Canadian Online Brokerage Review – Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat)

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Mailing Address
1170 Peel Street
Suite 105
Montreal, QC
H3B 0A9

Email Address: info@disnatdirect.com
Phone: 1-877-842-0582
Customer Service Hours: Mon to Fri 8 am to 7 pm ET

Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) Review

Updated on: Mar. 8, 2016
As one of Canada’s earliest discount brokerages, Desjardins Online Brokerage (also known as Disnat) is a subsidiary of the Desjardins Group. Although they may be better known to investors in Quebec and Ontario, Desjardins Online Brokerage has been active in Western Canada in the past several years under the Disnat banner. In terms of direct brokerage services, Disnat offers two service choices for clients: Disnat Classic or Disnat Direct.
The primary difference between the two services is the activity level of the client. Disnat Classic is geared towards less active investors whereas Disnat Direct is structured around active investors and traders. As a result, the types of platforms, pricing and tools offered for each service are understandably different. Our previous review focused primarily on Disnat Direct however this review will cover both the Disnat Classic and the Disnat Direct options.

Quick Info

Standard Equity Commission $9.95
Best Commission Price $5
Minimum to Open Account $1000
Maintenance/Inactivity Fees $30/quarter
Commission Free ETFs No

» Get Full Pricing Details

Pricing & Fees

As of July 2015, Disnat Direct has updated and simplified their standard pricing offering. Gone are the trading thresholds that required a minimum trading level and instead trading commissions will range between $5 and $9.95 per trade.  That said, what a client actually pays per trade depends on the number of shares traded and/or the actual share price (with the distinction being between stocks priced either above or below the $2.00 mark) and whether or not the shares are listed in US or Canadian dollars. Standard options trade pricing is now $1.25 per contract with a minimum charge of $8.75 per trade.

The table below helps to show that what a client pays largely depends on whether the stock price is above or below $2. If the share price is $2 or lower, the commission price depends on whether the volume of shares traded is less than or equal to 10,000 shares (in which case the commission cost is $5) or if the volume of shares is 10,001 shares or more (in which case the commission cost is $9.95). If the share price is $2.01 or greater, the cost per trade depends on whether the stock is a Canadian or US listed stock. For Canadian listed stocks, the cost is $0.01 per share with a minimum commission charge of $5 and a maximum of $9.95. If the stock is US listed, the cost is $0.005 per share with a minimum commission of $5 and maximum of $9.95.

Share Price $2 or less Share Price $2.01 or more
10,000 shares or less: $5 CAD: $0.0.1/share – Min:$5 Max:$9.95
10,001 shares or more:$9.95 US:$0.005/share – Min:$5 Max$9.95

Given that Disnat Direct is oriented towards active traders, another major cost consideration is the kind of data costs one incurs as a result of the platform one uses. See the platform tab for more information on data costs.

There are a few important fees to be aware of with Desjardins Online Brokerage accounts – most notably inactivity fees.

For Disnat Classic, the inactivity fees are called ‘safekeeping fees’ and the rates for this fee type are comparable to bank-owned brokerages. For non-registered accounts and TFSAs those with less than $15,000 in the account or that make fewer than 6 trades per 12 month period, a fee of $30 per quarter is charged. The fee may be waived if the balance threshold ($15,000 or more) or the activity threshold (6 or more trades within the year) are met. In addition, clients who also hold a registered account in addition to a ‘regular’ account can have the ‘safekeeping’ fee waived.

Disnat Direct’s inactivity fees are much higher than Disnat Classic. Accounts that are deemed inactive (defined as no trades for at least 3 consecutive months) are charged $30 per month. The inactivity fee also applies to TFSA accounts. Registered accounts (RRSP/LIRA) with balances under $15,000 or that make fewer than 125 trades per year are subject to an administrative fee of $100 per year (as measured between July 1st to June 30th).

Account Types

Like its competitors, Desjardins Online Brokerage offers a selection of both non-registered (known as “regular” accounts) and registered accounts.

The regular accounts at Desjardins Online Brokerage consist of:
• Cash Accounts (available only with Disnat Classic)
• Margin Accounts
• Margin Options Accounts
• Short-selling Accounts

Registered accounts offered by Desjardins include the most popular RRSPs, TFSAs and RESPs as well as LIRAs, RIFs and LIFs. While most of the registered account types are offered for both Disnat Direct and Disnat Classic clients, RESPs are only offered to Disnat Classic clients.

Platform/Data

The Disnat Classic platform is a straight forward web based platform. Clients can place trades, check account balances, monitor order status, create watchlists, and conduct fundamental as well as technical research. The Disnat guided portfolio strategy (GPS) is also available via this platform.

Disnat Direct offers several platform options for active traders. One important thing to note is that in order to get data from and trade certain markets, such as the TSX Venture, additional data packages are required.

Their standard offering, DD Web, is comparable to many other online brokerage web browser based platforms and to the Disnat Classic platform. Clients can place trades, check account balances, monitor order status, create watchlists, and conduct fundamental as well as technical research.

The desktop based platform comes in three levels – DD Xtra, DD Plus and DD Pro. These platforms are mostly alike in functionality except that DD Plus and DD Pro offer greater capacity for watchlists and better market depth of quotes than DD Xtra (level 1 ¾ vs level 2).

An important consideration for users is the cost of the data that goes along with these platforms. Depending on the platform and whether or not a client wishes to trade the TSX-V, cost for data ranges from $30 (DD Xtra no TSX-V) to $149 (DD Plus with TSX-V). The good news is that rebates are offered on data costs depending on the trading activity level, and as such highlights why Disnat Direct is an active trader product.

For DD Web, 10 or more trades per month qualifies for no data fees (including TSX-V); for DD Xtra 21 or more trades per month qualifies for no data fees without TSX-V or 31 or more trades for no data fees with TSX-V. Finally DD Plus waives fees for clients trading at least 41 or more trades per month (includes TSX-V).

Reviews & Ratings

Review What Review Measures Score Date of Ranking
Dalbar Canada Review Client Service Below Average
Below Average
January 2015
January 2014
Globe and Mail Review Overall Impression Letter Grade “B-”
8th out of 12
Letter Grade “C-”
10th out of 12
Letter Grade “C-”
10th out of 12
Letter Grade “C”
December 2016
December 2016
December 2015
December 2015
November 2014
November 2014
November 2013
JD Power Review Investor Satisfaction 1st out of 10
5th out of 10
6th out of 10
1st out of 7
2nd out of 11
September 2017
September 2016
September 2015
September 2014
September 2013
MoneySense Customer Service Runner Up July 2017

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