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Discussion Starter #1
Ever since I moved to Canada eight years ago, I've had my RRSP in TD's eSeries funds. I'm now reaching the point at which I'll save money by using ETFs instead, so I opened up a discount brokerage account with TD Waterhouse and am trying to set up a new portfolio there.

But clearly I'm missing some basic step in the process, because none of the ETFs I want to buy seem to be available through WebBroker. I've tried XIC, VTI, VEA, VWO, XRE, CGR, XGB, XRB, etc., it says it can't find any of them. Since ETFs means "exchange traded funds" I first assumed I should treat them as stocks but that didn't work (none were listed...it couldn't find the Canadian-listed ones on the Canadian exchange, nor could it find the US-listed ones on the US exchange), so then I figured I should treat them as mutual funds but that didn't work either.

Understand that this is my very first experience with ETFs, and I'm simply trying to build a portfolio based on one of the Couch Potato model portfolios. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong; why doesn't WebBroker recognize any of these symbols?
 

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Where exactly are you trying to enter the ticker symbols and getting rejected? The "Symbol Lookup" popup window that is attached to a button in the "Portfolio" area only seems to use the search term to check names, not ticker symbols; I guess it is designed for people who don't know a symbol in the first place. If you are putting the symbols into the boxes on the Real Time Quotes section, it seems to accept ETFs - I put in XSP (Canadian) and VTI (US), changing the market to US for the latter. It seems to be the same for the Portfolios section.
 

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brad call this tdw division at 1-888-829-3747. They're the kind folks in bridgewater NS that td has set up, with all their down-home saltwater maritime charm intact, as a national EDS help desk for webbroker clients.

your call might stumble into the ottawa eds help desk, which lacks the authentic bluenose appeal & is an offshoot of bridgewater; but of course ottawa will also be able to help you.

bref, you are doing something a wee bit wrong & nova scotia will be happy to work online with you to figure out what it is.
 

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That's a bit strange. No reason why Webbroker shouldn't bring up an ETF quote. Try typing in XIC on the quick quote on the left. It should bring up the quote along with a Buy link and you are off to the races. If it doesn't, I'll second humble_pie's suggestion and suggest you call it in. They should be able to sort it out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
brad call this tdw division at 1-888-829-3747. They're the kind folks in bridgewater NS that td has set up, with all their down-home saltwater maritime charm intact, as a national EDS help desk for webbroker clients.
Thanks! Nothing like some coastal navigators to lead me through uncharted territory.
 

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well, I got it to work, but quickly realized this stuff is way over my head and I need a crash course in investment lingo. Keep in mind that all I've ever done is buy mutual funds.

Even the choices for "Action" bewilder me: "Buy on Stop," "Sell on Stop," I have no idea what that means, nor do I understand the choices for price (Market versus Limit Price $). Order good for "day" or "good 'til" means nothing to me, and the special instructions "All or none" or "Stop Limit $" are equally meaningless.

And while I was able to get quotes for the ETFs I want to buy, I can't figure out how to interpret those quotes.

So I need to start learning this stuff, or else accept the fact that I'm not ready, cancel my TD Waterhouse account, and go back to my eSeries Funds. Their combined MER is only about 0.40, and the ETF portfolio I planned to use has a combined MER of 0.31; I'm only about 15 years from retirement age.

Are there any good very basic primers that might explain some of this lingo to me? Or are TD's good people in Nova Scotia patient enough to walk me through the process?
 

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the key variables here, to start with, are Market vs Limit Order & Day vs Good Til.

simple one first - day order means an order for today only. For a Good Til order you would just enter the future date.

harder - the market vs limit choice. Myself i never, ever enter market orders. Never have, never will. In thinly traded markets they are a license for the market maker to steal.

however, i'd imagine (indeed i would hope) that for starters you are buying highly liquid etfs, the kind that trade millions of shares per day with a constant volume of shares trading in & out every nanosecond. In that situation market orders would not hurt.

btw i always get detailed quotes. Look at the volume figs in the detailed quotes or check the volume figs under markets & research for whatever etf you're interested in. Is the volume low ? low as in less than a couple hundred thousand shares a day ? that can spell danger for a market order.

in such a case we'd use a limit order, meaning if we are buying we state the price we are willing to pay and no higher. This can result in a partial fill, because trading control will pick off bits & pieces of your order as best they can.

please don't think that an "all or none" order will get you the shares you want if you enter a buy limit all-or-none order which is less than the offer. What happens with all or none orders is that they go to the bottom of the heap, because there are restrictions on them. They don't show in the sizing (number of shares bid, number offered), for example. Furthermore, unrealistic restricted orders don't even leave the brokers' trading control desk, because they know they can't be filled (brokers have to pay cancellation fees for orders that sit on exchanges more than 15 minutes) (they don't pass these fees on to us clients; they just don't send the ridiculous orders.)

bref it takes a certain trading skill to get the price the investor wants, somewhere in between the bid & the ask or even better than either, and always better than a market order will procure for him ...

nova scotia will help you. If you can identify a communicative rep at your regional call centre, he or she will help you. Whatever you do, don't give up. It's all very fun.
 

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Thanks, CC and hp for your helpful replies. It does make me realize I am not quite ready for this, though...I didn't realize I had so much to learn!
 

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Thanks, CC and hp for your helpful replies. It does make me realize I am not quite ready for this, though...I didn't realize I had so much to learn!
Some other options are that:

a) the local TDW offices around where I am run free seminars from time
to time for new customers. I didn't need it but I believe as part of
the walk-thru of the WebBroker interface, the basic of the orders.
Check the web site for a schedule.

b) I'm pretty sure there's a video to introduce new customers to the
web interface that's available on the TDW web site.


Then too, I picked a small amount of stock at a cheap price to practice how to enter the order and watch how it was processed.
 
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