Last week, I reviewed RBC Direct Investing to complement Million Dollar Journey’s series of posts covering discount brokers and in this post, I’ll offer my thoughts on TD Direct Investing (formerly TD Waterhouse). We got our first account with TD Waterhouse when the broker purchased the Canadian arm of Ameritrade, which used to offer $10.99 trades for US equities and all other brokers charged $30 US per trade.

Fees and Commissions

TD Direct Investing (TDDI) charges a flat commission of $9.99 ($29 otherwise) on trades for clients with at least $50,000 in assets or frequent traders. Self-directed RRSPs are charged an annual administration fee of $100 if the value of the account is less than $25,000. Clients with less than $15,000 across all TDDI accounts are charged a quarterly custody fee of $25. You can refer to the full fee schedule here. There are no administration fees on Tax-Free Savings Accounts and withdrawals from TFSA accounts are free.

TDDI commissions are pretty much the same as other brokers affiliated with the big banks if your total assets exceeds $50,000. Clients with an account balance less than $50,000 should check out RBC Direct Investing, which recently started charging $9.95 trades for all clients.

GICs and Fixed Income

TDDI offers an extensive selection of Guaranteed Income Certificates (GICs) and bonds. GICs can only be purchased on the phone and have a minimum investment of $5,000 but the interest rates are publicly available here. TDDI also offers a wide selection of bonds (Canada and Provincial bonds of all maturities, corporate and strip bonds).

Mutual Funds

TDDI offers a wide selection of in-house and third-party mutual funds. It is worth mentioning that TDDI offers TD e-Series funds, the lowest-cost index mutual funds offered in Canada.

Parking Cash

TDDI offers three high interest savings accounts (HISAs) that can be purchased just like mutual funds. These HISA accounts offer high interest and can be purchased and sold at any time without penalty. The initial and subsequent minimum investments are as low as $100. Clients also have the option of parking Canadian dollars in TD Canadian Money Market Fund (TDB164) or US dollars in TD US Money Market Fund (TDB166) with no fees or minimum holding periods.

Forex Exchange Rates

The fee for converting Canadian dollars into US dollars or vice-versa by TD Direct Investing is estimated to be around 1.4 percent. Recently, a quote for converting $1,000 CAD into USD back into CAD gave me $971.71, which implies a round trip conversion rate of 2.8 percent.

Clients can sign up automatic wash trading in registered accounts. After set up, wash trading allows investors to sell US investments in registered accounts and sweep the proceeds into the TD US Money Market Fund (TDB166). Alas, US dollar dividends received in registered accounts will be subject to a currency conversion fee.

Norbert Gambits

Norbert Gambit is a method that allows investors to bypass the steep foreign exchange conversions charged by banks and brokerages. Unfortunately, at TDDI gambitting is very confusing. In registered accounts, clients can buy TD Bank listed on the TSX, sell TD Bank on the NYSE and after the dust is settled, find that their Canadian dollars have been converted at close to spot rates (minus trading commissions) and swept into the TD US Money Market Fund. In investment accounts, clients can either gambit with DLR/DLR.U (the slow, scenic and cheap route) or instant gambit by phoning a representative (the fast but expensive route).

Client Service

I held accounts at TD Waterhouse for more than 5 years and had lots of occasions when I had to call customer service to make contributions in kind, withdraw from TFSA accounts or journal shares from the CAD side to USD side or vice-versa. I have no quibbles, let alone complaints.

Global Trading

A unique offering at TDDI is access to 10 international stock markets including London, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong in which you can settle trades and hold cash balances in local currencies. I have no personal experience with the TDDI Global Trading platform because I get plenty of exposure to foreign markets through low-cost Vanguard exchange-traded funds.

Market Research

Clients of TD Direct have access to TDSI Morning Action notes which features the latest analyst reports on Canadian stocks in TD Securities coverage universe. A monthly report called TDSI Action List — an aggregation of top analyst recommendations is also available.

Funding Account

If you have a TD Canada Trust bank account, you can link your chequing account to TDDI accounts and move funds to and from with the click of a button. If you do not have a chequing account with TD, you can make a deposit or withdrawal at any local TD Canada Trust branch.

Conclusion

We first moved our registered accounts to TD Waterhouse from RBC Direct Investing to take advantage of “wash trades“, which allowed us to avoid forced currency conversion in registered accounts. These days, other brokers like RBC Direct Investing and BMO InvestorLine offer US Dollar RRSPs that help clients avoid currency conversion when buying and selling US dollar denominated securities in registered accounts and on dividends paid in US dollars in registered accounts. Therefore, if you are simply looking for a broker that executes your stock or ETF trades and helps you save on total fees or commissions, you may want to look into RBC Direct Investing or BMO InvestorLine. However, if you are looking for something specific like e-Series Mutual Funds or global trading or access to TD Securities research, you’ll find TD Direct Investing to be a very good broker.

Reviews of the competition: Questrade, CIBC Investors Edge, Interactive Brokers, BMO InvestorLine, Credential Direct, Qtrade, Questrade, RBC Direct and Scotia Direct.

This article has 67 comments

  1. Can you do online USD cash transfers in and out of your account? This is something that Scotia Mcleod recently added. Before, I had to call them to move my USD cash to/from my Scotia USD chequing account.

    Besides the commission, overall I’m quite satisfied with SMDI.

    Ahmed

  2. CC, thanks again for the links. Have you done the “wash trade” process a few times? Does it take a bit longer to do a wash trade transaction than a regular transaction?

  3. Just this past weekend, I mailed in the application to open a non-registered Questrade account. I intend to continue to maintain both my registered and non-registered Investorline accounts at BMO. I have a buy & hold philosophy so I don’t expect it to cost me much money to keep them open. For my registered account, I mainly only hold large and mid-cap companies and bonds in it so I’m not quite as pissed off at the high commissions as I usually don’t buy more than 1000 shares in a single transaction.

    For my cash account, I generally like to buy large blocks (meaning 3000 to 5000 shares at a time) of small and micro-cap stocks. And it was extremely annoying to pay $100 of commissions on, for example, a $2000 speculative transaction. That’s 5% of the entire value of the investment!!! It’s hard to make any money when you lose 5% right up front! So, all of my future non-registered trading will be taking place in my new Questrade account, since it’s a $9.95 flat fee regardless of how many shares you buy.

    The big difference between Questrade and E*Trade is that Questrade’s minimum balance is only $1K as opposed to E*Trade’s $50K minimum in order to qualify for the $9.95 flat fee.

  4. I should mention that one advantage of not being able to do wash trades is that it will force you to trade less, thus lowering your costs.

  5. Canadian Capitalist

    Ahmed: I am not sure I will be able to transfer USD cash within the SDRSP account. I usually buy USD equity outside and do a transfer in-kind.

    MDJ: Our RSP accounts just got transferred to TDW. I am about to do the wash trades, so I’ll let you know how it went.

    Phil: Good point. I have actually initiated a transfer of taxable accounts to Questrade. I usually buy 100 shares or less, so I am going to like the $4.95 commissions.

    Dave: Yes, it will discourage trading but I want to convert all my US equities into ETFs. Once that’s done, I won’t really care much for the wash trades feature.

  6. Yes, I have heard only good things about TD Waterhouse… I’m with CIBC Investors Edge and they don’t even offer L2 QUOTES!

    Argh.

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  8. Nabloid -you heard only good things about TD Waterhouse? Where, from who???? TD? I can only compare them to a few brokers I have been with (BMO, Scotia, Interactive Brokers, Ameritrade…) but they are the worst of the small bunch I have tried. Unless, I am missing out on something, TD does not offer L2 Quotes either. Maybe in rheir “active trader” platform, which I have only used for like 10 days last year, for which I refuse to pay 99 bucks a month for. It is not worth it.

    That’s just personal experience however, it really depends on what type of investor/trader you are and what it is that you are looking for in a broker.

  9. omg d00d! l2 quotes r teh b0m!

  10. Canadian Capitalist

    CT: I recently moved our RRSP accounts into TD Waterhouse and I am very happy. I couldn’t care less about L2 quotes (I don’t even know what it means). I am not a trader and I make a handful of transactions every year. I would rate TD’s customer service to be the best among brokers I’m familiar with (RBC, E*Trade and now Questrade).

  11. what is questrade and what are the pros and cons of it?

  12. TD Waterhouse is the worst. I bought some US share in my Canadian dollar account. I was charged 2.3% as a conversion fee. What a scam. Check out Interactive brokers much much much better.

  13. Pingback: How to “Wash” Your Trade?

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  15. Pingback: Limited Wash Trades at Credential Direct

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  17. Screw this idea of washing trades; go to Quest Trade and get a US dollar account to avoid conversion charges.

    None of the major banks offer this, I phone every one of them and was told that “They are aware of this problem” and that “They are in the process of upgrading their systems to handle US dollar accounts”.

    What has been? 6 or 7 years since the Canadian content rule was scrapped? With 100 basis point spreads, I don’t think it will be “fixed” any time soon.

  18. Canadian Capitalist

    chris: I did try out Questrade but let’s just say that my experience was underwhelming (I’ve chronicled that elsewhere on the blog). I’m mostly in index funds that pay dividends of the order of 2.5%. A 2% currency fee on conversions is an extra expense of 0.05% on your foreign holdings. I’ll gladly pay that not having to deal with the hassles of dealing with Questrade every time something goes wrong.

  19. Canadian Capitalist: Could you expain how a 2% currency fee works out to a 0.05% extra expense.
    I bought and sold about $50,000 of a stock. When adusting for everything (including fluctuations in the currency) I should have made about $3500. But I only made $2500 after the two 100 basis point spreads I had to pay. If I could have left it in the US dollars I would have made the full $3500.
    My costs: $50 for two transacion fees
    $1000 for currency conversion fees

    I’ll take a chance on Questrade if they can reduce my round trip fees from $1050 to $50.

  20. Canadian Capitalist

    chris: That’s because at TD Waterhouse, you can use the wash trade feature to put the US dollar proceeds of your sell order into their US dollar money market fund. I’ve done this many times in the past: sell a US stock, say BUD and buy another, say VTI. I don’t pay any currency conversion fees.

    My 0.05% comes from the 2.5% dividend payments from USD stocks. These are automatically converted to CAD and cannot be “washed”. The 2% currency fee works out to an extra 0.05% expense.

  21. Why don’t you use DRIP to avoid the “extra 0.05% expense?”

  22. TD Waterhouse is having lots of problems, every few weeks is having an issue – it is slow, or irresponsible; their real-time level 2 TD Waterhouse WebBroker Select also shows sometimes incorrect data, different than the data from Webbroker; their IT department is probably not very good in what they are doing; today Dec 31 2008 you can not even login to TD Waterhouse if you want to trade – they say you have to call in order to place a trade; After using it for 4 years, I am NOT RECOMMEND it; Looking for an alternative, any suggestion is Welcome. Thanks

  23. I was thinking of changing from TD to either Qtrade or IB. The main problem I had with TD is they abruptly reduced the margin loan value on my stocks from 70% to 25% even though both stocks were well above 5$. They said something like they had low volume and were volatile even though both had a beta of only around 1.5 and traded more than 2% of the float per day. You can say what you want about bad service and computer glitches but at least Qtrade isn’t arbitrarily droping the margin loan percentage by a huge factor for no particular reason and putting their customers into incredibly difficult margin calls. TD is the worst broker now in my opinion for people that use a margin account. I’m willing to put up with a few computer and service glitches so I won’t be worried about TD pulling the rug out from underneath of you at any moment. For cash or RSP account TD is OK, but I would never invest on margin with them.

  24. TD Waterhouse blah. Their legacy system is so poorly designed, even selling shares you own can turn a long position into a short one.

    Case in point: I told TDW’s system to sell 1000 shares and told it to cancel 1 minute later. 2-3 minutes later, I changed my mind and placed another order to sell those 1000 shares. 10 minutes later I find out BOTH orders went through and TDW sold 2000 shares when I only owned 1000 shares. I was told by TDW to “cover” my position as it was now considered a short position (on a long postion account) as their system oversold the number of shares I owned.

    Covering the rather unexpected short position lost me money, and is quite frankly outrageous. TDW has no checks in place to see how many shares of anything you own in realtime, leaving the possiblity of selling more shares than you own, because a cancellation request is not honored in a timely manner.

    I have never seen this happen with other brokerages. Other brokerages have real-time information on how many shares of a company you own and will allow/disallow subsequent transactions basd on that.

    TDW are probably negligent as hell for allowing this to go on. I would suggest TDW is not the safest brokerage firm to go with.

  25. I tried setting up an account with TD Waterhouse at the Edmonton Heritage branch. Totally frustrated, I gave up after about 4 weeks of playing phone tag. Over the course of literally dozens of calls, not once was my call answered live, but I was required to leave a message. I may have an odd schedule with very small windows to conduct personal business, but as a potential customer, I was completely turned off by the lack of customer service.

    • For three days running(up to this moment 11:38PM, Feb 11/15)one of my TDWB Accounts is showing a $10,000 face amount of a Convertible Debenture as $10,000,000.00, and this applies to each CVDB held in this Account.
      All I can get them from them is that they’re working on the problem. There is more to this, and anyone interested to know is welcome to contact the writer at any time.

  26. I am totally dispointed with the service of the TD waterhouse. I called them at least 2 times to ask commission fees, agents told me only 9.95 each if quaterly over 30 times transactions. but last night, I called them again to verify, they told me I must do over 30 transactions within 3 months then they will examine to verify whether I am qualified for discount, then later maybe I can get 9.95 each for the new trade. That means for the first months, I must pay at least 900 dollars commissions then they will check I am good or not .WTF, NO ONE TOLD ME BEFORE.
    So I decide now to close or transfer to another broker such as questrade.

  27. BE CAREFUL! READ THEIR POLICY CAREFULLY AND DO NOT TRUST AGENT ORAL WORD!!!

  28. I really like TD Waterhouse, but I need only $50k total assets or 30 trades per quarter to get the good rate at Scotia Itrade. And, the Scotia’s Itrade of $19 per trade is much easier than $29 per trade. So, I prefer Scotia Itrade better.

  29. TD Waterhouse DOWN AGAIN !!!! So Far Most of the afternoon.

    Was down last week too, what’s up with that?

    Opened a Questrade account and transferring my trading over. $4.95/trade with no minimums. Fully insured, multi-platforms + ForEX.

    Time to move with the times – TD WATERHOUSE is a dinosaur

  30. TD Waterhouse trading platform is called Web Broker. It is down very often, sometimes for hours. Sometimes they don’t have quotes! Imagine that, no quotes. Hard to decide to buy or sell. They make all kind of mistakes washing trades, they don’t have backup servers in case their main site goes down, etc… I traded for 2 years now and I had enough. I’m switching all my trading accounts to e-Trade (now rebranded to iTrade by their new owner, Scotiabank).

    • Please see my comment about TD WebBroker above.
      It would be too wordy to lay it lay it all out here, but this bank brokerage and the bank itself(for I also do banking with them)are rudderless, and only dishonesty is a plausible explanation for what I’ve been getting put through. In addition to leaving, I’m addressing their new CEO about what he can’t be hearing about.

  31. Pingback: Ameritrade Canada | Canadian Capitalist

  32. TDW is fine. DRIPs just fine. Hooks into QuoteTracker for minutely quotes just fine. It’s great to have it all linked into EasyWeb and everything in a single portal for an overall picture of your networth. Can’t wait until I get $100k in assets in there to try the Level2 stuff and can’t wait to get my future mortgage all rolled into the same portal view, too. I have total control over all my money transfers, TFSA, self directed RRSPs, and day-to-day banking using their TDW/TDEW portal, and it’s great. Have you tried their new Portfolio Manager, wicked.

  33. Pingback: Surviscor Discount Broker Rankings - Summer 2009 | Canadian Capitalist

  34. Re: Forex via TD Waterhouse:// Dec27, 2009.

    I have read quite a lot on this blog re currency trading on TDWaterhouse… most
    of it very conflicting.
    Do they trade the Forex market???

    I have all my accounts there. I have no problem transferring between my various
    accounts, but have not previously seen anything re.. Forex.

    They are re-organising their markets and research section… and it is a mess!
    Even one of their tech support people had trouble navigating through it!!!

    A……………

  35. The worst customer service ever. Cannot even withdraw my own funds. No explanation for the last seven days sent about 10 messages and numerous phone calls.

    • TD’s system is behind the times, (webbroker is webBroken)
      Does not allow for lookup of transacrtions older than 31 days; does not allow download of your transactions by day range; if you ask, they tell you to cut and paste from E statements (PDF)
      in the holdings page, your securities are priced by last or bid or ask price with no apparent logic

      especially on options which may be illiquid,

  36. TDWaterhouse is nothing but huge pain:
    WebBroker is a cheap crap outsourced probably in India or Bangladesh – They are not capable to recalculate your margin in a real time. As result you see no sciences in your account balance, but the worst part is that as result of these wrong numbers WebBroker may not allow you to place orders and you have to call TDWaterhause support which takes about 10-15 min – if you do day-per-day trading you know that this just make TRWaterhouse WebBroker useless
    If you try to complain be ready to face wall of ignorance and arrogance

  37. I just went to add $1500 CAD to my Waterhouse USD account, and I thought to ask the clerk to check the spread on the currency conversion …. it was a 5.5% spread!!! I said “what?! either youve made a mistake or this is some kind of scam”. They said it was their only rate. I escalated to the customer service manager, insisting that I usually pay a ~3% spread (you dont here me clapping even here!) I was told that they knew of no increase in the spread…and the manager reconfirmed the waterhouse rates. Well, I’d rather burn my money than pay TD a 5.5% spread to convert my money, so I cancelled the transaction
    ……and then went home, logged in to my waterhouse account, and converted online with a 3% spread!!
    *boggle*

    So what do you think? Do they just screw up when converting money at the counter? or is this just part of some intentional scam?

    We need banking law changes! We should be able to plug-in a currency conversion provider to any financial service, much as we choose a long distance provider!

    B.

  38. Canadian Capitalist

    @Bruce: That’s interesting. I haven’t converted online of late but I did ask for a “Waterhouse Rate” at my local branch and the exchange was done at an approx. 2.5% premium. It wasn’t a huge sum but it’s interesting that I could have done that conversion online and saved about 1%. I’ll test this out and probably write about it because I had simply assumed that the banks have jacked up rates across the board (both online and in the branch) of late.

  39. I have been a customer of TDW for about 15 years, and have about 200,000+ business with them.
    I have both a US & CDN margin account with them… plus my RRSP account.
    I trade US and CDN stocks in my CDN Margin accounts… for a flat 9.95 per trade.Same in my RRSP Acct.
    I don’t use my US margin acct… no advantage…except I think it might save me money with options.
    I pay no currency conversion costs,
    I’m not sure what wash trades are……………..

    A.N.

    • With respect Sir/Madam, you’re either a relative of the CEO or some such thing, for TD WebBroker not only charges a horrendous fee for conversions, but in my $US Acct in which one holding is quoted in both $US and $CDN, they enter the Price in $CDN, and then give the closing price in $US—bear in mind this a $US denominated Account.

  40. Pingback: Save on Canadian Dollar to US Dollar Conversions (and vice versa) | Canadian Capitalist

  41. I like the way TDW integrates with my banking accounts – smooth transfers for sure.

    I did not have a good experience on buying a Steadyhand Mutual Fund though. I purchased $15,000 of the Income Fund (it is not available online so I needed to call in).

    The chap at the call centre was very good and friendly. He lives in Ottawa – go figure!

    In any event, the next day I received an email directing me to my account and that there had been a transaction. When I went to the account, I saw a buy of Steadyhand Income Fund for $14,700. I called and they told me that Steadyhand is “one of 8 firms that don’t have an arrangement with TD” and that I was being charged 2% of the purchase value. I questioned whether this was disclosed to me and the response was something like “normal industry practice” – like I should have known this going in!

    I suggested that all calls are recorded and that they should review the tape for actual disclosure, since I was unaware of industry practice and needed to be told that I would be charged. They reviewed the tape, came back the next day and reversed, at my request, the trade acknowledging that I was never informed.

    It ended up a good learning experience for me, but I wonder how many other people are unaware of this practice and do not “see” this fee on their statements?

  42. opps – I meant to add for full disclosure that I work for Steadyhand Investment Funds

  43. I inherited the TD Organisation for having been a client of Canada Trust. Its been down hill ever since.
    Using TD WebBroker, I’m entreated to every manner of inaccuracies, shut downs,weeks to months delays in response to enquiries etc etc.
    To understand TD and for that matter every bank and insurer in this country, one needs remember that:
    Edmund Clark, TD’s CEO, in the middle of the recent financial crisis, stated publicly that if the bank did something stupid(sic),he would look to the retail operations and or the Government to make up the losses!
    Sometime later the Finance Minister commented on Clark’s posture with a statement that would require some grounding in geometry as describes the tangential curve function,to understand why there is nothing new nor will there ever be. Its the same old order respecting everything monetary, and am going back thousands of years ago. Happy trading.
    HJS.

  44. Pingback: How to avoid currency conversions on US Dividends | Canadian Capitalist

  45. Pingback: How to avoid currency conversions on US Dividends | MoneySense

  46. CC: I’m trying to purchase a US ETF within my RRSP with my yearly RRSP contribution, all without incurring a 1%+ or $200+ foreign exchange hit. I think the steps are as follows. Please correct me if I got it wrong. Thanks for your help:

    1) transfer funds to canadian cash brokerage account
    2) purchase inter-listed stock on TSX
    3) call TD to journal the stock to US cash brokerage account
    4) sell inter-listed stock within US cash brokerage account
    5) buy US ETF
    6) call to wash the trade
    7) call TD to transfer US ETF in-kind to TD self-directed RRSP.

    Thanks,

    • @Jim: Yes, those are the steps. Note that you don’t have to call to wash the trade because when you sell the inter-listed stock in a USD investment account, your proceeds stay in US dollars.

      Another thing to note is that you’ll have to keep track of capital gains / losses in step 4 and capital gains in step 7 (capital losses in step 7 cannot be claimed). However, these should be minimal if you are transactions occur in the same day.

  47. I believe TD Waterhouse is a quite good platform and their support is quite well. I like to save on the conversions by having a US account with them. Though I still kinda find it their trading fee is high, but it seems that I can not find any bank in Canada which charge a much lower fee for trading stocks so till then I will probably stick with them.

  48. Hey Canadian Capitalist. I enjoy your articles and have a request: would you consider updating your Canadian Discount Brokerage reviews? I get the impression some of the fees have changed since you wrote this article.

  49. It was recommended to me to use “Wash trades” with TDW webbroker….
    I found it very clumsy and awkward… and I could not complete trades in a timely fashon…

    It was a complete P.I.A., and I scrapped it……

    I do not have to call TD to transfer US ETF in-kind to TD self-directed RRSP.

    Aiden…….

  50. I can’t believe TD waterhouse provides “No. 1” customer service in Canada!
    – They transfered my TFSA account out without checking my unsettled positions;
    – Their customer service manager never called me back since he told me he will follow up my case 2 months ago!
    – Their self-investigator sent me investigation letter including my account informaiton and personal informaiton unsealed!
    – Their self-investigation team leader never return my voice mails and emails in the past 14 days!
    – investigator never called me back after I left voice mail and email after 20 days waiting!

    What problem do they have? Or is just because I am small fish? Or they don’t care since I already transfer out? What a broker!

  51. I’ve been with TD Waterhouse for some years(unfortunately), and finally decide to leave them without looking back. The original reason driving me nuts was their wash process, it’s really difficult to trace whether their currency conversion is correct or not. When I found mistakes and talk to their CSRs, they simply said it’s all done by program, and can’t be wrong, even not bother to look at the issue you are reporting , but funny thing is one of themselves admitted to me that it is big mess there.
    One of my accounts lost the auto wash one day due a CSR’s mistake, but when I saw the issue later, and called in asking them to correct the error, the lady simply said she doesn’t see it was setup. How can you argue with this sort of crap when they don’t log their changes to client accounts.

    The day they finally crossed the line was when I started transferring my accounts away… I did several trades during the period of transfer, and found out they transferred wrong stocks. I phoned them telling the mistakes they made, then they took weeks to move the stocks back and forth, but one thing they left in-resolved is the C$ cash from my stock sold. They are suppose to wash those cash to TD US Market before transfer, but they transferred C$ cash directly which means I’ll lose currency conversion spreads, twice, if I use these cach to buy US stocks again. Then I started long journey of trying to get my loss back, At first, they asked me to not worry and claimed that everything would be corrected as their transfer team is ‘professional’ (not sure if they believe what they were saying themselves). After tons of phone calls talking to different CSRs, finally a lady from TD Waterhouse told me, they won’t wash it as it’s too late and I shouldn’t have done trades during the transfer, I explained to her that they didn’t limit trades during any period and nobody from TDW ever used this excuse before (they use many others though). then she put me on hold, again, and came back with another excuse : “we don’t do wash if the trade is for transfer. “. I’m so amazed by the speed of TD Waterhouse building a creative excuse to piss off their customers.

    What a big mistake it was to use TDW for some many years.

    Don’t go to TD Waterhouse unless you want to add difficulties and challenges to your life.

    • lzhwxy since you have left TDW is don’t know how useful this will be for you. But here goes, the wash program is manually done by a team of traders I think they are in the Ottawa call centre. So the CSR that said its done be program is wrong and you are right that it is possible to find some pennies off here and there. From the Banks point of view it not worth it to them to work it all out, if you want to do it and come up with a number great I’d just offer you $20 bucks and hope that would shut you up.

      Auto wash program need to be set up for each account, you can’t just call in and say do for all of my accounts you need to tell the broker all your account numbers and set-up takes 1 business day. Chances are you failed say all your account numbers.

      When transferring an account all trading must stop. if you insist on trading while trying to transfer the account than you are an idiot. The broker will need to wait on the transfer until all trades have settled. Your account should be frozen so that the transfer can proceed. Inter-broker transfers can take as little as 10 days but the brokers are allowed to take up to 42 days to process. During that time no trading can take place. There is no incentive for any broker to process transfers quickly as clients need to feel a financial risk when transferring the account. If the there is no risk to the client that would just encourage more people to transfer accounts and nobody wants that. That last rep was right, you are the cause of most of your problems.

  52. Harry J Singh

    TD is member of the Canadian Banking Club(some may not know about this clubby Club), and as such does not and in fact need not give a shit about anybody’s affairs that they administer.
    Banks in this Country have always been, as indeed the Money Changers of biblical times were, a law unto to themselves–I see the term “Oligopoly” frequently used in this context—quite aptly I would say.
    Sorry ’bout this.
    Ole Harry.

  53. TD Bank & TD Waterhouse are the worst when compared to RBC in terms of service. For TD everything is complicated as can be and as another commenter wrote, has terrible customer service. RBC runs like a well oiled machine in comparison, they fill out all the forms for you and combine all their services which can be administered right from your own branch. TD by comparison is all broken up into different divisions and they are all equally difficult to deal with.

    • Canadian Capitalist

      @Mike: My experience with TD Bank group of companies has been very different. I do think that TD Waterhouse is no longer tops (mainly due to a lack of US dollar registered accounts) but their customer service has been flawless. To be fair, I found Royal Bank’s service to be top notch as well.

  54. We’ve been with TD-Waterhouse on-line brokerage for about 15 years. They’re a wonderful company, as long as you do everything yourself. Recently my wife had to work with them to set up a RRIF and transfer a RSP GIC into this RRIF. First they did not link it to her on-line account set-up, so she couldn’t buy any investments. After a lengthy, (15 – 20 minutes), phone hold they set it up so she could make on-line trades. The first investment she tried to buy included a $29. commission. Another 15 – 20 minutes on the phone to request the lower commission rate, ($9.99), our accounts are eligible for. That was 4 business days ago. Tried to buy an investment to-day, commission still at $29. This is just one of several irritants over the past 2 months. Moving all accounts to Qtrade. About the same rates and fees, but their reps pick up the phone on the 3d ring, and respond to E-mail the same day.

    • ED,

      So you are willing to throw away a 15 year relationship with your broker because you don’t understand normal procedures. And you clearly don’t understand, BTW what is a RSP GIC, you can buy a GIC in and RSP account but there no such thing as an RSP GIC. So you set up and account and somehow this new account needs to be automatically linked up to all your current accounts, what world are you living in.
      Can you imagine the cost such program.

      The right thing to do is call your broker and say hey I just opened this new account can you link it to my current profile and set-up up for commission level, the broker to start the process right away and it should be done within 3 business days. The short coming of the trading platform is that commission set-up is done a months end, so for the balance of the month you would likely have to call in hopefully at days end when you are not doing anymore trades for the day and have the commissions adjusted.

      As for wait times, 15 + minutes I would agree this is too long and it has been going this way for a long time. TDW used to have a 3 minute call answer response target, this all changed when the company became TD Direct Investing. Gone are the wait targets, gone too is the Edmonton call centre that’s 120 fewer people to answer your call. Gone or soon to be gone are all the very knowledgeable traders, no more options, mutual funds, bond or presidents desks. The phone numbers still work, but all the specialist teams have been disbanded. TDDI wants to dumb down there desks, why you may ask because they want to move you to investment advice. Think of it this way on average 1m at TDDI nets the bank $7000 a year but 1m at investment advice nets them $11000 and that after paying off the broker. TDW did surveys of clients that moved to advice and later returned to discount, those investors said the discount brokers knew more than the advisers so the answer is to dumb down discount.

  55. Harry Jaglalsingh M.D.

    This catalogue of comments is very welcome. Those of us, not yet having overcome the inertia to switch, should forward this Article in its entirety to Ed Clark(he’s there for another 18 months), or to John See the head honcho of the Discount Brokerage end of things.

  56. As a formal TDW employee I can explain a few thing about FX rates. Basically TDDI is in the business of making money any way it can, so it started with the auto wash program because it cut down of phone time people were taking instructing brokers to do washes. Making washes universal would cost the firm about 20 million in profits, so nobody at the bank is going to stand up and say that’s a good idea.

    BTW John See is no longer in charge of things and he has not been in charge for more than 2.5 years. He is there for the radio shows and public speaking events. Basically they wanted to fire him but that would cost too much so they stripped him all power hoping he decide to quit on his own. This way of dealing with long term employees is common with the Bank.

    The following it the best way to do an FX trade in a non-tax deferred account, however margin account is required.

    Using Web Broken oops inside joke

    1 Buy inter-listed listed stock on Cad side from TSX. 2 Sell the shares you just bought on the USA exchange in the same Canadian account.
    3 Call TDDI and tell the broker the correct the USA trade to the USA side of the account and instruct broker to journal shares to settle the trade.

    The advantage is it done, the broker can’t try to fight you on the procedures and can’t try to jam you up with broker assisted commissions.

    I would advise to to pick a stock to where you need to trade as few shares as possible, also check the liquidity. If you need 15k USD its better to trade 100 CP than 300 TD or 1500 BB. Try to keep this as an FX transaction do not try to make a little extra on the trade.

  57. I’ve been a TD Waterhouse client for a week and I want out.

    First of all opening a simple cash account was a month-long journey : I had to drive 100km to get to a TD Canada Trust bank (there is no TD bank in my 175 000+ pop. city) because TD Investment Centers aren’t opened in the evening or on weekends. How surprised was I when I realised that TD Trust employees have no clue on how to open a TD Waterhouse account. We managed to get through the process and I drove back 100km to my home.

    Two weeks later I hadn’t got any feedback or mail from TD so I called customer service and they told me that there was an error with my application (didn’t think of giving me a call or something ?) and that I had to go back to the bank (another 200km) and start the process all over. So I went back (yeah that’s when I should’ve given up) and filled out the form all over again.

    A week later I had no news so I called customer service again. They told me that my account was open and that they didn’t understand why I didn’t get any package in the mail (to this day I haven’t got one yet) and they set up my webbroker ID over the phone but they told me I should wait 1 or 2 businness days before trying to log-in.

    2 days later I tried to log-in, service was down, so I called customer service (again) they fixed it up and it worked.

    Then I asked the guy over the phone how to open a margin account because the employee at TD Canada Trust couldn’t do it for x reasons. He made some verifications and told me that my application for a margin was refused because my annual revenue was too low, so I asked what is the minimum and he didn’t know, told me stories about how the credit department handles margin account etc.. Nowhere on their website is there mentions of minimum requirement (I knew there would be minimums but annual revenue?), in fact compared to Itrade, Disnat, Questrade and IB , TD Waterhouse’s website is pretty lame.

    What I don’t get is : How can TD Ameritrade seems so much better than TD Waterhouse ?

    A canadian bank offers better service in the USA than in Canada !?

  58. As a client in my opinion everything about TD Waterhouse is a disaster. Everything from their 43 option exercise charge, to their idiot interface is a handicap arranged to screw the client. Do yourself a favour and avoid them at all cost.When one has experience with the American counterpart, TD Ameritrade, it leaves little doubt that Canadians are, in general, screwed by their institutions. TD Waterhouse gives Canadians what they deserve, second class ogliopoly ran services for second class Canadians.