Canadian Online Brokerage Review – Scotia iTrade

Canadian Discount Brokerage - Scotia iTrade

Mailing Address
48 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON
M5E 1G6
Website: http://www.scotiabank.com/itrade/en/
Email Address: service@scotiaitrade.com
Phone: 1-888-872-3388
Customer Service Hours:
Mon to Fri 8 am to 8 pm ET


Scotia iTrade Review

Updated on: Aug 30, 2018
Scotia iTRADE, a subsidiary of Scotia Capital, is a bank-owned online brokerage that is active in providing investor education as well as trading platforms geared towards advanced or active traders. In addition they are one of the only bank-owned online brokerages to offer commission-free ETF trading. As of May 2014, Scotia iTRADE is also one of the few major online brokerages that has not lowered its standard commission pricing. Instead of lowering their standard pricing, however, Scotia iTRADE has lowered their best commission pricing for the active trader segment.

Quick Info

Standard Equity Commission $24.99
Best Commission Price $4.99
Minimum to Open Account Not Required
Maintenance/Inactivity Fees $25/quarter
Commission Free ETFs Yes

» Get Full Pricing Details

Pricing & Fees

How much a client pays per trade at Scotia iTRADE depends on either the total amount of assets across all iTRADE accounts and/or the trading frequency.
For infrequent traders (those who execute less than 30 trades a quarter) who have less than $50,000 in assets across iTRADE accounts, the minimum of $24.99 commission per trade applies as long as the order is 1000 shares or less. If more than 1000 shares are purchased, the fee changes to $0.03 per share – meaning that the higher volume of shares traded, the more expensive the trade commissions will be.

Scotia iTRADE clients who have more than $50,000 in combined assets across iTRADE accounts or those clients that trade between 30 and 150 times per quarter qualify for the $9.99 commission level. This is a flat fee so that no ECN or additional fees apply to the trade. Frequent/active traders (those who place 150+ trades per quarter) can expect to pay the best rate of $4.99 flat per trade.The cost to trade options with Scotia iTRADE follows their equity trade pricing. The standard cost for options trades are $24.99 + $1.75 per contract. For those clients with $50,000 or more in assets or who trade between 30 and 150 times per quarter, the cost is $9.99 + $1.25 per contract. Finally, for clients who place 150+ trades per quarter, the price is $4.99 + $1.25 per contract. Although they are a bank-owned online brokerage, Scotia iTRADE does offer commission-free buying and selling of a select number of ETFs. Click the following link to learn more about commission-free ETF trading.

Scotia iTRADE does charge a quarterly inactivity fee of $25 which it charges to clients that have less than $10,000 combined across all their iTRADE accounts. To avoid being charged this fee, those clients can place at least 1 commission-generating trade per quarter or hold a registered account.

Account Types

Scotia iTRADE offers online trading in both non-registered and registered accounts. In terms of non-registered accounts, Scotia iTRADE offers cash and margin accounts and also their higher interest cash optimizer account. Margin accounts to be used for short selling or options trading require additional approval and have minimum equity requirements.

For registered accounts, Scotia iTRADE offers tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and registered education savings plans (RESPs). Registered accounts such as the RRSPs are offered in both US and Canadian currencies however note that the US account types have a quarterly fee associated with them (of $30/quarter per account). Also, clients who have RSP accounts and less than $25,000 in aggregate across all iTrade accounts and who place less than 12 commission generating trades per year are subject to annual fee of $100.

Platform/Data

Through 2012 and 2013, Scotia iTRADE worked to improve their platform offering. Currently they offer mobile, web browser based and desktop based trading platforms.

In terms of web browser based interfaces, their standard platform allows for both fundamental and technical analysis, charting and keeping track of watchlists. In addition they also have a ‘trading desk’ order entry and review system that allows for multiple orders to be managed.

Their flagship trading platform, FlightDesk, is a desktop based platform that is geared towards advanced or active traders. FlightDesk comes in two versions, the standard and the premium, the key differences between the versions being that the premium offers streaming level 2 quotes, options chain trading and advanced options analysis. Data package pricing for FlightDesk’s standard and premium versions depend on the amount of assets and/or trading activity level. The prices for data can range from free for those who trade 30+ times per quarter to 79.95/mo for the FlightDesk premium service for those who trade between 0 and 8 times per quarter.

For mobile users, Scotia iTRADE has a mobile app that is supported for iPhone and Android. There is also an iPad app as well as for users who want to trade via tablet.

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”
Letter Grade “B+”
5th out of 12
Letter Grade “B”
5th out of 12
Letter Grade “B”
6th out of 12
Letter Grade “B”
February 2018
December 2016
December 2016
December 2015
December 2015
November 2014
November 2014
November 2013
JD Power Review Investor Satisfaction 8th out of 8
4th out of 10
9th out of 10
9th out of 10
6th out of 7
11th out of 11
September 2018
September 2017
September 2016
September 2015
September 2014September 2013
MoneySense Best bank-owned brokerage Top Pick July 2017

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Home Community Canadian Online Brokerage Review – Scotia iTrade

This topic contains 16 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Sultan Kabani Sultan 2 weeks, 2 days ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 11 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #22634 Reply

    Anna

    RBC has the lowest commission out of all the banks. $9.95 per trade without any minimums. $25/trade is ridiculous!

    #22765 Reply

    Alexei Polkhanov

    Absolutely worth service in entire world! They will NEVER answer your phone.

    #22854 Reply

    Gary McLean

    I have an iTrade account. I wanted to speak to someone today about my account. I have been waiting ON HOLD FOR OVER AN HOUR. And I’m still waiting.
    Take your money and go elsewhere. Their so-called “customer service” is disgusting.

    #23163 Reply

    Constantin

    The trailing stop losses are not working properly.
    Don’t know for how long.
    The price went up and down several times through stop for MTUM etf, and nothing.
    First customer service rep. told me I don’t know how a trailing stop works.
    After re-reading their Stop loss pdf, called again.
    The second C.S.Rep. told me they have stop-loss issues with some ETFs.
    I suspected several trades before but…they were small positions.
    today I had a single 100.000 cad position
    it was like strait into my face.
    I had to cancel the stop and sell at the market.

    #24016 Reply

    Robert Massey

    Tried all day to subscribe to the flight desk with no success..not much help from customer service although they acknowledge a problem and they have escalated the matter to another support group whoever they are..not much hope for a quick response

    #24630 Reply

    Michael

    I was with TradeFreedom which transitioned to Scotia iTrade after it was bought by Scotia Bank. Commissions increased from $10 to $20 then $25 over a few short years (I don’t have enough assets or make enough trades to qualify for the discounted rate). That was more than annoying, but I carried on. A few years ago Scotia iTrade also introduced “low activity fees”. Basically, if you don’t make a trade every quarter you get charged $25. I didn’t (and still don’t) trade very quarter. I wasn’t happy with that policy. At that point I called Scotia iTrade to look at my options. They suggested I move everything under a TSFA umbrella (transferring to an outside financial institution costs $150). As advised, I moved everything to a TSFA account. I forgot about this account because I didn’t want to pay their high interest rates by trading using their platform through them. Fast forward about a year and a half later when I try to log into my account and couldn’t. The website wouldn’t allow me to automatically reset my password. I kept putting off calling their customer service or hung up after getting frustrated with waiting to get through to someone (on average it takes more than 45 minutes to speak to a person). Finally, after about 2 years since last logging in, I reached through to customer service and got them to reset my password. It turns out that my account was frozen because they sent me a letter that bounced back to them. After accessing my account I realized that $60 per quarter had been withdrawn for “Low Activity Account/Unclaimed”. I was dumbstruck. To make things worse they twice sold shares to pay off the negative balance that had accrued as a result of the $60 inactivity fee. Each time they sold shares they charged me $85 in additional fees (~$60 for a broker to evaluate the sale and $25 for their trading fees). In total, I lost ~$600 because of their lack of attempts to reach me and their poor customer service. I had to call 3 times (each time waiting 45+ minutes to talk to a human and then being put on hold multiple times) before I could finally reach a manager who was willing to hear my case. They refused to reimburse me at first, but reluctantly gave me a pitiful fraction of the money I had lost after some tense arguing. It gets better (i.e., worse), after I filed a request with Questrade to transfer shares out of Scotia iTrade (because there was no way I was going to keep even a cent with them), Scotia iTrade blocked my request. The reason? My Scotia iTrade account had yet to be fully re-instated/claimed (their mistake again). They finally corrected the problem and I had to make a new request to have the funds transferred. More delays, more time wasted. My experience with Scotia iTrade was an absolute nightmare.
    There is no question that I will not deal with Scotia iTrade ever again, but this experience has left me so bitter that I will never, ever do business with ScotiaBank as well.

    #25220 Reply
    Profile photo of Sultan Kabani
    Sultan

    Don’t really care for their commission structure and the requirement that if your portfolio goes under 50k, commission rates go up from 9.99 to 24.99 .. Discourages any one to trade and try to build it back up..

    I have an account stuck there in that situation.. Needless to say, my trading there has stopped for now.. I may just move my account back to my other broker.. Any request for temporary adjustment, say for 6 months + or so is denied.. In other words, they don’t particularly care whether you stay with them or not..

    As far as I know, 50k threshold for 9.99 commission is only at Scotia.. None of the other Bank Brokers have that.. Mind you, I may be wrong since I have not checked lately..

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