Desjardins Online Brokerage Review

   (Editor Rating)

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Desjardins Brokerage Review
  • Online Fees and Pricing
  • Account Options
  • Customer Service
  • User Friendly Platform & App
  • Inactivity Fees and ETFs
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Desjardins Review Summary:

Desjardins Online Brokerage, which is also referred to as Disnat for their different platforms/price points, was awarded a “C rating” by Rob Carrick in the latest breakdown of Canada’s best discount brokerages for the Globe & Mail. The overall consensus being that while it covers the bases, there’s nothing really stand-out or original about the platform.

However, some people absolutely love this online broker, so we’re going to break down everything they have to offer in this Desjardins online brokerage review so you can make your own decision.

Pros

  • All major account types available
  • Better fees for young investors
  • No commission on most mutual funds
  • Plenty of perks such as events and training sessions

Cons

  • No free ETFs
  • Quarterly inactivity fees
  • Expensive overall

Desjardins isn’t our recommended broker, there are simply much better ones out there.

View Alternative, Better Rated Brokers

When it comes to Canadian online brokers, Desjardins Online Brokerage isn’t typically one of the first names that comes to mind. That being said, in the spirit of providing a 360 view of broker options, our MDJ editorial team looked under the hood of one of Canada’s original discount brokerages, with an in-depth Desjardins Discount Brokerage Review. Desjardins is best-known among those living in Quebec and Ontario; however, it’s also active in western Canada as well.  It often goes by the name “Disnat” and has been around since 1982.

Desjardins Online Brokerage Fees and Pricing

Desjardins’ pricing structure could have been considered competitive overall, if it wasn’t for that pesky combination of inactivity fees and no free ETF trading.

Sure, all leading brokers charge some kind of inactivity fee (see my Qtrade review or Questrade review for comparison) – but those can easily be waived by buying even a single ETF, which is of course free. Qtrade’s advantage is even more distinct, since it even allows you to sell most ETFs without paying any commission.

Not only that, leading online brokers usually have some kind of a welcome bonus. These promotions do a lot to mitigate any unexpected costs you might incur while getting yourself familiar with a new platform and experimenting, trying to find the best long-term portfolio. Unfortunately, as of this moment Disnat does not offer any promotions to new users.

Desjardins Online Brokerage ETFs and Mutual Funds

No-fee ETFs is one of the things we can usually count on with online discount brokerages. However, Desjardin Online Brokerages have none. This is a definite downfall on their part, especially given that Disnat’s Brokerage fees in other categories aren’t necessarily that much lower than the competition.  

On the other hand, the Desjardins Online Brokerage offers no commission on most mutual funds. There are some exemptions to this though, so you will need to read the fine print.  Personally, I’m not a big fan of mutual funds, so this doesn’t really add a lot of value for me.

Desjardins Online Brokerage Trading Fees

Desjardins Online Brokerage trading fees vary depending on a few different factors, the main difference being whether you are a Disnat Classic or Disnat Direct client. This also affects platform options which I will discuss after. 

Disnat Classic is for all traders, both new and experienced, but takes a more simplified approach. It’s meant for those who do a couple of trades per month. Disnat Direct, on the other hand, is for those who are a little more aggressive and trade 10+ times per month. 

Since the Disnat Direct customers are more active and trade more, they will see better trading fees as you can tell in the chart below. The range in fees depends on how many trades you make as well as the price and quantity of the shares traded.

While the trade commissions for stocks and ETFs will vary depending on whether you are a Disnat Classic or Disnat Direct client, the fees for all other aspects (options, mutual funds, fixed income securities) remain the same for both.

Commissions on online security tradesDisnat ClassicDisnat Direct
Equities and ETFs$6.95$4.95-$6.95 (0-29 trades per month)$0.75 per trade if you make 30+ trades per month
Options$1.25 per contract (minimum $8.75)$1.25 per contract (minimum $8.75)
Mutual Funds$0 (on most)$0 (on most)
Fixed Income securities$50/trade$50/trade 

Platform Fees – Disnat Classic and Disnat Direct

Desjardins Online Brokerage has two different platforms. Disnat Classic and Disnat Direct.

Disnat Classic is free of charge. Clients will have access to real time quotes and market data on an easy to navigate platform. It’s mean for those who want simple but modern analysis tools.

Disnat Direct is a high performance platform for those looking for more customizable options. There are three pricing options of varying capacity for watch lists and market depth of quotes. Prices range at each level depending on how many trades you make per month. See the chart below for the different price points. 

Streaming Quotes Level 1$35-60/month if less than 10 trades. $0 per month if 10+ trades
Streaming Quotes Level 1 3/4$60-$95/month if less than 21 trades. $0-$95/month is 21-30 trades. $0/month if 31+ trades.
Streaming Quotes Level 2$105-$155 per month if less than 41 trades. $0/month if 41+ trades

Admin and Account Fees

Disnat account holders should be aware that Desjardins Online Brokerage has inactivity fees of $30 per quarter. These will be waived on the following condition:

  • You have made 6 or more trades in the preceding 12 months
  • Your portfolio value is $15,000 or more on a registered account (RRSP, RRIF, RESP)

Please note that these admin and account fees are the same for both Disnat Classic and Disnat Direct clients alike.

Disnat Brokerage Review: Young Investors

If you are a young investor between the ages of 18-30, you can take advantage of a special offer with Desjardins Online Brokerage. The Broker@age clients will receive:

  • 5 free transactions
  • No inactivity fees     
  • No asset minimum for registered accounts

Desjardins Online Brokerage Accounts 

Desjardins Online Brokerages offers both regular and registered accounts. Most of the accounts are available for both Disnat Direct and Disnat Classic clients. Account options include the following:

  • RRSP
  • TFSA
  • RESP (Disnat Classic only)
  • LIRA
  • RIF
  • LIF
  • Cash Accounts (Disnat Classic only)
  • Margin Accounts
  • Margin Options Accounts
  • Short-selling accounts

Desjardins Discount Brokerage and HardBacon Partnership

A match made in Quebec – Canada’s oldest securities trading platform found a willing partner in their backyard when they recently partnered with the Hardbacon app.

Hardbacon has garnered some interesting headlines so far in 2021 as it looks to go public and supercharge their quest to help Canadians cut investing fees.  Their partnership with Disnat should help that quest, with all members of the Desjardins online broker platform gettin ga 3-months subscription to the app, as well as access to online education opportunities.

While the partnership doesn’t really “move the needle” for me as far as choosing an online broker, it is a nice little value-add for the two companies.

Desjardins Review FAQ

Who is Desjardins Online Brokerage Best For?

Desjardins Online Brokerage has options for investors of all levels of experience but isn’t necessarily the best choice for any specific type of investor. This doesn’t mean they are a bad option. Just not necessarily a standout one. 

There are plenty of mixed Desjardins brokerage reviews out there. Yes, the Globe and Mail review only gave it a C grade, however, it ranked first place in the 2019 JD Power Review for investor satisfaction and was the runner up for customer service according to MoneySense 2017 rankings. Like with every other online brokerage, it has its pros and cons and you need to evaluate those based on your needs. 

As for our thoughts? Well, considering the ETF trading prices and the inactivity fees, Desjardins Online Brokerage wouldn’t be a brokerage we would use. When you compare Disnat vs Questrade, the latter clearly comes out on top.

To read up on why Questade has been our number 1 pick for the past several years, take a look at our Questrade Review. You can also check my latest Qtrade review and see why i think it has recently overtaken Questrade as the best broker in Canada.

Jordan

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