In our fourth annual survey, we focus on brokerages dedicated to continuously improving their services.
From the June issue of the magazine. Choosing an online brokerage puts you in a similar predicament. How can you know if the customer service is helpful until you actually have a crisis?
The Top Three Online Stock Brokers In Canada
Click here for more detailed information on the individual companies ranked in the package. So we started by looking for the ones which make the account opening process easy. BMO InvestorLine gets top marks in this category, especially now that its website is responsive on mobile devices, making online account opening even easier. One of the hassles inherent in online applications is verifying your identity and providing signatures.
They send a small, random amount of cash to your bank account and you confirm by correctly telling them that amount. Virtual Brokers was also the first brokerage to introduce electronic signatures. As technology improves, account open ing should get easier.
List of Canadian Stock Brokerage, Large investment firms
Look for other brokerages to eventually follow the lead of Credential Direct, Qtrade and Questrade, who now allow new clients to upload scans of their government ID. The main screens should allow you to easily move between accounts and view all your holdings, and order screens should be intuitive and clean. While investors want detailed account information, research and market data, LaCoste points out that sometimes less is more. Questrade continues to improve its look and feel and now offers some unique features, such as buttons that allow you to increase or decrease values—for example, going from shares to —with a simple click.
Going forward, mobile apps will play an increasing role for online traders as devices continue to grow in size and sophistication.
BMO InvestorLine is significantly ahead of the pack here, providing solutions for many mobile devices.
Once again Scotia iTRADE and Questrade are far better than most, with robust apps that are closing the gap between mobile and the web. Gone are the days when a chasm separated the brokerages when it came to costs.
Annual fees are also going by the wayside, except on very small and inactive accounts. For example, the lowest advertised fees often apply only to hyperactive traders or clients who pay additional fees for advanced platforms.
Overall we give the laurels to Questrade, especially for investors who plan to make an above-average number of small trades. Virtual Brokers, once the low-cost leader, recently ditched its penny-a-share commission structure. Questrade also allows you to buy all ETFs for free: The usual commission only applies when you sell.
A limited menu of commission-free ETFs is also a welcome bonus. Certain trades at both of these brokerages incur additional costs called network fees. Questrade, Virtual Brokers and RBC Direct Investing are among those who charge for inactivity. So Surviscor has developed a process that looks at all channels and rewards brokerages for speedy email responses, efficient online message centres, availability by phone, and live chat.
His top pick in this category is Qtrade Investor, which has earned a reputation for swift and helpful customer response for several years running. Scotia iTRADE also ranks high for its live chat service, an online message centre for routine requests, and above-average speed in email response time.
The other bank-owned brokerages are often disappointing in their service levels, but if your account is large you may get some perks: Savvy investors want a brokerage that will help them track their activity, measure performance, and gather all the slips and documents they need at tax time. Scotia iTRADE gets top marks for the variety of service requests you can make online, including checking the status of account transfers and ordering duplicate tax forms.
Online availability of key reports—including year-to-date interest and purchase-and-sale reports—is also easy at iTRADE, as well as at BMO InvestorLine and Credential Direct.
When it comes to tax-related document requests specifically, we give the kudos to Qtrade and Questrade. Want to know how your portfolio is performing?
Surprisingly, not all brokerages can properly calculate your rate of return. RBC Direct Investing excels here—clients can measure it across all accounts and compare it to over 20 predefined benchmarks—with BMO InvestorLine not far behind. For the fourth straight year we hand this trophy to TD Direct Investing.
Scotia iTRADE is one of the few to offer these for free: Most brokerages make them available only to active traders, those with large accounts or those who pay an additional fee.
Stockbrokers, Stock Brokers, Brokerages Canada: 1
Among the independents, we again give a fist bump to Qtrade for maintaining a consistently high level of service while staying true to its roots as a low-cost alternative. BMO InvestorLine also deserves credit for its leadership among the banks, and Questrade is our runner-up among the independent brokerages, standing out for its steadily improving service.
But just like no single car is right for every family, no brokerage is ideally suited to every type of investor. Study the offerings and see which brokerage might be the right one for you. Find an Advisor Ask MoneySense Portfolio Builder Where to Buy.
3 Top Canadian Stock Brokers
Bruce Sellery Jonathan Chevreau Dan Bortolotti David Aston Romana King Robert R. Brown Norm Rothery Jason Heath Barry Choi. Home Investing Canada's Best Online Brokerages BMO InvestorLine Honourable mention: Ease of use Top pick: Scotia iTRADE Honourable mention: Qtrade Investor Gone are the days when a chasm separated the brokerages when it came to costs.