Review Score : C+
Scotia i-Trade is one of the online brokerages that is wholly owned by the big banks. It is a very good brokerage for higher net worth individuals, but not so great for investors with small sums of money to invest due to fees. So, if you’re looking for discount broker, look elsewhere (see our reviews), but if you have a balance to invest in the high $100s of thousands, Scotia might still be a good broker for you
Signing up is fairly painless, but it is apparently more difficult than signing up for some of the newer kids on the block – like Questrade or Qtrade.
Fees are much higher for people who carry a relatively small balance and much lower for more active traders with a high net worth. If you have a balance of less than $50,000 across all trading accounts, you will pay a trading commission of $25 per trade. This was not uncommon 10 years ago to pay commissions this high at ‘discount’ online brokerages, but today Scotia is one of the very few brokers that still have fees this high.
If you have more than $50,000 in your iTrade accounts, you will pay commission of $9.99 per trade. This commission also applies if you’re an active trader and you trade over 30 times per quarter. If you are a very active trader and you trade more than 150 times per quarter, you will get their best commission rate and trade at $4.99 per order.
- Options trade at $9.99 + $1.25 per contract
- you can trade from a list of 50 select ETFs for free. Scotia iTrade is one of the few bank brokers that currently allow this
- inactivity fees charged for balances under $25,000 across all accounts
Features, Support and Tools
- RRSPs are allowed
- TFSAs are allowed
- Smartphone app is decent
- Income reports are provided
- they do not have a Roboadvisor ETF
- you can buy Mutual Funds in your accounts
- DRIP is available
- Good Research tools are available, but they aren’t as good as some of the other big banks
- Support is offered over live chat and a call back service. By all accounts their support is responsive and helpful
Bottom Line: C+
Scotia iTrade has some positive qualities. If you’re looking for broker that is associated with a big bank and you have a decent balance across all trading accounts, then Scotia might be for you. But we would recommend a BMO or RBC over Scotia. If you’re not dead set on big bank broker, have a look at Questrade (our review) or Qtrade