Review Score: C
TD Direct Investing is another offering from the big banks for self directed investors in Canada. In this review, we will compare TD to some of the other big banks and some of the independent discount brokers, and try to let you know why we think it’s a somewhat inadequate choice by comparison. Formerly known as TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage, TD Direct Investing has some big positives, they have a wealth of resources to teach new investors how to trade and their trading platforms are many and varied. However, we feel that they lag behind some of their big bank peers in innovation and interface.
Opening a new account is fairly easy, as it is for most brokerages in 2017.
TDs fees are similar to the other banks for carrying a trading account and in terms of commissions.
- You need $15,000 split across all accounts in order to waive a $25/quarter inactivity fee.
- Stock trade commissions are $9.99. Higher or equal to most other brokers, so nothing to write home about. If you trade more than 250 times per quarter, the fee drops to $6.99 per trade.
- Options trade at $9.99 + $1.25 – pretty much par for the course between the big banks. It almost seems as if they conspire to fix their prices. I’m only kidding, of course.
Features, Support and Tools
They offer many of the same features offered by other brokerages that we’ve come to accept as industry standards.
- RRSPs are allowed
- TFSA trading accounts are allowed
- They allow USD balanced
- DRIP allowed
- They have very good educational materials for investors who are just begining
However, there are a number of services that are lacking:
- They only have a smartphone app for bond trading. This is unacceptable in 2017
- Unlike many brokers, there is no program to buy and sell any ETFs without commissions.
- They don’t offer a call back or live chat service. You have to telephone directly
- Their website is quite nice, but the trading interface leaves something to be desired
The last few points lead us to our main complaint about TD. They don’t really offer anything you can’t find elsewhere, they lag behind in multiple categories and they don’t seem to really be innovating. They more appear to be constantly playing catch-up with their peers. So they’re not a very exciting broker to have an account with (or to review for that matter)
TD is a decent broker, but why choose decent when there are many good or excellent stock brokers in Canada? Par or sub-par in many respects, we recommend most of the other Big Bank brokers over TD. And we recommend several discount brokers, like Questrade, over the big banks.