Questrade Canada (Review Questrade, How They Work)

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Questrade Canada is Canada’s leading discount brokerage. It offers a great balance of platforms, a range of markets to trade, and services including multiple account types. Questrade is an excellent choice if you reside in Canada or for international clients looking to trade Canadian and U.S. regional stock exchanges.

 

Brief Review of Questrade Canada

 

Questrade provides transparent pricing with commission-free ETF trades and discounts available for active traders, with no annual fees.

Questrade has a full lineup of tools with the desktop-based and web-based platforms IQ Edge and IQ Web.

Questrade offers Canadian residents access to a great variety of retirement account options. However, U.S. residents are not supported, and clients outside of Canada cannot access Questrade Portfolio IQ accounts.

 

About Questrade Canada

 

Questrade was founded in 1999 and has since amassed $25 billion under its administration as one of Canada’s largest providers of financial services. The Questrade brand includes various entities that are regulated in Canada, including Questrade Inc., which is registered as an investment dealer and a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. The Questrade Portfolio products and services are managed by Questrade Wealth Management Inc., a registered portfolio manager.

 

Questrade Commissions and Fees

 

Questrade offers two pricing plans for trading stocks, options, and ETFs: Self-Directed Investing pricing (the default) and Active Trader pricing.

Self-Directed Investing pricing: For the majority of investors, Questrade’s standard pricing is the best deal.

Stocks cost $0.01 per share with a minimum charge of $4.95, and a max of $9.95 if you trade 995 shares or more.

ETFs follow the same structure except you are not charged when you buy — only when you sell an ETF. Options trading is more expensive, with a flat rate of $9.95 plus a $1 fee per contract.

Active Trader pricing: Under Questrade’s Active Trader program, clients must subscribe to at least one advanced market data offering, then select between the variable or fixed-rate pricing plan.

For trading stocks, the cost is $0.01 per share, with a $0.01 minimum and $6.95 maximum (variable plan) or a flat $4.95 per trade (fixed plan). The variable pricing is best suited for trading smaller quantities and is not a good choice if you trade more than 495 shares.

Likewise, for trading options, the cost is $6.95 + $0.75 per contract (variable plan) or $4.95 + $0.75 per contract (fixed plan). Lastly, ETF trades are listed as commission-free to buy but incur a $4.95 commission when you sell on the fixed plan; with the variable plan pricing you pay 1 cent per share with a maximum commission of $6.95.

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Data subscriptions and rebates: Questrade offers various discounts on monthly market data packages when you spend more in commissions, and the fee may be rebated depending on how much you pay in commissions.

Buying either Advanced data package unlocks active trader pricing, but it may not be worth it unless your strategy depends on the data or you spend enough in commission to justify the cost and get the fee rebated.

For example, U.S. Level 1 and 2 (and Canadian Level 1) data costs $89.95 per month and is fully rebated if you spend more than $399.95 in commission.

If you don’t need Level 2 depth of market data, the good news is that Level 1 real-time data is free with all accounts. Meanwhile, you can upgrade to enhanced streaming data for $19.95 per month and that fee is rebated if you spend $48.95 in commission each month.

Questwealth Portfolios: Available exclusively to Canadian residents, Questwealth Portfolios are pre-built investment products by Questrade Wealth Management and incur a 0.25% management fee per year, or 0.20% if you invest more than $100,000.

Questrade portfolios are designed for passive investors and long-term holdings such as within a retirement account. But the fees must be taken into account relative to the historical and expected returns, among other factors, when deciding if they are right for you.

 

Brief Summary of Questrade Pricing

 

Feature Questrade
Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trades $4.95
Penny Stock Fees (OTCCB) $4.95
ETF Trade Fee $4.95
Options (Base Fee) $9.95
Options (Per Contract) $1.00
Futures (Per Contract) N/A
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $9.95
Broker Assisted Trade Fee N/A

 

 

How Questrade Works

 

  1. Mobile trading

Questrade’s mobile app, available for Android and iOS, closely matches the web version of the Questrade Trading platform.

The navigation tabs and layout of the Questrade mobile app provide a simple user experience similar to using the web version. Due to a security policy that prevents screenshots from within the app, I was unable to take mobile images for this review.

Overall, Questrade’s mobile app has a good foundation. Ease of use aside, there remains considerable room to improve the app compared to the breadth of tools available from the best brokers in this category.

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  1. Research

Questrade offers research consisting of both fundamental and technical analysis, on its website for logged-in customers as well as on its trading platforms. There is an argument to be made for consolidating some of the research resources into one place, such as within the IQ Web platform. That said, there are at least six predefined public watchlists, and while I was happy to see these available, it’s still far fewer than the number of predefined watchlists available at brokers like Wealthsimple or Robinhood.

The Research Center is home to Questrade’s two primary research tools: Market Intelligence for news and analysis, and Intraday Trader for trading signals. Stocktwits is also directly integrated and enables you to view a Twitter-like feed of social updates from other users that share their analysis.

Market Intelligence tool: Market Intelligence is powered by third-party research provider Morningstar and provides a thorough fundamental analysis for equities and ETFs traded in Canada alongside the United States.

Reports for individual securities are high quality, and to scan for ideas, the screener tool gets the job done well. For mutual funds research, customers have access to the Mutual Fund Centre (also powered by Morningstar) which focuses on Canadian funds only. In the U.S., Morningstar is the leading research data provider for online brokers.

Intraday Trader tool: Intraday Trader is a trade ideas generator that uses automated technical analysis algorithms to present actionable opportunities, powered by Trading Central (formerly known as Recognia).

IPO Centre: Questrade also provides the IPO Centre as a web portal for investors looking to receive early notification of upcoming listings via email subscription to its IPO Bulletin newsletter. I liked how the open IPO opportunities are listed within Questrade’s IPO Centre web portal, where you can sort between offerings when considering investing in an initial public offering, in case you miss an email notification or just want to browse available offerings. Note: The minimum investment amount per IPO is $5,000.

IQ Web research: Besides the ability to look up a stock or options symbol, research within IQ Web consists of Calendar, News, and Videos tabs, where each module allows you to perform related actions such as checking analyst ratings or reading news about a particular security.

I found the economic calendar to be versatile, allowing clients to sift through various time frames and use up to 10 filters, including IPOs, conference calls, dividends, earning announcements, and other important events. Overall, the IQ Web delivers a touch above the minimum needed to conduct market research in a simple and easy-to-use trading platform.

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  1. Education

Questrade provides educational content in various formats including from third-party providers. Its Intraday Trader module contains a suite of tools that includes educational content powered by Trading Central.

For video content, Questrade has an official YouTube channel, but overall the broker trails industry leaders in this category, and it remains an area with significant room for expansion.

 

Questrade Offering of Investments

As noted above, Questrade is best suited to Canadian citizens and is not available to U.S. residents. Although investors outside of the U.S. and Canada cannot open a Portfolio IQ account, they can still open a self-directed account as an international trader to access Questrade trading platforms and related products, including U.S. regional exchanges.

 

Does Questrade offer crypto?

No, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin are not available to trade at Questrade.

Investment options: Together with access to Canadian stock markets, Questrade clients can trade all U.S.-based securities on the NASDAQ, NYSE, and other bourses. Stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, and precious metals are supported in every account.

Forex and CFDs: Questrade clients can also trade over 100 forex currency pairs and a good variety of contracts for difference (CFDs) with a separate account. That said, with target spreads of 1.8 pips on the EUR/USD pair, Questrade’s forex and CFD offering are not its strong point.

Account types: Questrade supports a variety of account types, from traditional margin to retirement, and even managed, accounts. Here’s a full list: individual, joint, or organization margin accounts; tax-free savings accounts; registered retirement savings plans; registered education savings plans; locked-in retirement accounts; registered retirement income funds; life income funds; and fully managed accounts.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Questrade Canada provides a well-rounded trading experience with two trading platforms to appease casual and active traders alike, especially Canadian residents. Questrade clients have access to transparent, competitive pricing as well as the ability to trade equities, options, and ETFs of companies based locally and in the United States.

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