The Suns Financial Diary posted this question for his readers and I thought that I would ask the same question to my readers.

For those of you with discount brokerage accounts, which one is your favorite? Or, if you only have one, who do you hold your account with and why?

Favorite Discount Brokerage?

  • Questrade (29%, 57 Votes)
  • TD Waterhouse (20%, 39 Votes)
  • E-Trade (12%, 24 Votes)
  • Interactive Brokers (9%, 18 Votes)
  • BMO (8%, 15 Votes)
  • TradeFreedom (7%, 14 Votes)
  • CIBC (5%, 9 Votes)
  • Royal Bank (5%, 9 Votes)
  • Credential Direct (3%, 6 Votes)
  • Scotia Bank (2%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 194

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I personally have multiple discount brokerage accounts as they as have different purposes. When I started investing many years ago, I opened an account with CIBC Investors Edge and still have an account with them. From there, I opened an account with Interactive Brokers to test out my trading skills, then an account with Questrade for cheap RRSP trades. All have strengths and weaknesses depending on the purpose of the account.

We have quite a bit of material on discount brokerages written here, you can find reviews on:

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I do my banking with TD and took the simple route of getting my discount brokerage account with them, so I have no points of comparison. I find the TD system easy to use. I know the commissions are relatively high compared to some, but since I’m a buy and hold guy it doesn’t particularily bother me. I also find some comfort using a big name.

Why not list Scottrade? They are purely awesome with only $7 trades and the best Customer Support I’ve ever had! Also, I’m investing in a Canadian company and it cost me a little over $20 to do the trade. However, they plan to allow online trading to at least Canada in the near future at the $7 price according to my local broker and that will rock!

Well, I went with Qtrade last year after reading all the reviews… in the end I made my choice because I had a few questions and BMO’s discount broker never got back to me wheras Qtrade always answers the phone on the first ring, and has been incredibly helpful. It’s not the cheapest at $19 per trade, but considering I’m a buy and hold kind of guy, the service is definately worth the price.

That said, for my wife’s spousal account I’m thinking of trying another broker (someday I intend to be over a million so may as well split it early), and I’d like to find one that has excellent GIC purchasing capabilities, I’m SOOO tired of having to call my bank manager every time a GIC comes due to get the best rate possible instead of the default offer. Can anyone suggest a good one for that?

Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s available in Canada yet? But it is one of the largest in the US and they rock! I would ass-u-me that it’s coming to Canada and that would be good for y’all.

One should not forget Disnat although I suspect almost all clients are in Quebec since it’s Desjardins’ service.

This is a strange poll, because it really represents the firm people are using versus their “favorite”. For example, I have accounts with 3 different brokerage houses, and I can discuss the pros and cons of each and which is my favorite – but I could not tell you that I’m using them because they are my favorite as compared to all the others. Follow?

It’s like asking someone which soft drink is their favorite: coke, ginger ale, sprite, orange crush, or root beer. Except if he’s only tasted 1, 2, or 3 of the 5, he really can’t tell you what his “favorite” is. He can only tell you which one he drinks or which one he likes of the ones he has tried.

FWIW, I have not tried Trade Freedom or Questtrade, but I can tell you that all the others leave a lot to be desired. IB is the most sophisticated, and it’s what I use for daily trading, but it has it’s problems too (e.g. no RRSPs, lousy client service,…)

If you are looking for a broker with lousy service and a hoard of technical problems , choose QTrade in Vancouver , Canada. I have had an account there for a few years and have had dozens of occasions when real time quotes have been unavailable, not a good situation when you are in a position and day trading, this past week on Wednesday you couldn’t trade at all as your account only showed your cash and no holdings, when I called to complain I was non chalantly told our overnight backup was bad and we couldn’t resolve it, no apology or concern whatsoever. When we switched to daylight savings it took them three days to change the time for trades etc, they cited a software glitch..I have finally smartened up and closed both accounts as lousy service and high trading costs are not a good combination……Thanks to Scotia ITrade for making my transfer simple and providing courteous and professional service…

CIBC is cheap but terrible for active trading. Their platform is slow and often does not work at all. It takes them up to 7 business days to update splits in accounts. They do it manually. They even cannot automatically calculate margin remaining showing always the pre-trading value. The only reason to have it if you trade large amounts of stocks for example 5000 or more in one trade. I sometimes trade more than 100000 stocks per day and pay $14 for both sides. With other brokers I would pay 10 times more at least. It is good for scalping because you do not care a lot about fees but it is bad on execution side. I guess their marketing and IT guys have never traded at all, so they come up with very idiotic interface and features.

TD Waterhouse, while a decent system and a big name, is hit or miss when coming to phone support. I had to ask 3 times on 3 separate occasions to remove me from the US wash, and am still asking to removed from Active Trader Plus which they say they do but they don’t and continue to charge me the extra fees.

Sometimes you get great service and I wish I could remember the one person who has helped me. But most of the time you get someone who talks when he should listen. Furthermore you will hear one thing from one person which is contradicted by the next…and when confronted with such, you’re asked “well whom did you speak with?” as if they’re located on two different planets. Getting a straight answer from TD Waterhouse is a full-time job.

So to anyone still lurking on this page, I’ll save you the hundreds in fees they’re going to try to stiff you with and tell you to take your business elsewhere.

Has anyone tried