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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Has anyone check these guys out?

They offer free trading platform, 6.49/trade or if you trade less than 600 shares you want to go by their ticket plan which will cost you 5/ticket even if you do 2 trades of 200 and 300 shares the the cost is only $5.

They seem to be a cross of Tradefreedom and the old etrade.

let me know if you have an account with them.

www.virtualbrokers.com
 

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the rush to comment here on virtualbrokers shows that the newish crowd of upstart onliners plus their assorted come-hither offers - like 150 free trades - aren't muscling the big banks aside yet.

virtual's regular commish is $6.49. On top of that there are data fees & ECN fees. As one user lamented, for a trade of several thousand shares he wound up with a low commish plus $40 in ecn. These prices are competitive, but they're not slashed. I don't know about the $5 tickets - they might be for market orders only.

the fact that the founder is ceo, president, chairman of the board, chief compliance officer & a director should give you an idea of the bare-bones nature of this operation.

nobody knows the capitalization of a privately-owned online broker like this one. We don't know its banker, its credit lines or how many hops skips & jumps such a firm might be from failure. All we know is that such firm has met exchange capitalization requirements.

and gawd forbid you should ever have a trade go wrong.

couple of the upstarts including this one & jitney have been discussed over on a webring forum earlier this year:

http://www.financialwebring.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=111217&start=0

for my part, the thought of handing my capital over to a total stranger whose books are closed in return for 150 free trades is not entertaining.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Humble_pie, some corrections in your facts.

the fact that the founder is ceo, president, chairman of the board, chief compliance officer & a director should give you an idea of the bare-bones nature of this operation.
I had to do a bit of search on the net. But their Compliance officer and CEO are different. I believe your info is outdated.

http://www1.gnb.ca/nbsc-cvmnb/nbsc/nameIndex-e.asp?name=r


nobody knows the capitalization of a privately-owned online broker like this one. We don't know its banker, its credit lines or how many hops skips & jumps such a firm might be from failure. All we know is that such firm has met exchange capitalization requirements.

and gawd forbid you should ever have a trade go wrong.
This info is miss leading. When you open an account your true counter-party risk is the clearing firm for the brokerage firm. In the case of Jitney is Fidelity and in case of Virtual Brokers is Penson. Both books are available.

couple of the upstarts including this one & jitney have been discussed over on a webring forum earlier this year:
Again, incorrect. Jitney has been around here for more than a DECADE. True, they have been more aggressive in doing PR and advertisment lately. But that doesn't make them newbies. BTW, they are definitely a choice for the super active trader. My experience with them has been but positive.

Last, I can appreciate your point of view. Nevertheless, I simply have to point Lehman and Bear Sterns to make the case "size doesn't make it safe". Oh, and both books were open. ;) cheers,
 

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alpha i don't post incorrect or misleading information. The shadow falls, rather, upon your frivolous statements.

the founder is indeed the ceo, president, chairman of the board and a director. As of may 2010 he was also the compliance officer. In recent weeks Ali may have replaced the founder as compliance officer, but historically it was the main man. I still submit that this is a bare-bones operation with the founder wearing a significantly large number of strategic hats.

furthermore imho it's important to understand the capitalization of any firm with which one is doing business, not the stability of its clearing corporation or the endurance of the canadian investor protection fund or any other counterparty or insurer or lender of last resort. With respect to privately-owned online brokers, the books are not available, period. And for myself, i always want to know who it is that i'm dancing with.

as for jitney, they could have been around since world war II, but the firm is and will remain a marginal upstart unless it gets bought out by or merges with a significant senior other.

alpha did you know you stick out here a bit like a sore thumb. For some time now i've been wondering if you're another one of those freelance deep-discount promoters who hang out on canadian money forum, posting from time to time in the hopes of attracting new clients. If you really are the super-active trader that you claim to be, one has to wonder why you would maintain duplicate accounts at both virtualbrokers & jitney. And if you've left one for the other, then why no mention of the jilted onliner's alleged shortcomings.

in particular, one has to doubt that virtualbrokers would be an appropriate choice for novice investors on canadian money forum to whom it and other marginal onliners are being pitched. On 29 april 2010 virtualbrokers described itself thus:

" Virtual Brokers specializes in providing trade execution services to sophisticated traders and money managers ... in the $10 million to $50 million hedge fund range."

this does not sound like a service designed for cmf newbie investors.

i'd like to add to my original remarks that 150 free trades is throwing away far too much money, imho. It hints at desperation on the part of the onliner to attract new clients.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Humble_pie,

It doesn't matter how you dice it, cut it or read it. The fact remains that your info was incorrect and outdated.

Founder is NOT cco, unlike your comment. Thus Incorrect and outdated.

Jitney is NOT a newbie. Thus incorrect (BTW, I have been here for just 2-3 weeks and you call this LONG, yet Jitney with more than 10 years is called a newbie)

As I said, I can appreciate your opinion. I respectfully don't agree and I have the history of Lehman and Bear Sterns as my case.

Do you always attack people and make it personal when they point out something wrong with your message? Or disagree with you?

And what is your reasoning that super-active trader wouldn't have accounts with 2 or more brokerage firms?

In regards to 150 free trades, does your comment also mean that Scotia iTrade 100 free trades hint their desperation? probably only 66% of VB desperation ;)

regards,
 

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alpha as i've already written, my posts are not incorrect or misleading. The fact that you keep wanting to go to war over nothing is your rightful choice, though.

however one has to observe that your quoted accusations are false. Since they involve myself, I would like to set the record straight. At no time did i ever write that jitney is a newbie. What i said - and it's entirely accurate - is that the firm is an upstart. Since the world of canadian finance is now & always has been an ultra-conservative milieu, the word upstart is accurate.

as for "calling" your presence on this forum "long," you have made that up. What i posted is that some of your messages sound like promotional touts for some of the so-called deep-discount onliners. Attempting to send a rank novice with only 10 thousand investible dollars and zero experience to virtualbrokers, as you did, is ethically questionable.

as for your "case" positing lehman & bear stearns, these US failures have nothing to do with the big canadian chartered banks & i think your argument is spurious. For every lehman and every bear, there have been millions of failures of privately-owned US businesses on a scale ranging from large to small to micro. The names Madoff & Stanford & the history of their privately-owned businesses should ring a few bells.

btw one notices that you say you're also trading at tdwaterhouse. Now this is awesome. A super-active trader at no less than three (3) (count em) discount onliners, and possibly more. Alpha you should have your own tv show. At the very least you should go on BNN & tell us all about it.
 

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I agree with Humble. In a moment of sheer madness, I once opened an account with Questrade back when the big banks were charging $30 a pop to trade. It turned out to be such a headache that I lasted less than 6 months. When big banks started offering $10 trades, I moved my account out. Even if I still pay $30 for a trade, I would seriously consider trading less to keeping a portfolio at a deep discount operator. Just my 2 cents. YMMV.
 

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may i say that, personally, if i had an account of less than 100k, i'd probably go to scotia itrade. I've never been their customer, never even seen their website. But my reasons would be 6-fold:

1) reportedly they have now got the outbreak of merger problems under control & all is proceeding well;

2) reportedly their standard commish is around $19 or $20, ie about half the standard commish at the other bank onliners;

3) commish drops to just under $10 for a 50k account, while most of the other bank onliners are looking for minimum 100k;

4) our illustrious non-partisan comrade & fellow library fan harold crump recommends scotia & on this forum harold's rec is worth its weight in gold;

5) scotia offers the capitalization & the security of any of the big 6 chartered canadian banks;

6) scotia itrade maintains an ultra-low-profile member right here in this forum, who occasionally drops in & at least once has posted a helpful information item. Not once - not even remotely - has this member ever advertised or promoted his own company. He's a class act.
 

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may i say that, personally, if i had an account of less than 100k, i'd probably go to scotia itrade. I've never been their customer, never even seen their website.
I'm not a Scotia iTrade customer but I've had accounts at E*Trade through my employer. The iTrade website still looks much the same and if Scotia Bank has ironed out the integration issue, I agree that $20 for trades below $50K and $10 for larger accounts is a much better deal than having an account at a big bank.
 

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Now I just need to reach $50k so I can pay double in trading fees and no longer be able to hold USD between trades, but rather call a rep a day later to make a wash trade

The later is the kicker for me, the cheap trades with no min balance is bonus
 

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all online brokers offer USD non-registered accounts with no additional charges, currency conversions or encumbrances like phone calls. This is a given, so there's no point discussing it in this forum.

registered accounts usually require a client to contact his or her broker by the end of a trading day (note: never a day later) to complete a USD trade without any currency conversion fee.

there is far too much noise on this forum about so-called automatic free USD trades in registered accounts at certain deep-discount brokers. Here's what one of them, namely questrade, has to say for itself. Note that the client who opts for USD settlement in registered must agree to have all trades including all canadian dollar trades settled in US dollars. This is a crippling handicap imho. Note also that the same broker adds a $5 surcharge on the day of one or more USD trades in registered accounts.

" You may assign a different currency to each individual registered account you have at Questrade. At the moment, however, you cannot assign individual settlement currencies to each security within the account. For instance, if you set your RRSP to settle in USD, every trade in that account will automatically settle in USD. In this example, the proceeds from a trade of a Canadian security would be converted to U.S. funds and would be subject to a currency conversion fee."

if the above is true, it makes for a shabby deal. The bulk of most rrsp accounts are still canadian holdings. Above paragraph states that the only choices possible are 1) remain with default CAD & accept the resulting currency conversion fees for an occasional USD trade; or 2) opt into a totally USD account & accept resulting currency conversion fees for all canadian dollar trades.

it's more economical to phone the broker now & then. Most registered accounts don't get day-traded so for US rrsp trades we're talking like 1-5 phone calls per annum ...
 

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All of that must be out dated humble


Questrade has a patented method to allow you to hold USD in registered accounts. They used to charge an additional $5 (only once per day if you traded) and even then it was still cheaper than iTrade without a min balance

You can set each acct to settle in CAD, USD or currency of the trade. Personally think it only makes sense to settle in currency of the trade, and then convert the funds when/if I decide to based on exchange rate. Can the big banks settle in currency of the trade? I don't think you have the choice, which is a huge handicap imho. It means you must exchange funds and pay exchange rates on top of the big commissions

A wash trade means you have to call, wait on hold etc, and make a buy/sell at the same time. This is an absurd handicap imho. It not only means you are forced to sell and buy at the same time to avoid 2 currency exchanges, but you can't do it on your own time and with limit orders etc.

I can understand all the negativity from past experience but maybe they have improved. When I hit the minimum balance of the others I will reevaluate but I sure hope by then they can hold CAD and USD is 1 acct and settle in either. As for now I've had no issues at all with my deep discounts, and I haven't seen any recent complaints
 

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mode how can the info be outdated. It's right on questrade's website.

what you say makes sense, though. It should be possible to settle each trade in the appropriate currency. Forcing an entire rrsp into all-cad or all-usd makes no sense at all.

as for the other brokers & their phone calls for rrsp wash trades, the 2 that i know will offer to immediately put proceeds of a usd sale into money market fund (no worry about timing a 2nd trade); and conversely they will offer to redeem US money market if a usd purchase has been made (again, no timing necessary.) I agree that without this helpful segue into/out of money market, the necessity of having to immediately put on a bona fide 2nd trade in US dollars would be suicide.
 

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This is from Questrade

I'm not sure if they have contradicting info elsewhere, but I can confirm the following is true from my experience

Hold USD and CAD in any registered savings account, including the TFSA.
Choose to settle trades in USD, CAD or the currency of the trade.
For accounts that settle in CAD, you still SAVE BIG when you buy and sell USD securities in the same day. Questrade only converts the net proceeds of the trade – the difference between any buy and sell.
React instantly to the market with your trading decisions.
Once your settings are in place, there is no need to advise us in advance of any buy or sell requests for U.S. securities.
We only charge currency conversion fees when you decide to exchange your money – no more forced currency conversions.
If you do have to convert currency between USD and CAD, take advantage of our low fees of only 50 pips – or .5% of the trade. This is a significant saving compared to the industry fee of 1.5% to 2% per trade. On $10,000, that’s $150 savings!
The legal ability to hold currencies other than the Canadian dollar in registered accounts only came into effect on April 1st, 2006. Before this benefit could be offered to Canadians, a major obstacle was the availability of technology to maintain books and records (clearing capability) in multiple currencies. Questrade has a patent pending process that has made this possible.
The USD $5 commission is only applied to clients who have chosen to have USD maintained in their LIF, RIF, spousal-RIF, or RESP account.
When the other brokers catch up in this regard, I will consider switching only because everyone claims the grass is so green on the other side
 

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This is from Questrade

I'm not sure if they have contradicting info elsewhere, but I can confirm the following is true from my experience







When the other brokers catch up in this regard, I will consider switching only because everyone claims the grass is so green on the other side
RBC Direct already offers a USD registered account. TDW, sadly, doesn't but it's only a matter of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
as for "calling" your presence on this forum "long," you have made that up. What i posted is that some of your messages sound like promotional touts for some of the so-called deep-discount onliners. Attempting to send a rank novice with only 10 thousand investible dollars and zero experience to virtualbrokers, as you did, is ethically questionable..
Another miss representation from you. Where did I say I have been here for long? Or do you think 2-3 weeks is long for you?

as for your "case" positing lehman & bear stearns, these US failures have nothing to do with the big canadian chartered banks & i think your argument is spurious. For every lehman and every bear, there have been millions of failures of privately-owned US businesses on a scale ranging from large to small to micro. The names Madoff & Stanford & the history of their privately-owned businesses should ring a few bells.
Have you heard of Barings Bank? Do you remember (or are you even aware) that CIBC was begging for $ during that very same time? Do you even know why they were begging for $?

btw one notices that you say you're also trading at tdwaterhouse. Now this is awesome. A super-active trader at no less than three (3) (count em) discount onliners, and possibly more. Alpha you should have your own tv show. At the very least you should go on BNN & tell us all about it.
That is correct. I do trade at TDW. And yes I have more than 3 brokerage firm accounts. Are you saying that traders with 3 or more brokerage firm accounts qualify to go on BNN?

Ah. let me guess, we will see more personal attacks from the one whom he calls "humble"pie. Have you noticed, I have not once attack you personally.

Regards,
 

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forced currency conversion

Maybe somebody can direct me in the right direction.
I feel, like many others, that forced currency conversion in registered accounts is an unethical practice by brokers and banks. It is unethical because it charges you a currency conversion fee that is usually a hidden fee. Second, It is unethical because the broker/bank exchanges your currency both ways without being instructed to do so. Now like the federal government has legislated credit card companies and banks in reference to their fees. I would like to know, where would I start to start the process for banks and brokers to stop doing this. Should I complain to my MP to begin with?
any suggestions will help, thanks
 

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Do not go with Virtual Brokers

I have had a terrible experience with Virtual Brokers. To make a long story short they have terrible service, lack of knowledgeable staff, technical troubles with their web-sites (both their online web-site and web trading platform), and did I mention terrible service?

Anyway, if you want more details PM me, otherwise, stay away from Virtual Brokers. They are new and have LOTS of problems they still have to work out.

Questrade on the other hand has quite decent service especially with their online chat feature.
 

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I have been an Etrade now Scotia Itrade customer for 10 years.
Pleased with their service and the $9.99 trades although I only do a few trades per year, if any.
No mistakes/errors on the account in 10 years is good!
The easy one click transfer of funds between Itrade and my local bank branch is very convenient.
 
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