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As a self-directed investor looking for a DIY investment platform in Canada, both TD Direct Investing and Questrade are great options. Choosing the right one however, depends on individual needs, both with platforms offering a slightly different type of discount broker service.
Established in 1999, Questrade is an online investment platform that has net assets under management of over $25 billion. Its appeal is mainly to Canadian investors who value the lower cost of trading and it shows. Questrade has over 200k new accounts annually. Additionally, it has been a part of Deloitte’s Best Managed Companies list nine times!
- Low initial investment requirement of $1,000 and the ability to start trading immediately
- Includes a robust array of research tools developed by Morningstar for investors
- Trading has a reasonable fee structure for trading that doesn’t break the bank
- Free ETF purchases
- Doesn’t have an account maintenance fee
- Transferring assets into a Questrade account will have the fees waived up to $150
- Mobile trading app could be improved
- Certain trades may incur ECN fees and Forex trading fees
- Slow account opening that requires multiple steps
TD Direct Investing
TD Direct Investing is owned by one of Canada’s largest banks. Originally named TD Green Line Investor Services, the platform was rebranded to its current name iteration in 2011 and has since grown to over $1.7 trillion worth of assets under management (AUM).
Many investors choose the stability of the trading platform believing it to be safer since it’s backed by one of the biggest financial service firms in the world, Toronto Dominion Bank. Like most brokerages in Canada, the assets managed under TD Direct Investing are covered under the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
- Offers multiple platforms (web, mobile) with trading flexibility
- Has a free Market Research Center
- Has the brand recognition and stability of TD Bank
- Is regulated and insured under CIPF and IIROC
- Can open multiple account types (non registered investment accounts, registered retirement savings plan, tax free savings accounts, margin accounts, etc.)
- No free ETF trading on the platform
- High trading fees- possibly the highest in Canada
- $25 fee charged to small accounts
- Transfer fee only waived if transfer exceeds $25,000
Both companies have certain fee structures that can be beneficial depending on your investment goals. It’s important to look into the fees and see how they will impact your personal finance goals.
It’s important for investors to choose whether they want to invest for the short term or long term and how these two different online brokerages will factor into these plans. These goals will play a large part in individual investor decisions.
For those looking for low fees, Questrade is significantly lower than TD Direct Investing- competing for one of the lowest fee structures in the industry. Despite low fees and minimums, it does charge a fee for infrequent or inactive accounts.
This fee can be easily avoided by either making one trade per quarter or maintaining at least $5,000 invested with them. Questrade also has a fee for foreign exchange services converting CAD when trading in foreign markets. Even with all these fees, Questrade is still one of the lowest fee structured trading platforms in Canada.
– TD Direct Investing
Being part of a larger regulated bank, TD Direct Invest has some of the highest trading fees. It’s definitely not for the discount investor and investors can count on paying fees like maintenance fees and commission among many more.
They offer discounts to active accounts of over 150 trades per quarter. In addition, low balances are penalized. Any time a low balance is maintained in the account, a penalty fee of $25 is charged.
Since more people are getting into investing but don’t really know how to invest, customer service plays a bigger and bigger part in educating and helping clients.
Arguably one of the best customer service experiences in the industry, Questrade has a long history of consistent, high quality customer services. Knowledgeable and courteous representatives are available through online chat, email, or phone.
– TD Direct Investing
With customer service reps that are available around the clock, TD Direct Investing also has a very robust team. The reps are also multilingual to reach out to international clients to voice their concerns. Unfortunately, there is no live support chat that someone can engage with.
What Each Type of Investor Should Choose
Questrade wins in terms of fee structure and customer support, however beginners may want to consider TD Direct Invest due to its expanded personal finance educational material and research tools geared towards DIY investors.
Questrade is a good choice for investors who are interested in trading index funds and purchasing ETFs. There is a large number of ETFs on the Questrade platform that can be purchased for free. It’s also a great way to cut investing costs with Questrade’s low cost pricing system.
This makes Questrade a great option for people who do not need assistance with the maintenance of their portfolio and want to reduce their trading costs.
– TD Direct Investing
As mentioned, for beginners there’s nothing better than to start with in-depth investing and trading educational material. TD Direct Investing offers this type of learning tools and customer service to guide investment decisions. It’s also built for the active trader who wants the stability of a platform owned by an established financial institution.
Despite the advantages that Questrade has, TD Direct Investing is the only one out of the two who have access to mutual funds that are not available on the other platform.
In conclusion, the correct platform depends on the needs of the investor. Both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages that must be weighed before a decision is made.