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, 1 week ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 71 through 80 (of 85 total)
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  • #10206 Reply

    niuniuma

    virtual brokers is a scam indeed. they return your money in 15 business days. it’s ridiculous. dont go with them.

    #10205 Reply

    Neil wiatrowski

    I was with TDW but got tired of them telling me that eventually my US equities would be held in US currency. So I transferred over to RBC and took advantage of the 50 free trades they gave me for switching, as well them paying the transfer fees on all three of my transferred accounts. I do miss TDW’s 24/7 customer service, but as a pretty active trader, I am now paying $6.95 per trade with RBC. I have been looking into switching to either VB or Questrade, but I haven’t heard too many positives for either company. If anyone has a brokerage they are truly happy with I’d love to hear from u. I do between 50 – 75 trades per month so I’d prefer to hear from someone who does similar trading volume.

    Thanks and good trading to all

    #10204 Reply

    Taunia

    Nope. VB is probably worse than Questrade. If you can afford to open an account with TOS than I highly recommend you do. I have heard only positive feedback about them. I guess at the end of the day we get what we pay for. Unfortunately most of us are stuck with brokers such as VB and Questrade because of the account requirments. Not everyone can afford to dump $5K or $10K to open an account. The other awesome broker is IB (Interactive Broker). They require $10K to open though but they are cheap on commissions.

    #10203 Reply

    Jay

    I am researching for a new online broker because my current online broker (Questrade) is proving themselves to be persistently incompetent. They ignore problems and complaints. They pass the buck to “supervisors” who never do a damn thing to look into problem raised or serious issues. In fact, if you raise a complaint to Questrade’s own “supervisors” email, you will just get the same clod who mismanaged your issue in the first place – but now claiming that his “supervisor” wants him to continue working the complaint. Really?!! Hillarious!
    Questrade’s known issues:
    – no commitment to resolve issues including closing accounts and transferring funds
    – blame problems on “back office” (note Pension Financial, their old back office, have folded)
    – ignore written, legal requests
    – lose mail (routinely)
    – no supervisory personnel
    – etc.

    All this to save a few bucks in trades?! No Thanks and never again. Can V*B really deliver competent service at same/similar low/zero fee structure? I have no idea, but some of the comments here give me reason to pause and reflect on the host of problems that Questrade causes on their own customers and which providers really can provide a reliable trustworthy service.

    #10202 Reply

    sam

    I’ve been a happy customer with VB for many years. HOWEVER, since last few months, as others mention, I noticed a big difference in their customer and tech service, as their services and customer cares are deteriorating big time. Yesterday I was on line for over ONE hour to speak to their tech rep without any success. I also have ETF commission charge error issues and they just blame it on their computer programming. and their 60 days reimbursement policy is completely ridiculous… I am telling them if they continue like this, they will lose big time.

    I’m not sure if their upper management knows about these issues. Anybody has email or phone number of any of the VB executives? I think we all need to take our complains to the top and if they don’t bother to fix the issue, we should just take our business somewhere else.

    #10201 Reply

    Tim

    I’ve been with VB for a few years now and am about to switch back to TDW. I got charged a $100 commission yesterday on an ETF buy while under their free ETF commission structure. After talking to several of their reps on the phone they told me to send an email to support. They replied and told me they would reimburse in 60 days. So I have to wait 60 days to get my money back because they screwed up? And this isn’t the first time they’ve overcharged me commissions, and every time I have to call and complain and wait months for a refund. They think because they have a 99 cent commission structure no one will leave, but it makes no difference when you’re trading over 1000 shares (which is the bulk of my trading). Their streaming data fees are also high, $35 plus extra for each exchange you want. I’m paying over $40 and all I get is TSX level 1. I also haven’t been able to place an order in my RESP account all month because it’s all messed up since their transfer of accounts from Penson. It still doesn’t work even after several phones calls to get it corrected. They also rip you off with US currency conversions and won’t allow you to do Norbert’s Gambit. Don’t waste your time with them.

    #10200 Reply

    Sparx_Admin
    Keymaster

    Hey Tommy,

    According to Virtual Brokers anyone is eligible for “The 99” commission structure regardless of account size or trading frequency. Also withdrawing funds via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is free.

    Regarding your question about Questrade, ask yourself what is important to you when trading. Do you trade often and need to contain your costs? Is reliability of the system essential? There are outages and customer service issues no matter which brokerage you’re with. Try out whoever you think will meet your needs best.

    #10199 Reply

    Tommy

    Got a couple of questions.

    -I noticed that VB’s commission structure per equity trade is $6.49 or $0.99 on the “99” plan. Is anyone eligible to be on the “99” plan, regardless of account size or trading frequency?

    -How much does VB charge each time you transfer money out of an “All-in-one” account?

    -Is Questrade really all that bad? I have a friend who has been with them for two years with no problems. He enjoys the 3.33x leverage they offer (vs. 2x at VB), as well as $4.99 flat commission.

    Thanks

    #10198 Reply

    Rick

    I’ve joined the long and patient queue of would-be Virtual Brokers customers. It seems that since they came No. 1 in the Globe & Mail’s 2012 broker’s survey and took on the Options Xpress customers in Canada that they’re completely overwhelmed. Comments here and elsewhere on the net over the last 2 to 3 months have been universally negative.

    Their communications are abysmal. They don’t make excuses for delays, they just don’t answer e-mail. According to other posters, getting them on the phone is hopeless.

    I’ll stick with my saga and see how long it takes for them to get my account activated, but I’m already unhappy and I’m not even a customer yet!

    If you’re thinking of transferring, maybe give them 6 months or a year. I’m betting they get knocked off the Globe & Mail’s throne in 2013.

    #10197 Reply

    Denise

    I am also thinking about transferring to Virtual Brokers after horrific experience with Questrade’s new platform. I believe Virtual Brokers are quite overwhelmed right now with all the customer transfers from OptionsXpress, but they seem helpful enough in my correspondence with them, although a bit slow. They pointed out their #1 rating with the Globe & Mail article in Nov/12 (I think that was the magazine issue) so that’s positive. Some of the posts here are causing me to have second thoughts. I just hate to transfer over if they’re no better than what I’m dealing with at Questrade. It’s such a hassle to move accounts. Does anyone else have experience with Virtual Brokers?

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