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Look Back / Look Ahead 2021-2022: Qtrade Direct Investing Q&A

Q&A with Qtrade Direct Investing. Christine Zalzal, SVP, Head of Qtrade Direct Investing and VirtualWealth.

What can beginner investors expect from your firm?
As a new investor with Qtrade Direct Investing, you’ll quickly feel empowered to pursue your investing goals while you gain experience. Qtrade is an award-winning online investing service with robust mobile trading capabilities and unrivaled client service. Reviews from The Globe and Mail, MoneySense, and Surviscor have consistently ranked Qtrade among the best, including 23 first-place awards for Best Online Brokerage over the past 16 years, and eight first-place awards for customer service experience over the past six years.

As a Qtrader, you have access to a wealth of resources and innovative tools to help you invest with confidence. For example, Portfolio Simulator™ lets you test investment scenarios in a simulator mode, so you can explore ideas and fine-tune your investment strategy. Portfolio Score™ provides a second opinion on your portfolio, grading it on five key dimensions, including performance, diversification, and risk exposure.

If you’re looking to build an ETF portfolio, you’ll have access to over 100 commission-free ETFs, which are free to buy and sell. You can also get help building your own ETF portfolio with Portfolio Creator™. After answering a short series of questions, it generates a sample portfolio, customized to your investing preferences, that will help you maximize risk-adjusted returns.

And along your investor journey you can always get answers to your questions through our FAQs and self-help tools, including “Guide Me” tutorials, which help you quickly learn how to use different features of the platform.

What can active investors expect from your firm?
Qtrade Direct Investing offers the Investor Plus program, an enhanced service for active traders or investors with larger portfolios. Investor Plus features include discounted trading fees, no fees on US dollar registered accounts, and reduced margin borrowing rates. As an active trader, you’ll benefit from a reliable, stable trading platform, mobile trading capabilities, and expert client support. In addition, Qtrade will soon roll out expanded trading capabilities, which include advanced order types, like contingent orders and multi-leg options.

What online investing trends do you expect to matter to self-directed investors?
Omni-channel experiences. Do-it-yourself investors want to be empowered with well- designed online brokerage experiences on all versions of the trading platform, and for the platform to be accessible on different devices.

What does user experience mean at your firm?
At Qtrade Direct Investing, we’re genuinely obsessed with enhancing Qtraders’ experience and building investor confidence – it’s at the heart of everything we do. We’re committed to continuous innovation to improve the investor experience.

What sets your firm apart from your peers?
It’s the relentless determination to empower you with the best investor experience, so you can build and manage your portfolio with confidence. Our mantra is: “We’re a confidence-building machine.” We strive to deliver more value in a comprehensive service than any other choice.

This Q&A was featured in the Look Back / Look Ahead magazine.

In The Globe and Mail’s 2021 online brokerage review, personal finance columnist Rob Carrick said: “Any broker can fill an order to buy stocks, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, bonds and more. Qtrade helps you build a well-constructed portfolio and then monitor it to ensure it continues to work for you. Qtrade,” he continued, “may be the king of steady year-by-year improvement.”

And in the 2021 ranking of online brokers by MoneySense, Glenn LaCoste of Surviscor said, “Qtrade Direct Investing is a UX leader given its breadth of data, which is both easy to locate and to use.”

Reviews like these are gratifying because it means we’re succeeding in building a service that provides investors with value and the confidence to pursue their goals.

Please note: Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Direct Investing, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Qtrade and Qtrade Direct Investing are trade names and trademarks of Aviso Wealth.

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Look Back / Look Ahead 2021-2022: National Bank Direct Brokerage Q&A

Q&A with National Bank Direct Brokerage. Claude-Frédéric Robert, President.

What can beginner investors expect from your firm? 
At National Bank Direct Brokerage, young and new investors are cared for and guided from the very beginning of their experience. As with all our customers, they will pay zero commissions on stocks and ETFs, and if they are under 30 years old, there are no annual administration fees.  

We support beginner investors with an enhanced ETF Centre, an easy-to-use filter tool, and ETF research reports from Morningstar and National Bank Financial. NBDB offers the necessary tools to trade, but we also offer the educational component to get started.

We have tailored webinars ideal for beginners, a YouTube channel where we publish instructional and educational videos, and several other tools that allow new investors to gain confidence and make informed decisions.  

What can active investors expect from your firm? 
Active investors benefit from the best pricing with zero-commission on stocks and ETFs, and they can trade options at $1.25 a contract (min $6.25) with access to our high-performance transactional Market-Q tool. We are also working on providing pre- and aftermarket trading online for 2022.

What does user experience mean at your firm? 
At NBDB, we value customer experience. That is why we routinely send surveys to our customers to better understand their needs. This valuable information is then used to guide our decision-making, whether it be for tools, services, or any other aspect of our business. We are customer focused, and that is why our customers’ opinions are considered daily.

What sets your firm apart from your peers?
NBDB has become a disruptive force within our industry. We may not be the biggest direct brokerage in Canada, but we are always looking to distinguish ourselves from our peers by being the first to offer zero commissions that benefit every investor, and offering innovative tools like OptionsPlay and services like our Fully Paid Securities Lending, which are not offered by the competition.

This Q&A was featured in the Look Back / Look Ahead magazine.

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Look Back / Look Ahead 2021-2022: HSBC InvestDirect Q&A

Q&A with HSBC InvestDirect. Attilio Montanari, Vice President.

What can beginner investors expect from your firm?
HSBC InvestDirect is pleased to welcome beginner investors. When you become our new customer, the first thing you should expect is a warm welcome call from one of our highly trained Investment Representatives, with an offer to walk you through our trading platform and to answer any questions you may have. Beginner investors can expect a redesigned website to help them find what they are looking for with ease. They also have access to our demo videos that highlight trading site functionalities for different investment products.

What can active investors expect from your firm?
Active Trader investors are very important to HSBC InvestDirect. In addition to comprehensive market information, numerous analytical tools, and quick order execution features, we are also offering our Active Traders our best pricing of $4.88 per online North American equity trade and margin rates. To qualify3, you have to trade 150+ times every three months.  As well, we continue to offer price incentives through various free trading campaigns for HSBC InvestDirect customers.

What online investing trends do you expect to matter to self-directed investors?
We realize self-directed investors are constantly looking for good value, a high level of customer service, high quality tools and resources, and a reliable platform with quick access to the markets. Given where the industry is going, we believe fees and commissions will be top of mind to investors and brokerages.

What does user experience mean at your firm?
User experience is extremely important to HSBC InvestDirect, and service is our top priority. We continually use customer feedback to optimize our customer journeys and accessibility to information, allowing our customers to manage their investments and trade effectively 24 hours/day, 6 days/week.  Much of our focus and effort in the last 12-16 months has been around improving the overall customer experience, whether by phone or online.  

What sets your firm apart from your peers?

HSBC is a leading international bank, and HSBC InvestDirect uses that international reach to set us apart from the pack. Our customers can expect:

  • Dedicated customer support in four languages (English, French, Cantonese, and Mandarin)
  • Global access to 30 domestic and international markets, with settlement in 10 different currencies 
  • Low fees and commissions
  • Fast, reliable, and secure website
  • Integrated brokerage/banking combination

This Q&A was featured in the Look Back / Look Ahead magazine.

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Look Back / Look Ahead 2021-2022: Desjardins Online Brokerage Q&A

Q&A with Desjardins Online Brokerage. Marc Girard, Director.

Q1. What can a first-time investor expect at your firm?
The 18-30 age group represents 43% of our users, so we know all about the challenges of taking those first steps toward independent investing! That’s why we focus on education and support. We offer investors a learning centre that covers the most important topics and guides them as they explore the world of investing.

Q2. What can active investors expect?
With Disnat Direct, active investors have access to a state-of-the-art ecosystem. This high-level platform has been designed to meet the needs of the most discerning users who want all the information they need to make sound investments in one place.

Q3. Which online investing trends are likely to be important for independent investors?
There’s no denying the trend of using mobile applications to make investments. That’s why Desjardins Online Brokerage is working hard to make its mobile platform more user-friendly and comprehensive, so our users can expect a great experience whether they’re at home on their desktop or on the road with their cell phone.

Q4. What does “user experience” mean for Desjardins Online Brokerage?
The user experience is the driving force behind change and innovation at Desjardins Online Brokerage. We believe that it is crucial to ensure that our platforms are easy to use and facilitate quick transactions. We want our users to feel that our ecosystem is perfect for their changing needs.

Q5. What sets Desjardins Online Brokerage apart from its competitors?
First and foremost, we are a cooperative. Listening to and understanding our members and clients is an integral part of our mission – it’s in our DNA. Desjardins was founded with the goal of empowering members and clients and their communities. Each year, Desjardins offers a dividend to caisse members and invests heavily in projects that aim to improve the world around us. Doing business with Desjardins Online Brokerage is about learning from the past, making the most of the present, and building a better future for everyone. 

This Q&A was featured in the Look Back / Look Ahead magazine.

Desjardins Securities Inc. uses the trade name “Desjardins Online Brokerage” for its discount brokerage activities. Discount brokerage products and services are consolidated under the trademark “Disnat”. Desjardins Securities is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

Desjardins®, Desjardins Online BrokerageTM and related trademarks are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.

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Look Back / Look Ahead 2021-2022: BMO InvestorLine Q&A

Q&A with BMO InvestorLine. Andrea Casciato, Head of Digital Investing.

Q1: What can beginner investors expect from your firm?
Beginner investors can expect a robust platform that’s intuitive to use. We have a diversified offering of online investing options, seamless digital onboarding, and easy ways to fund your account. 

We’ve also created a new series of educational content for first-time investors. These videos and articles are designed to help new investors learn the basics: where to start, what to watch out for, and how to build a healthy portfolio.

InvestorLine offers a simple yet smart research and trading experience. We’re passionate about helping new investors find the right online investing tools to fit their needs. 

You can find our Course 1 Introduction on our YouTube channel.

Q2: What can active investors expect from your firm?
Active investors will appreciate the overhauled design of InvestorLine 2.0 – it’s easier than ever to place a trade, see meaningful data to help you make decisions, and manage your accounts. 

InvestorLine self-directed 5 Star clients receive preferred pricing, dedicated 5 Star support, access to the MarketPro trading platform, and real-time Level II quotes, as well as access to BMO Capital Markets research and exclusive IPO allocation.

Q3: What online investing trends do you expect to matter to DIY investors?
Digital is going to be a big space for investors, both for its self-serve capabilities but also for advice. As more people enjoy the autonomy and freedom of choosing their own investments, we believe having the tools to support DIY investors will become more and more important, and that includes giving investors personalized advice and dynamic insights that will help them achieve their investment goals.

Q4: What does user experience mean at your firm?
We’re fanatic about client-centered design and always-on innovation. We regularly incorporate user testing and feedback in every step of the product development cycle, and we use client data and feedback to guide our ongoing updates. We make monthly updates based on user feedback, so we’re always looking to make a positive impact on how clients use the platform and how we can enhance their overall experience.

Q5: What sets your firm apart from your peers?
We believe our holistic investing platform is really what sets us apart. We have a full-featured platform that isn’t just for placing trades; it’s easy to use without sacrificing customizability, meaning you can truly make the platform your own. More specifically, adviceDirect empowers our clients by allowing them to make their own investment choices while getting advice that’s customized to their portfolio and goals.

This Q&A was featured in the Look Back / Look Ahead magazine.


BMO InvestorLine Inc. is a member of BMO Financial Group. ®Registered trade-mark of Bank of Montreal, used under licence. BMO InvestorLine Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of Montreal. Member – Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

An adviceDirect account is a non-discretionary, fee-based account which offers investment recommendations. adviceDirect does not provide portfolio management by a portfolio manager. The client makes their own investment decisions and manages their own investment portfolio. adviceDirect does not offer discretionary, managed accounts.