In the first two parts of this series we touched on the different types of commission-free ETF trading being offered by discount brokerages and provided several tips for investors to keep in mind when considering these types of offers. (Click here to read part one or here to read part two)
In part three of this series, we compare the three providers currently offering commission-free buying and selling of ETFs (Qtrade, Scotia iTrade and Virtual Brokers) and look in detail at the offers from Qtrade and Scotia iTrade.
In the next part of this series, we will look at the offers from Virtual Brokers and Questrade in detail as well as the lessons learned from researching commission-free ETF offers at discount brokerages.
Comparing Commission-Free ETF Trading Offers
Even though Qtrade, Scotia iTrade and Virtual Brokers have limits on which ETFs are eligible to be bought and sold commission-free, the pool of ETFs offered by each brokerage is still sizeable with 60, 50 and 100 ETFs being offered respectively.
Between these three discount brokerages, there are 132 unique ETFs being offered by 17 different ETF providers. Interestingly, all three discount brokerages offer 30 of the same ETFs commission-free. For investors this means that a discount brokerage’s fee structure may be more of a factor to consider than which ETFs they offer.
Despite there being 17 different ETF providers, most of the funds come from only a handful of companies. In fact, four ETF providers contribute 78% of the commission-free ETFs available at Canadian discount brokerages with BlackRock alone offering slightly less than 50% of all the commission-free ETFs. Horizons, BMO and Vanguard respectively make up the rest of the top four commission-free ETF providers.
We’ll now take a look at the offers from Qtrade and Scotia iTrade in detail. In the next part of this series we’ll look at Virtual Brokers’ offers in detail as well as Questrade’s offer and conclude with important lessons learned from researching commission-free ETFs.