Canadian Online Brokerage Review – Virtual Brokers

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This topic contains 87 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  David 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #16882 Reply


    I’m in favor of having the Ontario Securities commission looking into their business practices…

    —Just decided to open an TFSA + all in one account around 5 month ago.
    I kinda like the fact of the penny structure that allows me to buy small quantities at a low commission fee and it seems to work out versus having to pay between 4.99 to 9.99 with questrade… and if buying a larger amount i just pay 9.99 that isn’t bad.

    but, I am very disappointed with VB and with the globe and mail that is pumping so much this broker— sometimes takes days for my orders to clear up even after them being already filled, it takes days with orders to be settled and on pending… I have to always calculate and make sure my balance is correct because I can’t trust it anymore…
    I can’t understand how this really works… I have accounts with 3 brokers, two in canada and one in europe… BV is the most worst in terms of organization and the way and how quick it shows on their orders/positions and balance/net equity. if the order gets filled, why doesn’t it show right away instead of having to wait sometimes days… like today.

    i do not advice BV to anyone.

    #16822 Reply


    Comparing VB and Questrade, it seems to me that Questrade’s commission is cheaper. Both need at least $1000 start up capital. For me, I am more interested in IB (Interactive Brokers). However, I still have shares at my VB Classic account waiting to be sold at the right time. That will take a while. Since that VB account has high commission, I think I would use it to mainly trade options, that would give me better leverage. Noq I have a better understanding about trading than when I first joined VB and I now also have more resources.

    #16803 Reply


    Sparx_Admin wrote: Client service is a very tricky thing to get right at any financial service firm.
    Response: Very true indeed. From my experience, VB is like its previous Options Xpress, they can give you the talk as if they are teaching you cause you don’t know anything. I have encountered this a few times, more so when I was new to trading. Seems that it is not uncommon to encounter arrogance in trading. Don’t know why we all think we are so smart!

    I have called VB this morning to try again (as they did not reply my email) to resolve my issue with them as to why they switch me to Classic structure without pre-warning. The supervisor explained that because I traded odd lots (along with others doing the same), the company decided they couldn’t survive on the penny per trade structure and we had to be switched. So VB can’t honor all of their previous clients joined before 2016 the penny structure anymore. Now I am planning to sell off my previous stocks through their trading desk.

    For VB’s commission free (for equity) structure, one has to maintain a balance of $5000, which I don’t mind. But, there is a data fee and the lowest cost is $150US/mth. I am now checking into different brokers and see which one is most suitable for my trading.

    If anyone here have any suggestions, please feel free to post. Thank you very much.

    I then asked the supervisor about the

    #16790 Reply


    Thanks for sharing Pauline. Client service is a very tricky thing to get right at any financial service firm but as your example shows, it can make a big difference in how clients feel when dealing with representatives. While it is hard to judge a firm by one or two encounters with a representative, the reality is that in financial services there is a high expectation for good service. As the saying goes, how you do one thing is how you do everything. If client service is important to you as an online investor, one of the best things to do is to call the customer service lines and go to the support (not sales) people. Talk to them and see what their approach is like – it could be an eye opener. In any case, are you still with VB or have you moved on? It’d be great to know why you stayed (if you did stick around) or where you went to next if you’ve left.

    #16789 Reply


    One time I was being charged twenty some dollars or fifty some dollars on a sell to open option on margin. I wasn’t aware that they did that. After that, I read the fine prints said if you sell to open an options on margin, they would charge you interest on a minimum of $25000.00, something like that. I still don’t understand it, but remember it was a lot of money on interest.

    #16788 Reply


    Sometimes VB employees are rude and errogant and sometimes they were ok. That is my experience.

    #16787 Reply


    Be careful with Virtual Brokers, I find that VB might be fishy. I have been with them for a couple of years. This happened in March 1st 2016, just yesterday. I got a phone call in the evening from VB. He informed me that they have switched my account to the Classic commission structure from the penny per share structure. No pre warning. Just like that. I have been trading a penny per share commission since I was their customer a couple of years ago. He said now I had to pay $9.9 per trade because I was trading odd lots (100 share is a lot). He meant I did not place 100 share per trade, so I was trading odd lots. The next day when I went to my account, they have locked it. I could not trade at all. I called their office, the person said the same that I was trading odd lots. I could not trade anymore. Only when I sell my existing shares, I would have to call them to place the order for me. I am going to investigate this cause something don’t add up!

    #16741 Reply


    Hey there!

    VB new accounts is HORRIBLE. Minimum wage people — their first job, evidently. They know SFA wrt anything. Did I say horrible? Some of their people are competent and very good — Alex and Simon on general enquiries, for example. How can the owners have such dolts on the front line of customer service? Are they trying to drive clients away? Bush leaguers all the way. dc

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by  Sparx_Admin. Reason: last name removed at request of author
    #16740 Reply


    Lower Commission Fees are a used to lure you in, but once inside the system, it is just so sub-par. Customer service is very poor. Trading platform and search functions are a few years/decades behind. Lastly, VB makes up for low commission fees via various other fees. In activity fees are charged and then taxes on that charged, which seems very strange. Inactivity fees are very high, 25 per Q in some cases. So at the end of the day, you are better off at a TDW or traditional broker (with their now lower fees) and even paying an annual fee. Maybe its worthwhile if you are a HF trader, not for others. I will be moving my accounts over to TDW shortly.

    #16716 Reply


    Thanks for your comments Moe and especially for highlighting that fees can change without notice. It seems like you’re not the first to mention the fee change coming as an unfortunate surprise. Looking around the industry right now, it seems that more and more brokerages are charging inactivity fees for clients with ‘smaller’ balances; they’re also squeezed for margins since commissions are so low so its safe to assume that fees and charges for other items or services may go up to compensate. I think the big lesson for DIY investors is to constantly be vigilant about checking your account statements for charges however IMHO if brokerages do not wish to upset their clients, they should really be communicating fee changes well in advance and across multiple channels. The limitations you also described on the platforms also sound frustrating – hopefully the technical issues get resolved soon.

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