:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
Deal Addict
Jun 8, 2004
2026 posts
1089 upvotes
Oakville
Sam286 wrote:
CIBC app is simply terrible. May be the worst trading app on the market in Canada.
It does not show you ANY dividend info. It does not even show you the historic cost of the shares you purchased, only the overall invested amount into shares. You need to use a calculator to figure out the cost… they are sooo behind competition.
It shows you a weird book value for your stocks based on the PREVIOUS trading day, it also shows you the “most recent” stock value adjustment compared to the previous trading day. So if you look at the most recent stock value you have no idea if you are making money or loosing money, it compares you to the previous day value and does not show your cost. It’s simply too archaic compared to a platform like TD has.
I am not talking about market info, analyst targets etc. CIBC app has NONE. TD has it all.
Therefore the ONLY way to use their APP efficiently is if you base your research on other platforms.
ok, so I guess the app is crap, which I don't use anyways.

Is there any broker APP out there that offers level 2 quotes on their app yet? If not, then nobody's app is truly ready to replace the browser based platforms yet.

To me, the apps are still just convenience tools to help do key things while on the road, and not replace the browser platforms, which would be used for less routine, less time sensitive stuff, and the more complex stuff like level 2 quotes.

As for change in market values, I prefer the current way of a page showing current change in market value from last business day, a page that shows the change in value for last day's close from the the previous day's close, and another page that shows last day's close to book value.

You can use the saved quotes list if you really want to store your book value and see profit/loss against the delayed quote. I used to use that but every position of mine is in the money since I have been holding positions for decades, so I look at how much I made or lost yesterday, and what I made or loss today, and don't look at how much I made or loss since I originally bought, which are what the three different holding views currently show.
DToronto wrote: Some of my issues with the visibility of basic data on CIBC app were touched upon by one of the posters above.

I have also had instances wherein I sold shares from my USD account to be deposited into the USD account but the amount was deposited into my CAD account, losing out on exchange rates twice.
so your issue is really more due to their app and not their web platform.

I haven't done a USD account side trade settlement, so have not experienced that. On the Cdn side, if I recall correctly using the web platform, it asks you where to buy and where to settle, so maybe it defaults to the CAD side and you have to remember to change it to the USD side, instead of defaulting to USD on the USD account side. Not sure how it's done on the app though.
Member
Jul 26, 2015
369 posts
433 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
cba123 wrote: ok, so I guess the app is crap, which I don't use anyways.

As for change in market values, I prefer the current way of a page showing current change in market value from last business day, a page that shows the change in value for last day's close from the the previous day's close, and another page that shows last day's close to book value.
It’s quite easy to understand and to agree that it’s in human nature to get used to a system one used for a while. I have access to CIBC platform as well.

However, TD has all the data you described above well-structured on one screen. No need to flip between 2-3 different screens and try to figure out what is what.
You get to see all of this at a glance:
- quantity of stock you own
- average cost per share
- book cost
- market value today
- overall gain/loss up till now
- gain/loss within this day
- bid/ask price

And in a click of a button you get access to an additional screen with the following details (also all on one screen):
- graphs
- volume trade today
- average volume of trade
- 52 week range
- open price
- day high/ day low
- ex-dividend date
- dividend payment date
- dividend yield
- market cap
- P/E ratio
- estimated earning
- analyst ratings
- related news for the stock

While getting used to an older platform is understandable, modern bank platforms save you a huge amount of time to do a simple analysis.
TD left older trading platforms in the dust long time ago.
Deal Addict
Jul 30, 2015
3974 posts
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Toronto, ON
How about IBKR? Their fees seems low to me but goes up to 0.5% of trade value which is too much.
Deal Addict
Jun 8, 2004
2026 posts
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Oakville
Sam286 wrote: It’s quite easy to understand and to agree that it’s in human nature to get used to a system one used for a while. I have access to CIBC platform as well.

However, TD has all the data you described above well-structured on one screen. No need to flip between 2-3 different screens and try to figure out what is what.
You get to see all of this at a glance:
- quantity of stock you own
- average cost per share
- book cost
- market value today
- overall gain/loss up till now
- gain/loss within this day
- bid/ask price

And in a click of a button you get access to an additional screen with the following details (also all on one screen):
- graphs
- volume trade today
- average volume of trade
- 52 week range
- open price
- day high/ day low
- ex-dividend date
- dividend payment date
- dividend yield
- market cap
- P/E ratio
- estimated earning
- analyst ratings
- related news for the stock

While getting used to an older platform is understandable, modern bank platforms save you a huge amount of time to do a simple analysis.
TD left older trading platforms in the dust long time ago.
good point.

Back in the day when I had good eyesight, I loved my million column spreadsheets and tiny fonts to fit the screen, but my coworkers and now future me can't read anything that small and wide any more without scrolling left/right, with freeze panes enabled to keep ticker and stock name visible, or using smaller fonts.

But playing Devils advocate, but isn't having lots of columns (9 columns in TDs case assuming they also show the name of stock and ticker symbol) not very app friendly, where screen sizes are becoming smaller/narrower and you have to scroll forever in the new era of computing? How does this work with TDs app?
Member
Jul 26, 2015
369 posts
433 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
cba123 wrote: good point.

Back in the day when I had good eyesight, I loved my million column spreadsheets and tiny fonts to fit the screen, but my coworkers and now future me can't read anything that small and wide any more without scrolling left/right, with freeze panes enabled to keep ticker and stock name visible, or using smaller fonts.

But playing Devils advocate, but isn't having lots of columns (9 columns in TDs case assuming they also show the name of stock and ticker symbol) not very app friendly, where screen sizes are becoming smaller/narrower and you have to scroll forever in the new era of computing? How does this work with TDs app?
Actually it’s very readable. Here are some screenshots. The first one is the basic info. The second one needs to be scrolled through, very easy to use.
389BACA8-07BC-4832-A383-CCFD9F50BD5C.png
4161CC87-12BE-40C5-8B72-442225255FBB.png
C972B148-AF1A-4A52-8A9F-3268880965AF.png
E154EEB7-05FA-4CB5-A34E-076CCA27E19D.png
Deal Addict
Jun 8, 2004
2026 posts
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Oakville
Sam286 wrote: Actually it’s very readable. Here are some screenshots. The first one is the basic info. The second one needs to be scrolled through, very easy to use.

389BACA8-07BC-4832-A383-CCFD9F50BD5C.png4161CC87-12BE-40C5-8B72-442225255FBB.pngC972B148-AF1A-4A52-8A9F-3268880965AF.pngE154EEB7-05FA-4CB5-A34E-076CCA27E19D.png
thanks, but that app screenshot only shows the total gain/loss, and doesn't show today's gain/loss (would have to manually multiply qty x change in market price) or yesterday's gain/loss, which I am most interested in, and this is not all shown at the portfolio holdings view, so I would need to drill into each and every position?

I assume the TD browser view shows all this on one screen as you indicated, and they had to cut out some of these key metrics I noted above from their app, which means the TD app isn't necessarily better either.

We almost need two different discussions. One comparing the detailed capabilities of each broker's primary web platform, which is what the title suggests, and another to discuss the current state of each broker's app and details of their limitations compared to their web platform, which is what the OP was really interested in.
Last edited by cba123 on Aug 20th, 2021 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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