[Scotia iTrade Logo]

When Scotiabank acquired the Canadian brokerage arm of E*Trade, the account I had opened with E*Trade to my participate in my employer’s Stock Purchase Plan was automatically converted into a Scotia iTrade account. The website remains much the same as it did under E*Trade except for some branding in the Scotia red colour and addition of research reports from Scotia Capital. As Scotia iTrade is severing links with E*Trade, I thought I’d write a review while I still have an account with them.

Administration Fees and Commissions
Scotia iTrade’s biggest attraction is the low fees, which are lower than that of the big bank brokers but higher than deep-discount brokers such as Questrade (See: Questrade Review) for accounts of modest size. There is no administration fee on registered accounts such as RRSP, RESP or TFSA but watch out for the rather steep low-activity fee of $50 per quarter charged to taxable accounts.

Investors looking for a competent discount broker would find iTrade’s commission structure to be middle of the pack. iTrade charges a commission of $19.99 for most trades but household accounts that total more than $50,000 qualify for trades costing $9.99.

Ease of Funding
Clients can take advantage of the free Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) facility to move funds between their Canadian or US Dollar bank account and Scotia iTrade account. Note that there is no integration or direct link between Scotia iTrade and Scotia Bank accounts just yet.

Parking Cash
While the Cash Optimizer account pays a competitive rate and can be used to park cash temporarily from taxable accounts, there is no place to park the cash in registered accounts. Scotia iTrade does offer mutual funds but all funds held for less than 90 days are charged a 1% penalty.

Currency Conversion Fees
The currency fees at Scotia iTrade are rather steep. In a phone call today, I was quoted a US dollar buying rate of 1.0665 and a selling rate of 1.1055 for a spread of 3.6%, which is almost double the typical fees. Fortunately, iTrade has kept the wash trading capability introduced by E*Trade (See: E*Trade Quietly Offers Limited Wash Trades).

Guaranteed Income Certificates
While GICs are available, clients have to phone in to purchase or request quotes. The rates on GICs appear to be competitive.

Bonds
A cursory check shows that iTrade has a decent inventory of bonds. The pricing seems to be slightly better than RBC Direct Investing, our main brokerage. For instance, a 5% Government of Canada bond maturing on 01-June-2014, yields 2.606% on iTrade and 2.512% on RBC Direct.

Mutual Funds
iTrade offers more than 3,200 mutual funds from all major vendors. There are no commissions to buy or sell.

Scotia iTrade is not my primary broker but I have used E*Trade for many years and found them to be a competent broker. Bank of Nova Scotia has so far kept E*Trade as is with only minor changes — a splash of red on the webpage and the addition of analyst reports from Scotia Capital come to mind. Investors who do not yet qualify for low commissions at the big bank brokerages will probably find iTrade at or near the top of their list. If you are an iTrade client, I would love to hear from you in the comments section.

This article has 119 comments

  1. I am an ITrade user. I am new to DIY and I have not used other such sites so I have no comparison. I have transfered all registered accounts including a LIRA and I appreciate having all the registered accounts in one place and having no fees. My trades are $9.99. I have found Cust Service willing but not well trained. Would be interested in your comments on bond inventory and pricing? Money transfer is easy and site overall helpful.

  2. I use TradeFreedom, which is also being re-branded as Scotia iTrade. So far the only differences I’ve noticed (compared to the old TradeFreedom) are: 1) Letter mail now bears the name Scotia iTrade, and 2) I was asked to change the payee for electronic transfers and was assigned a new client number.

    Otherwise I haven’t noticed any changes to the service, the website or commisions charged. I still pay $9.95 a trade with no minimum account balance, and I haven’t received any information from them regarding a “low activity fee”. Hope I didn’t miss it in the mail!

  3. Scotia are now taking away the etrade.ca RSA keys…….this blows

  4. I’d like to echo Dale McSween’s question regarding their bonds. What does their inventory look like and (dare I dream?) do they make their commissions on bond sales more transparent? I rather dislike the practice of “baking in” the commissions into the price, but I also realize that practice is prevalent in the industry. It just makes me feel ill after I buy a bond and then I see the face value of it – if I were to sell it back. It makes me feel like I really got soaked BAD on the commissions.

    It sounds like such a massive pain to buy GICs in iTrade with the telephone method. Ugh…

  5. Three things I don’t like about Scotia Itrade (I have most of my net worth in Scotia Itrade accounts):

    1. They won’t let me fax things in to their office when I want to change or upgrade things on my accounts. They still insist on letter mail for most things.

    2. Their staff are poorly trained and very bad at explaining how things work (ie. I applied for put option selling 4 times and called 8 times before they told me why I was getting refused).

    3. They have dramatically increased their margin lending rates, leading me to review my risk management strategy and my arbitrage spreads and radically de-leverage my positions, triggering capital gains that I don’t necessarily want.

  6. I’ve been with eTrade/ScotiaTrade for about 5 years. So far I’ve found them to be great for my needs. Their over-the-phone help is definitely lacking but I haven’t needed it too much. When the market was on fire 2002-2007 I was trading heavily and so my commission fees were set at $6.99. Since the market blew up I’ve been trading lightly (and I’ve switched to a passive investment strategy), but they’ve either not noticed or don’t care and my fees have stayed the same. This makes rebalancing every quarter extremely cheap! No other major complaints or compliments for them.

  7. I too have an account because it was opened on my behalf by my employer. My primary trading account is TD Waterhouse. I find ITrade a little confusing to get around in comparison but I do like the electronic fund transfer option. I only keep my company stock with Itrade and will stick to TD.

  8. for the mutual funds, are there fees to buy into them and are they only limited to Scotia funds or can i get funds from anywhere.

    I used Tradefreedom for a while, but they had a $35 fee each time you bought into a mutual fund. Is that still there?

  9. I closed down my Itrade account earlier this month precisely because of the high currency conversion fees. They won’t give you an actual quote on how much the fees are and can charge you whatever they want since it’s settled at the end of the day. I’m not saying it’s fraudulent, but the conversion fees are very high and it felt like I was being scammed.

    Everything else was fine from my perspective, although I wasn’t doing anything very complicated.

  10. Canadian Capitalist

    @Dale: Scotia iTrade seems to have a pretty good inventory on bonds. Looking at yields, a 5% Canada maturing on 01-June-2014, yields 2.606% on iTrade. RBC quotes the same bond at 2.512%. Seems to me that iTrade has better pricing but I could be wrong.

    @Phil: No bond pricing is as obscure as ever.

    @Jonathan: My experience with iTrade customer service is limited but the two CSRs I spoke to yesterday were helpful and knowledgeable. Shows how you can’t draw conclusions from a small sample set.

    @sid: I checked iTrade and they offer over 3200 mutual funds. Most of the big names are represented on the list. The website says there are no commissions to buy / sell mutual funds but broker-assisted trades are charged $45 and note the 1% fee mentioned in the post.

    @mj: Yes, the foreign exchange conversion fees are very high. Depending on your investing profile, a 1% extra fee can easily wipe out savings from commissions for certain investors.

    I wonder if I can interest some readers in helping me research bond pricing. I have access to iTrade and RBC Direct. Would readers with access to BMO, TDW, CIBC, Scotia, QTrade etc. be willing to help me look up prices on a list of bonds and publish it here?

  11. I am an I-Trade user. I switch from TD Waterhouse to I-Trade 2 years ago. I am using a Technical Analysis platform (Decision Plus). I was paying over $50/months for the service. E-Trade offers a special promotion for investor that agreed to transfer at least $50,000 to I-Trade, the Decision Plus service is free. A savings of over $600/yr. Decision Plus provides me with neat Technical Analysis feature. I used them to assist me in doing investment (not trading) decision. I also appreciate the following features from I-Trade:

    a. margin rates are presently one of the best (prime + 1.25%). Better than RBC, BMO, Disnat and TD Waterhouse at 3.5%;
    b. E-transfer is easy to use and quick for transfer of fund from and to my BMO banking account

    However: There is some drawback investing with I-Trade:

    a. spread taken by I-Trade on USD transaction compare to RBC, BMO and National Bank discount broker are much higher. I do not recommend using them for US transaction in Cdn currency. Expensive if you own US stock in your self direct RRSP account.
    b. Any changes to an RESP or RRSP account is tedious and difficult to implement. Many paper forms must be filled and mailed to the main office in Toronto. I do not recommend them for RRSP and RESP account

    As long they provide me with the free services I will keep my account with them. However I am tracking the spread on US transaction.

  12. I have just switched my accounts from iTrade to TD for a couple reasons.

    1) While they do wash rates on trades of US securities in an RRSP, it is not automatic. I have to call in the next day to tell them to do it manually, and I always have a nagging doubt that it will be done wrong. One time they accidently removed money from the account instead of adding it, which was fixed after I called.

    2) Some US stock orders cannot be implemented online. I am instructed to call a trader to do it. That is inconvenient if I want to do a limit trade on a thinly traded stock, as I can’t tell if the order has been filled. I ended up just avoiding purchasing such stocks. Annoying.

    These two points highlight my preference of doing my investing online, not on the phone. Some of the customer service reps are excellent, some are not.

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  14. I have an account with iTrade for the same reason you mentioned: my employer’s stock purchase plan. It has been moved to the US eTrade.com which presents a major disadvantage – there’s no option for electronic transfer to a Canadian bank!

  15. Dan: Can you tell me more about technical analysis that you are using?

    I am using SMA200 and SMA50. So far it has been working well, since I am more confident about the overall trend. Any points or guidance is great.

  16. I was a client of E*Trade for ten years prior to Scotia taking it over. A few months after that they locked me out of my account and refused me access to it even after I provided them with all the security information they requested. It took a couple of months to sort out the admistration mistake that they made. They refused to admit they had made a mistake and could not guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again. Needless to say, I no longer am a client and am happy with my switch to Investorline.

  17. I’ve been with (E*)iTrade for about a year now. The account setup took a bit longer that I expected but nothing out of the ordinary. I had to call the customer service twice at some point back then, though, and one of the customer service reps was a bit condescending to me on the phone, when, as I realize now, I asked him a few very basic questions. But whatever..
    The web interface is really basic, and don’t even get me started on the charts. They are so lame and primitive. But all in all, I’m happy with the service and at $6.99 per trade, there isn’t much to complain about.
    The Scotia Capital analyst reports and daily market comments are appreciated as well.
    Also, as I trade rather heavily they provided me with a free real-time quotes software. Again, the software is extremely basic, but it does the job, so no complaints here..

  18. I noticed a sharp degradation of service of scotia trade comparing to itrade. First, you don’t collect any interest from the cash accounts for cash under 1 million. Second, the currency spread is not transparent and I just found out the spread is 2% 1 way. I really don’t like this high charge but I don’t know what the alternative is. I was extremely happen with iTrade but is disappointed to the new hidden fees and the less than enthusiastic customer rep. who seem to be supported the call offshore.
    Once the bank is landing their hands to discounted brokerage, it reduces efficiency and competitions, and increase fee. I wish there is more competition in Canada

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  20. I am a Scotia iTrade(and previously eTrade) customer for the last 6 years. I see that Scotia iTrade’s customer have gone from worst to bad.

    Here is the scenario:

    I sent in an application form for opening a TFSA a month ago. The instructions clearly say that you have send only the TFSA application if you are an existing Scotia iTrade client. If you are new to Scotia iTrade then you have to fill in the new account application form.

    So I just sent in my TFSA application and received a mail back from them saying that my TFSA account cannot be opened stating that it is incomplete.

    I called the customer service and they told that I have to fill in a new Account application even if I am an existing client of Scotia iTrade.

    I told them that the instruction is not currently saying that. They didn’t care and kept on repeating the same reading from a script.

    They failed to respond and is absolutely their operations are not optimal. There goes another business opportunity out of the Window for them.

    Scotia iTrade Execs …please note and get your act together to keep your clients with you or loose your business and your job later.

    Scotia iHate! should be their new marketing campaign.

  21. I’ve been an Etrade customer for the last 10 yrs and I agree that customer service and policies have gone down since Scotia took over.

    For TFSA, you have tons of paperwork to fill up and have to send it by mail, no fax.

    For RRSP, if you get a severance package that you want to convert to RRSP ScotiaItrade, good luck, they have more requirements than the banks.

    To top it all, they got my TFSA and RRSP cheques after 10 days in the mail (lost $ income), look at it, rejected for incomplete docs and return by mail again- another 10 days,(lost $ income) all without any call, email or follow up. Clearly very poor customer regard, inconvenient procedures and no care for business.

    I agree… Scotia iHate is more like it.

  22. I have been with Scotia iTrade since Aug. 2009. Their prices have come down, since reading some older reviews.
    I am not happy with them at all. They’re not set up for THE ACTIVE trader no matter what has been said. The platforms they provide do not hold a candle to Royal Bank or Trade Freedom. They do not provide a stock ticker platform with live feeds for the TSX like their counterparts. They say one can access live quotes, but you literally have to jump through hoops to access them by researching each stock with a detailed quote from their “Quotes & Research” area of their webiste. Also ticker symbols disappear regularly from their web-based Scotia iTrade Market Trader ticker window. I was told this only support Java 6 and not higher. We are at Java 8 now. Their prices are competitive now compared to before, but that is about all they have to offer. They are definitely not for “The Active Trader.”

  23. Correction on previous post, TSX was incorrect, I meant to say TSV-venture exchange. For those who trade with any level of activity on the Toronto venture exchange, iTrade does not hold a candle to Royal Bank or Trade Freedom. For the investor that intends to buy and hold, their prices are very competitive now, but for the active trader or day-trader they missed the bus big time.

  24. I am a Trade Freedom customer using the trading platform the “Edge”, from the time on when Scotia bought Trade Freedom, the service has significantly deteriorated while in the same time Scotia has increased the fees across the board; the latest new fee they implemented is a $30.00 charge for the platform which used to be free with Trade freedom. At this time I am looking for another broker. Any suggestions?

  25. I have been with E*trade for about 6 years but the mistakes have become so rediculus that I am moving to Questrade. Each year I deregister part of my rsp in kind to continue collecting dividends outside of rsp. The stocks tend to disappear into fictitious accounts, they get turned to cash etc. Being on the pro platform I couldn’t transfer my own money and the over the phone transfers were screwed up 92% of the time(I kept a log). The pro platform was linked to my margin Canadian account but they took the fee out of my daughter’s cash account and then sent an email to say they were going to sell her stocks because the account was margined. I tried to get her money out, they said it was in her name so it couldn’t be touched. I went off the pro platform to move my own money to be safe. A month later they took another $100 from my daughter’s account.
    I could write pages and pages but needless to say I do not recomend them

  26. Ok iTrade has really made me angry now. A few reasons

    1. My personal and corporate trading accounts were separate logins and functioning fine with Etrade. Recently with the transition to iTrade, they merged my accounts under one login without any warning or my permission. I called them to explain themselves. There was no apology, and they stated this was routine procedure to prepare for switching from Penson server to the Scotiabank one. I didn’t know it was so obvious…

    2. iTrade server seems to go down every once in a while. Doesn’t let you log on. It is currently down again, Monday, as of 2PM, likely won’t be fixed until 4PM. lol. So you try to call iTrade to get your trades done over the phone, but they didn’t install enough phone lines, so all you get is the busy signal.

    3. Customer service reps are not very knowledgeable. If you are interested in doing even basic options, I would hesitate using iTrade as your broker. You could be disappointed when it comes time to get something corrected over the phone.

    Anyway, I made the mistake of only having one discount broker. I think I’m gonna look into RBC. And too bad Scotiabank messed up iTrade. Because not only do I intend to slowly pull myself away from iTrade, I don’t think I’ll ever do business with Scotiabank.

  27. I too have been having problems login into iTrade since the change last week-end.

    So far, I went through 3 reps that couldn’t get the problem fixed until I stumbled on the “reset password” link where I had to input a phone number I had disconnected nearly five years ago when I had an eTrade account in order to be able to reset my password, among with other information.

    Is that link new ? It wasn’t there on 4 days ago… they must have had so many problems they finally put it in instead of clogging their lines with callers that had the same problem.

    When I logged back in, everything seemed to be in order, but this morning the system lets me log in, but account holdings have now disappeared, and the site tells me I need to have a brokerage account open with them to access this feature… wow.

    I can’t imagine how it is for people who do this on a daily basis.

    I’m not even going to comment on the busy lines.

  28. I’ve been with Etrade/Itrade for over 10 years. Occassionally they would forget to credit my dividends or I would have login problems because their server was down or they would forget to remove the “hold” after 10 “business days”. (Calculate the interest you are missing on 30K over 2 weeks – then tell me you are paying “$9.99″ a trade). Anyway, I tolerated all that.

    However, since last week. Service has dramatically deteriorated. First, their new system wouldn’t accept my login password which I’ve used for a decade. I had to change it. Now they’ve messed up my transfer links so I can’t transfer funds between my bank account and iTrade. Of course they won’t pay you any interest on positive cash balances.

    Today I tried calling them 3 times to resolve the transfer link issue but I still couldn’t get through. If I e-mail them they say I should call!

    This is a terrible brokerage. Don’t ever open an account here. Scotiabank took it over just to reduce competition. I’m sure people will be moving out in droves. Unfortunately there is not much choice in non-bank brokerages.

  29. I’ve been using Itrade for 4 years, and service was OK. Now since last chance, I found that I have been charged the 0.02c/shares for all my transactions, a total amount of 12,000$ has been charged to my account and after 3 calls, only answer I could get is ‘We’re going to look into it’ !!!!!!!!! Can’t beleive it, anyone with the same issue ??

    • Canadian Capitalist

      I’m hearing a lot of reports on iTrade’s conversion over to Scotia is not going smoothly. If you are an iTrade customer, I’d love to hear from you on (1) What problems are you encountering and (2) What’s iTrade doing to fix it ASAP. Thanks.

  30. I HAVE TRIED FOR WEEKS TO GET INFO ON MY ITRADE ACCOUNT WITH NO SUCCESS!
    IWAS A FORMER MEMBER OF ETRADE.
    VERY FRUSTRATED!
    RALPH

  31. I have been awaiting an answer to email queries for over 4 days now. Nothing (despite the 24 hour response time avowed on the website and then the lesser 48 hour promise made in the automated response). I had stock certificates couriered to them 10 days ago now that have not shown up in my accounts. I am worried. I am unhappy. I feel underappreciated and underserved – this is big bank treatment all over again which is what i switched to etrade to get away from. I was a satisfied etrade customer for 5 years but I am switching as soon as this is resolved. I have heard Questrade and Investoronline mention in this thread. Any other suggestions or advices for an alternative out there…

  32. A quick addition to the above: I made the above comments shortly after initiating a call to itrade and being put on hold. In total, i was on hold for 32 minutes. The rep was humble and apologetice and had obviously been beaten up in the last week by repeated angry calls during the transition. He initiated a case file, but was not able to resolve the issue.

    Poking around online while waiting, i think Qtrade is the likely destination for my business. I’m also condsidering putting everything into giant wheels of parmesan cheese and keeping them in my basement – it maintains value in the face of inflation and, if things get really rough, can be eaten.

  33. JKM,

    Glad to see you’ve kept your sense of humour throughout your ideal. I got a kick out the image of huge wheels of parmesan in your basement.

    I was lucky enough to leave ITrade before anything bad really happened. The names QTrade and Questrade confuse me, but after looking around google for a minute here, I see Qtrade is one of the best and Questrade is widely hated.

    I recently switched to RBC Direct Investing, and I qualify for the Royal Circle, which offers a number of waived fees and access to their best customer service reps. I’ve dealt with them on the phone a few times, and so far they’ve been very capable, quite unlike my experience with other broker’s CSRs.

    Here’s some details:
    http://www.rbcdirectinvesting.com/joinroyalcircle/index.html

  34. ATTENTION Scotia iTrade customers

    Scotia iTrade, is totally FUBAR! I recently went through my transaction records and it appears Scotia iTrade has not been refunding my $9.99 commission on my transactions. It appears as if they refunded them on my first 10 trades after I opened with them in August of 2009. All the trades since them they have charged me $9.99 commission. I would not have even thought to look over this until I noticed a stock I purchased early in September for $1.00 a share and still hold, has the $9.99 commission still attached to it. I was told my first 100 trades would be free of ALL commission charges. As I am a daytrader I figured I would use that up fast. I did no notice the fine print on this offer, which is not evident on this promotional advertizement (upto 60 days). Nor did their representative upon opening this account make this stipulation clear.

    I recommend anyone with an iTrade account review their records and transactions, as I have done recently to see if they were ever reimbursed for the $9.99 commission charges on their first 100 trades. For daytraders like me this can add upto $999.00. I would recommend like me, you phone them up and get them to review your first 100 trades or first 60 days of transactions.

    On a scale of 1-10, I grade Scotia iTrade at 2. Not only do they use misleading advertizing, but their bean-counters can’t count worth a tinkers damn.

    Remember to read the fine print, when you open an account, and keep an exacting record of all your transactions, because they sure as shooting can’t.

  35. i have called several times and had to wait 30 minutes or more. i don’t have time so sit on a phone. i want my money out. I have not paid into this for 2 1/2 years, i don’t work for Trade Secret anyone and i wish to cash this in and be all done with iTrade. Please contact me soon. 1-204-571-1769

  36. I am looking at opening a TFSA account for both myself and my wife with Scotia iTrade. I will be tranferring the money from ING where I currently have a TFSA saving account (just cash savings).
    My intention is to buy stocks for a major canadian business and hold on to it, so light trading, maybe 3-4 times a year.
    If anyone else is using iTrade in a similar way I would like to hear your experience, how long it took to get setup to the point where you have the stocks purchased, what minimum cash balance I have to keep in the account (if any), what fees are involved, what plan (software platform, etc) should I use with iTrade.
    From my research done on Scotia iTrade website I understand I would not be subject to low activity fees and would pay CAD 9.99/transaction.
    Thanks for your help.

  37. does anyone know when scotia direct investing will switch to itrade? i have been holding off on trades b/c i have to pay 29$ i think…whereas with itrade i should be trading at 10$. its says “end of year” but i haven’t seen or heard anything and i don’t want to wait on hold for half an hour.

    anyone know?

  38. Whatever you do, don’t sign up for a TFSA with this lot. They’ve just lost mine, along with the 5000 dollar deposit. They make mistakes all the time. You can’t get through on the phone and it’s weeks before they get back to you by email. I’m out of the country and have spent more than an hour in total trying to get through to them, at my toll expense, to no avail. So who knows where my account, its money and outstanding orders may be lurking. Run fast, run far, to any other brokerage.

    Time for a little accountability from Scotia ITRADE…Perhaps a group effort to report them to appropriate agencies?

  39. Toby: Open a skype account and you can access north american toll-free numbers from overseas.

    I too am overseas and have spent about 7 hours on hold in the last month (tracking down lost securities that were couriered to iTrade in early december). The problem is finally solved but only after losing patience with the customer service and demanding a supervisor on two occasions. In the first four calls i was given a rote assurance, then a case file, then my file was upgraded to some kind of urgent status and then more assurances. The first time i spoke with a supervisor he started with `lets do this quick, i was just about to leave for the day`. To my relief and frustration, he was able to find most of my lost securities immediately. Clearly there is some shortcoming with the c.s. personnel. Either they have no real access to solve the problems or they have no time to do it and are simply answering the phones to hand out platitudes and case file numbers.

    The second tranche of missing stock were a similar story. After one month and finally blasting a c.s. rep until i got through to a supervisor, i finally have them. And now i merely need to make a decision between RBC (thanks Gene) and Q-trade.

  40. My 2010 resolution is to get my money out of iTrade. They have totally used destroyed the experience with ridiculous processes and a poorly planned And atrociously executed conversion. Can’t go back to RBC because their interface is the worst I have seen plus commission structure does not appear to be automated. Thinking of QTrade or BMO. Does anyone have any advice?

  41. Scotia Itrade formerly Etrade is a mess, and their customers are paying for it, literally with time and money. Hours! spent on the phone, myself included, back office blunders in handling of money and confidential client information. I pulled my account with them a month ago after they deposited my funds into ANOTHER clients account by mistake (I had to call to get them to reverse this). I know a client service rep who told me about their “clean desk policy” where they leave client bank account numbers, social insurance numbers everywhere and on occasion sending the wrong customer personal information about another client in e-mail. Also Scotia decided I wasn’t giving them enough commission at 28 trades per quarter at 20$/trade to qualify for their “reduced commission structure” of 9.95 per trade (excluding ecn fees- read the fine print). I looked around and ended up with Questrade (4.95/trade for 495 shares and 1 cent a share where the maximum 9.95/trade (greater then 1000 shares/trade).

    Scotia Itrade is a compliance nightmare! IIROC should investigate this mess.

  42. I was a 10 year happy customer with Etrade. I noticed service sliding downhill very soon after Scotia took over, but I tolerated it based on 10 years of reliable service. With their taking over backend brokering and subsequent system migration Dec. 5, Scotia has made a resonant statement. They have signalled openly and clearly that they are well beyond their competency now and have no idea how to handle the sputtering volcano that the backend system has become, nor the angry pitchfork and torch carrying mob waiting for up to 2 hours on the phone.

    Problems too many to mention followed by an imploding customer service disaster, waxing to lots of online noise about class-action suits. Scotia iTrade is on tilt folks. Cool heads say get out while you can.

    I’m out. My move to Qtrade is complete and I am so far, despite increased costs due to an expensive ECN policy, a happy camper. Customer support is AWESOME! Easy to contact, actually knowledgeable!, and very motivated to help. I keep pinching myself! They even paid my transfer fees. Their website is superior in some ways, maybe not as sophisticated in others, but remember that the best of the iTrade website was inherited from Etrade, and Scotia was already showing signs that they where unable to maintain it properly.

    Anyone considering iTrade as their online discount broker should seriously consider alternatives. Existing iTrade sufferers would be wise to do the same. There are so many excellent options!

  43. Currently on hold waiting for iTrade Customer Service again. So lots of time to stew and vent…

    I am calling back to resolve an issue that was supposed to be resolved last week. I have options in one account that are expiring the system says I do not have trading priviledges. Option trading works in my other margin account so it mystified me when the CSR told me I would have to wait 3 days for a confirmation that I can trade. Its been 5 days and no call. Today they appear not to have any knowledge that I have a pending issue AND its not resolved.

    I wanted to open a supplemental cash optimizer account and they told me I have to mail in another app!!! This is pretty backward!! Also unable to see these same accounts in my easy transfer list so I can transfer my money OUT of iTrade…..

    I cannot imagine how anyone could screw up a conversion so badly especially one that involves peoples money. It appears that there was no quality control or testing done. Every issue appears to be a surprise. Will need to look into IIROC body mentioned by Dave. Think its time to complain.

  44. As I’m typing this, the iTrade website is down, impossible to access. An idea with a class-action suit is starting to look more and more appealing with each passing day..

  45. Yes… as i am writing this I can’t login. Phone line has had busy signal all morning. Earlier I was able to login, however, I got the msg “This feature is not available at the moment” when I tried to access my account. Terrible.

  46. Yes, the itrade site has been down all morning.

    I clued into it when I didn’t see the email confirmation of a Stop Loss which should have kicked in this morning. Couldn’t log into the itrade site. Phone lines are clogged. I still have no idea of whether the stop loss order when through or not.

    I was one of the lucky ones in the conversion last month, down to the penny. However, this is testing my patience. I need a reliable broker, at all times.

  47. I initiated a transfer out from i*trade on Nov. 14 2009 because of all the mistakes, losing money, accounts disappearing, too long of a list to name them all. I was afraid the changeover would even make it worse. I was able to get some of the stocks out but they kept the rest saying it was too close to the changeover. So I reinitiated the transfer but since then a dividend for $100 has come to the new broker and been taken away 9 times. As of today i*trade says I owe them $200 but they have taken $300 from my new broker and $200 from my bank account. I guess that is i*trade math. I only dream that I will be rid of them some day but it is a pipe dream. I like the idea of class-action suit if for nothing else other then just get my frigging money out of there and put it somewhere safe. By law funds have to be transferred in 2 weeks. I am now over 2 months.

  48. Update:
    iTrade site is back up. My stop loss order, which should have excuted around 10am, didn’t. That leads me to believe it wasn’t just their website, but the underlying trading platform that was down. Not good.

    Lines are still clogged… what else is new.

  49. Feeling a bit better. Talked to a CSR called Omar who was calm knowledgeable and understanding. Next day my issues were all fixed as promised. And yes I have moved any cash I could OUT.

    Something new I noticed is the options values do not appear to update through the day (think the day before value is kept). Hoping this is not a permanent feature caused by the conversion.

    Overall, Scotiabank made a very good move in purchasing ETrade but has really screwed it up by applying its archaic processes and back-end processing. So the challenge is to find an alternative broker with reasonable processes and a good interface which does not charge $30 a trade. Canada really needs more alternatives for DIY investors.

  50. I was a satisfied eTrade/iTrade customer since 2006 until the weekend of Dec. 5-6, 2010. They lost/misplaced my money, years of savings, in their disasterous conversion that weekend!
    I’m at my wits end with these guys, I can’t afford a lawyer because they lost my money! My net value shows $900.00 or so yet I can clearly see in the transaction history that my last deposit was $2000.00 in November.
    I used to own 8 mutual funds, but now my account is only showing 4 and all on margin!
    I’ve written over 15 e-mails to these guys and after several days I get a reply that everything seems to be in order. When I call their customer service department I get stuck stuck on hold for 30 minutes to speak to some poor lady in India, who’s making peanuts to let furious customers vent on her while she gives them false hope that her bosses are resolving this gigantic f*ck-up!
    If anyone from iTrade reads this posting, please forward it to the most senior person in your company that you can; your customer service dept. is worthless.
    I don’t know what to do. Can anyone give me some advice?
    Watch for me on the news in about a weeks time, I’ll be the old, fat, balding guy wearing nothing but a sandwich board that says “I was raped by iTrade!” blocking traffic in the busiest intersection in Toronto during rush-hour traffic!

    AVOID THESE INCOMPETENT @SSHOLES LIKE THE PLAGUE!

    and, do your fellow man a good turn by spreading the word . . .

  51. BK – Id still missing 40k if i hadn’t gone crazy on the phone and demanded to talk to the girl’s supervisor in what must have been a scarier than normal phone call for her. Scream, yell, swear and threaten until you get through to someone above. The CSR’s who are answering the phones do not have the proper access to the system that they need to fix any real problems – they are answering what questions they can and simply giving out case file numbers for the real problems. I feel bad for them, it must be hell walking into an 8-hour shift of the abuse they are surely suffering everyday. But it’s your life savings – do it. I think the people who can really fix the problems are few and are swamped by a tidal wave of serious screw-ups.

    On the upside, the wait times were down to a mere 30 minutes the last time i called (yesterday). On the downside, they don’t seem to be able to help me with a proxy vote which should be a simple phone call.

    In the process of moving everything to RBC. In case anyone out there is wondering, RBC will cover your transfer fees (up to $500), but you need to ask them about it specifically.

  52. If you trade option with Itrade, check your trades. They now charge $55.00 (rounded) for an Assignment. This is a $9.99 increase and now makes them the highest of the discount brokers

  53. BNS has really screwed up Etrade. I don’t know if they’re not funding it or what but customer service is in the toilet. The interface is terrible so we are forced to call in anything other than the simplest option orders. The guys answering the phones are either incompetent or pretend to be – very frustrating, when trying to place a simple option spread order. The web site goes down for hours at a time and entire option chains quotes mysteriously disappear permanently (anyone look up RUT lately?). Not to mention that fun weekend in December during which they changed a LONG call position to a SHORT position out of nowhere forcing me to deposit 20K to cover a margin call which should never have been issued in the first place.

    Going forward my “core” holdings will be at RBC and I’m going to optionsxpress for option trades, at least you can enter orders directly without being forced to talk to rude, slow and sometimes stupid customer service reps. A sad end to a 10 year old Etrade account, oh well.

  54. Like a typical Canadian bank, they’ve laid-off a lot of their experienced employees (the highly paid ones) to cut costs. That was obviously the reason for the merger of Scotia McLeod, Etrade and Trade Freedom. Now they are advertising heavily for new customers to make up for the ones they lost. As they say, there is a sucker born every minute!

  55. I was a e*trade customer since 1999. It was fabulous when I used it, I stopped trading since 2002. I plan on getting back into using itrade. Just transferred 70K into the account. Reading all these posts is making me nervous. I am going to keep my fingers crossed for a few months, but If I see any of the issues mentioned i’ll be closing the accounts for sure

  56. CC: Did you actually get to complete the research on Bond prices? I can help looking up prices through TD.

  57. Andy in Vancouver

    I would rate iTrade as mostly good, as far as I can tell.

    I started with e*Trade in late 2008 as the market is tanking and I found them quite good as an online broker. They opened my account quicker than RBC direct and thus got my business (lucky for Scotiabank).

    The conversion period was a mess for a week or 2, but generally I have found iTrade to be good for everything (commissions, a few customer service calls, up-to-date account information and good presentation of bid/ask information).

    If someone from Scotiabank is listening I find your service generally good, but I suggest 3 areas for improvement:

    1. The currency spread on USD is brutal. If our buck is trading at par and I buy $3000 worth of US stock, I find myself down $60 to begin with. Please consider giving us a better rate as I do need to diversify geographically and this reduces my rate of return by 2% – just like a stinkin’ mutual fund!

    2. The financials for companies are quite out of date (unless only the headings are incorrect). 2007 financials are quite useless to me. What if I used the out-of-date information and decided to buy some Blockbuster Video shares or Lehman Brothers? D’Oh!

    3. As an existing loyal customer, I would sure like to see some bonuses for existing loyal customers – maybe a few free trades. If I’m a new customer, I get 100 trades for free, but as an existing customer, I get nada. Please examine the situation with Telus and Rogers / Shaw etc. vis a vis phone, TV and internet. Everyone switches their service back and forth every 9 months or so to get the free goodies and it’s a race to the bottom for the vendor.

    That’s all. 4/5 stars I say.

  58. I have been an e*Trade client since 1999. I had no issues with the service until it was taken over by Scotia Bank. I was willing to forgive the mess around their December conversions as part of Scotia’s learning curve and that I figured it was a pretty massive undertaking (though poorly thought out). Unfortunately system issues keep occurring that have left my account in a mess and unable to trade for days. Many of these issues i*Trade should have taken care of themselves without my calling. I also got bad advice from thier CSR on transferring my RRSP severance package after they mailed my employers cheque back to me, that had I followed, would have seen those funds being taxed and losing the ability to transfer the amount to my RRSP. More recent events around converting my Cash account to a Margin account has been rife with errors and significant events that I should have been warned about before the conversion took place. All this has convinced me that its time to leave for another broker. Interesting that the trend continues. I had a bad experience with the BNS over a mistake they made on my student loan 35 years ago after which I swore I would never deal with them again!

  59. As an itrade rep, I find 99% of all clients to be completely retarted….. typical itrade cleint question: whats a maket order – are u f***ing serious…..

    Don’t worry itrade clients i am publishing a book called Discount brokers for retards.
    Chapter 1. if you don’t know what a market order is … your f***ed
    Chapter 2. do your own research, this is a discount brokerage
    Chapter 3. You are responsible for everything, if you don’t like it f*** off and go to a full service broker.
    Chapter 4. Do you get first class customer service at walmart ?? no… so don’t expect it from a DISCOUNT BROKER you f***ing morons.

    Itrade Rep !!!!!!!!

  60. Canadian Capitalist

    @bill: Nice attitude you are displaying here hiding behind an anonymous handle and dumping on your own clients. If this is the typical attitude from iTrade CSRs, is it any wonder there are so many disgruntled comments?

  61. To Bill the Itrade rep. I was with E*trade, I*trade for many years. I do know what a market order is and all those other fancy words you were using. You proved with your discussion what a classy individual you are and I would suspect there are many co-workers with you who can swear just as well. The people who have written have had legitimate problems and were not able to get them resolved. On 4 different occasions within 2 years I woke up to find between 12 and 20000 dollars missing from my account. Many times I put in stop/ market orders (you know what that is right?) only to see the price go way past the stop and never trigger until I phoned e*trade to have them manually take me out of the trade. Like a previous customer as I was watching myself losing money, the stop did not trigger and then my account would be locked out for 10 minutes so I could not get out of the trade while I waited on hold at e*trade. I could probably write 5 pages of mistakes e*trade i*trade made with my account up till the point where I tried to get my money out of e*trade. It took 4 months to get my account moved with constant mistakes and money disappearing every couple of days.
    I have been with my new broker now for about 1 year and they have yet to make a mistake so you be the judge as to who made the errors.
    If you or anyone at I*trade would like to dispute my claims I would be more then happy to prove every item to you. In the meantime you are an excellent spokesperson for IB, Questrade, Qtrade, Investerline, TD,……………. Thank you for your time. Bill

  62. Thank you for the positive feedback, Andy. Our team appreciates your suggestions.

    @RJN – I am sorry to hear about your experience with Scotia iTRADE and appreciate your patience and understanding during the switch over of Scotia iTRADE’s back-office last year.

    I also have the feedback on this message board and would like to thank you all for taking the time to discuss us. In doing so, you have provided us a very valuable opportunity to improve our services.

    Furthermore, we provide our representatives with the training and support to ensure they deliver the type of experience and response our customers expects. As such, the entry posted by “bill” above does not represent Scotia iTRADE.

    We are listening and we are working hard to better assist our customers and enhance our product offering.

    If you have any questions or suggestions about Scotia iTRADE, feel free to email me directly at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you once again,

    -Nabil | Follow us on Twitter @Scotia_iTRADE

  63. Here is some helpful tips to prevent technical problems in personal computer:

    When you are experiencing problem such as being locked out for 10 mins, that means there’s either duplicate files created in your browser or cache which is caused by visiting the same page repeatedly during the day. Things you can do: 1. Reduce or prevent to use the back space button on your brower (top left hand corner). 2. Clear off-line contents, cookies, and browsing histories on a weekly or daily basis depending on usage. 3. Automatic sofeware update at least once a week to meet system requirement.

    When all of the above doesn’t seem to work. Log out and log back in because brokers have sereral gigantic servers. By doing it you are switching to a better one from the worse one.

    The above tips are applied to all broker web-site not just to itrade.

  64. I was overall happy with eTrade/ iTrade over the last few years. The exception was a one time 3rd party check from my former employer to deposit into my RRSP. They returned the cheque to me two times requesting more information without saying what information. I spoke with agents 4 times requesting a list of what information they required to deposit my cheque. They listed verbally a few requirements that I had allready submitted, but refused to give a list. Finally the last agent said that they don’t like to take 3RD party cheques into an RRSP. I could live with open tranparent rules but their duplicitous behavior was unbussiness like. I went to TD Waterhouse opened an account and I had the cheque in within the week. Naturally I transferred my RRSP to TD the following week.

  65. I recently transferred a portfolio from TD to iTRADE. As I type this, the iTRADE website is down…can’t trade…can’t even view my accounts…can’t believe this actually happens right in the middle of a trading session. After doing some research, I found this also happened back in Jan 2010. Basically, unreliable, which for a brokerage, is unacceptable. TD never had this problem. No word of compensation for this downtime. After my 100 free trades at iTRADE, I’m cashing out and going somewhere else.

  66. In all fairness to iTRADE, the account setup process and transferring of assets in kind from TD went smoothly.

    The 100 free trades promotion was further sweetened by $6.99 trades for 1 quarter after the free trades were used.

    For website downtime compensation, I think $6.99 trades for an addtional quarter is fair…fingers crossed.

    Btw…website is STILL down…

  67. For the previous posters whose money in iTRADE mysteriously went missing, can you elaborate? Did the money go missing during an Etrade to iTRADE conversion, or was is subsequent to that? If subsequent, what caused the money to go missing? Was is cash balances or share positions?

    Seems unusual for a big bank to have accounting errors like this…even though they’re audited…still makes me very very nervous when a customer is responsible for their own auditing.

  68. Website still down…

  69. Scotia Itrade has a Tweeter account. The latest tweet is a prime example of putting some lipstick on a pig. Very frustrating..

    “Hi @andrewhellin: Some features on our website may not be available & we’re working to resolve it quickly. Anything I can do to help? Thanks”

    http://twitter.com/Scotia_iTRADE

  70. Finally got through to customer service…they said if I wanted to place a trade, they’d connect me with a trader and I could place a phone order…get this…at the internet rate instead of the $45 phone rate! Are you serious?!?! At the least, I would’ve expected zero commissions for this disaster.

  71. @John: IIRC, the Scotia iTrade problems back in Jan. 2010 was due to migrating from eTrade’s platform. IMO, the least Scotia iTrade can do is offer web pricing for phone orders when the website is down. Problem is when the website is down, phone wait times are likely much higher.

  72. @Canadian Capitalist:
    Thanks for the info regarding migration problems. Sounds like I won’t be mysteriously missing money or positions, but now I don’t trust them. How can I conduct business with a bank I don’t trust?

    As for calling in a trade, I gave up after waiting more than 10 minutes, and I’m a high net worth client…by then, the trade opportunity was gone. Thankfully, the market was fairly flat today and I didn’t have any positions that needed to be urgently sold. That said, I along with many other traders were needlessly boxed out today…which is an opportunity cost translating to real dollar losses…a situation I have NEVER encountered before with other online brokerages.

    In any case, I had such high hopes for iTRADE and all my experience with them up to today was positive. Unfortunately, that balloon is complete deflated. After 100 free trades at iTRADE, we’ll see…they’re definitely on probation.

  73. @Nabil:
    Not to sound overly harsh, but thanks for the canned reply. I heard these almost exact same lines from other members of your customer service team. And no, I don’t want to be connected to a trader just so I can waste more time/opportunity queuing on the phone. At least with TD’s Presidents line, I get through right away.

    I can understand if the exchanges failed…or if all online brokerages failed today as well. That would be out of iTRADE’s control. But that wasn’t the case today. The problem rested solely on iTRADE…the only online broker today who failed. If this was hotmail or yahoo, I can understand…but THIS IS A BANK!

    So disappointed…and now I have to go back to TD, hat in hand, to reopen my accounts. And to think I was about to accept Scotia’s private banking offer…sadly, there’s no chance of that now.

  74. @John: Trust me, I feel your pain. I’m with TDW myself. If I may ask, what enticed you to switch to iTrade, especially considering you have PA access with TDW? Is it the 100 free trades?

    Switching back to TDW should be a cinch. No hats involved. I bet they will be happy to have you back!

  75. @Canadian Capitalist:
    Exactly, I switched because:
    1) 100 free trades
    2) $6.99 trades for one quarter after the free trades
    3) iTRADE gave me their Market Trader platform for free, regardless of trade volume
    4) iTRADE offered free benefits like seminars by The Market Guys and movie tickets to Wall Street…small things, but TD had nothing like this.

    I’d give all this up for reliability and peace of mind. It just sucks that I’m going to wake up tmrw morning and the first thing I wonder is whether iTRADE will work or not. And then after that, I’m going to have to audit every monthly statement to make sure it’s correct. Who do I bill that time to??

  76. Anyone who watches BNN, CBC or CTV knows what I mean when I bring attention to Scotia iTrade’s brute-force exhaustive and incessant advertising campaign.

    Consider this… If they are spending so many $millions on advertising, where is wise and productive money NOT being spent?

    Whenever vast disproportionate sums are being spent on advertising, it’s always prudent to ask why. It certainly smacks of desperation in iTrade’s instance.

  77. These guys seem to be able to execute a regular long/short stock trade, but they are absolute disasters when it comes to handling a piece of paper. In November, I submitted 2 forms to change the amounts withdrawn automatically from 2 accounts. Neither of them got implemented after a one month wait. I called to complain, they said they’d immediately (i.e. next month) fix one of the accounts, but that they couldn’t find the form for the other account! They said they’d look for the paperwork. Now in January, they have indeed fixed the problem on one account, and they’ve obviously found the form for the second account because they’ve withdrawn the amount TWICE from that account.

  78. We had a tough time transferring a RESP from PH&N to Scotia iTrade, and found out from a CSR that transfers are – get this – OUTSOURCED (!) to another company. (PH&N was not at fault in all of this.) ITrade’s CSR told me that he and his colleagues spend about 30% of their time with transfer problems, and confidentially expressed his frustration. We did manage to get 5 free trades for the trouble/delay we had, but now everything is running smoothly. We also have our RRSP’s and several TFSA’s with iTrade and are quite happy. I think that a lot of the initial problems when they were migrating from Etrade have been fixed.

  79. I have been an Etrade coustomer for ten years

  80. and have experienced some severe errors. First of all they require a letter for nearly every change. The trouble is they do not read it. In December they messed up payments from our RIF’s totally ignoring the letter we sent. Try sorting that out from Mexico!
    This month they changed the account number on my wife’s RIF, moved it off of our screen and want more forms signed so we can access it on line again. Coustomer service is working on it but how would you like to see your pension funds disappear?
    I have been checking dividend payments for this year and some seem to be missing. Who audits these guys?
    Sure would like to find something better.

    David

  81. I have been trying to get a problem with using the wrong RRSP account for 2 years (my error initially). Keep getting different answers, always delayed. Basically used spousal RRSP vs cash account, they issuing slips to show transaction as RRSP income and never gave slips to sho tax saving contribution. They don’t care that I pay $1,000′s in taxes. Even CRA rep saying their decision makes no sense.
    Don’t use Scotia ITrade, lots of better online trade services available.

  82. I would not reccomend Scotia i-trade. Their customer service reps are rude, wait times are extremely long, and they NEVER take blame for any technical malfunctions which in my opinion occurs more than the norm. I’m just a daytrader trying to make a few dollars. For day rading, IB is the ONLY way to go.

  83. Also, the “10 SECOND ADVANTAGE” Scotia advertises is questionable, as it doesn’t apply to US exchanges or shorting, and besdies, 10 seconds is a LONG LONG time

  84. @Vincent- I’m very sorry to hear about your recent experience and would like the opportunity to further discuss your concerns. Unfortunately I have no way of contacting you directly, but if you can drop me an email [[email protected]], I’ll be more than happy to assist you.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you,

    -Nabil

  85. Nabil, too late as I’m in the process of switching brokers but I just wanted to add the service at Scotia i-trade, formerly e-trade was the worst I’ve ever encountered- PERIOD!!!… and with the exception of Lillian, Scotia i-trade customer service employees are the rudest, most incompetent and obnoxious bunch I’ve ever encountered and many of them cannot be understood due to their poor command of the English language.Over the many years as a client, I’ve seen the smart on the ball former employees either being down-sized or quitting, and it reflects on the quality of service now being offered by Scotia itrade….Totally unacceptable!

  86. I just closed my account with them and moved somewhere else.

    Things you should know if you make a U.S, trade make sure you move your money from canadian optimizer account over to U.S margin account other wise these thief’s they charge you 5 cents for conversation fees per dollar for each trade on the buy and sell and even if you have a US margin account they still convert it to canadian to make extra from you which i don’t think anybody else does.

    Another words if you are an active trader this is not a site to use since if you make like 20 trades it could cost you a few hundreds of dollars in conversation costs aside from trading costs. when it was E*trade the service was much better and rubbery did not take place in bright day light.

  87. I recently moved my account from Scotia itrade to another broker…What a difference!!! It totally confirms what I’ve believed and suspected before moving my account. Scotia itrade is the most incompetent, unprofessional service I ever encountered and until you have used another broker, you’ll never know. Do yourself a favour and DROP Scotia itrade. They are not only rude but on numerous occassions failed to take responsibility for technical errors and gliches due to their faulty servers, in turn costing me money.When a rep from Scotia itrade posts here, it’s just lip service. Do yourself a favour and don’t even consider Scotia.

  88. Uh i forgot to mention, it really is about options not so much trading the stocks it self. Since i do have an account with two other brokers i noticed that

    never ever it is a good idea to sell or buy at market price with scotia trade since i did test them and bought and sold the same amount of option on i trade an another platform at the same time on two different screens and pressed entered with less a a second difference and to my amazement the market price on both buy and sell using i trade was more on the buy side and less on the sell side.

    So be very careful with these guy they cheat like there is no tomorrow.

  89. m.n is right…Scotia ALWAYS scoops more of your money on each and every executed trade. I’ve noticed their bid and ask is always off the others…in their favour of course. Yes m.n. SCOTIA ITRADE WILL CHEAT YOU out of your money in more ways than you could ever possibly imagine.I think I’ll move my mortgage to BMO too, as Scotia is total BS!!!!

  90. Hey Vincent

    I don’t know if you can open a U.S account or not but if you can and you trade options try option house. They have two types of charge program

    which you can choose your self one for 5 dollars a trade and another for $8.50 a trade and the good thing about is they only charge 0.15 cents per contract.

    Unfortunately we pay too much in canada since as soon as a competitor comes along with cheaper prices they immediately buy them out and raise the prices so lack of competition always means paying more and the government doesn’t care neither since they are partner to the thief’s. the more they charge the more taxes they pay or that is the idea.

  91. If you can’t open a U.S account then try optionxpress , they are a canadian outfit but operate from
    Chicago

  92. Hi m.n,

    Thank you very much for the information you provided, it is very much appreciated. I’m sure things will start looking up for you now that you moved from Scotia i-trade…what a nightmare Scotia that was.. The day I moved my account out from Scotia, I felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders..

    Good luck with your trading m.n. and again, thank you very much for your input. Take care.

    Sincerely,

    Vince

  93. @m.n: We’re really sorry to hear about your experience and appreciate all the feedback.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to share our account setup and some of the ways to avoid any potential foreign exchange conversion. You can have your cash/margin accounts denominated either in Canadian currency, U.S. currency, or both currencies. If the order instructions entered does not match the currency of your account, you’ll receive the following alert message: ‘This Trade will be Converted to the Currency of Your Account’. At this stage, you can click Change Order to review your initial instructions and to re-enter the order in your USD account to avoid any potential foreign currency conversions.

    If you wish to proceed with your initial order instructions and acknowledge the alert message, a trade can be placed and the foreign currency conversion will be applied to the transaction. The actual conversion rate to be charged is not fixed until late in the trading day. For more detailed information on currency conversion, please visit, https://www.scotiaitrade.com/helpcentre/lcmmmbi3.shtml.

    Please note that any loan in a CAD/USD margin account is collateralized by the stock, and if the value of the stock drops sufficiently, the account holder has the opportunity to either transfer more cash, or sell a portion of the stock to satisfy the account margin requirements.

    If you have an account denominated in one currency and wish to add the other or would like us to investigate a trade, please contact our Customer Support team. We’re here to help and we’ll be happy to assist you. Feel free to contact me directly [[email protected]] with your questions or concerns.

    We look forward to the opportunity to win back your business and to serve you again.

    Thank you,

    -Nabil

  94. Posting this here because I confirmed with Itrade that they have the same trading issue that SMDI now introduced. You used to be able to have settlement instructions to sell BNS357 money market to cover a stock purchase. Now you have to guess how much the stock purchase will be and sell that amount of money market in advance, waiting a day or so for the proceeds to settle in the account, THEN you can submit a equity purchase order. Rationale was that they offer lower commissions BUT it doesn’t matter how low the commission is when they put a barrier to executing a trade!

    Regarding Scotia’s recent website updates. Some of the changes were ok BUT some of the changes destroyed what was previously a useful web platform at Scotiabank. Clearly not well thought out. I’ve spoken to staff and the office of the president and they are getting alot of complaints. Change is one thing, but change making things worse!
    Specific examples, not just involving scotiabank but also scotia mcleod direct investing select service.
    1. Use to log in and have a ONE page summary of all accounts. Due to their formatting mine is now FOUR pages. I have to scroll to see all accounts. Part of the problem is they now report a line for CAD, US etc We have 2 moneymaster accounts, a visa, 8 brokerage accounts (2 tfsa, 2rrsp, resp, 2 cash accts).
    2. SMDI will be transitioning accts to itrade ~ March 2012. I have been a select customer for years. Now when I call I rarely get the select desk and ROUTINELY calls take 5-10 minutes to be answered vs 1-2 minutes in years past. UNACCEPTABLE service level. JD Powers ranked SMDI & Itrade at 2 out of 5 stars in 2010. With the recent changes I’d have trouble giving them 1 star. BMO investorline ranked 5 stars, TD and Royal were above SMDI/Itrade.
    3. On the brokerage side, use to be able to sweep dividends monthly into the BNS 357 money market since subsequent purchases only had to be 50.00. Nov 1st they increased the sub purchase amount to 1000.00!!! That meant leaving cash earning no interest until it built up to the 1000.00 amt now! No alternatives.
    I just got a newsletter (most people don’t have time to read or will miss the info) but I noticed at least thru SMDI they have changed the sub purchase amt back down to 100.00. So in less than 3 months they went from 50 to 1000 and now 100. Maybe they listened to the po’d customers and reconsidered but most people who were resigned to the stupid increase effective Nov 2011 won’t likely notice the reduced limit.
    4. I just went to do a trade at SMDI. I used to be able to put in the trade order, and have settlement instructions to sell BNS357 mm (where cash was parked) proceeds to cover the stock purchase. Not anymore! Now you have to GUESS how much the stock trade will cost, sell the mm, wait for it to settle in a day or so, then you ‘hopefully’ have sold enough to do the stock purchase. Trader I spoke to said the rationale was that they don’t have to take the time to sell the mm to cover your stock purchase and you benefit from a lowered commission. EARTH TO SMDI…it doesn’t matter how low the commission is when you put up barriers to customers submitting and executing trades! The bank has taken a narrow view and seems to miss that they were making money in other departments ie mutual fund
    Scotia you dropped the ball when you integrated itrade and now you’ve dropped the ball with the website updates and other changes. Instead of making the online experience smoother you have complicated it for many of us!

  95. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, Dave. As always, we value every feedback provided to us and take the time to read them with the utmost attention. It is disappointing to read that the recent website updates did not meet your expectations, and that we’re not delivering the level of service that you, as our customer, deserve.

    We’d like the opportunity to speak with you directly regarding these issues, but unfortunately have no way of contacting you. Please drop me an email with your contact information for us to discuss and regain your trust.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks again,

    - Nabil | [email protected]

  96. Hey Nabil, this is a forum for discussing Scotia i-trade amongst (generally dissatisfied) customers. It’s not really meant to be an extension of your company’s PR department. Scotia ruined what was once an innovative, well-run, customer oriented trading platform into typical big-bank crap. Your attempt to plug the PR cracks by hijacking the conversation on sites like this makes me dislike your company even more. Despite the aggressively ingratiating politeness used, you make me less smiley.

  97. So true – ETrade wasn’t the greatest to begin with, Scotia has totally destroyed it. Which is a shame b/c I actually like some the bank’s other services! However their online brokerage has gone to garbage several years ago and only getting worse. My account with them was once fairly active, now down to maybe a few trades per year (and only the minimum necessary at that) – have gladly moved my business elsewhere.

    And yes his obsequious fawning is annoying. Does he really think anyone’s going to buy that? Let alone anyone’s who’s actually had to deal with their ignorant and outride rude “customer service” team?! What a joke. Face it Scotia you blew it.

  98. Since I’ve switched to Questrade,it’s like a huge load has been lifted off my shoulders. Firstly, they don’t “nickel and dime” you like Scotia itrade. You can also understand what the person on the other end of the phone is saying whenever you have a question. The commissions are HALF what what Scotia is charging. They are quicker, more courteous and more reliable, bottom line. If you would like a more professional approach in your trading, join Questrade.

  99. I actually appreciate Nabil or whomever from Scotia responding in a timely manner to discuss the concerns. They do appear to have listened to customers concerns regarding the minimum subsequent purchase issue with the BNS357 money market. It was 50 then they raised it to 1000.00 and less than 3 months later after many complaints they’ve lowered it to 100.00. The whipsaw changes are a concern thought because had they surveyed customers before making the change they might have learned that it would not have a minor impact and would drive customers to other options…including other institutions.

  100. I agree with Dave about Nabil. Anyone can carp but the real point to carping is to make things better, otherwise it’s just a waste of time and oxygen.

    I was reasonably happy with SMDI and $8.95 trades, now I pay $9.99 which is about average and largely mitigated by the strong integration between BNS & ITrade accounts. I have spoken to the high net worth mgr who was very helpful and answered a couple of surveys. The staff have been responsive and helpful although telephone wait times can be annoyingly long.

    The 50 ETFs that are commission free is a great offer that I use a lot. I also like the Quotes & Research tab quite a bit – scarcely a day goes by when I don’t find something new and useful there.

    I don’t use BNS357 any longer as the return is dismal and it doesn’t automatically sell like it did under SMDI which was just about the only good thing it had going. I now use short term, zero commission, low MER bond funds instead. I find that sometimes it takes several minutes for spending power to show up after a sell trade. This is pretty annoying if you are trying to execute a buy in a cash account like RRSP.

    I see a lot of evidence that ITrade is making efforts at improvement but they are new to me so I watch carefully. My brother who is a frequent trader just loves TD and thinks very highly of BMO. He won’t even consider ITrade because of the 90 day / 1% penalty on mutual fund trades. This policy has had the effect of zeroing out all new mutual fund purchases by myself in favour of ETFs. I own almost no mutual funds now and am not quite sure what to think of all this yet. It may be a good thing, I hope so, but I feel like I’ve been pushed in this direction.

  101. Cam, SMDI provided a temporary solution to one of my concerns regarding selling MM to cover an equity purchase in registered accts (RESP,RRSP,TFSA) so I am satisfied. You do raise another point of contention with the commission free etf’s. While Itrade is offering a list of about 40, smdi is not doing the same. We have to wait until they transition our SMDI accounts over to itrade. I’ve been told they expect that to occur in the first quarter but who really knows.

  102. How can you guys and gals go on and on for 2 years here and only 2 vague comments about the weak chart structure, no 200 dma or any others no basic volume indicator other than the ancient bar graph. Maybe charts and trading on an even playing field are important to you. This is like playing soccer against Pele do you think you could beat him?

    You might mention flight desk which is so totally un user friendly it blows my mind Scotia would even offer such a hard to navigate tool. Especially at $60/ month and baby boomers as their main clients.

    Just so many basic flaws, I could pick out in a day cretiquing, such as me qualifying for $9.99 trades, but initially charging me 24.95 plus an additional after-hours placement charge. I phoned they said, “it gets updated next quarter or some bs.” I missed all the tax loss selling bottom buying, because I’m not into getting screwed and don’t do well appealing my case. That’s about $4k gone. How hard would it be to incorporate this into their crap platform.

    Usd conversions are obviously a huge money maker, they can charge what ever they want. I made $2 a share on a Gold stock and was still down.

    I don’t know how much training their employees get but it’s not enough they are fairly clueless. The trader I talked didn’t know the most basic stuff.

    My password I use 10+ times a day goes invalid one day.

    The security questions are a joke where do you live, what’s your phone number give me a break a scam could have a field day. Maybe check the phone I am calling from is the same one on fill, I asked they can’t see my number nor do they care.

    Anyways beyond their joke of a platform, that they reassure me is changing for the better soon. Is that I noticed they are nickle and diming me to death. Check your account very closely for bank fraud. Not that they will ever be charged, the untouchables beyond the law banks.

    Would it be too much to ask to see where you are plus minus for year, this is the computer age 2012, Scotia get out of the stone ages. Financial reports from years ago, not even candlesticks, or moving averages. I have to download every bit of company news, just link me. No need to read this whole forum this is basically all in one here.

    I thought Scotia McCloud was bad, I couldn’t believe how prehistoric it was. I assumed this would be better nope it’s worse way worse. People including me have their life savings here, and this the best they can do. Even Yahoo financial is better, it has the basic tools needed to make prudent investing decisions.

  103. Have to agree with Chad. The last time i managed my own portfolio was 10 years ago with RBC. I signed up for itrade a month ago and omg. Basic stuff that I would have expected a decade ago is non-existant. Whats with all paper requirements. Give me a break. Not impressed so far. The platform and its capabilities would have been out of date.

  104. Is anyone experiencing problems trading since they changed the account codes and passwords etc. on March 5, 2012?

  105. As of April 2012 iTrade has increased trade commissions by 25%. I suppose this is to pay for their crappy new website. I did not receive a single notice of this huge increase during the millions of “Great things are coming” messages from iTrade.

    It is time to say goodbye.

  106. Circling the drain at the bottom of the toilet. Just logged into the “new” Scotia Macleod interface for the first time. If anything, basic information such as commission tier etc is even harder to find. What a total piece of trash this site/service is.

    Even though moving accounts is such a huge hassle, I this may well be it for me. I’ve long since done all new business elsewhere, based on what I’m seeing so far it’s now time to transfer my last remaining account.

    You’d be much better off simply buying BNS (through any other brokerage) and holding it, than attempting to actually use their interface to trade!

  107. @Joe: We’re sorry to hear that you’re having trouble navigating through our new site.

    On the new site, you’ll find the Trade Summary box on the right side of the page under the Accounts > Account Summary tab. Hope this information helps.

    If you’ve any questions or suggestions along the way, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Support team at 1.888.872.3388 or e-mail me at nabil-at-scotiaitrade-dot-com.

    Thanks,

    -Nabil

  108. I have been a customer for years and every year think of transferring out due to unresolved service issues. Website etc is okay and can be improved but if you have a problem the service is terrible, frustrating, and can cost you thousands in some situations. Email service is almost non existent, they just say call in. Calling in means a long time on hold to talk to someone who cant help you.
    The new site was not ready, as you can no longer take money from a margin account online. So you call in and they have changed the rules. They have an arbitrary 10% of equity amount you have to keep, which does not take into account how much of your account is in non marginable stocks. Totally stupid policy, but that is what you get at Scotia. And nobody is authorized to help the clients with reasonable requests. They will just keep repeating `we have a stupid new policy that we didnt tell you about`.

    Nabil, can you explain this arbitrary 10% that is not based on how much margin/risk is being used? Can you explain why the old system had a different calculation and we were not informed? Can you explain why it tales 40 minutes on the phone to get nowhere and you can’t talk to anyone who can explain it?
    thanks

    It is like dealing with city hall, but worse as they have your funds….

    STAY AWAY unless you just buy and hold a little… changing brokers is a massive hassle but I will move to Interactive Brokers I think as some friends have moved and are happy.
    I will leave frustrated and hating Scotia, a truly horrible experience and I really try to be a reasonable and polite client.

  109. @Paul: Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. We take every feedback seriously as it helps us to serve you better. Please allow me to answer your question regarding margin maintenance levels.

    Excess margin (or buying power) can be withdrawn as long as the remaining margin excess is 10 percent or more of the remaining equity balance after the drawdown. For our mutual protection, maintenance margins must be maintained at all times to satisfy any possible volatile market activity and to prevent any margin calls after the drawdown. For instance, loan values could change from 70 to 50 percent or drop down to zero if holdings in the portfolio have loan removed; or open buy orders, if filled, could cause a margin call to occur; or the account may have security concentration issues. Our margin drawdown policy has been in place for some time, and terms of our margin accounts can be found in our Terms and Conditions under the Client Account and Margin Agreement section.

    We understand that at the time of website and service transition, our customers may have experienced longer than usual wait times. We sincerely appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience related to this transition.

    We value your business, and are here to help and answer your questions. Feel free to email me directly at nabil-at-scotiaitrade-dot-com with your questions or concerns.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks,

    -Nabil

  110. Customer Service is terrible and a common term used is “call us” is equally useless. Does itrade not understand that in this age and time not everyboday is available 9 5, ever heard the term shift worker?
    Nevertheless, Don’t even try to use their online forms, garbage!! and useless!
    Made the mistake this January, wanted to add a TSFA trading account to my portfolio, so I called their customer support and was told, no problems, just fill out the on line application and you’ll be all set……Soooo I filled out all the forms to transfer a TSFA account to itrade, apparently, not good enough; but, do you think someone would tell me?? nope, I’ve had to call, email and chase to find out why it was not processed. Each and everytime I contacted someone, I had to explain, and re-explain my situation over and over again. What a waste of time, NEVER had such hard time trying to put money into a bank before. The funny part of it is that to date, I still don’t have the account. Look elsewere people, you’ll get nothing but fustration and confusion when dealing with itrade.

  111. Nabil
    Thank you for your response. I do understand that margin rules need to exist and be enforced. The problem I have which you did not address is that the 10% of equity rule includes non-marginable securities. example you have an account with 100K, of which 30K is marginable. So you have to have 10K margin excess to cover the volatility of 30K of securities, as the other 70K will not impact. In fact they decrease risk to Scotia as they could be sold if needed. So if I want to sell a non-marginable security and have 2K sent to me I likely cannot, despite the fact that selling this has had no increase in margin risk! I only borrow against marginable stocks, but the others get tied up.
    Also, I can buy the riskiest stock I want with the margin excess all the way until my excess is 1 cent… that adds more risk than a withdrawal… not logical.
    So my solution is open a cash account and move my non-margin stocks into it. Now I have a true margin account left behind… and my cash account is not compromised. but all this extra work and paperwork and transfers is completely unnecessary if anyone in iTrade management cared enough to listen to their customers.
    I expect most Cdn bank brokers would have similar frustrations but of course you dont know for sure until you try. I recognize that for cheaper commissions you should expect less service and caring, and I get frustrations with my full service brokerage also. But I used to trade in the US with TD Ameritrade and their system really is built for traders, no comparison. I am thinking of trying Interactive Brokers as they are available to Canadians, sad that we dont have Cdn brokers who care to compete when they could with good mgmt.
    What Scotia and others dont realize is how much their business is damaged over the long term. My accounts will probably stay open, but have been and will continue to shrink, and my trading activity is way down. Eventually I will probably have just my RSP and TSFA left unless I move them to Questrade, just occasional trades anyways… and 90% plus of my trades will be at Interactive Brokers ( they dont support RSP and TSFA I think). Scotia never had a transfer out, but they lost 90% of an active trader’s business and wont care why.
    The new website is an improvement over the old one by quite a bit I will say, the old one was not great. And I think margin interest rates are reasonable. And good to see trailing stops, not sure if the old system had that. The service people can be good, but they are in a badly managed structure. As a Canadian I am sad to see the lack of entrepreneurial spirit in our banking system, they rely on the lack of competition domestically to coast along. If they need more profit they just raise fees or lower service, nothing improved.
    thanks!

  112. Wow – and I thought I was alone in the world. iTrade gets worse with every change – if they had just left it the way it was when they bought out *ETrade. Why did they buy them? To gain accounts which they then proceed to drive away with crappy service and constant incomprhensible changes.

    Flt Desk was a small improvement – but such a hassle to configure with old symbols. Current changes of how you view your accounts is kindergarten stuff. CRAP! I could go on and on if I dug into the 50 or so emails I’ve sent over the past couple of years.

    And then today – no access to Flt Desk. I know I’ll hit ‘contact us’ and send an email. NOPE – email server ain’t working. WTF !

    I’m in the process of considering that pain in the arse process of treansfering my acccts out. Hate to do it, but iTrade and the morons who initiated all these useless changes – don’t deserve my business.

    Thanks all for comments on better brokerage houses.

  113. Okay – an Update:
    First off – I agree with Dave and Carm – if iTrade is monitoring these complaints and want to actively engage us with solutions – that is great. I’m not into screaming my lungs out in anger at the darkness.

    I left some pretty good clues’ about who I am – plus a personal email to iTrade – and today I received a phone call from Nabil. We went through my grievances one by one – and we were able to resolve the outstanding issues, and I was able to give some feedback on what I like – don’t like – and future changes.

    I have to admit – that one (main) problem was my own fault (account fell below a level where Flt Desk is free), but that was rectified.

    Nabil is gutsy – professional – and most of all – sincerely trying to help.

    I will be staying with iTrade – and hope future ‘proposed changes’ – include feedback from people like us.

    That sure beats the aggravation of going through an account transfer process – and starting with a new brokerage firm who may not give a ratz arse about whether or not you have problems. At least here I now have a connection with someone who will work with me when I have a problem. And that same person/connection – Nabil – is available to all of you.

    Give him a call – it just might help.

    Barry.

  114. I can relate to all the complaints about Itrade.

    The customer service people ARE rude and obnoxious, with their favorite solution to flightdesk not working is that there is a problem with the customer’s computer.
    Must be the only part of their script they understand!

    I have made several complaints to their head office,,all of which were ignored.

    Transfering an RRSP from a local ScotiaBank branch took over two weeks, and a huge amount of paperwork. Maybe the taxi they used to transfer the paperwork broke down.

    The problem with Itrade is they have a bankers mentality towards customers. Itrade seems to feel they are doing us a favor by letting us be customers. If this poor service continues I will do them one last favor by transfering to another broker.

  115. I currently have an account with Itrade. And I am very frustrated with them. Service is terrible
    Their forced conversion fees are disgusting. In my TFSA account I am holding US Steel. On paper I have a 19% gain , but in reality on the account it shows that I am making only 11%, which means that 8% is being syphoned by Itrade in fees and comissions, WTF!
    So If I would have been making 5%, at the end I would lose 3% with the fees and commissions!!
    They only offer US friendly accounts in RRSP accounts, none in LIRA or TFSA. This is because it is way too profitable for them to keep it that way. And on top of that once you sell a security they forcefully convert it back to Canadian dollars at a “reasonable rate”, problem is that also with conversion of currency there is a spread, so you end up getting hit anyways. And they also charge you 120 dollars per year for maintenance of a US friendly RRSP account. What planet is Itrade living in?.
    I was looking a few months ago to become more of an active trader, so I was looking at reducing my comissions. So I noticed that CIBC charges 6.95 per trade if your asset level is over 100,000. Currently I have 240,000 in investment assets with Itrade, so I figure I would call to see if they could match it. This arrogant guy Todd had the chutzpah to tell me that they could give me 6.95 with the condition that in the next 3 months I could deposit 50,000 more in my accounts. So he was willing to give me this price for 3 months if I would meet that requirement. WTF!! Buddy what about if you don’t give me that, I go somewhere else!!! I sent an email to a customer service manager 5 months ago with no response this far.
    Now, the issue with Flight Desk, which I do not have. What is the big deal about it? they offer it like it is a revolutionary thing for 70 dollars a month if you have less than 250 thousand in assets. Interactive Brokers offers this as a standard platform for free. You only have to pay 6 dollars per month for live data of Canadian stocks. Scotia Itrade should be ashamed for charging this.
    I am in the process of switching. I was looking at RBC direct Investing.
    If you have over 15000 in total assets they do not charge you any maintenance fees.
    They have US friendly accounts in TFSA, RRSP and LIRA, which is good for me. No forced conversion even after you sell the security, in other words funds remain in US dollars
    Trades are 9.95 if you hold >50000 in assets or if you make 30 trades per quarter at least.
    Scotia Itrade needs a reality check. Sweet soft words from a customer service rep are not enough. Customer loyalty does not mean a thing for these people. I know sometimes change is a pain, but I realized that staying with ITrade is costing me a lot of hard earned money.

  116. I am a Canadian who just recently moved back to Canada from Sacramento, CA USA. I still have my US E*Trade Financial Global account and Schwab account that are all Canadian stock securities. Eventually, I will have to open a trading account(s) in Canada and go through the setting up process and transferring of assets. After reading the many horror stories with ScotiaiTrade on this website I wish to know which provider is best. Who should it be? TDW, CIBC, RBC etc.?

    Also, how will my E*Trade Financial Financial and Schwab account managers transact the transition? Will they sell all of my positions to cash in US funds now that the Canadian dollar is $.93 or transfer all Canadian stock positions directly into TDW, CIBC, RBC, account(s) that I set up etc.? Does anyone know?

    JW in Victoria, B.C

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