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Top Online Broker Survey 2010

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Top Online Broker Survey 2010

The results for the Best Online Broker survey for 2010 were recently published by the Globe and Mail. I am beginning to think that there is some sort of a monetary link between the Globe and Mail and Qtrade (Top Dog in the Survey over the past 4 years).
Qtrade does have one of the best research platforms for customers; however, research alone is definitely not the win all for me or most other clients looking for a quality online trading platform. The research that Qtrade does provide is via Thomson Reuters and is available with most platforms so not really anything that outstanding.

When people are searching for an online broker I think the emphasis is on cost followed by better access. Most opening online brokerage accounts have simply come to realize that there broker does not really know all that much about the stock market, so why pay for him/her to throw the darts in the dark when you could do it for less yourself for far less money.

The supposed reasoning behind the Globe and Mails Online Broker Survey is to help new comers find “guidance” for picking an online broker. Sounds like the top ranked brokers will have the most business directed there way by the survey.

To me, this survey has turned into a marketing machine used to direct leads to the highest bidder and here I will explain why and then provided you with the results of the survey.
1) Almost all of the platforms are identical except for some simple rearrangements of where buttons on the screen are displayed. You can rearrange these to you own hearts content though people. I have used a number of the online trading platforms and it turned out all of them used the same system software.

2) Speed of Execution: For the most part they are all using the same ECNs so there should be no time difference. This may be different for some of the big banks.

3) Research is available for all, but some will charge a premium. Not like this research does you that much good when 99% of analysts couldn’t predict the beginning of the most recent recession.

4) Customer Service: some may hold your hand better than others, but this is near the bottom of my wants for an online broker list.

5) Account information is pretty much the same for all except some make it more difficult to figure out by keeping each of your accounts under a different password; not the end all for me though.

6) Website Security is very good for all. If it wasn’t they would be out of business very quickly indeed.

Before providing the results of the 11th Globe and Mail Online Broker Survey here is the list of question they aimed to answer:

• Costs: Account fees and mutual funds are considered, but stock-trading commissions get the most focus.

• Trading: How quickly and cleanly can clients place orders for stocks, as well as bonds and funds?

• Customer Satisfaction: Consulting firm Phase 5 contributed this portion of the ranking through the results of a survey of 1,380 online investors conducted in September. Scores are based on answers to six questions related to how happy clients were with their broker and whether they would recommend it to others.

• Tools: The resources a broker offers to help clients choose investments and develop an overall plan. There's an emphasis this year on helping the many newcomers to online investing.

• Account Information: Grades a broker's ability to allow clients to see how their accounts are doing and perform basic account maintenance.

• Website: Security and website utility are the focus here. It's a given that all brokers in this ranking are members of the Canadian Investor Protection fund, which protects client assets in case a firm goes bankrupt for amounts up to $1-million.

The Results:

1) Qtrade Investor

2) Credential Direct

3) BMO Investor Line

4) Scotia iTrade

5) RBC Direct Investing

6) TD Waterhouse

7) Disnat (classic)

8) National Bank Direct Brokerage

9) CIBC Investor’s Edge

10) Questrade

11) ScotiaMcLeod Direct Investing

12) HSBC InvestDirect

For me, Cost was the most important factor so I use Questrade since they have the lowest fees with no account minimums to get the best price.

For details about the 2009 survey please see the article Best Online Broker in Canada 2009
For details about the 2008 survey please see the article Online Broker Survey: Who Should You Invest With?
The 11th Annual Globe and Mail Online Broker Survey is available at:

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