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)
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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.
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?
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).
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.