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All over the world, stock trading is increasingly becoming a popular route for many traders getting involved in the market. No matter where you are located, there are many brokers you will likely have to choose from, each with a different set of features and attributes depending on your needs.
Stock trading in Canada is no different, though you may have some different broker choices to those trading from the US, and other places around the world. With that in mind then, we have compiled a listing that charts the best Canadian stock brokers available at the moment.
What to Think About Before You Start
Before you start trading, there are a few very important considerations to make. These can apply as a Canadian stock trader or anywhere in the world and are key points in our approach to this ranking:
Regulation: You will want a broker that is regulated by a top-tier financial body. Luckily that is the case for all of those featured. They are well-regulated by the IIROC in Canada as is required of all brokers offering services.
Cost of Trading: In the modern environment where there are many low-cost online stock brokers in operation, you will want to ensure that the broker you choose is offering the best environment when it comes to fees and charges while also making sure there are no hidden fees.
Trading Style: Whether you want to do all the trading yourself, what type of account is best suited for your needs, and the availability of assets you wish to trade are all important considerations to factor in when making your choice.
Questrade is another top choice for Canadian residents who are interested not only in stock trading but also in trading forex and CFDs which are also available here. They are respected and well-regulated in Canada by the IIROC and bring a wealth of experience with more than 20 years of operation.
Along with the ability to trade Canadian markets, you will have access to stocks on the NYSE, NASDAQ, and other US and international exchanges with ETFs, Bonds, Mutual Funds, and more all available to trade through the IQ Web and IQ Edge web-based trading platforms which both run well and are complemented with a wide selection of charting and analysis tools.
Together with these basic features, this Canadian-Only broker has a decent educational offering and a number of unique and insightful tools when it comes to research. These include access to the third-party Market Intelligence tool helping you gather as much data as possible on your potential trades.
Best of all they offer Instant Deposit, a new way to deposit money instantly from your bank account into your Questrade account (up to $3500).
Trading Costs: The broker has two competitive pricing structures with most traders fitting under their Questrade Democratic pricing plan which is $0.01 per share with a $4.95 minimum, and $9.95 maximum. Options trades are $9.95 + $1 per contract, while ETFs are commission-free.
Starting with one of the industry cornerstones, Wealthsimple has been around since 2014 offering services to Canada-based stock traders. They are not your traditional online stock broker but instead offer a hugely popular robo-advisor service. They are now the largest such service in Canada with more than $5 billion in assets under management.
Like most brokers, they offer broadly fee-free trading with fees that are as low as they can make them. This means you will also benefit from the fact there are no account minimums required. One of the standout features of Wealthsimple is the fact they offer 5 dedicated investment portfolios, including a Social Responsible Investing option, as well as a Halal option suitable for Islamic traders. These pre-set portfolios select from 6-10 ETFs that are weighted based on your risk tolerance and desired returns.
From there, your investment is auto-traded through the intuitive Wealthsimple platform meaning you don’t need to focus on any trading aspect. This is perfect for those new to trading or with other time commitments.
Trading Costs: You will find very limited fees when trading with Wealthsimple. The only major cost you will have is an all-inclusive fee of 0.5% of your assets under management. This can drop to 0.4% if your account is over $100,000.
Offering more commission-free trading in stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds QTrade Investor is a popular choice among many who value the fast sign-up and easy to navigate trading platform on offer to Canadian traders. They are a great way for new investors to get started with a very accessible range of features including a free demo account.
Once inside, you will have access to a wide selection of stocks traded on the TSX, TSXV, CSE, and Aequitas NEO exchanges in Canada as well as NYSE and NASDAQ listed securities in the US and more through OTC markets.
Among the key attractive points besides competitive costs as fees here is the fact you can trade very well through the QTrade mobile app as you can with their web-based proprietary platform. They all make trading very simple and easy to complete without any over-complication. An informative newsfeed feature, as well as educational articles, guides, and more, are all available too for you to avail of in making the next steps.
Trading Costs: 100 commission-free ETFs and commission-free mutual funds are available though the average stock trade will cost between $6.95 CAD and $8.75 CAD in commission. Options are the same plus $1.25 per contract, and margin trading is charged at between 2.45% and 3.45%.
For more details, you can visit the QTrade Investor website to find out more and get started.
Interactive Brokers is an extremely well-respected broker also offering trading to Canadian-based clients. They have started to cater much more to traders looking to reduce their fees and operate in a commission-free environment, though for Canadian traders only IBKR Pro is offered at the moment.
This means the backing of a renowned and extremely well-established broker, an in-depth trading platform with a huge range of features throughout, and the dedicated support of a strong educational and customer service infrastructure, though it slightly elevates costs in comparison to US traders who can access IBKR Lite.
Still, the access to a huge range of markets and account types, as well as a highly professional and sophisticated trading platform, make IB an ideal choice, particularly for more experienced Canadian traders.
Trading Costs: Two pricing systems are offered. Tiered pricing is perfect for active traders with a lower commission that decreases the more you trade. It can be as low as $0.003 per share. Fixed pricing is also available at $0.01 per share with a minimum fee of $1 or 0.5% of the trade value.
Take a look at Interactive Brokers website for more details and information on what they have to offer.
Another major broker in the sector for Canadian traders is TD Direct Investing. They retain a lot of the positive connection to their US counterpart TD Ameritrade in terms of having a very detailed, yet easy to navigate the trading platform, a total of 4 in fact when you consider the Web platform, mobile, desktop, and options trading through Thinkorswim.
While they have been around for a very long time, offer a great overall trading infrastructure that you can rely on as secure, and provide a broad range of stocks, ETFs, Options, Funds, and more to trade-in, they do lag slightly behind some of the others if you balance the features with the cost of trading.
With that said, you can expect a very high level of service in the most secure trading environment when you choose this broker.
Trading Costs: There is a standard trading fee of $9.99 per trade applied. For active traders, this is reduced to $7 per trade. Trading options you can add an additional $1.25 per contract to this. There are also maintenance fees of $25 per quarter if your account balance is below $15,000.
Feel free to check out TD Direct Investing if you want to get started with them.
Anthony is a financial journalist and business advisor with several years’ experience writing for some of the most well-known sites in the Forex world. A keen trader turned industry writer, he is currently based in Shanghai with a finger on the pulse of Asia’s biggest markets.
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