Time for another low cost discount brokerage review: Tradefreedom.  We have done many discount brokerage reviews, from the good to the not so good. I thought that we had most of the brokerages covered, but after some comments from readers, I was missing an essential piece of the Canadian discount brokerage market, Tradefreedom.

This article will provide a preliminary view of the discount brokerage Tradefreedom. As I don’t have an account with them, I can only go by what it stated on their website and by what readers are saying about them. I would be grateful if more Tradefreedom clients to add their comments.

Note that MDJ is not affiliated with Tradefreedom.

Account Types Offered:

  • Cash, Margin, Short, Options, Futures, Forex and Registered (RRSP, RRIF, LIRA, LIF, RESP)

Trading Platforms

  1. Tradefreedom Online. As with all Canadian discount brokerages, Tradefreedom provides an web based trading platform that includes direct access trades, along with free real time quotes and charts. Seems to be similar to Questrade’s interface.
  2. Tradefreedom Edge. This includes all the features of the web platform but with the addition of advanced trading tools. Their online demo looks fairly advanced.

Commissions/Fees for Trading Stocks and Options (+ ECN fees)

  • U.S Equities: $9.95 Flat
  • Canadian Equities < $3.00: $9.95
  • Canadian Equities > $3.00: $9.95 up to 1,000 shares, $0.01/share after that.
  • Options: $9.95 + $1.25/contract
  • Broker Assisted Trades: $20 + regular commission
  • Mutual Funds: $37.95/transaction
  • No trade, account minimum or annual fees

Datafeeds

  • This is where Tradefreedom really shines. They provide free REAL TIME streaming quotes AND charts (level 1). I believe that this may be the only Canadian discount brokerage to do this.

What the Readers are Saying

Michael Watkins

If your account is relatively small, and you do not trade very often at all, then TradeFreedom is a good provider.

However if you are at all active – even swing trading I push through more than 30 trades a quarter – the transaction costs will quickly make TradeFreedom the most expensive choice.

Andrew

You can open an account with TradeFreedom Securities and get free real-time STREAMING quotes for both USD and CAD exchanges includes free US market depth. No trade minimums either – all clients can obtain $9.95 rates regardless of your trade and asset levels.

Why would you want to toggle between one website (for the last quotes price – not even streaming quote) and then go to another site to place the trade?

Mr. T

They have great rates, and great Windows platform. (rich client Windows app that you install on your desktop) They also have a Web interface which lets you do all the trades, quotes and account maintenance, but it needs some work to make it look nicer.

The Windows app is great, real time quotes, blotter, watchlists, all that you need. Trades are around $9.95 per trade (I didn’t quite figure out the formula, but it depends on how many shares, at what price, but for my last 5 trades I paid $9.95, $10.08, $11.03, $10.02, and $10.08) They have been bought by ScotiaBank, but so far they are running the shop independently.

I would like to see great FX rates and great premuim interest rate for cash balances. Currently cash balances earn 0% interest. With TradeFreedom you can have CAD or USD balance on the account. To transfer money to TradeFreedom, you just set-up a bill payment on your web banking, and there you go, you “pay a bill” to transfer any amount to your TradeFreedom account.

To transfer money back, you need to call them, and after password validation on the phone, you can tell them to EFT your cash amount back to your bank. This takes about 2 days to EFT (electronic fund transfer).

Final Thoughts

I’m not sure why I missed this brokerage before, but now that I’ve noticed them, they are a legitimate player in the low cost discount brokerage market. What I like most about them are the fact that they have no account trade or cash minimums, they provide free real time streaming quotes/charts and they have direct access to the markets.

If you are interested in stock trading, here are some free online stock trading tools that I have used and recommend.

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MDJ…While they are still building out their “Canadian Content” (RRSP’s and CDN Securities are coming) I find the trading platform of OptionsXpress to be absolutely fabulous. I have used TD, CIBC and BMO (Still have a BMO account) and they simply pale in comparison. The rates are not the best on the street but are definitely competitive and given how much I have lost in profits trading on other websites needing to take extra time to get a trade in or waiting for a human to approve the trade or entering multiple legs of a strategy, the few extra dollars I pay to OX in a year is money well spent.

When I decided to implement the Smith Manoeuvre I wanted a simple way to invest my money for the long term. I wanted an account where I could pick a security, transfer money into my account and buy it.

I have opened an account with Canadian ShareOwner Investments which allows me to pick from selected stocks and ETF’s.

I chose to go with Canadian ETF’s and I chose the option to buy a set dollar amount each month. For each individual ETF I buy I pay $9 for the first 4 trades then it’s free. Over the years I will be increasing my portfolio without having to pay more than $36 in commission per security. Another feature I like is that dividends are re-invested at no extra costs.

I agree with 45free. I also use Optionsxpress Canada. If you trade options or futures contracts or futures options, it is one of the best. Their platform is amazing with lots of extra reports and free stuff if you have an account. Unfortunately all transactions are in US $ and US Stocks and options and no RRSP’s are available, but if you are a trader then its a great deal.

Daniel,
Do you have to enter through their Shareowner educational process, or can you choose to enter the investment wing directly. If you need use the Shareowner training seminars to gain a foothold, then those costs should be included in your tally.

DAvid

I just opened a trading account. I did not take any part of training side of their business.

That sounds like an expensive brokerage account. If you want to invest in US equities I would recommend Zecco trading. If you want to be a day trader, I would recommend Interactive brokers.

Their platform is good but I have had problems with customer service, I set up my account to have e-confirmation and e-statements but every month they charge me a paper confirmation and statement fee, I am tired of sent them emails every month to reimburse me the fee. Also, they charge $1 for the dividend reinvestment program, I have to call once because they had not reinvested the dividends. A couple of time they have rejected the electronic transfer, after a couple of emails and a call they deposited the money.

DGI,

Perhaps this has changed, but Zecco is not available to canadians (yet?).

The entrance of Zecco on the canadian field might force the other players to react. This would be a good thing.

Nicolas

Nicolas,

I was not aware about that. Can’t you open an account as a NON-US account holder?

I got my answer on the Zecco FAQ page:

Can Canadian residents open a Trading Account?
Canadian citizens residing in the U.S. are able to open an account at Zecco Trading; however residents in Canada are currently unable to establish an account due to current Canadian security regulations.

Doh!

Nicolas,

I wasn’t aware of that. Maybe one day Zecco will bring a similar package to Canadians?

I am currently using TradeFeedom.com for some of my trading.

There is only one benefit to using this company. PRICE. If you trade less than 30 times a quarter and do not have a large $ amount in your account than you should consider TradeFreedom, but only if you will never require customer service.

You are assigned an account manager that truly has no purpose other than holding that title. The company provides nearly zero research tools of any kind. Account statements are useless as you will need to calculate nearly all trading costs on your own (if you can find them). Their platform goes down on a very regular basis.

However, you are using the same platform for free that ETRADE charges $200 a year for… I guess it is simply a matter of ‘you get what you pay for!’

Bottom line: If you are patient and will require zero assitance and are not trading extensively, they may be worth the try. I am still using their service, but will not be depositing any new $ into their account.

I would avoid TradeFreedom.com as well. The customer service is not very good. The comment above mentions that they are good if you are just starting out or do fewer trades with lower dollar amounts. I feel that their total lack of research is another reason to avoid them, especially if you are just starting out. Newbies need the extra research to assist in the learning process.

I have to disagree with Stocker and TheBroker regarding TradeFreedom. I have had an account with them for about 5 years – I know that I can get a better price elsewhere because I am quite active but no else has provided me with the service that they have.

I am willing to pay a premium for their service – TF like most online brokers in Canada (questrade,disnat,TD,etrade) all license the same platform from Nexa Technolgies, except TF doesn’t charge for the platform and all the quotes are streaming. That is unique so if your not active and want direct access trading, premarket and after market and not have to worry about a platform fee then TF is the place to go.

TF platform used to crash a lot until they upgraded in Jan or Feb of this year. But if you were at any of the other brokers using the same platform you would have experienced the same issues because they all license the platform from the same company. At least TF doesn’t charge for it.

When they did have technical issues I was supported by a team of employees called the Elite group – available for active traders (30+ quarter). I was always well served – yes I agree there were some lengthy wait times but that only happened when the system would crap out. I understand lengthy wait times when all your clients are calling at the same time, any broker would experience that issue. In general though I dont wait very long at all – I actually prefer to send emails if I have questions or cal my former account manager.

I have a friend who says the customer service is not great and that is only because of his lack of understanding basic tenets of a self-directed account. They have great technical anaylsis research for free – if you want fundamental research then you probably aren’t a very active trader. Either way – I was advised that they will be providing an extensive list of research reports and daily fundamental research including mutual fund & fixed imcome research. This will be available to all clients and some of it exclusive to the Elite clients (active). The research will come from a variety of sources including their new owners Scotia and CSFB. I am looking forward to this new feature that will provide me with new trading ideas.

For newbies you can take a free trading course (i beleive they still offer it) with CyberTrading University. I took it and thought it was great way to learn about US Level 2 trading and the benefits of ECN’s.

Either way…these are my two cents …for all they are worth :) happy Trading and Good Luck To Us All!

(DREW) – I have never been in the ELITE program with TF. Mainly due to the fact that I use two online brokerages and the initial customer service was so awful that I do not want to trade 30 plus times per quarter with this company. The ‘free’ platform is a great feature, but the RECOGNIA technical anaylsis is available through nearly every other competing brokerage as well.

As you are an acitve trader with TF, how do you find the overall trading costs on large volume orders? Another individual on this site had ranked TF as one of the most expensive online brokerages with high volume traders and it would be great if I could get your opinion on it.

Have you or do you use other online brokerages? If so, how do they compare with TF?

I had started to make the switch to TF based solely on the free platform, but have had so many issues on items that should not be issues. I want to use their services, but currently, from my personal experience, I have found more negatives than positives.

I have to say I was extremely dissatisfied with TradeFreedom. I was even an Elite member too and was trading actively with a well funded account. The biggest complaint was with customer service. They would never take my issues seriously and it eventually forced me to transfer out. They also restricted OTC and Pink sheet trading on the platform and never informed me in advance which limited my ability to do any trades with them unless I called in over the phone. They blocked out all trading in those stocks on the platform. What good is a direct access platform if you can’t trade your stocks using it? This was the most stupid things I’ve ever seen a brokerage do. They just left us hanging after we had positions in these stocks and couldn’t effectively trade out of them quickly. One day they just decided to do this without informing any clients in advance. I suffered substantial losses because of it and will never forget that. I transferred out right after that and will never consider using them again. I do not recommend this brokerage at all.

I was told today that the futures side of Trade freedom is shutting down at the end of this month (July 08). I found this out the hard way, they took my trade and then would not liquidate it untill I called the desk. Due to the large number of calls they were recieving I had a twenty minute wait time to get out of a position. Not a good place to be in as a day trader. This was the last straw for me so I am closing my account with these guys. I have had nothing but problems with thier platform, and wait times are forever when you need answers immediatly.I have only been with them for several months and have been unhappy since my futures account was opened. I should have ditched them long ago. STAY FAR AWAY FROM THIS FIRM In MY OPINION. If this is the way they treat customers that put 15 or more trades through a day I would guess they do not care for anyone.

Ever since Tradefreedom was bought by Scotia, has there been marked improvement in customer service and trade offering.

For Tradefreedom, can we avoid the ECN fees if we chose the market maker option? Is this available in their EDGE trading platform?

In hotstockmarkets.com, a poster mentioned that because of these ECN fees, his trades cost usually cost at least $25, which is almost comparable to RBCDI and TDW’s $29 fees.

I’m an amature trader and don’t plan to trade a lot and don’t have big $$$, won’t pay $29 per trade (I think it’s a complete rip off to Canadian investor if you look at the price of US online brokers), and I don’t need fancy research tool. I require very minimum customer support if their system is stable. Should I go with TradeFreedom? is their platform stable? I’m currently weighing on TradeFreedom and Questrade, I saw a lot of complaints for Questrade. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Hi there,
I moved accounts (4) from Scotia brokerage to TradeFreedom for 3 reasons:
* low trading costs, 9.95
* Level II real time data feed
* dedicated platform (TF Edge)
We have 2 RRSP + 3 regular accounts (my kids and myself). Trading wise I don’t ask TF for help. I come up with my own decisions and live with results.
Customer service sucks in terms that when you call TF be prepared to hold for about 30-40 minutes before someone picks up the phone.
I trade about 2 times a day on each of accounts and mostly US stocks because of volatility that creates opportunities for day traders.
Here is a major drag that I discovered just few days ago: on paper and according to Edge I am making pretty good money and in reality my accounts barely show improvements. Since each trade is 9.95 (2 x 9.95 for in and out makes 20 bucks) that means that their USD/CAD exchange on trade is HORRIBLE. There is no other explanation. I sent written complaint there on Friday and there is no official answer yet but if that is what drags me down I am out of there!
I can’t suffer hundreds of dollars or charges per trade that way.
If anybody has good suggestion or comment I am all ears!

Thank you for space,
Zack

TradeFreedom is now owned by Scotia McLeod. This is probably a good thing as it would be hard to make TradeFreedom worse. After leaving them I realize just how bad they were. Horrible customer service, poor fill rates, poor currency exchange rates. If you are still unsure, keep your account there and open a new one somewhere else to try. Nearly everyone uses the same platform. TF calls theirs Edge, but it is the same as Etrade, TD, Disnat… called Nexatech.

21.JT, where are you now?
I realized that more than few brokers have same kind of platform. Now I am used to it I like it.
I can’t make my mind between TD and Questrade. Both of them have possibility of holding USD balance so there is no exchange fees. Confusing factor is that people say opposite things about Questrade. Yes, great rates and all that but some people say that they experienced terrible mistakes with them, very long sign up time, problems of getting money out of them and so on.
TD Waterhouse looks like better choice but I am afraid that I will pay a lot in beginning until “established” as active trader.
Suggestions? … anybody?

I’ve had a TF account now for over 3 years. Have made 1000’s of trades in a month. I have paid TF 10’s of thousands in commissions and exchange fees.

I am an “elite” member (valued paying customer, more like employee without pay).

1. Horrible customer service. I’ve been hung up on several times. Once for demanding an account balance which they were unable to provide. Customer service has improved since Scotia has taken over. Specifically in the apparent effort department. At least they are pretending to care now.

2. Same windows based platform as ALL other discount brokerages (QT, E*Trade etc.). Mickey mouse. You will quickly grow out of it.

3. Same rates. 6.99 per trade (+ ecn fees) if you are an active trader.

4. Like all other discount brokerages they offer the opportunity to use margin, make short trades, trade options, forex (provided you have enough money).

5. Their system does not limit your trading in any way. Disregards US daytrading laws and allows you to trade US securities as much as you like. I believe this is a technical issue and not something they are intentionally doing. But it has been the case for me since opening my account. I’ve never been restricted with the number of trades i execute, how long i hold in relation to my balance. This could be because their system sucks at communicating what your actual balance is.

Their main problem is their reporting and ability to intuitively communicate your account status. This is a MAJOR problem. Now, if you are making a small number of trades you can live with this. You can take your trading history and account for it yourself. Know where your cash accounts are at, your margin etc. When you start to make 20+ trades a day you need a REAL broker with real software.

If you can’t know EXACTLY where your accounts are at, at any given time you will not be able to make the critical decisions required to successfully trade. Specifically they have a problem with reporting summary information that tells you what you’ve “got”. Their is no report letting you know what trades are remaining to clear and what has cleared so you can never tell if what you’re seeing in your account is accurate or not. It can take days for some trades to clear. When you are making 20+ trades a day there is no way to tell. You are literally throwing your money away on a bad hobby at that point. Furthermore what shows in the account windows in the windows app can be completely different then what shows in your web based account as well as the web based trading site.

The windows software is almost disconnected from your actual account. In terms of displaying your account balances and buying power it simply does not work. Not surprising since the underlying accounting system is f’d up as well. Please understand that it’s not that i just don’t get it, it truly does not work. Press any customer service rep on the details and they will confirm the issues. It seems crazy, almost criminal (it may be) especially considering this is now owned by one of Canada’s biggest banks.

All in all it’s as good as any other discount brokerages. Some advantages an d some disadvantages. These types of accounts are the current status quo. It’s definitely one step up from your basic TD waterhouse account.. But not much. Especially considering the big banks now own and operate most of these brokerages.

You are still paying the same people who are out there betting against you. You cannot win. These accounts and platforms are marketed as daytrading platforms that are designed to give you some kind of edge.. Against who? The Banks? They are out there taking your money. And YOU PAY THEM (commissions) to do it. hahah.

This isn’t sour grapes. I’ve made some money and lost some (mostly in commissions/exchange fees paid). At the end of the day, with any of these accounts, the banks make the money. Period. How many casinos have you heard of that have closed down because there are too many winners?

Can you make money trading? Can you play in the NBA? Well understand that winning at trading is as difficult (in relative terms) as being a winner in pro sports. The league is a little bigger… so there is a little more to go around. But the point is you need to learn and you will pay.

Trading and investing are two different things. Investing can be easy. Buy and hold. Trading on the other hand is not so easy.

My Advice:
If you are considering one of these discount brokerage accounts then KNOW that you will eventually become dissatisfied. There is another option if you are going to make a lot of trades. Spend the time looking and investigating.
I would love to speak to anyone who uses one of these accounts (Etrade, QT or Tradefreedom, and nothing else) who has consistently made money over a 4 year period. Anyone with that kind of skill and understanding does not use these accounts.

Good luck and happy trading.

You can expect to pay more to use any good platform if you make less than 50 trades a month and/or have less than100,000 in your account. I use Disnat Direct for most of my active trading. $5 trades and customer service is the reason.

rwfresh, thank you very much for taking time and effort on Sunday evening to detail out things I kind of felt but could not explain!

Let me explain what I am doing. I am managing 4 accounts, mine and wife’s RRSP and kids (2). I am doing about 1-2 trades a day and can hardly concentrate on one stock so only way to do it is to repeat same thing on all 4 accounts. Buy same stock at same time and sell it at same time. I mostly trade US stocks since I see more volatility and opportunities there. I will not touch margin trading and options any time soon.
I am fairly happy with TF Edge, love live data feed and chart. That is only way I recognize in and out points. I am 52 and would like to trade more and do my other work less.
Now about problems. You are trading much longer and more than I do so you learned about problems much earlier.

* Reporting; agree 100%. What Edge tell you in real time, transactions and cash status are 3 different things! Because of that and my own non non-diligence (stupidness) just recently I realized that when trading (and gaining) US stocks I am actually losing big or gaining just a peanuts. Sometimes I switch to WEB interface after trading day to see reports. What is there and what I expected to see after checking my trading list are hundreds of dollars apart! I believe that I am losing mostly on exchange fees but I can’t see that anywhere in reports or on TF site or anywhere else. No reports reflect that. Nowhere are exchange rates and much more. Only thing I can tell is that I am being ripped off, on multiple fronts. I get mad every evening … I see 400 bucks gain in Edge and my diary and almost nothing or minus in total balance?!

* Customer service; don’t call them much but when I do I am prepared to wait on hold.

* More than few times system messages pop up on the screen (like warnings) and same thing sometimes gets displayed 10 times. It interferes with trading. You have to click Ok to dismiss the message.

There is more but major drawback is smoke and mirrors in accounts handling. I hope that TDW has at least that part on different, better level. It is a major bank …

Today I called TDW (Sunday!) and after 5-7 minutes on hold spoke to real person. Amazing. I learned that their exchange rates are 2.5% below 50k traded and 1.4% with 50k+ traded. Example was rate used on Friday, 1.2495/1.2195. One for buy one for sell USD. So, if you purchased 10000 CAD worth of USD stocks and sold same thing later in day you are in hole for about 250 dollars no matter how actual trade went! That is horrible outcome. Hopefully TDW supports US funds in regular accounts, not in RRSP.

Now we come up to your quote “…When you start to make 20+ trades a day you need a REAL broker with real software.”
Who would that be, whom do you recommend? Whom are you using now, happy or not so …? Advice will be appreciated!

Zack

Hi Zack,

I’ve got a US account with tradefreedom, but again the problem with using it to my advantage is the need to know what my cash balances are at any given time, all the time. If you are disciplined enough you can keep your exchange to a minimum. But TF doesn’t make it easy, and it’s more a technical issue with their software and system. Reporting is pathetic as you’ve already discovered.

Last year i made millions of dollars in trades. At the end of the year i was down about 14k. This was exactly equal to the commissions i paid. And not including the exchange commissions i paid which were probably far more.
Without the exchange i probably would have been up 20k.
My trading last year was more like a relatively expensive hobby then real investing.

My trading is minimal right now. I still have my account. Sounds like what you are doing is very time intensive. That time could be spent working on strategies, rather than work arounds.

Check out Interactive Brokers . Probably the best retail type account you can get. Superior software, FAR superior. 1 cent per share flat, no additional commission. No exchange commissions. Trade ANY market, any currency. You have to pay for any exchange feeds you want (realtime datafeeds). This is as close as you can get to a brokerages trade station. Actually it looks like IB exchange feeds can be used as a feed for Trade Station (great software).

When i get a chance i will be grabbing an IB account.

rwfresh, thanks for info. I opened IB in other tab and will go through site page by page with special emphasis on platform.

Here is opportunity for people reading this blog to learn something they possibly didn’t know (I didn’t either). I called TF today and got this information, spread between buy/sell exchange rates is 2.1%!

So if you bought 10000 bucks (CAD) worth of US stock, and sold it later, possibly made 200 USD profit, you are actually in the hole and better didn’t even start that trade! TF took 210 dollars regardless of the trade outcome + 9.95 + 9.95 so it is -230. Exchange is real deal killer!

What did you trade mostly, CAD, US stocks, millions in transactions sounds like very active day trading?
I personally lost a shirt on OIL.TO, they are on brink of bankruptcy together with some 25k of my money, but this is not right place for chat like that. I hope to find some forum with CAD stocks and knowledgeable people there.

I should’ve taken the time to grab and IB account back then. I would have actually made money ;’)

I was trading everything. I’m mostly trading etf’s now.. like most daytraders i’d think! The 3x and 2x leveraged etfs are a lot of fun. I’m not trading near as much as i was. I wouldn’t touch any individual stock right now. I’d rather wait and see that the market has/is recovering. Trying to determine the health of an individual company right now is way too time consuming for me. Unless you are looking for dividends; investing in individual stocks is not something i would be interested in doing.

If you a looking for winners i’d say look for companies that are at least apparently operating with healthy credit, and have cash on hand.

When you are daytrading, i would say understanding a stocks’s movement and market mood are more important than fundamentals anyway… Just determine whether you want to trade or invest.

Trade anything with lots of volume and big moves, invest in cash rich, dividend paying companies.

Trade Freedom is an unethical disaster with appalling service. Following their recent takeover by Scotia Bank I have had huge errors appear on my account. In the most recent and worst, all the original purchase values for my positions were suddenly changed by their system, mostly downwards so everything appeared cheaper. Some by as much as 50%. This made my overall Profit Loss balances appear artificially good. I had made a few sales at what I thought was a profit before I realised the problem and that I had in fact incurred losses due to their data corruption. When I contacted customer servie they took 4 business days to reply, despite my leaving phone messages for the Manager. They eventually agreed that their data was in error then unbelievably advised me that it could happen again at any time in the future and then quoted the small print from the contract which of course said that they have no responsibility for the accuracy of their data. There was no apology of any sort, their response was by e-mail with no name and they basically told me that I could not trust their data to be accurate and that I should check all the pricing myself manually before trading. Well if we can’t expect accurate data feeds what is it that they provide of any value – nothing. All in all a truly disgusting experience with an unethical and indifferent company. I cannot warn people away enough.

I will not recommend Trade Freedom to anyone. Their customer service is absolutety horrible, always on hold and was treated terrible as well. Even the smallest problem is not taken care of and their servers are still not reliable in 2009. Their data fees are not cheap and they want you to do 150 trades per quarter to have any of them waived, which is pretty high.

Unfortunately none of the banks are any better and I’ve seen TONS of complaints about Questrade all over the internet and their terrible service, long waiting times to open accounts, etc etc. Its too bad these small companies don’t understand how to take care of customers, that is the way to grow and have yet more customers. Questrade also charges for their platform and data fees unless you do 40 trades per month which is also very high.

IB not having RRSP is really a deal killer, I mean they need to get with the program, that is an awful lot of business they are throwing away.

I see Creditial does not even charge for data fees, does anyone have any experience with them?

Any other suggestions?

Etrade looks to be okay but they charge 100 per month for their platform.

I think the Canadian alternatives are better … for Canadians. I’m not sure I would recommend Questrade because I’ve read they have a tiny office someplace in Ontario – one individual who claimed to have been there in person said it was a joke of an operation. Ive seen people mention Interactive Brokers Canada. I too was thinking Interactive Brokers was the best choice until I did some research. Interactive Brokers is great for day trading, yes, IF you have the 25,000 minimum requirement to put into your account to make it happen legally. That would be 30 grand Canadian funds. Not everybody has that kind of dough lying around. I know I certainly don’t. I can explain. Even though you’re a Canadian IB will make you operate under United States laws because they’re based in the U.S. In the U.S. you need 25 grand American to day trade. And forget about penny stocks with IB – there’s no flat fee per trade option there. The best option for me would be a reliable brokerage that is at least somewhat honest and offers day trading without a 25 thousand dollar USD minimum deposit. I was still wondering how honest and reliable TradeFreedom was – the fees are relatively the same no matter where you go besides IB who has the least fees Ive seen or heard of anywhere, and I’ve done my research.

I’m with BMO Investorline and I have to tell you that the way they execute Trailing Stops is based on the stocks closing price. They don’t account for intraday price fluctuations whichI think is crazy. I’m looking to move account to Scotia iTrade as most “normal” brokeage the trailing stop is based on intraday quote data.

Any use them. I have over $100k and currenlty get a flat $9.99/stocks.

thanks

Al

I have TFSA account with CREDENTIAL and till now down 6 trades….NO HIDDEN fees flat 19 bucks…

customer service is great…..i live few blocks away from there HO in Vancouver…seems to be great operations….

I guess they are great in customer service as owned by Credit UNIONS.

I was going to open with TRADESFREEDOM but a friend suggested against it..yes fees little less but not great in resolving issues.

Well, it is was only a matter of time…before the lords and masters (ie. Scotiabank) started raising TF’s fees… that day has come.

My wife and I just started to seriously get into investing this year, and so we ended up choosing TF for it’s reasonable commissions and fee structure.

Well, we just got a letter from them this week indicating that they are now imposing a Low Activity Account Fee of $25 / quarter… If you make at least 1 trade per quarter, or your assets are over $10K, this fee will be waived….
So any advantages to newbie investors are slowly being eroded.

IMHO, this is only the beginning… I guarantee that within a year or so, the fees will be on par with the rest of Scotia’s offerings… we’re moving out of TF before we get gouged on this.

One of the reviewers above is absolutely correct. TradeFreedom is okay if you simply want cheap trades and don’t need customer service.

I have been trying to close my account for going on two weeks now. On hold waiting for customer service for fifteen twenty minutes at a time. When I finally get through, the person on the other end gives me a different story each time about why it’s taking so long and why it will be yet a few more days each time.

I’ve asked to speak to a supervisor and get stonewalled every time, being told that I can reach that level only via email. When I email attention supervisors, I get different excuses again why they cannot close my account.

This ordeal has been absolutely surreal!

I would stay away from TradeFreedom at all costs. They readily sell you on their cheap fees, but when it comes time to get help or to leave them, it’s bloody impossible. It really smells to high heaven like some type of a ponzi scheme.

Since CIBC bough Trade Freedom, their customer service went downhill. They invented several “administrative fees”, which make trading pricy.
New inactivity fees, every quarter.
New mutual funds administrative fees.
Client care that ignores any complaints and emails.
And to speak to a representative = at least 20 minute wait on the phone.

CIBC ruined this company.
Stay away from “new” Trade Freedom.
I used to love them, now it’s just another crappy part of CIBC.

Eliza, it’s not CIBC who bought TradeFreedom, but Bank of Nova Scotia (ScotiaBank, or Scotia Capital).

I agree, though, that the service at Trade freedom is horrendous. I have been trying to close an account there for over a month. No, this is not a joke. I have really been trying to close a trading account with TradeFreedom for over a month and a half now. It’s one excuse after another and a new “processing period” after every new excuse. And forget trying to talk to a supervisor; they simply do not let you.

“Stay away” is absolutely correct.

They are a pain.. took forever to open the account.. Then I got a letter about low activity fee “effective July 1” for accounts not active for 3 months…

I got charged the $25 on JUNE 15th… Considering it was supposed to be effective July 1, I did not expect to have been be close to getting charged until sometime in September at the earliest…

Emailed them a few times, and the answers just quote, parts of thier policies.. and every time I ask for a clarification, it goes unanswered.. I will surely be closing that account pretty soon… I have no problems with Scotia’s other banking services [I have them for all my other banking], but now that they have TF, they seriously need to look into thier customer service division.. This is a joke..

TradeFreedom applied the $26 inactivity to my account in late June as well, Emporium. This is to that same account I’ve been fighting to get closed since April. It took me contacting ScotiaBank customer service to get that fee removed. Howevere, even though the response from Scotia customer service was that the fee would be removed and the account closed, the latter has never happened yet. The account remains open. A tradeFreedom rep said that an end of month mail statement would reflect that the account is closed. This remains to be seen.

Three months and counting to close an account. Here I thought Vonage was bad. What an absolute racket!

Hey, if you guys are in Canada and have a complaint, maybe you can check this place out.

Investment Dealers Association of Canada (IDA) is the national self-regulatory organization for the Canadian securities industry representing more than 200 member firms across the country. Its mission is to foster fair, competitive and efficient capital markets by encouraging participation in the savings and investment process and by ensuring the integrity of the marketplace. As a self-regulatory organization, it monitors member firms from coast to coast in terms of capital adequacy and conduct of business.

website:

http://www.ida.ca/

At IIROC, we’re committed to responding to client complaints in a timely, helpful and fair fashion. We encourage investors to bring their complaints to our attention so that we can take appropriate regulatory action to help ensure that any rule infractions won’t continue to happen.

IB is the best broker (Futures, International, Forex, Equities)

But Minimum fees commission 10$ US a month (only for active trader)
Iceberg order for big shot and a lot of ECN

10 000$ for open a account

If you are beginning just open TF for Data and trade with Questrade for lower cost

For Data Tradefreedom use data and just make one trade a 3 month is not very hard

Questrade use for fondamental

Instititution RBC, BMO TDW National Bank is to expansive is you don’t have 100 000$ buck

For real if you need customer service, you are not a trader if you don’t understand how work the market (ECN and all routing system)

AMF in QUEBEC http://www.lautorite.qc.ca/clientele/consommateur/registre-entreprises-individus-autorises-exercer/registre-courtiers-conseillers.en.html

look over their All Listed broker can be operated in Quebec

I thought I’d post about my recent experiences with TF, perhaps solely out of frustration. After my seemingly unending problems with E*Trade several years ago, I decided to return to trading via TF for their reasonable commission fee ($9.95) and lack of inactivity fees. Here’s what I’ve had to endure during the past several months:

1. I printed their online application and mailed it to them.

2. Several weeks later, my cheque was deposited and I received an email telling me that the application forms had been updated and that I had to mail in the new forms (with a slightly bossy undertone). Strike 1. I had this creepy feeling about signing up with them, but they already had my money, so I might as well just mail new forms and get it over with.

3. I made my first stock purchase. A day later, 2 purchases showed up in my account instead of 1, followed by a sell order for the erroneous purchase someone had made. I emailed them about it and waited a week for a response. They admitted that a mistake was made on their end. The math was too much for me, so I took their word for it and assumed it was 100% reversed. Strike 2, nonetheless.

4. My holdings are up over 50%, time to sell. I try logging in, but my password no longer works. I email them and wait 3 days. No response. I email them again. No response. I finally call them a week later (stocks kept rising, so I wasn’t too worried) and am first rudely accused of going to the wrong webpage. Once I prove I’m at the right page, they reset my password and ask me to try again. I try twice and it doesn’t work. I’m then accused of not entering my password correctly. After being put on hold, I’m told that the problem is on their end and that they’ll call me back by end of day once it’s resolved. I waited this long, what’s a few more hours. Days go by without a call and I still can’t login. I call again and a more polite customer representative fixes my password within minutes.

5. I receive a letter telling me about the new inactivity fees. sigh – I suppose I can remember to trade at least once per quarter.

6. I try placing OTC and Pink orders. They don’t work. I search their online help for answers, but, well, their help is basically a very short table of contents with nothing that could really pass as content, so no answer there. I email them to ask about OTC and PINK. I receive a response a few days later telling me to call if I want to place those kinds of orders. I sigh and shake my head.

7. I try to place a sell Stop Limit order on a canadian stock. No can do, but I suppose that’s common knowledge amongst more experience traders. Lost $20 in commissions to find that out.

8. I try to place a sell Stop Limit order on a US stock. No can do – “ECN not supported”. I lose another $20 in commissions. I casually ask a friend about this and he tells me it only works if the stop price is the same as the limit price… ummm… wouldn’t that make it a Stop order? I’m confused.

9. Their site says that I’m supposed to receive a confirmation email for each trade that I do. I’ve never received a single email.

This all occurred in the span of 6 months. I’m so fed up with this company, but I just can’t find any good brokerage recommendations. I was considering switching to QT, but keep reading bad things about them too.

It took E*trade 1 year to properly close my account 3 years ago, not to mention about a dozen phone calls and lots of time on hold. After reading feedback about TF, I’m dreading the inevitable withdrawal and closure process. Hopefully I can find a brokerage that will do the switching for me… oh wait, is that another one of those nice conveniences only available in the US? sigh

You might want to update your information on Tradefreedom. Their EDGE platform is NO LONGER FREE… The information below is from their website:

Effective September 1st, 2009, there will be a monthly subscription fee of $29.95 for EDGE platform users who execute 0-29 trades per quarter. This fee will be assessed based on trade activity of the previous calendar quarter (April 1 – June 30, July 1 – September 30, October 1 – December 31, January 1 – March 31). If you do not meet the minimum trade activity, then you will be charged $29.95 for each of the following three (3) months.

TF bait and switch tacticts are really annoying. They have continuously ignored all emails that require a direct answer for the refund of the inactivity fee. I eventually gave up on it Now I also go thier email for the EDGE platform fees, which I find ridiculous, and emailed them to assure they cancel it rather than charge.. No response.

I have requested to close the account, and they are always ignoring the requests.. I expect them to tell me that they will charge me some crazy $100+ fee to close the account. Considering they are changing the rules as they go, I don’t see how this could be legal for them to charge you for getting out of something that is completely different of what you started up with.

Anyhow, I will check with my local Scotia branch manager who I know well, and see if she can help.

TF is a joke..

Shouldn’t contractual changes be sent by some guaranteed method of delivery like Registered mail or something. eMail is far from being any guaranteed method of communication. I got thier email giving my my final notice for the platform fees, but I never got the first email they claim to have send in June sometime.. I checked all my archived.. CROOKS…

After months of trying to close my account, it was “allegedly” finally closed. I was originally told that I would receive a final “account closed” letter statement, but almost a month later I still haven’t received any such thing.

I am reading that a lot of you are emailing TF. Please phone them instead. They reply to emails very slowly, if at all. Just phone them and document the date, time and the name of the person you’re talking to.

Zander, did they charge you anything for the withdraw of your funds and closing of account ?
I guess I’ll call them as soon as I get back home from my business trip.
Thnx

Emporium, aside from my time and nerves, no they did not charge anything to close my account. The account does have to be free of securities (stocks) in order to be closed.

The reason I said “allegedly” in my previous post, is because although they have written off the inactivity fee and although I have confirmed by phone that the account is closed, I can still log into it through their website. I guess I’ll just have to keep an eye on it and if in 3/6/9 months no inactivity fee is charged (which happens automatically by the system), then I’ll consider it officially closed. That, or if I receive that “final statement” they originally spoke about, which reflects the same.

Good luck with yours.

I too have used trade freedom. they failed to send my tax forms to me. Ignored every email even when stating I’d have to tell the CRA they failed to give me the tax forms. I called at least on 5 separate occasions, each time they said they sent it…then charged me for a resend/re issue….It still never came…months later still nothing.

Closing my account did go quickly however.

I am an active trader with TF (platinum status->150 trades/quarter).

Anyway, I used to be with CIBC investoredge and then went with scotia mcleod direct. The commissions I paid with the banks were ridiculous and would chew into my profits. As a scalper, my profits are razor thin and fees become a major variable. I switched to TF and I pay just $6.99 per trader (no matter how big the size). My average sizes are usually 5k-10k. It is with TF that I really started making serious money.

TF is not for everyone. I will admit it that the customer service is appalling. Sometimes they do not even respond to my emails though I am a platinum client. Thankfully my emails are not trade related but usually some administrative issues. I had already gained some trading experience with my bank accounts and as a result do not need any help from TF. If you are an amateur I would recommend Scotia McLeod since they have a very intuitive web interface and you do not have to wait more than 5 minutes for customer service. However, they charge $30/trade. Once you are experienced then move to a no frills gig like TF. When I went there I did not harbour any service expectations. All I wanted was a rock bottom commission structure (where else could I buy 10k shares and only pay $6.95). With companies like IB the commissions increase as the number of shares purchased increases. As my portfolio grows bigger, the TF commissions become more and more insignificant.

Just my 2cents

I have been with TF for about a year and i regret it. it wasnt a pleasant experience from the begining. I am still searching for a better online trading platform.

Firstly, their customer service SUCKS! There is a minimum wait time of 10-20 mins before you can speak to anyone. This was the case 1 year ago and still the same.

1. Trading fees for $9.95 only applies if its a limit price buy/sell. If you sell/Buy at Market price you get charged ECN and they charge a lot!

2. you cant trade OTC stocks and have to call their customer service to palce the order.

3. they charge you $45.00 for broker-assisted trades.

3. Recently they started charging a monthly fees of $32/month for the Desktop software. It was free to users initially and then decided to charge $32/month from Sept 2009.

So unless you saw this charge and called them up to cancel it, they will continue to charge you the fees.

5. They initially claimed that there were no Inactivity fees. But now they Do:
Low Activity Account Admin Fee (per account) $25.00* per quarter

The list goes on…