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Online Brokerage Rankings (Globe and Mail 2022, 21, 20 & 2019)

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Online Brokerage Rankings (Globe and Mail 2022, 21, 20 & 2019)

*A reminder it is against forum rules to post articles in full or links to break paywalls.*


Here are the 2022 online rankings via the Globe and Mail. They finally included some mobile apps in their evaluations this year. I have included one or two lines from the individual reviews for flavour.


The 2022 Globe and Mail digital broker ranking: Does the zero-commission revolution flip the script on who’s best?
PUBLISHED YESTERDAY

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/appview ... -the-zero/

Excerpts;

As has often been the case in this ranking over the years, Qtrade Direct Investing is the broker that does it best. Other brokers beat Qtrade in specific areas like commission costs, but Qtrade’s overall goodness becomes apparent as soon as you log in and find a neat little dashboard to get you up to speed on your investments.

This year marks a shift in the ranking to include investing apps as well as traditional online brokers. The zero-commission trading app Wealthsimple Trade is now in the mix, and a couple of other apps will be evaluated for possible inclusion next year – MogoTrade and TD Easy Trade.

Included in this year’s ranking is an evaluation of how responsive each broker is to telephone calls from clients by the investment industry consulting firm Dalbar Canada


BMO InvestorLine
Owner: Bank of Montreal
Grade: B+

BMO’s website has been nicely updated and is better in every conceivable way than an older version that is still available to clients who want it. BMO’s mobile app lacks the zip of the website.

CIBC Investor’s Edge
Owner: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Grade: B-

CIBC has long been a top broker for providing equity research to clients and this is more true than ever now. Research from the independent analysis firm Morningstar is pretty much ubiquitous in online investing now, but CIBC goes beyond that with Thomson Reuters and CIBC World Markets reports.

CI Direct Trading
Owner: CI Financial Corp.
Grade: B

CI Direct, formerly Virtual Brokers, has slipped down from a ranking it once led because its cost advantage has been nullified by the trend to zero commissions. ... There’s also a first-class portfolio analysis tool powered by Wealthscope. Try it and you’ll see how investors without tools like this are flying blind.

Desjardins Online Brokerage
Owner: Desjardins Group
Grade: C+

Eliminating trading commissions helped Desjardins climb in this ranking, but its overall grade is limited by a retro website that feels out of step with the times.

HSBC InvestDirect
Owner: HSBC Bank Canada
Grade: D+

With no mobile app and no U.S.-dollar registered accounts, HSBC plants itself in a deep hole in this ranking.

Interactive Brokers
Owner: Interactive Brokers LLC
Grade: B

Serious traders, give IB a look for a combination of low costs and market analytics. IB might be where active traders go when they outgrow Wealthsimple Trade.

National Bank Direct Brokerage
Owner: National Bank of Canada
Grade: B+

What compromises must clients make to get that cost advantage? Only one stands out as a potential deal-breaker – a mobile app is still in development and wasn’t available in early 2022.

Qtrade Direct Investing
Owner: Aviso Wealth
Grade: A

There are huge amounts of embedded value, starting the moment you log into your account and see a dashboard that is second to none in showing what you need to know about your portfolio.

Questrade
Owner: Questrade Financial Group
Grade: B+

A big add for Questrade lately is instant deposit, which lets you transfer money, typically as much as $3,500 a day, into your account in real time.

RBC Direct Investing
Owner: Royal Bank of Canada
Grade: B-

There is much to like here, including a new trading dashboard and strong tools for goal-setting and portfolio performance monitoring. But there’s an overall sense of drift with RBC Direct.

Scotia iTrade
Owner: Bank of Nova Scotia
Grade: B

Scotia says a website and app modernization is coming this year. Sharper portfolio analytics would be a nice complement to current standout features

TD Direct Investing
Owner: Toronto-Dominion Bank
Grade: A-

TD has its critics, notably for long wait times on the telephone. But it offers a shrewdly designed, helpful website that feels like a cockpit from which you fly your portfolio.

Wealthsimple Trade
Owner: Wealthsimple
Grade: I

That’s I for incomplete, a reflection of the fact that Wealthsimple Trade is an app for trading stocks and lacks almost all of the tools singled out for praise at other brokers.

<ed: for the rest of the rankings and methodology, you can see in the url listed above.

* --------------- End of 2022 Ranking -- Beginning of 2021 Rankings ----------- *

Here are the 2021 online rankings via the Globe and Mail

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investi ... -best-for/

I have just pasted the 2021 information above the 2020 article so people can track any changes. For the rest of this years article, "Brokers under the microscope," you'll have to subscribe to the G&M or visit a local library.
Review begins below.

Here are the brokers in the 202<1> ranking, listed alphabetically:

BMO InvestorLine

Owner: Bank of Montreal

Grade: B

It’s great to be able to report that this onetime star is phasing out its dated website and introducing something that improves the user experience in every way. Redesign bonus points for killing off the trading password, an annoyance most firms inflict on clients in order to submit a trade. What’s missing: Tools for portfolio analysis. BMO might argue that this function is covered by its adviceDirect service (DIY investing with personalized advice), but InvestorLine clients deserve tools of their own. InvestorLine’s trading app for mobile phones is quite good, but why no biometric option for logging in with your fingerprint instead of typing in yet another cursed password?

CIBC Investor’s Edge

Owner: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Grade: C+

A website refresh has brightened things. Much overdue and nicely executed. Combine cheap stock-trading commissions of $6.95 with an excellent selection of analyst research reports and you have two-thirds of a strong contender. What’s missing are tools to analyze portfolios by factors like performance, risk, and diversification. Improvements in this area are said to be coming through 2021.

Desjardins Online Brokerage

Owner: Desjardins Group

Grade: C

Almost all brokers in this survey have brought their websites up to at least something close to a modern design standard that helps you go about your business quickly, cleanly and pleasantly. Desjardins is an exception, but a cost-effective one thanks to the $6.95 flat stock-trading commission.

HSBC InvestDirect

Owner: HSBC Bank Canada

Grade: D+

The lack of a mobile app as of early 2021 might be a deal-killer for some, and then there’s the glaring absence of U.S.-dollar registered accounts. What you do get is a low flat commission of $6.88 and, unusual in the online brokerage business, access to global stock markets. You can invest and settle trades in multiple global currencies.

Interactive Brokers

Owner: Interactive Brokers LLC

Grade: B+

Active, savvy investors who value low fees and cutting-edge trading tools, do check out IB. Keep walking if you’re someone who doesn’t trade a whole bunch and wants a broker that makes a place for people finding their way.

National Bank Direct Brokerage

Owner: National Bank of Canada

Grade: B

Elbowing its way toward the upper tier. The website is a pleasure to use and a good start has been made in providing tools for monitoring your portfolio. Add some risk analysis and asset allocation tools and we’d really have something. Part of the appeal is free online trading of Canadian- and U.S.-listed ETFs on orders of 100 shares or more.

Qtrade Investor

Owner: Aviso Wealth

Grade: A

Brokers need portfolio analysis tools to ace this ranking, and Qtrade delivers there with help in assessing how well your holdings work in terms of diversification, risk and more. When hot stock markets cool down, tools like this can be a difference-maker in helping investors achieve success. Qtrade could do a better job with reporting investment returns, but it’s otherwise strong in almost every respect. They may be the king of steady year-by-year improvement.

Questrade

Owner: Questrade Financial Group

Grade: B+

Questrade is a top choice for younger investors who want a fast, smart online investing experience, cheap commissions of 1 cent a share ($4.95 minimum, $9.95 maximum) and don’t mind the lack of online trading for bonds and guaranteed investment certificates. Portfolio monitoring is available through an alliance with a service called Passiv that will notify you if your asset allocation has strayed beyond the targets you set and help with rebalancing. Note: Electronic communications network (ECN) fees may add to the cost of some trades.

RBC Direct Investing

Owner: Royal Bank of Canada

Grade: B

BMO and CIBC have new-look websites, so RBC is now the bank-owned broker most in need of a refresh. Strong portfolio management tools can be found within the website, but the exterior cladding has a strip mall ambience. It does the job, but no one’s jazzed to be there. RBC’s emphasis lately seems to be on active traders. Free real-time streaming quotes are available, and more detailed Level 2 quotes for TSX stocks were introduced last year at no cost. RBC is also highlighting something more brokers should look at – online access to details on payments from registered retirement income funds. Good idea.

Scotia iTrade

Owner: Bank of Nova Scotia

Grade: B

Pluses include a strong offering of analyst research, a menu of 49 ETFs you can trade for free (from the iShares, Horizons, Vanguard and PowerShares lineups) and a welcome break from a policy at some other bank-owned brokers that drastically limits client options for holding cash. Looking for tools to design and manage a portfolio? Scotia’s got little to offer. Also, the website’s starting to look a bit stale in comparison to the leaders in this ranking.

TD Direct Investing

Owner: Toronto-Dominion Bank

Grade: A-

TD’s the leader in recasting the online brokerage business as less a trading platform than a cockpit for managing your investments. There’s a sleek, streamlined quality to the website that promotes use of its tools for setting goals, building portfolios and monitoring them to ensure they continue to do the job. Analyst research has been improved and online GIC orders are now possible. TD, it’s past time to add online chat and secure e-mail so clients can make account enquiries without calling.

Virtual Brokers

Owner: CI Financial Corp.

Grade: B

Three good reasons to consider VB – stock trading at 1 cent a share ($1.99 minimum, $7.99 maximum), free ETF purchases (regular fees apply when you sell) and a powerful portfolio analysis tool supplied by a third-party firm called Wealthscope. The onetime coolness factor of VB’s website is fading as other firms up their game.

Excel file via G&M: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/files/e ... -2021.xlsx

End of the 2021 review / ___________________________ Beginning of the 2020 review

Here is the 2020 online rankings via the Globe and Mail.

I have just pasted the 2020 information above the 2019 article so people can track any changes. For the second half of this years article, "Brokers under the microscope," you'll have to subscribe to the G&M or visit a local library. If it's important, go spend a few dollars as opposed to asking anonymous posters. My only edits were to bold the dealer names for ease of reading.

Rob Carrick grades Canada’s online brokerages for 2020
PUBLISHED JANUARY 31, 2020
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investi ... -for-2020/

The best online broker in Canada is also one of the priciest on commissions and fees.

Pay more with Qtrade Investor, get more. No other broker is good in so many different areas and no other broker makes such consistent year-by-year improvements.

Online brokers are prevented by regulators from offering advice, but the best firms have figured out a way to provide tools that let investors help themselves. Unless you’ve tried these tools, you may not realize how much they can help build confidence that you’re doing the right things.

Qtrade’s standard online trading commission was $8.75 when this ranking was done, which puts it closer to the top of range for stock-trading costs than the bottom. Low fees are a foundation of do-it-yourself investing, and they are a crucial aspect of the 21st annual Globe and Mail online brokerage ranking.

But if investing to you is a years-long journey of wealth-building for goals like retirement and your children’s postsecondary education, then you’ll get more value from Qtrade’s tools and informative website than you will by paying a few bucks less per trade.

It is possible to get a decent investing experience with low costs. Questrade and Virtual Brokers have done a great job of adding worthwhile features while keeping costs low. If you want the ultimate in low-cost trading, check out Wealthsimple Trade. Commissions are zero, but for now it’s a stripped-down offering without the services needed to be included in this ranking.

As ever, in this ranking brokers are scored on services targeted at mainstream online clients as opposed to heavy traders. Here’s a breakdown of the ranking criteria:

Convenience and security: Assessing how easy it is to set up an account and maintain it, as well as the quality of the website as a way to help clients stay on top of their investments.

Cost: Commissions for trading stocks and exchange-traded funds are considered here, as well as inactivity/maintenance fees and the cost of mailing account statements and trading confirmations.

The investing experience: Factors considered here include the availability of a full range of U.S.-dollar registered accounts, online availability for guaranteed investment certificates and services for mobile devices.

Tools: A look at the resources available to help build diversified portfolios and manage them over time, including research on stocks and exchange-traded funds. A big part of this assessment is devoted to how well the broker reports client account performance.

Here are the brokers in the 2020 ranking, listed alphabetically:

BMO InvestorLine

Owner: Bank of Montreal

Grade: B-

Given how great it was back in its early 2000s heyday, BMO’s slippage in recent years has dropped it only to the point of mediocrity. That’s the good news. The bad is that BMO is being outclassed by a growing number of competitors that understand brokers have to be more than a platform for buying and selling investments.

CIBC Investor’s Edge

Owner: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Grade: C

If you put a lot of stock in having access to a deep library of analyst research and cheap commissions of $6.95 per trade, then CIBC is worth a look. But overall, this broker is serviceable at best and much in need of the changes that are going on behind the scenes there.

Desjardins Online Brokerage

Owner: Desjardins Group

Grade: C

Covers all the bases more or less, but in a very traditional package that lacks the spark or originality you’ll find in the top-ranked firms on this list. What makes the overall package more appealing is a commission cut to $6.95 from just below $10.

HSBC InvestDirect

Owner: HSBC Bank Canada

Grade: D+

The $6.88 commission puts HSBC in the group of brokers that don’t offer state-of-the-art services and try to make up for that with lower trading costs. But HSBC is a little further behind than most. It lacks an app for trading on mobile devices, and it doesn’t offer U.S.-dollar registered accounts.

Interactive Brokers

Owner: Interactive Brokers LLC

Grade: B+

For those who know what they’re doing as investors and want a broker that lets them do it as cheaply as possible. IB offers a sophisticated platform that will leave novices with their heads spinning.

National Bank Direct Brokerage

Owner: National Bank of Canada

Grade: B

An oh-so-needed website upgrade has livened things up considerably for this broker, although some tools have not yet migrated to the new site from the old. NBDB stands out here for coming closest to free trading of Canadian- and U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds. The catch is that you must trade in amounts of at least 100 shares.

Qtrade Investor

Owner: Aviso Wealth

Grade: A+

What impresses about Qtrade is its attention to details in supplying almost all the features investors need to be successful. Example: Its mobile app lets you do a wide range of functions and doesn’t cut corners, which many other brokers have. This past year, Qtrade introduced an excellent, must-try tool called Portfolio Score for analyzing your portfolio.

Questrade

Owner: Questrade Financial Group

Grade: B+

Unburdened by the “legacy computer systems” that are used as an excuse for the lameness of many bank-owned broker websites, Questrade has been steadily building a fresh, clean investing experience that will resonate with younger investors a lot more than almost every other broker on this list. Adding to this appeal is Questrade’s recent move to lower the threshold where you no longer have to pay account inactivity fees, from $5,000 to $1,000.

RBC Direct Investing

Owner: Royal Bank of Canada

Grade: B+

RBC’s online brokerage arm is looking increasingly old school, even if it does house some really good tools for building and monitoring a portfolio. Why aren’t these tools right in your face when you log in as a client? If you do a significant amount of stock trading, you’ll appreciate that RBC has added real-time streaming stock quotes with no minimum required account size or level of trading activity to qualify.

Scotia iTrade

Owner: Bank of Nova Scotia

Grade: A-

An all-around strong player with an advantage over some other bank-owned firms. Scotia allows clients to buy a wide variety of high interest savings accounts packed as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, while BMO, RBC and TD only allow purchases of their in-house product. For details on who sells what, check the Globe’s DIY investor’s guide to the best parking spots for cash.

TD Direct Investing

Owner: Toronto-Dominion Bank

Grade: A

No other broker creates such a comfortable atmosphere for building and maintaining an investment portfolio. They do it by offering tools that help you understand not just how your investments are performing, but also how well you are achieving the financial goals you set. Now for some helpful criticism: TD’s behind the crowd in not being set up to answer client questions sent by secure e-mail or online chat.

Virtual Brokers

Owner: CI Financial Corp.

Grade: B+

VB’s pitch is cheap stock trading without sacrifice. There’s a strong portfolio analysis tool from an outfit called Wealthscope, a mobile app with full capabilities and a full range of U.S.-dollar accounts. Stock trades cost 1 cent a share with a $1.99 minimum and $7.99 maximum, and you can buy ETFs at no cost (regular fees apply when you sell). Another broker that younger investors should consider


Brokers under the microscope

A comparison of brokers in 10 key areas that address costs, ease of use and the ability to make sure you’re on track.

How do online stock trading commissions compare?
Almost all brokers have a flat commission for mainstream clients, but the actual costs varies.

Is there a simplified fee for all accounts with small balances?
Brokers typically charge a fee of one sort or another on accounts with less than $10,000 to $25,000. Some have created a unified fee for registered and unregistered accounts, while others confuse clients with separate fees for both types of account. Note: Many brokers waive these admin-type fees if you meet criteria such as making a small number of trades or setting up a regular contribution to your account; young adult clients may also qualify for a fee waiver

Is commission-free ETF trading available?
Low-cost exchange-traded funds are an excellent way to build a portfolio if you're a DIY investor, but commissions can add up if you make frequent purchases. Some brokers address this by waiving some or all commissions on ETF investments.

Foreign exchange charges
Brokers were asked to say what they would charge a client who bought $15,000 in U.S. dollars as part of a purchase of a U.S. stock. The hypothetical transaction was made at 10 on the morning of Dec. 10, 2019 (stock trading commission not included).

Are U.S.-dollar registered accounts available?
With a U.S.-dollar registered account, you can hold U.S. cash and receive U.S.-dollar dividends without having them automatically converted into Canadian dollars. That's a big savings on foreign exchange costs.

Can you buy high-interest savings ETFs?
These popular exchange-traded funds offer a way to park cash in your investment account and earn better returns than in other safe havens. Ticker symbols include PSA-T and CSAV-T. Expect to pay brokerage commissions to buy and/or sell.

Can clients send secure e-mails to get personal account questions answered, or use online chat?
Two ways that let you communicate directly with your broker about matters related to your account.

Are there comprehensive tools to help clients assess their returns over the short and long term and against benchmark indexes?
To be a successful investor, you need to be able to properly gauge how your portfolio is performing. If you can't match or beat the benchmark indexes, take a look at index-tracking ETFs.

How does the client website experience rank on a scale of 1 to 5?
A well-designed, easy-to-use website helps put your hands on the tools, research and other resources that make you a better investor. Here's a subjective rating based on a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best) for mainstream investors, rather than traders.

Is there a security guarantee saying clients will be reimbursed fully for losses in their account due to unauthorized transactions?
Reassurance against hackers gaining entry to your brokerage account (assumes you have kept your password private).


End 2020
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Begin 2019

Part of successful investing is the research and effort required; yet a few times a year, someone will post something to the effect of "help me find an online brokerage." A simple search of "online brokerages" gave me multiple threads (see attached) and many more post, including the ones below.

i.e. RFD 2017 - "Best Big 5 Bank Online Brokerage?" http://forums.redflagdeals.com/best-big ... #p28687346, RFD 2019 - http://forums.redflagdeals.com/opinions ... #p30499543


Globe and Mail review 2017 - https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-i ... -rankings/
Globe and Mail review 2019 - https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investi ... r-options/

"Which online brokerage is best in 2019? Rob Carrick ranks your options"
The annual Globe and Mail ranking of online brokers has seen some battles over its 20 years, but never anything as tense as today.

A big divide has opened up between the middling to weak players and the elite. The top firms have cut fees in a few cases while adding new features to help clients build and manage portfolios. The also-rans continue to plod along as if they’re still basically waiters taking your order for stocks or funds to buy.

This year’s co-winners are TD Direct Investing and Virtual Brokers. TD earned its spot by surpassing other brokers with its website innovation and utility, particularly for planning portfolios. VB cut its fees sharply while also introducing a nimble new website and a state of the art tool for managing an investment portfolio.

Just behind these two firms are Qtrade, Questrade and Scotia iTrade, all of them first-rate outfits that exemplify how far brokers have travelled in the past two decades.


As ever in this ranking, brokers are scored on services targeted at mainstream online clients as opposed to heavy traders. Here’s a breakdown of the ranking criteria:

The client experience: The emphasis here is on evaluating how easy it is to set up an account and contact a broker with questions or problems. An emphasis is placed on how well a firm reports the performance of client accounts.

Cost: Brokers are primarily graded on their trading commissions, the availability of commission-free exchange-traded funds and the intrusiveness of their account maintenance or admin fees.

The investing experience: A key measure is the availability of a full range of U.S.-dollar registered accounts and a wide range of services for mobile devices.

Tools: Primarily we’re comparing resources to help build diversified portfolios and manage them over time, but also stock and ETF research tools.

Website: A clean, navigable website helps clients get the most from time spent looking after their investments.

Here’s how individual brokers stack up:

BMO InvestorLine

Owner: Bank of Montreal

Grade: B

InvestorLine is what you get when a bank builds a high quality online brokerage division and then coasts for 10-plus years. Once-sharp tools to help clients manage their portfolios look dull now, and the website is as wrinkly as a prune when compared with the freshness of leaders such as TD Direct Investing and Questrade. When you consider the moxy that BMO is showing in the exchange-traded-fund business, the stagnation of InvestorLine looks sad.

CIBC Investor’s Edge

Owner: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Grade: C

Nothing much changes with Investor’s Edge from year to year. You get comparatively cheap commissions and generous analyst research, but little to help you plan and monitor a portfolio to ensure it’s working. Another bank-owned broker with an absentee parent.

Desjardins Online Brokerage

Owner: Desjardins Group

Grade: C-

CIBC and HSBC are similar to Desjardins in their mediocrity, but at least they give you cut-rate commissions. It is beyond time for Desjardins to modernize its online brokerage.

HSBC InvestDirect

Owner: HSBC Bank Canada

Grade: C-

Grade: The lack of U.S.-dollar registered accounts and a mobile app highlight how far behind HSBC is compared with the other firms on this list. But give this broker its due – it offers a pleasant-to-use website, cheap commissions and a platform for online trading of stocks on global exchanges.

Interactive Brokers

Owner: Interactive Brokers LLC

Grade: B+

If you trade a lot and want to minimize costs, it’s your duty to check out IB. Stock trading commissions, interest rates on margin accounts and foreign exchange costs are all notably low, and there’s plenty of firepower for monitoring markets and setting up trades. Too hardcore for the rookie or casual investor.

National Bank Direct Brokerage

Owner: National Bank of Canada

Grade: B-

This could be your broker if you’re a cost-conscious higher net worth investor focused on ETFs. Trade 100 shares or more of any Canadian- or U.S.-listed ETF and you pay nothing in commissions. NBDB isn’t bad on portfolio-building and monitoring, but the website is as stale as last week’s loaf of Wonder Bread. It might have looked good on your Commodore 64.

Qtrade Investor

Owner: Aviso Wealth

Grade: A-

Another year, another round of improvements from this online brokerage dynasty (check out the 20-year list of year-by-year top picks). Standout changes include the ability to set goals for a registered accounts, better tracking of dividend income and additional stock research. Qtrade does evolution better than revolution. That’s why it was edged out for top spot this year.

Questrade

Owner: Questrade Financial Group

Grade: A-

This fast-growing independent is riding an improvement trajectory that will most likely put it on top of this ranking in the next several years. The latest upgrades of note concern the website, which has been sharpened and streamlined in a way that better helps clients get about their business. Portfolio-building and monitoring tools aimed at long-term, wealth-building investors should be next on the improvement list.

RBC Direct Investing

Owner: Royal Bank of Canada

Grade: B

On the broker innovation spectrum, RBC is somewhere between the inertia of BMO and CIBC and the slick modernity of TD and Scotia iTrade. RBC towers in its ability to help you plan a portfolio and keep it in line, but RBC stands out from the crowd in not offering low-cost Mawer mutual funds.

Scotia iTrade

Owner: Bank of Nova Scotia

Grade: A-

Scotia has fixed a gaping flaw in its commission schedule by extending $9.99 flat trading commissions to all, instead of those who meet various requirements for active trading or assets. Most other brokers did this ages ago, but let’s accentuate the positive. Scotia iTrade is now one of the most polished, well-rounded brokers out there.

TD Direct Investing

Owner: Toronto-Dominion Bank

Grade: A

Once the king of complacency, TD now sets a ferocious pace of innovation. The first phase of an impressive new generation of portfolio building and monitoring tools has emerged, with more to come. Best overall website by far in this ranking, and they finally came through on the often-made, often-broken promise to add U.S.-dollar registered retirement income funds.

Virtual Brokers

Owner: CI Financial Corp.

Grade: A

VB has fought its way back to the top after slipping last year. The strategy goes like this: Cut fees, add features. The $9.99 flat commission has been replaced with a charge of 1 cent a share with a $1.99 minimum, while the website was upgraded and a powerful new portfolio analysis tool from an outfit called Wealthscope was added. VB has done more in one year than some brokers have in 10.

An Excel version of the guide here, https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/files/ ... rs_19.xlsx

<Further comparisons available online.>
Images
  • Online Brokerage.JPG
Last edited by MrMom on Feb 4th, 2022 8:21 am, edited 6 times in total.
120 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Apr 21, 2004
56486 posts
21537 upvotes
Will TD's Active Trading platform not be blocked by most corporate firewalls?
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
8904 posts
5171 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
Great post and info!!

Want to open up another brokerage acct as present ones get B and C [RBC and CIBC].

Sister has TD and have to say surprised at their ranking... they have yet to respond/resolve an issue from December for her even after several calls and many emails... just ignoring.
Anyways they are off my list.

Was considering Qtrade or IB but gonna add Questrade and VB to shopping list.

Any one can comment on above four when it comes to customer service response time and ease of Norbert's Gambit?

Also how quickly and well you can move funds into and more importantly out of [for non reg accts]... to bank linked acct.
2022: BOC raised 8 times and MCAP raised its prime next day.
2017 to 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime next day each time.
2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited to drop its prime to include all 3 drops.
Deal Addict
Apr 27, 2015
2888 posts
1542 upvotes
Mississauga
Maybe TD paid for their ranking?! I've been with TDW and CIBC IE and CIBC is thousand times better than TD
"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others" George Orwell
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
8904 posts
5171 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
gibor365365 wrote: Maybe TD paid for their ranking?! I've been with TDW and CIBC IE and CIBC is thousand times better than TD
Yeah, having seen what my sister goes thru with TD... can't believe they topped. Gotta convince her to move accts.

With RBC I have been able to do lot more with secure messaging like setting up accounts and payments then could ever with TD that does not have secure messaging or chat.
2022: BOC raised 8 times and MCAP raised its prime next day.
2017 to 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime next day each time.
2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited to drop its prime to include all 3 drops.
Deal Addict
Jan 27, 2016
1486 posts
840 upvotes
Edmonton
Really depends what you need. I trade all small caps so I don’t need charts or other interactive options some brokers might have. I simply do all the research on my own and I don’t use the brokerage to find the information I need. Really all I need my platform to do is have cheap trades, have an app, have decent support and work when I need it to work. Been with investors edge for over 8 years and it checks all the boxes and trades cost me $4.95. Only thing I dislike about it is Level 2 isn’t available and their tax reporting is still confusing, but they said this years tax packages will be a lot simpler.
Deal Addict
Apr 27, 2015
2888 posts
1542 upvotes
Mississauga
loopy1984 wrote: Really depends what you need. I trade all small caps so I don’t need charts or other interactive options some brokers might have. I simply do all the research on my own and I don’t use the brokerage to find the information I need. Really all I need my platform to do is have cheap trades, have an app, have decent support and work when I need it to work. Been with investors edge for over 8 years and it checks all the boxes and trades cost me $4.95. Only thing I dislike about it is Level 2 isn’t available and their tax reporting is still confusing, but they said this years tax packages will be a lot simpler.
For me also CIBC IE trading fee 4.95, there is secure messaging and chat, CDN and USD sides completely separated, GUI is user friendly....
I've been told that for free level 2 your total portfolio should be 1M
"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others" George Orwell
Deal Addict
Mar 10, 2010
1518 posts
510 upvotes
I'm a TD user, and have to say that I'm surprised that they're ranked the highest. Considering that they can't even get live quotes to work for my account (or whatever they call that dead area at the bottom of my TD DI page)....
Deal Addict
May 17, 2012
3110 posts
2069 upvotes
ontario
So their only criticism of bmoil is that the site looks dated? I am ok with that.
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Apr 23, 2009
1783 posts
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TD is ranked number 1 and IB is rated B+ says it all.

IB is rated B+ because It's too hardcore for rookie investors? Is that a positive or negative? Confused.

Extremely low fees
Almost zero Forex spread (you get spot rate....almost).
Option fees are ridiculously cheap
Extremely robust trading platform
Reporting tools are second to none

Can't think of any negatives.....except that their customer service is very bland. And they don't give a shlt about liquidating your account without margin calls. That can be a problem for some people.
Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest, Sir? - Because it is there.

— George Leigh Mallory
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
8904 posts
5171 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
ruchir wrote: TD is ranked number 1 and IB is rated B+ says it all.

IB is rated B+ because It's too hardcore for rookie investors? Is that a positive or negative? Confused.

Extremely low fees
Almost zero Forex spread (you get spot rate....almost).
Option fees are ridiculously cheap
Extremely robust trading platform
Reporting tools are second to none

Can't think of any negatives.....except that their customer service is very bland. And they don't give a shlt about liquidating your account without margin calls. That can be a problem for some people.
So talked to sister some more since she uses TD whereas we use RBC and CIBC [like to have at least two brokerages but wanting to replace CIBC with Qtrade or IB or Questrade or VB].

The ranking mentions portfolio building and monitoring tools have improved... she doesn't really use that and so only change that she noticed is crappy statements formats and they are late [Got our RBC Jan statement Feb 4 while she got TD on Jan 9]... only positive was the ability to transfer securities CAD to USD or USD to CAD.

Hard to believe that lifted TD from B score last year to A now... plus horrible customer service!!
2022: BOC raised 8 times and MCAP raised its prime next day.
2017 to 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime next day each time.
2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited to drop its prime to include all 3 drops.
Deal Expert
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Apr 21, 2004
56486 posts
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ruchir wrote: TD is ranked number 1 and IB is rated B+ says it all.

IB is rated B+ because It's too hardcore for rookie investors? Is that a positive or negative? Confused.

Extremely low fees
Almost zero Forex spread (you get spot rate....almost).
Option fees are ridiculously cheap
Extremely robust trading platform
Reporting tools are second to none

Can't think of any negatives.....except that their customer service is very bland. And they don't give a shlt about liquidating your account without margin calls. That can be a problem for some people.
besides margin calls, when else does IB liquidate positions? That's kinda concerning.
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Apr 23, 2009
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georvu wrote: So talked to sister some more since she uses TD whereas we use RBC and CIBC [like to have at least two brokerages but wanting to replace CIBC with Qtrade or IB or Questrade or VB].

The ranking mentions portfolio building and monitoring tools have improved... she doesn't really use that and so only change that she noticed is crappy statements formats and they are late [Got our RBC Jan statement Feb 4 while she got TD on Jan 9]... only positive was the ability to transfer securities CAD to USD or USD to CAD.

Hard to believe that lifted TD from B score last year to A now... plus horrible customer service!!
Transferring USD to CAD and vice versa is a non-issue with IB because they sell you USD at almost spot rate so you can freely convert. Last I converted $10,000 CAD to USD, they charged me a couple of dollars in commission and gave me spot rate.

I immediately googled the spot rate - it was so close (up to 4 decimal points). So I believe any tiny difference was rounding error.

Now if you think about TD, they charge you 2%.
Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest, Sir? - Because it is there.

— George Leigh Mallory
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Apr 23, 2009
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alanbrenton wrote: besides margin calls, when else does IB liquidate positions? That's kinda concerning.
That’s about the only thing you have to worry about IB. But not really a concern if you keep good margin.
Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest, Sir? - Because it is there.

— George Leigh Mallory
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
8904 posts
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Canada, Eh!!
ruchir wrote: Transferring USD to CAD and vice versa is a non-issue with IB because they sell you USD at almost spot rate so you can freely convert. Last I converted $10,000 CAD to USD, they charged me a couple of dollars in commission and gave me spot rate.

I immediately googled the spot rate - it was so close (up to 4 decimal points). So I believe any tiny difference was rounding error.

Now if you think about TD, they charge you 2%.
Yup, that's where the transfer securities [Norbert's Gambit] is actually a good feature... buy Canadian stock on US exchange and then transfer to CAD side... then sell... still gotta pay two commissions and have to wait for settlement before transfer initial bought stock but at least no 2% charged by TD.

BUT IB is right away so no waiting and no commissions so better yet they rank lower... wonder who paid who?? :)
2022: BOC raised 8 times and MCAP raised its prime next day.
2017 to 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime next day each time.
2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited to drop its prime to include all 3 drops.
Sr. Member
May 5, 2016
530 posts
541 upvotes
I'm surprised at the complaints about TD, my TFSA is with them and its been a good experience. Their customer service especially has been solid, never really felt the need to go for another discount brokerage considering i only make a few trades in the TFSA, mostly ETF's.

I also have a regular account with Interactive Brokers and its been great, like others have said you really need to know your stuff before you start trading on IB. I made a mistake of purchasing USD stocks but didn't make a corresponding currency trade so i got charged unnecessary interest for a couple of months before i noticed it, but it was my fault for not knowing that stuff. The thing about IB that is most surprising is how easy it is to get someone on the phone to help you, despite it being considered an "advanced" platform. The agents were really good at explaining some of the quirky things on IB that i didn't understand like the virtual FX positions.
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Jun 3, 2009
5547 posts
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Montreal
alanbrenton wrote: besides margin calls, when else does IB liquidate positions? That's kinda concerning.
If you find margin call liquidation concerning, maybe you are borrowing too much on margin or trading uncovered options which isn't a concern most people have.
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Apr 21, 2004
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cn_habs wrote: If you find margin call liquidation concerning, maybe you are borrowing too much on margin or trading uncovered options which isn't a concern most people have.
Got it. IB will liquidate without giving one a heads up.

I misread Ruchir's initial post.
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Apr 23, 2009
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alanbrenton wrote: Got it. IB will liquidate without giving one a heads up.

I misread Ruchir's initial post.
Ops sorry - I should have been clearer. You will have no issues if you borrow within limits.
Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest, Sir? - Because it is there.

— George Leigh Mallory
[OP]
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Aug 17, 2008
8995 posts
10147 upvotes
Interactive Brokers mobile app has a few updates today. If you have every used their ChartTrader on a desktop, the updates to the mobile version might be something to look forward to. I was testing the 3D touch part on the attachment.

via IB
* Introducing a new Order Type – MidPrice. Get the best balance between price and speed.
* Introducing ChartTrader, an intuitive and powerful way to set order pricing from your chart.
* Open from the Order Entry Screen
* Or use 3D Touch on the chart itself to quickly define a limit order
* Now view Instrument Details and place orders directly from Calendar Events
* Full screen width on the new iPad Pro is now supported.
* Debit Card access has been moved into a banking menu.
* The Services screen is now easier to access from within a trading session. The Authenticate and Debit Card buttons have been relocated to this menu.
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