Discount Brokers

Best Canadian Online Brokerages

September 13, 2005


The weekend edition of Report on Business ranked twelve Canadian online brokerages on ten different criteria. BMO InvestorLine took the top honours closely followed by E*Trade Canada and TD Waterhouse.

RBC ActionDirect, which I use exclusively for our retirement accounts and trading Canadian equities, received poor marks and ended up in the bottom of the pack. It is easy to see why: the webpage is clunky (in my opinion), accounts are updated only once every day (really, how hard is it to have this feature?) and I’ve never been able to locate their equity research.

For US equities, Ameritrade Canada is the clear winner. I care most about equity research, ease of use and low commissions (in that order) and Ameritrade is a clear winner in those categories. It would be interesting to see what happens when TD Waterhouse acquires Ameritrade Canada.

Ameritrade Canada Update

June 22, 2005


Discount broker Ameritrade is buying TD Bank’s Waterhouse unit in a deal valued at about $3 billion. As part of the deal, TD Waterhouse Canada has announced that it will purchase the Canadian operations of Ameritrade.

I made an earlier post that Ameritrade is a very good option for Canadians investing in US equities. While Ameritrade assures customers that it is business as usual for now, when the deal is closed, it is very likely that we will be paying much higher commissions for equity trading. Waterhouse currently charges a minimum of $29.00 compared to Ameritrade’s flat $10.99 for unlimited shares.

(FD: I own shares in TD Bank)

Ameritrade Canada

April 29, 2005


Update: You cannot open a discount broker account with Ameritrade Canada, as it has been acquired by TD Waterhouse (Read review here).

Canadians investing in US equities should seriously consider Ameritrade for their brokerage account. Ameritrade offers one of the lowest brokerage commissions:

RBC Action Direct: Min. $29.95
TD Waterhouse: Min. $29.00
ScotiaMcLeod: Min. $25.95
BMO InvestorLine: Min. $25.00
CIBC Investor’s Edge: Min. $25
E*Trade: Min. $26.99
Ameritrade: Flat $10.99

You would think that Ameritrade would be the most bare-bones discount brokerage because of its low price. Not true. It offers quick execution, a simple and intuitive web page and also offers free stock reports from Standard & Poor’s.

I am posting this entry because Ameritrade once again exceeded my expectations in a recent transaction. I wanted to withdraw some cash left over in my account, so I logged on and requested a cheque. I was hoping to get the cheque within 2 weeks, but was surprised to see it in my mailbox a mere three days after my request. Now, that was fast!

Full Disclosure: Other than having a brokerage account, I have no financial interest in Ameritrade. In fact, I own shares in its competitors: TD Bank and E*Trade.