Top 8 Stock Brokers in Canada

Top 8 Stock Brokers in Canada

Top 8 Stock Brokers in Canada

What Is a Stock Broker?

A stock broker is a professional who works on behalf of individuals or organizations to trade assets such as stocks and shares.

Depending on the type of stock broker, they act as an intermediary between an individual or organization and the stock market and buy and sell stocks.

What Are the Different Types of Stock Brokers?

Full-Service Stock Broker

Also known as advisory stock brokers, this type of stock broker will offer a complete buy and sell trading service besides providing clients with investment advice.

Some full-service stock brokers also offer discretionary services to clients such as management of a client's investments.

Discount Brokers

Also known as execution-only stock brokers, discount brokers only execute trades on your behalf. They do not offer investment advice.

Online Brokers

Lots of discount brokers also offer individuals direct access to the stock market via an online broker system.

Using an online broker system means an individual can directly manage their own investment portfolios.

How Do Stock Brokers Make Money?

Stock brokers can make money in different ways.

Some take a commission based on the volume of trades they execute.

Some stock brokers will charge a management fee for buying and selling stocks and shares in addition to looking after an investment portfolio.

Some make their money through interest income. This is the interest made from low-risk investing of cash that is held in your brokerage account.

It is worth noting that fees and commissions vary by stock broker and the type of service they offer (full service, discount or online).

How Are Stock Brokers in Canada Regulated?

Stock brokers in Canada are regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

IIROC is a self-regulatory organization that operates under Canada’s territories and provincial securities commissions.

In addition to regulating Canada’s securities trading, IIROC’s goal is to ensure that all Canadian trading is controlled and carried out fairly.

It has the authority to impose fines or take disciplinary action against any stock brokers that do not abide by this.

Depending on the type of asset being traded, stock brokers in Canada also have to follow various day trading rules.

These rules cover day trading tax rules, settlement rules and day trading margin rules.

Key Considerations Before You Choose a Stock Broker in Canada

When choosing a stock broker, you should always do your research. Think about your requirements and goals for investing. Consider how much you want to learn about the investment process.

Here are some of the considerations you need to take into account when choosing a stock broker in Canada:

Know What You Need

Decide what you want to trade in and how you want to trade.

There is no point picking a top stock broker in Canada if that particular broker does not offer the assets you want to trade in.

Decide What Level of Support You Require

Consider whether you want to execute your trades or have a stock broker do this for you.

Think about whether you need or want your stock broker to give you advice on your investment decisions.

Think About Your Goals as an Investor

Think about what your long-term goals are when it comes to investing.

Consider how much you want to learn about investing and how you wish to trade (through an app or via a web-based platform).

How Flexible Is the Service Provided?

If you want to trade in different currencies, look at the commission rates charged.

Look at the flexibility provided by the stock broker when it comes to account types and where these accounts can be held.

Consider the types of investment accounts that are offered by the stock brokers or online brokerage platforms in Canada.

Listen to Other Investors

Do your research, look at reviews online for stock brokers in Canada. If you know any investors, then speak to them to get their views.

Make Sure Your Stock Broker Is Regulated

Choose a broker that has been operating for at least two years.

Look for a Canadian stock broker that is also regulated in a tier 1 country.

This ensures that your broker is trading under clear and established regulations not only in your local area but globally.

Find Out What Assets It Has for Trading

Not all stock brokers offer trading in all types of assets.

Knowing the assets you want to trade in now and in the future will help you pick the right stock broker in Canada.

Consider Your Minimum Investment Amount

The minimum amount you need to deposit into your investment account before starting trading varies by stock broker.

Consider the initial funds that you have available to invest. This can then determine what stock broker you can trade with.

Know the Trading Fees (and Account Fees or Any Hidden Fees)

Not all stock brokers charge the same fees. Some may charge a commission fee, some a fee structure based on the amount of trades executed.

When choosing a stock broker in Canada look beyond these surface level fees into whether there are any hidden fees.

For instance, there may be fees charged to trade in different security types.

Some stock brokers may charge a fee to gain access to additional online broker platform functionality. Some may charge a monthly account maintenance fee.

Check the inactivity fee structure and what the length of inactivity on an account is before these fees are levied.

Know What Trading Platform You Want to Use and Why

Knowing what you want from a trading platform will help you decide what online brokerage platform to choose.

Look at the functionality of the platform such as whether it has a mobile app. Not all online stock brokers in Canada offer a stock trading app.

If you plan to manage your investment portfolio when ‘on the go’ this should be a consideration.

Does It Have Social Copy Trading?

If you want to buy and sell trades yourself, social copy trading is a good way to learn about trades.

Not all online brokerage platforms in Canada offer this.

Research your preferred platforms and consider whether social copy trading will suit how you want to learn about trading strategies.

What Is the Withdrawal Amount?

Check the fees for withdrawing your funds from your account.

Look at whether there is a fixed fee or whether it varies via the withdrawal amount or account type.

How Good Are the Analytical Tools?

Different online brokerage platforms in Canada give investors access to various analytical tools such as charting or stock alert functions.

Consider how you want to invest, how much you want to learn and how you want to view your trades and markets.

This allows you to compare the analytical tools of online brokerage platforms.

How Good Are the Educational Resources?

Trading platforms offer educational tools to help investors learn more about trading strategies.

If your goal is to become an experienced investor, compare the educational tools of online brokers to see what trading platform offers formats that suit your needs.

What Is Its Customer Service Like?

Many stock brokers offer a customer service facility. It is always worth checking when this can be accessed.

For example, does it operate 24/7 or are customer service agents only contactable during the working week.

Top 8 Stock Brokers in Canada
Top 8 Stock Brokers in Canada

The 8 Best Stock Brokers in Canada

1. Questrade

Best for: Customer service, educational and research tools
Commission: Considered low but variable according to asset traded
Minimum deposit: $1,000
Withdrawal fees: $0 (if in Canada)
Tradable assets: Stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, CFDs, FX, IPOs

Established in 1999, Questrade is a regulated online brokerage platform. It is considered one of the most popular trading platforms in Canada largely due to being regulated in a tier 1 country.

The online brokerage enables investors to practice trades through the use of a demo account.

Questrade offers three trading platforms. These are accessible via the web, mobile app and desktop.

Visit Questrade

2. Qtrade

Best for: Low fees, educational resources
Commission: Considered low and varies depending on asset traded
Minimum deposit: $0
Withdrawal fees: $0
Tradable assets: Options, ETFs, bonds, stocks, funds

Founded in 2000, Qtrade is a fully regulated Canadian stock broker with both web and app versions of the online trading platform.

Qtrade offers no minimum deposit and low fees. The platform only offers trading in Canadian and US markets. There are also limitations on how funds can be deposited.

Visit Qtrade

3. Wealthsimple

Best for: User-friendly platform, low fees
Commission: $0; however, currency exchange commission is charged
Minimum deposit: $100
Withdrawal fees: $0
Tradable assets: Canadian and US listed ETFs, stocks (note not all assets are available to trade on the Wealthsimple platform)

Wealthsimple is a fully regulated online platform. It offers automated trading for those who want to manage their investment portfolio.

Founded in 2014, Wealthsimple is a platform that enables investors to buy and sell stocks and ETFs for no fees.

It is worth noting that the platform only allows trading in Canadian and US markets.

Visit Wealthsimple

4. Interactive Brokers

Best for: More experienced or active investors, large number of assets that can be traded
Commission: Tiered and fixed according to the asset traded
Minimum deposit: Depends on the platform used. Varies from $0 to being assessed by an individual’s net worth and income
Withdrawal fees: One free withdrawal, 12 CAD after that
Tradable assets: Spot currencies, ETFs, bonds, stocks, options, mutual funds, futures

Founded in 2000, Interactive Brokers is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

The online broker has two different platforms, IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro, for the more experienced investor.

Interactive Brokers allows investors to trade in a variety of assets in over 130 markets.

Visit Interactive Brokers

5. RBC Direct Investing

Best for: All levels of investor
Commission: Varies according to the asset traded
Minimum deposit: $0
Withdrawal fees: Varies according to the type of account
Tradable assets: ETFs, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, options, debentures, guaranteed investments, treasury bills

RBC Direct Investing Inc is an online brokerage platform in Canada. Founded in 1864, it is the broker arm of the Royal Bank of Canada.

The platform offers trading in several different assets and enables investors to discuss investments via an online community.

Research tools and educational webinars are also available.

Visit RBC Direct Investing

6. CIBC Investor’s Edge

Best for: Educational and research tools available, all levels of investors
Commission: Varies according to asset traded
Minimum deposit: $0
Withdrawal fees: Varies according to the account type
Tradable assets: Mutual funds, bonds, CICs, precious metals certificates, ETFs, stocks, options

CIBC Investor’s Edge is an online trading platform that is part of CIBC Investor Services Inc, a Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce division.

The online platform offers many assets to trade in, with lower fees than some of the other brokerage platforms offered by Canadian banks.

CIBC Investor’s Edge has a range of educational resources, research, charting and watch list tools.

Visit CIBC Investor’s Edge

7. Scotia iTRADE

Best for: New or less experienced investors
Commission: Varies according to asset type traded
Minimum deposit: $0
Withdrawal fees: Varies from $25 to $150 per transfer depending on account type
Tradable assets: Guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, precious metals certificates, bonds, stocks, ETFs, new issues, initial public offerings

Scotia iTRADE is a Canadian online broker platform.

Part of Scotiabank and fully regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, the platform offers many educational tools to investors.

A feature of Scotia iTRADE is its US dollar side account. This means investors can trade in both US and Canadian dollars and hold funds in both versions without paying currency conversion fees.

The platform also offers a demo account for the less experienced investor to practice trades.

Visit Scotia iTRADE

8. Virtual Brokers

Best for: Variety of platforms available to trade on
Commission: Varies according to asset type traded
Minimum deposit: $1,000
Withdrawal fees: ETFs free, fees charged on partial or wire transfers
Tradable assets: ETFs, exchange traded debentures, mutual funds, options, equities, fixed income securities

Virtual Brokers is an online discount broker in Canada. As part of CI Financial and formed in 2009, Virtual Brokers is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. It is also regulated by Lloyds of London.

There are many trading platforms that you can use when setting up an online broker account with Virtual Brokers.

These platforms also come with various research and educational tools.

Some platforms also have a customizable view for the more experienced investor.

Visit Virtual Brokers

Final Thoughts

There are many top stock brokers in Canada. All offer various assets to trade in, as well as varying fee structures and platforms to use when trading.

When it comes to selecting a stock broker in Canada it helps to know what assets you want to trade in, how you want to trade and what your long-term investment goals are.

WikiJob does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.


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