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(diego cervo)
(diego cervo)

Online Trading

Where online brokers excel, and where they let us down Add to ...

For more on our 2011 online broker rankings, see:

Qtrade keeps its lock on No. 1 in Globe’s annual survey

Results from The Globe’s 2011 online brokerage satisfaction survey

Forex charges: Who offers the best rate

How commissions stack up

Best brokers for specific needs

Where Canada’s online brokers excel, and where they let us down


Here's an expanded look at the criteria used in this ranking. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather a summary of important factors.

1.) Cost (25/100)

Stock trading commissions, including the account asset thresholds at which charges are discounted

Availability of commission-free ETF trading

Applicability of ECN fees

Mutual fund trading commissions, including buy, sell and early redemption fees

Bond trading commissions, including the availability of wholesale bond pricing

Inactivity and low account balance fees

Annual administration fees for registered accounts, including account size needed to avoid fees

2.) Trading (25/100)

The variety of orders that can be placed online, including trailing stops and short sales

Availability of real-time updates of cash levels and buying power

Utility of online order screen

Menu of stocks that can be used in dividend reinvestment plans

Availability of U.S.-dollar RRSPs

Selection of investments available online, including GICs, high-yield bonds and guided portfolios.

3.) Tools (20/100)

Breadth, utility and exclusivity of equity, fund and ETF research

Screening tools

Financial planning tools

Availability of an ETF centre

Features for newcomers to online investing, notably demo videos and practice accounts

4.) Account Information (20/100)

Availability of personalized, long-term data on account rates of return

Asset allocation analysis

Intra-day account updating

Availability of online account statements, trade confirmation slips

5.) Innovation (10/100)

Leadership in lowering fees and commissions

Pace of improvements over the past few years

Website design

Availability of mobile trading

Send questions and feedback to OnlineBrokers@globeandmail.com

The Globe and Mail released its 2011 online broker rankings this week. Here's a detailed breakdown of how they ranked - both overall and by specific criteria

Rank Broker Costs (/25) Trading (/25) Tools (/20) Account Info (20) Innovation (/10)
1 Qtrade Investor 16 21 15 18 7
2 Virtual Brokers 23.5 18.5 11 10 8
3 BMO InvestorLine 10 16.5 16.5 18.5 6.5
4 Scotia iTrade 18 16.5 13 13 7
5 RBC Direct Investing 10 17.5 18 16 5
6 Credential Direct 12.5 16 14.5 18 5
7 TD Waterhouse 10 17 18 11 4.5
8 CIBC Investor's Edge 14.5 13.5 15 8 6
9 Disnat (Classic) 10.5 11.5 15 15 3.5
10 Questrade 16 13.5 10.5 9 6.5
11 National Bank Direct Brokerage 8.5 10.5 14 16.5 3.5
12 HSBC InvestDirect 10 13 6 10 1


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