Canadian Online Brokerage Review – Virtual Brokers

Virtual Brokers

Office Address
199 Bay St., suite 2600
Toronto, ON
M5L 1E2

Mailing Address
BBS Securities Inc.
199 Bay St. Suite 2600
PO BOX 108 STN Commerce Court
Toronto, ON
M5L 1E2

Website: https://www.virtualbrokers.com/
Email Address: info@virtualbrokers.com
Phone: 1-877-310-1088
Customer Service Hours: Mon to Fri 8:00 am to 6 pm ET


Virtual Brokers Review

Updated on: Feb. 8, 2019
Virtual Brokers, a division of BBS Securities Inc, is one of the youngest of the Canadian online discount brokers. Although (and maybe because) they haven’t been around as long as other brokerages, Virtual Brokers is able to offer pricing and platforms that help them stand out from their competitors.

Given that they offer a number of account and pricing options for investors and traders alike, those considering Virtual Brokers should understand what kind of trading style and needs they have so as to select the products/services that best suit their needs. For active traders and those looking for real-time data, however, be sure to consider the costs for data subscription for streaming quotes as part of the total cost of ownership with this provider.


Quick Info

Standard Equity Commission Min: $1.99
Max: $7.99
Best Commission Price $1.99/ticket ($0.01/share)
$3.99/ticket (active trader)
Minimum to Open Account $1,000
Maintenance Fees $24.95/quarter
Commission Free ETF Yes

» Get Full Pricing Details

Pricing & Fees

As of late December 2018, Virtual Brokers has updated their commission pricing by lowering their commissions and moving to a slightly different method of charging for trades. While their previous trading commission plans are available to customers already on the plan, they also do offer access to those commission plans to new customers upon request.

The new commission plans offer DIY investors pricing of $0.01/share with a range between $1.99 to $7.99 per ticket for equity trades as their standard rate, and for active traders, defined as those who trade over 150+ trades per quarter, the standard per ticket pricing is $3.99 flat.

For those unfamiliar with per ticket pricing, this refers to the direction of a trade (buy or sell) and it means that you get charged by the direction of a trade in a particular security. This is usually clearer with an example, so if an investor buys 100 shares of BCE, at 10am, then buys another 200 shares of BCE at 1pm on the same day, the total commission charged would be 300 shares x $0.01 = $3.00 (as opposed to 2 commission charges being charged for two trades.) Click here for a more detailed example.

Combined with the commission-free buying of ETFs and the 150 commission-free ETFs (buying and selling), Virtual Brokers offers investors competitive value. For active traders, there is particularly compelling value with a “per ticket” system and lower commission charges.

Another important fee to note is the quarterly inactivity fee of $24.95. This fee can be waived if: the individual makes at least one commission-generating trade worth at least $6.49 within a quarter; or is under the age of 26; or has at least $5,000 across all accounts; or is a registered charity.

As mentioned above, Virtual Brokers offers commission-free ETF trading (buying and selling) on 150 ETFs and commission-free buying on all ETFs.  Check out our detailed look at commission-free ETFs to learn more about how these work.

Account Types

Like their peers, Virtual Brokers offers a number of account types. Virtual Brokers offers clients the ability to trade in both registered accounts and non-registered accounts.  In addition, Virtual Brokers offers trading in stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds and options.

Registered accounts include tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and registered education savings plans (RESPs).  While Virtual Brokers offers US dollar accounts for all registered accounts, they do so for a fee. For registered accounts you cannot use margin or short stocks. Options trading in registered accounts is limited to buying and selling options and writing of covered calls.

The non-registered account offered by Virtual Brokers is called the “All in One” account which is a combination of equity, option, margin and short accounts all rolled into one.  This enables individuals the opportunity to access margin (should they want to) to finance a trade that they may not have the ability to do otherwise.

Platform/Data

Virtual Brokers offers a number of trading platform options – many more than most other brokerages. There are professional level trading platforms available however most individual investors would be interested in the standard platforms.  The web-based trading platforms offered have been consolidated to just one: VB WebTrader. There are now several application-based trading platforms for users to choose from PowerTrader Pro (by Sterling) and the relatively new VB Wave.  In terms of mobile trading platforms, they also offer PowerTrader Mobile which is supported on Android and iPhone.

When considering a trading platform, keep in mind the kinds of trading and analysis tools that you will need, especially because most application-based platforms require a monthly subscription fee ranging from $75/mo CAD to $580/mo USD (ITS TraderLite).  Although VB WebTrader offers free snap quotes, some very active traders tend to prefer streaming quotes for which Virtual Brokers offers streaming Level 1 data for Canadian markets at around $20/mo (the TSX/TSV combo is $25/mo) CAD and US streaming Level 1 data can be added on for $4 or $5/mo USD. Additional market data feeds (e.g. Level 2), can be added on with pricing varying by market.

Reviews & Ratings

 Review What Review Measures Score Date of Ranking
Dalbar Canada Review Client Service Not Rated
Not Rated
January 2015
January 2014
Globe and Mail Review Overall Impression Letter Grade “A”
Letter Grade “B”
Letter Grade “A”
1st out of 12
Letter Grade “A”
1st out of 12
Letter Grade “A-”
2nd out of 12
Letter Grade “A”
February 2019
February 2018
December 2016
December 2016
December 2015
December 2015
November 2014
November 2014
November 2013
JD Power Review Investor Satisfaction Not Rated
Not Rated
September 2014
September 2013
MoneySense Runner Up – Fees & Commissions
Top Pick – ETFs
July 2017
July 2017

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Home Community Canadian Online Brokerage Review – Virtual Brokers

This topic contains 84 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  9 Best Trading Platforms in India for Superior Trading – 2019 5 months ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 85 total)
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  • #27911 Reply

    9 Best Trading Platforms in India for Superior Trading – 2019

    hi thanks for the information and posts

    #25470 Reply

    Liza

    The commission structure works well for me and is the only reason I am still with them. As soon as I find someone offering the same or lower commissions, I will leave. Reason: abysmal customer service. Like some of the other posters, I could write pages (not just paragraphs) about the countless incidents. Let’s not forget spelling and grammatical errors on their website, BTW.

    So, if you want customer service – steer clear.

    #22771 Reply

    Adrian

    Virtual Brokers fee structures are borderline fraudulent! Beware of them changing fee structures without EMAILING but relying on you checking their millions of messages on the online portal (to read the fine print). WOULD NOT RECOMMEND.

    Any issues brought up with them are dealt with very poorly. Some of the worst customer service I have ever encountered.

    #22552 Reply

    Toni

    Worse customer service ever. I could write several paragraphs here detailing all the incidents I had. Even with the new ticketing system still can’t seem to deliver.
    I have several portfolios with nearly a million dollars invested. I manage in there all my family’s registered accounts too.
    I would take all our positions out if it wasn’t that I took me so much effort to open the accounts and do the transfers. I can’t afford to go through that again in the short term, but if they keep under-performing, like are right now, I’ll strongly consider going elsewhere.

    I would not recommend this platform for any serious investor. Go put your money elsewhere .

    #22075 Reply

    David

    I am Just wondering to open account in VB. Is stock trading free of commission even with Web trader ? Does anyone knows about it.

    #20900 Reply

    Zach

    Still trying to get my money back from these guys somehow they billed me 100$ in random fees (made up fees noone else charges) the process for withdrawing funds and closing the account is ridiculously slow and the staff don’t seem to know what there talking about. Seriously put your money anywhere else at this point i wish i had of just set mine on fire.

    #20731 Reply

    Jonathan

    VB is a rip off on currency conversions. They take 1.9% over the spot rate. They don’t support norbit’s gamble and charge $15+1.95 per quarter to hold USD in your account. If all you want to buy is canadian ETF than it may be a good choice for you but if you what to traded in the US and internationally for get them.

    #20730 Reply

    Karina

    I switched to VB from TD and RBC. I was unhappy with the depth of market info and platform at both brokerages. TD is better if you’re making phone trades, but I detest the $63 fee per phone trade. Ridiculous. If you have the minimum account balance, expect delays with your account. If you have over $50K expect nothing but great experience. As a young professional, I am growing my portfolio. VB treats me with more respect than TD or RBC as anything over $1M is considered valuable to the big banks.

    Know what you bring to the table and adjust your expectations accordingly. Don’t expect high net worth treatment with minimum account balances.

    #20402 Reply

    VirtualBroker Victim

    Do NOT NEVER EVER NEVER EVER trade stock with Virtual Broker. worst customer service ever. I would recommend always deal with mainstream brokers for trading. Virtual Broker fee is deceiving. and their trading platform is really confusing.

    #19119 Reply

    Kirk McDougall

    Virtual Brokers has added an annoying popup that shows every time one enters the dashboard. It makes an otherwise good site a horrible annoyance. Very difficult to concentrate on investing when popups are constantly interrupting.

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