This post is for Canadian investors.
I’ve been investing and trading for many years, and it amazes me how many online brokerage platforms get their user interfaces wrong. Investing can be challenging enough without ill-conceived layouts to make matters worse. Questrade offers an excellent trading dashboard and many other benefits which we can explore.
My investing experience dates back to 2001 when I worked on a trading desk. Since then, I’ve worked at PH&N (now part of RBC), SEI Investments, and more recently as a fee-only investment consultant. I’ve been featured in the Financial Post and Toronto Star. I’ve authored an investment book, Eight-Hour Investor, and a best-selling online course that has attracted 15,000+ students.
My investment strategy–and the one I recommend to investors–is to build a portfolio of low-cost index funds. The majority of fund managers underperform the markets every year. Also, the majority of investment “advisors” are really just salespeople masquerading as financial stewards. For these reasons, I believe most investors would benefit from do-it-yourself and robo-advisor investing.
I’ve been a client of TD Bank since the mid-90s, and I opened my first trading account with them. I had used TD Investing out of convenience, not out of admiration. Their fees have always been competitive, but never the best, and their platform has always been clunky and never the sharpest. I opened an account with Questrade in May 2013 and had transferred all my assets to them since.
Questrade and Me Sitting in a Trade
There are many things to appreciate about Questrade compared to TD Investing and other Canadian brokerages.
1) Dedicated Trading Provider
Questrade isn’t one of many moving parts; they focus solely on providing a first-class trading platform. TD, RBC, CIBC, BMO, and Scotiabank offer trading which makes up one of many corporate divisions. Their trading departments must compete with other departments for resources while Questrade is fully committed to their brokerage operations.
2) Lowest Fees in the Land
At a penny a share, Questrade offers the best commission rates in Canada.
Online Trading Fees
|Equities||*1¢ per share||$9.99||$9.95||$6.95||$9.95||$9.99|
|Options per contract||$9.95 + $1.00||$9.99 + $1.25||$9.95 + $1.25||$6.95 + $1.25||$9.95 + $1.25||$9.99 + $1.25|
|ETFs||Buy for free||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Limited selection|
*$4.95 minimum per trade
3) Buy ETFs for Free
In addition to already low fees, Questrade customers can buy ETFs for free. This is fantastic for passive investors who trade and rebalance infrequently.
4) User-Friendly Dashboard
TD Investing has introduced a new trading dashboard, but before I left, I opted to use their old one. TD’s platform is very confusing with too many menu bars to count whereas Questrade delivers a practical, minimalist, and highly customizable user interface.
5) Complete Product Selection
Questrade is a trading platform’s platform. They offer a full product portfolio compared to other Canadian discount brokerages. Most platforms allow us to trade products such as stocks, options, ETFs, and bonds, but Questrade adds CFDs and forex.
Questrade vs. TD Investing
|Stock, Options, ETFs||✓||✓|
6) Live Chat and Call-back Support
Questrade achieves the highest standard of customer support by offering live chat, call-back, and email assistance.
7) Even More Benefits
- No annual account/administration fee for customers with a minimum of $15,000 in investments across accounts
- Investors can hold U.S. dollars in registered accounts
- Investors can easily track their portfolio returns
- Equities and options can be traded on Questrade’s app
- Active traders can qualify for even lower fees
- Active traders can access trader-centric platforms and streaming market data
I’ve had an account with Questrade since 2013 and highly recommend them. What if you have assets to transfer? No problem. If you transfer a minimum of $25,000 CAD from another brokerage into a new or existing Questrade account, Questrade will pay your transfer-out fees up to $150 and give you $50 in free trades (use referral ID: ue8pugcj).
Note: you should understand the differences between transferring in-kind and in-cash. If you want your portfolio to remain as is during the transfer process and not converted into cash, request an in-kind transfer.