Choosing An Investment Brokerage

Written By: Jake Bauer | Posted: 2020-08-12 | Last Updated: 2020-08-12

Now that my time at university is coming to an end, I’m starting to look forward into the future at what kind of saving and investing I will need to do to achieve my life goals. My first step is to find a brokerage which meets my needs as a Canadian investor. There are so many options to choose from and so many criteria to consider that I did the only sensible thing a Computer Scientist could do: I made a spreadsheet.

Working on the Spreadsheet using NextCloud

Download the spreadsheet here (if you notice any incorrect or missing information, please contact me).

I made the spreadsheet in collaboration with my friend who is also in the same position as I am. We did a ton of research (Charlee Wayne’s YouTube channel was incredibly helpful for this) and compiled a list of all the options we could find which at least offered trading of Stocks and ETFs. This led us to a list of 5 independent brokerage firms and 6 banks.

We then set out to evaluate each one from the perspective of student/recent graduate investors who would be putting money into a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) and, in the near future, an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan). We evaluated the brokerages mostly on their fee structures, what they allow us to trade, and what their youth discounts looked like. Secondarily, we evaluated the brokerages on the comprehensiveness of their trading platforms such as whether or not there was an easily accessible stock screener, indicators on charts, and so on.

For a few of the categories, information might be missing (indicated by a ‘?’) because we couldn’t readily find the information on the websites of the respective brokerages and we couldn’t open a practice account so that we could evaluate their platforms without creating a real account. Most of this information isn’t all that important though, so I’m not too bothered.

After doing all this research, I still haven’t yet made my mind up with regards to which brokerage I will choose, but I have at least narrowed down my choices to Questrade, Virtual Brokers, and National Bank and I know that I have at least thoroughly considered all of the options.

If you’re a Canadian thinking of investing or are already investing, let me know about your experiences by contacting me through email or the Fediverse; I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences!

This is my ninety-second post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at https://100daystooffload.com.