I have tried several different platforms over the years and ended up back at Qtrade for my personal DIY investing. Just to clear up a common point of confusion up front: Qtrade is not Questrade. They are actually competitors. I have no personal experience with Questrade.
Since I started this site in 2017, I have avoided any affiliations or advertising. That is because my primary mission is to improve Canadian professional financial literacy. I make my income through medical practice, teaching, and leadership. Being a source of information untainted by industry is a very valuable and rare approach that strengthens my efficacy. After careful consideration, I recently became a “Qtrade Partner” because it allows me to add value to what this site does and is aligned with my mission.
Those are the philosophical reasons. The practical reasons are that I think it will enhance the efficacy of The Loonie Doctor in empowering people to take control of their investing.
The interface is simple & truly online.
It has enough features that you can do what you need to simply. You can even do some more advanced maneuvers, like Norbert’s Gambit for cheap currency exchange, fully online. For those who seek it, there advanced analytics, but you are not drowned by options and information overload. Most DIY investors need simple and not excess cognitive load.
You can do pretty much everything online without speaking to other humans or having to mail hard copies of forms. I like to pick away at things in my own time (often evenings/weekends) on my own terms. Also, snail mail in 2022! Really !?!? The only thing I have had to use hard copy for at Qtrade are corporate and trust account set-up (which is the same everywhere).
Humans when I want them.
The times when I have needed customer support, it has been prompt and useful. I have used customer support at every discount and major brokerage that I have been with over the years and can say that this is not always the case.
Customer service is one of the common themes why Qtrade has been voted best discount brokerage in Canada 24 times over the last number of years by varies entities. Including 2022. Including some biggies like the Globe & Mail and Moneysense Magazine. Just about every brokerage is named “top” by some affiliate. So, I like that it major third parties also agree, and that customer experience is a big reason. Their customer service rating actually crushes the competition.
Customer experience is of utmost importance to busy professionals, and that is not always the case with discount brokerages. Particularly regarding corporate accounts. I don’t want people to take the leap to DIY investing and then have frustrating experiences.
Low cost, but still good service.
The Qtrade fees are low – $6.95 to $8.75 per trade. This is competitive within $1-2 per trade. I have used platforms with slightly lower fees, but lots of screw-ups or brutal customer service. If you want the absolute lowest possible cost, then you can find it elsewhere. However, I have found the platform and customer service more than worth any differences. My time and frustration levels matter more than the price of a coffee. Plus, miniscule fee differences only really matter if you are doing high-frequency transactions (a bad idea anyway).
Priority Service For High Networth Clients
Qtrade also has Investor Plus. You automatically qualify for that if you have household assets over $500K. That is by physical address. So, corporate and personal accounts at the same address are pooled. As a site geared to high-income professionals, that aligns with my mission perfectly. It will hopefully be you already or in the near future. You can also qualify by high-volume trading (hopefully not you!).
The most important benefit is a special priority phoneline and email for customer support. Again, prompt and low hassle service is crucial for most of us.
Good ETFs on the free-trade list. No hidden fee.
Qtrade also has a good list of ETFs that are free to both buy and sell. Most brokerages have free ETF-buying in some form. However, they may have fees for selling and get you at the exit instead. The fees of any discount brokerage ($5-$10/trade) are negligible compared to using high-fee mutual funds or advisors. So, this is not a deal breaker.
Their commission-free ETF list includes the iShares asset allocation ETFs (XEQT, XGRO, XBAL) which are excellent options for those looking for simple and effective. There are also some ESG ETF options and a variety of geographic and sector ETFs for those who want to get fancy or place niche bets.
Easy to transfer. Often at no cost.
For transferring accounts to Qtrade from other brokerages, they refund up to $150+tax per account if the account is >$15K. This is pretty standard whatever brokerage you use. For Qtrade, that refund covered my fees, was easy to get, and was applied promptly.
It is also important to know that when you transfer to Qtrade, they will deal with the sending institution directly. All brokerages do that. So, Qtrade is not special. I just know making a break-up call can deter people from action.
I use Qtrade. That helps me to help you.
I have a good chunk of my own money with Qtrade. I think it is important to walk the walk. Knowing that I do this may remove some hesitancy for potential DIY investors to take action.
Importantly, I can use my accounts to make screenshots and navigate the site to help people when they get stuck. Having helped colleagues get started with their own investing, I know that people get stuck on the application forms. Seemingly simple questions and button clicks can be scary and paralyze people. I aim to help you overcome that with very step-by-step instructions and pictures.
As an affiliate, I also have contacts at Qtrade. That has already helped me to get answers to questions that I have found difficult to find anywhere on the internet for years! I will incorporate that into the material that I build. I am not Qtrade customer support, but it may also help me find an answer for you if you are struggling with something unusual.
I am a “Qtrade Partner”. What that means.
My affiliation with Qtrade is a win-win-win for me, you, and Qtrade.
Me: If you use my affiliate Qtrade link anywhere on this site to open a Qtrade account, then I get a small referral fee. The Qtrade logos are in the right margin or below posts and serve as hyperlinks.
You: There is no cost to you. Plus, using the affiliate link from my site leads you to information on Qtrade’s best campaigns and promotions (often not available publicly). Current promo is up to $2K cashback (only via partners currently). So, if you want to support the work that I am doing on this site, then this is a great way. As mentioned above, it is also easier for me to help you. What I forgot to mention, is that I also like chocolate.
Qtrade: May attract some accounts. They have been around for over 20 years and their parent company, Aviso Wealth, has $100 billion in assets. So, I am small potatoes. However, Qtrade built itself on DIY investing and I am sure every bit counts. They also will get to hear my suggestions for improvement, as I think of them.
What my affiliation with Qtrade does not mean.
I am not a financial advisor. I provide education, support, and mentorship as a colleague. However, I do not provide specific investing advice. You manage your own investing and Qtrade provides the platform to do that.
I don’t get to see your accounts. Nor do I want to. I enjoy being a colleague helping colleagues and don’t want to change the nature of that relationship to a business one.
Qtrade has their site and I have mine. I retain my usual editorial freedom. Rest easy. My bad jokes and irreverent statements aren’t going anywhere. The strength of The Loonie Doctor lies in the fact it is a physician helping other high-income professional colleagues. Not an advertising arm of some financial institution. This venture is part of the “connecting and collaborating” with others whose mission and values align with my own aspect of my mission statement. It is why you don’t see much other industry presence on my site. It takes a lot of effort and careful consideration on my part to vet potential connections.