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Look Back / Look Ahead: A Review of Canadian Online Brokerages in 2021 & Preview of 2022

Qtrade Direct Investing

By Christine Zalzal, SVP, Head of Qtrade Direct Investing and VirtualWealth

Christine Zalzal, SVP, Head of Qtrade Direct Investing and VirtualWealth

How was 2021?

This year opened with a bang! Interest in growth and “meme” stocks fueled an upsurge of market momentum and volatility. Across the Canadian online brokerage industry, trading volumes doubled, and it was a challenge for brokerages to keep up. We’re proud that Qtrade Direct Investing™ empowered clients with a secure and reliable platform, and a high standard of service from our award-winning client service team.

More recently, activity has settled down. But investors remain engaged, and trading volumes are still much higher than pre-pandemic levels.

We know clients want to get their new accounts up and running quickly. This year, Qtrade Direct Investing made big leaps forward in access and convenience. When you open an account, real-time identity verification allows you to confirm your identity by simply taking a selfie from your mobile device. And real-time account opening means you can access your new account without any wait times.

Personalization was another key theme this year. You’ll notice some great enhancements to the dashboard, which is your personalized landing page. It displays analyst ratings for your top holdings, as well as a Portfolio Score for your accounts. (Portfolio Score is a popular tool that grades your portfolio on key dimensions including performance, diversification, and risk exposure.) The dashboard displays alerts including upcoming dividend payments. The total portfolio graph is bigger and includes timeframe options so you can easily gauge progress towards your goals.

Canadian investors love exchange-traded funds (ETFs), so we’ve expanded our lineup of commission-free ETFs to over 100. You’ll find additional responsible investing ETFs, along with other thematic ETF options. There is no minimum trade amount and, of course, no commissions to buy or sell any of the 100+ free ETFs.

This year, Qtrade Direct Investing got a whole new look. Investors have said they love the new brand and we love it too. It tells the story of what Qtrade has always done exceptionally well: providing investors with the confidence of knowledge. Confidence in a click on a top-ranked platform and a simple, intuitive experience. And confidence in the relationship with expert client support when you need it. We will continue working to build investor confidence and humanize the digital experience for Qtraders, so you can Write Your Own Future™.

What we are Looking Forward to in 2022

We know self-directed investors prize fast, convenient, and reliable access to their online trading service. They want a simplified investing experience and knowledgeable, responsive support.

Looking ahead to 2022, we’re excited about delivering an enhanced experience across multiple devices. This is a high priority, and we think Qtraders who manage their investments from different devices will love the new experience.

The ability to seize market opportunities quickly will get a boost with the upcoming rollout of instant funding, meaning you can access deposited funds sooner in order to execute on your trading decisions.

Qtraders have asked for and will soon have more flexibility to enter multiple orders at one time. For example, you will be able to place a stock order combining both a Sell Limit order and a Stop Loss order. If one order is filled, the other is automatically cancelled.

We’re also adding a new layer of protection to help keep your accounts and your information secure. With two-factor authentication, when you log in to your Qtrade account, you’ll be prompted to input a numeric code, which we’ll send to you via text message or phone call.

Industry trends we’re monitoring closely include the emergence of new investment offerings, such as new asset types, most notably cryptocurrencies, which investors are interested in accessing and exploring.

Qtrade’s pricing structure is competitive, and we add value through innovation, research, expert client service, and investor tools. This should all be taken into account when choosing an online brokerage. The Globe and Mail’s 2020 online brokerage review encouraged this approach:

“If investing to you is a years-long journey of wealth-building for goals like retirement and your children’s postsecondary education, then you’ll get more value from Qtrade’s tools and informative website than you will by paying a few bucks less per trade: Grade: A+”

—Rob Carrick, The Globe and Mail