Commission-Free ETF Trading at Canadian Discount Brokerages: A Clever Lure or a Good Deal for Investors? Part 3

 Commission-Free ETF Trading at QtradeQtrade Commission-Free ETF Asset Break Down

At Qtrade, ETFs from the following five providers are included as part of the 60 commission-free ETF pool:

  1. Blackrock Asset Management (iShares)
  2. Horizons ETFs Management Canada (Horizons)
  3. Invesco Canada (PowerShares)
  4. State Street Global Advisors (SPDRS)
  5. Vanguard Investments Canada (Vanguard)

The majority (40) of the commission-free ETFs being offered are from Blackrock (iShares) with Horizons ETFs and Vanguard each offering 8 and Powershares and State Street offering two each.  Collectively these ETFs represent diverse sectors, asset classes and geographic regions that investors can choose from.

There are 26 ETFs eligible for commission-free trading at Qtrade that are not offered commission-free at Scotia iTrade or Virtual Brokers. Of these, one of the lowest cost group of funds that Qtrade has compared to either Scotia iTrade and Virtual Brokers is from Vanguard.  While largely sector-based, the 8 funds do have a fee structure far lower than that of some comparable funds. For the list of funds eligible for commission-free trading at Qtrade click here.

The table below shows the range of management fees of Qtrade’s commission-free ETFs.  Blackrock and Horizons have wide ranges of management fees whereas the management fees for Vanguard’s ETFs are lower (and are consistently priced) on average.

 Number of ETFsManagement Fee Range
Blackrock Asset Management (iShares)400.15-0.98
Horizons ETFs Management Canada (Horizons)80.07-0.75
Invesco Canada (PowerShares)20.25-0.5
State Street Global Advisors (SPDRS)20.5
Vanguard Investments Canada (Vanguard)80.14*
*Where a management fee was reported, this number is provided otherwise the Management Expense Ratio is provided

In terms of the ‘fine print’ in order for an ETF trade to be eligible for commission-free status it must meet the following criteria:

  1. The minimum order value of $1000 in the currency of the ETF
  2. Clients must hold the ETF for a minimum of 1 business day from the date of purchase
  3. Clients must have signed up for eDocuments (for both statements and trade confirmations)

The minimum order value is a restriction that neither Scotia iTrade nor Virtual Brokers have in place. In addition mandatory sign up for eDocuments is a feature that is also unique to Qtrade in order to qualify for commission-free ETF trading. For the full list of eligibility criteria for commission-free ETF trading at Qtrade, click here.

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