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Tradefreedom Discount Brokerage Review


Time for another low cost discount brokerage review: Tradefreedom.  We have done many discount brokerage reviews, from the good to the not so good. I thought that we had most of the brokerages covered, but after some comments from readers, I was missing an essential piece of the Canadian discount brokerage market, Tradefreedom.

This article will provide a preliminary view of the discount brokerage Tradefreedom. As I don’t have an account with them, I can only go by what it stated on their website and by what readers are saying about them. I would be grateful if more Tradefreedom clients to add their comments.

Note that MDJ is not affiliated with Tradefreedom.

Account Types Offered:

  • Cash, Margin, Short, Options, Futures, Forex and Registered (RRSP, RRIF, LIRA, LIF, RESP)

Trading Platforms

  1. Tradefreedom Online. As with all Canadian discount brokerages, Tradefreedom provides an web based trading platform that includes direct access trades, along with free real time quotes and charts. Seems to be similar to Questrade’s interface.
  2. Tradefreedom Edge. This includes all the features of the web platform but with the addition of advanced trading tools. Their online demo looks fairly advanced.

Commissions/Fees for Trading Stocks and Options (+ ECN fees)

  • U.S Equities: $9.95 Flat
  • Canadian Equities < $3.00: $9.95
  • Canadian Equities > $3.00: $9.95 up to 1,000 shares, $0.01/share after that.
  • Options: $9.95 + $1.25/contract
  • Broker Assisted Trades: $20 + regular commission
  • Mutual Funds: $37.95/transaction
  • No trade, account minimum or annual fees

Datafeeds

  • This is where Tradefreedom really shines. They provide free REAL TIME streaming quotes AND charts (level 1). I believe that this may be the only Canadian discount brokerage to do this.

What the Readers are Saying

Michael Watkins

If your account is relatively small, and you do not trade very often at all, then TradeFreedom is a good provider.

However if you are at all active – even swing trading I push through more than 30 trades a quarter – the transaction costs will quickly make TradeFreedom the most expensive choice.

Andrew

You can open an account with TradeFreedom Securities and get free real-time STREAMING quotes for both USD and CAD exchanges includes free US market depth. No trade minimums either – all clients can obtain $9.95 rates regardless of your trade and asset levels.

Why would you want to toggle between one website (for the last quotes price – not even streaming quote) and then go to another site to place the trade?

Mr. T

They have great rates, and great Windows platform. (rich client Windows app that you install on your desktop) They also have a Web interface which lets you do all the trades, quotes and account maintenance, but it needs some work to make it look nicer.

The Windows app is great, real time quotes, blotter, watchlists, all that you need. Trades are around $9.95 per trade (I didn’t quite figure out the formula, but it depends on how many shares, at what price, but for my last 5 trades I paid $9.95, $10.08, $11.03, $10.02, and $10.08) They have been bought by ScotiaBank, but so far they are running the shop independently.

I would like to see great FX rates and great premuim interest rate for cash balances. Currently cash balances earn 0% interest. With TradeFreedom you can have CAD or USD balance on the account. To transfer money to TradeFreedom, you just set-up a bill payment on your web banking, and there you go, you “pay a bill” to transfer any amount to your TradeFreedom account.

To transfer money back, you need to call them, and after password validation on the phone, you can tell them to EFT your cash amount back to your bank. This takes about 2 days to EFT (electronic fund transfer).

Final Thoughts

I’m not sure why I missed this brokerage before, but now that I’ve noticed them, they are a legitimate player in the low cost discount brokerage market. What I like most about them are the fact that they have no account trade or cash minimums, they provide free real time streaming quotes/charts and they have direct access to the markets.

If you are interested in stock trading, here are some free online stock trading tools that I have used and recommend.

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FrugalTrader About the author: FrugalTrader is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 95 comments… add one }

  • kenetec October 16, 2009, 5:08 pm

    I’ve been with TF for a couple years now and its been going downhill since then.

    To recently learn that the desktop platform now costs $30 a month … even if you don’t use it in the first place… Really? Is that how you treat your customers? Charged for something I’ve never bothered using because it is a horrible piece of software… I have to go out of my way to tell them I don’t want to use it?

    I used to have an unprecedented unique advantage with TF, at least that is what they claimed when they partnered with QuoteTracker many years ago. That was removed this past summer.

    All these new fees, and restrictions are good for business… or is it? They are going to lose 3 different customers including myself over the mismanagement of this company.

    1. Poor Customer Service
    2. New Fees popping up all the time.
    3. Restricted to horrible software and pathetic website

    Those are 3 things every TF client needs to keep in mind.

  • Another TF User October 16, 2009, 6:04 pm

    I had a bad experience trying to get the fee removed. All the CSR could say was they mentioned it in the June statement and it was all over their web site and that there was 60 days for me to call in. Excuses Excuses Excuses. Of course, emailing me about the change would be too easy wouldn’t it?

    With a vague message below printed in the back of my statement, they expect me to chase down information on their web site.

    “Please note we are changing our platform fee effective September 1st, 2009. With recent market performance, this may be a good time for you to review which of our trading platforms are best aligned with your investment objectives. To obtain more information on our trading tools and to view our entire commission and fee schedule, visit http://www.tradefreedom.com or send an email to supportgroup@tradefreedom.com for more information”

    TF’s upper management is counting on people not canceling it properly.

  • kenetec October 17, 2009, 5:41 pm

    Sigh, I went to call TF and complain about the fee, which I know probably won’t get removed, and probably end up paying for it again but Lo and Behold — they are closed at 6pm EST…

    You know you have no customer service when….

  • F. Lynch October 18, 2009, 4:09 pm

    I have used TF for at least 3 years. I find them horrible. Here is a short list of things gone wrong: 1. Their system was compromised and my private info including SIN was stolen 2. They refused to discuss how to fix this stolen data problem, I made a telephone appointment with one of their managers and he simply did not call, when asked for an explanation, I was simply ignored. 3. Their support desk is just designed to get you off the phone 4. They messed up a simple trade to sell a call option and all they say is “it was due to a technical issue”. 5. They do not respond to questions in a timely manner.

    If you are going to sign up with TF then ask them for their policy on response time to questions. Ask them how do they measure their response time. Ask them under what conditions are you allowed to speak to a manager if you cannot get resolution from the support desk.

    On the plus side, the tool TradeFreedom Edge is good.

  • cedricloi October 27, 2009, 2:15 pm

    I am also having a bad experience with TradeFreedom. Their customer service is non-existant.

    Had to call them 4 times 2 hours each time to get them to remove the inactivity fee that was charged in June while it was only suppose to be effective starting July. Different excuses each times and finally spoke to a supervisor the 4th time. They said there was an error on the letter and it was suppose to start in June… Anyways they finally reimbursed me.

    I received an email from them yesterday saying Trade Freedom will be merging to Scotia iTrade late spring 2010. I guess I will be closing my account then. iTrade is way too expensive ($19.95 per transaction).

    I am probably going to move to QuestTrade.

  • 29a November 9, 2009, 9:31 pm

    I am also having a very bad experience with TradeFreedom.Their monthly account statements are total garbage full of errors.
    I cannot believe they have the cheek to charge fees for the edge platform the dam charts on the edge platform don’t even give accurate info.
    EG – If you pull up AHD.TO on a daily it gives different high lows than on the 5 day intraday chart then pull it up on yahoo 5 day for different again.
    Yes I have made money with them but after discovering the charts are garbage I will not open another trade with them and will be closing all my securities at the right time to close the account and I am actively looking for another broker who has an accurate platform.

  • Kinsi November 10, 2009, 5:38 pm

    like many predicted, I fell under the TF Edge fee because I did not assume their monthly letters to provide any useful information as it’s always a few sheets of paper telling me what I traded the past month only.. so I called and there is no way to remove the 2 month charges as expected. At least I confirmed there will be no account closing fees. Doesn’t make sense being a longer term investor to stay with them when they are clearly changing their services constantly. I will close my account when my equity gets back to a more desirable level. Maybe I will return with part of my accounts when the merger with iTrade is clear and its effects (unlikely).

  • cedricloi November 12, 2009, 3:43 pm

    They have just charged me close to $70 for 2 months of the monthly trade freedom edge platform fee, which I have never even used or subscribe to or even heard of!

    Now this is enough. This is not acceptable.

    I will have no other choice but to bring them in court. This company is obviously of bad faith. I am so pissed of this is unbelievable. The dividends I received in the past year have been wiped off in 1 day!

  • Stocker November 12, 2009, 4:15 pm

    To the never ending list of individuals that complain about TradeFreedom on this forum. CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNTS.

  • Rich11 November 13, 2009, 3:15 pm

    I’m so happy to find other people enraged at this ripoff of a fee! I actually never used the TradeFreedom Edge platform as I didn’t even know it was free… I was always using their web based platform which suits my needs. Anyways, when I got charged 30 something dollars for it last month, I was shocked! I called them and told them to reimburse me, but the rep told me he had no power to do it and told me to write an email to complain about it and they might consider reimbursing me. I sent them an email and about a week later they replied I wouldnt be getting my money back because they mentioned the fee change in the previous statement, which someone has mentioned was really vague and doesnt mention the price. I’ve also threatened legal action afterwards in my emails… didnt get a reply. In Ontario, its illegal to have negative-option billing (charging someone for something they didn’t want to buy!) We should think of class-action lawsuit here, as their actions are clearly illegal under the law.

  • Jake November 13, 2009, 4:36 pm

    Guess I’m not alone. TF simple rips people off in a way I’ve never come across before with any other company. This is horrible! We totally should think of class-action lawsuit against them!

  • cedricloi November 13, 2009, 5:20 pm

    I have called them and they told me they were sorry and they are going to reimburse me. I doubt they will tough. If they do not reimburse me within 2 weeks, I will definitely consult with a lawyer to see if this could be a class-action lawsuit case.

    I will keep you posted.

  • Sundev Bal November 24, 2009, 2:03 pm

    They are not reimbursing for the (illegal) fee. I recommend you close your accounts and send letters to the appropriate contacts at both TradeFreedom and Scotia.

  • cedricloi November 24, 2009, 2:26 pm

    Yes I have already done that.I also suggest to everybody to send a letter to the address stated on your statement. At the end of your statement it says if you find errors or unauthorized transactions, write to them within 60 days. The address is: 40 King Street West, 5th floor, Toronto (Ontario) M5H 1H1. It is the Scotia building in Toronto. Hopefully they will reimburse if you send a letter there. I have sent mine a week or 2 ago so I will keep you posted.

    I will first wait for a response from them and then take legal action if they don’t reimburse and then close my account.

  • Thane November 24, 2009, 6:07 pm

    I thought I was spared, but I noticed a $31 charge for Edge on my recent statement. I’ve since sold all of my positions, with some losses, to close my account. I shall write to that address as well. Wish there was more I could do.

  • DividendMan November 25, 2009, 12:12 am

    I got ripped off by this fee as well. Sent an email to support who promptly replied that we told you we were going to charge the fee. Going to go to Questrade probably. I’m also going to write them a letter about the apparently illegal charge for a service I never requested.

  • Ryan December 8, 2009, 11:52 pm

    I was a TradeFreedom customer until today. I was charged the illegal “Edge platform” fee as well, but I got dinged for 3 months worth because I rarely check my cash balance. This is the only place it shows up, and it requires some clicking on their webpage to get there. While I’m there, I must point out that their webpage is likely designed by an 8 year-old who will likely repeat the 3rd grade.

    I called to complain about this fee and they told me on the phone that they can charge me whatever they want whenever they want, as long as they mail me a letter ahead of time. The problem is that their letters are in code. They make the information as misleading as possible. I rarely know if it even applies to my account. But, then again, they also don’t even use $ signs on their correspondence, so perhaps my $10,000 investment is actually only worth 10,000 “it’s not our problems”.

    It seems like overall, this company’s business plan is to maximize profits by deceiving customers. Every correspondence I’ve had with TradeFreedom has demonstrated poor customer service and no assistance whatsoever. They always blame customers for everything. It’s probably my fault that they don’t use $ signs on their statements. Sorry.

    Anyway, when they refused to refund me the $100 that they stole from my account, I told them that I plan on selling all of my shares and closing my account. They said “go right ahead”. So I did. Now I just need to wait for them to actually close it. It could take a few business days, or perhaps they’ll wait for another quarter so they can charge me an inactivity fee again.

    Overall advice: Stay as far away from TradeFreedom as you possibly can!!!

  • Jeremy December 15, 2009, 1:06 am

    I just received my bill and noticed the new fee as well. This is complete bull and I will be closing my account.
    Just wanted to add to the comments so as to inform anyone that is interested in opening an account with them. DON’T DO IT.

  • zander December 15, 2009, 1:48 am

    My last post here was on August 30th, just after I had finally succeedded in closing my account (an ordeal in itself!).

    It has been three months and I still check my account on a weekly basis, just in case. Yes, I can still log into my account, even though it was reportedly closed. I will keep checking the account for as long as I can, because I simply do not trust this company (TradeFreedom) for one second. They have proved to be arrogantly unscrupulous in their actions, as has been witnessed by everyone’s dealings with them here.

    Please take heed and break ties with this company if your experience proves similarly abusive.

  • kevin December 15, 2009, 4:07 pm

    I agree with most of the comments made on this forum. Me to I want to close my Trade Freedom account, but the real question is where do I go? I have been searching for a professional trading firm in Canada but have not found any so far. I used to trade in the USA on Real Tick it’s a totally different ballgame. I may have to go back there. I am a swing trader and trade between 25-35 trades a quarter using the Edge. Any suggestions?

  • cedricloi December 15, 2009, 5:42 pm

    The illegal fee has finally been refunded to my account today. :)

    I will now be closing my account.

    ********** WARNING to every tradefreedom account holder. **********

    In the November account statement there is a notice hidden at the end about another new fee they just created to screw people over. Basically if you have less than $10,000 in your account and don’t have a registered account you will be charged a $100 new annual fee that they just invented. Go check out your November statement for the details. They will be charging the fee in January.

    Suggestion: Close your account immediately to avoid being charged the fee.

    Kevin:

    I suggest you move to Questrade for the following reasons:

    -They don’t change their fee structure every month to screw you over
    -They have a low commission fee going from 4.95 to 9.95 per trade
    -They are registered with the BBB, Tradefreedom is not. So that if something goes wrong they will be more willing to make you happy to not affect their status at the BBB
    -You can make withdrawals on their web site, while with tradefreedom you have to call
    – You can exchange currencies on their web site, while with tradefreedom you have to call
    – You get 30 free trades for the first month with their current promotion
    – They pay your transfer out if you have more than $25,000 in your account

  • kevin December 15, 2009, 5:48 pm

    Thanks cedricloi sounds good. I will check them out. Do you have an account with them?

  • Tetsuo December 21, 2009, 12:51 am

    Dinged 100+ for TradeFreedom Edge as well… their statements are a complete waste of time, so pissed. Will close account as soon as I fine replacement.

    I’m considering QT for trading, but what data is included free? Trade Freedom web software is worse than a Geocities homepage from 1994. What companies offer atleast streaming Level 1 + charts CDN/US stocks on a free platform?? On less than 100k in assets as well otherwise I know TD is the place to go. I also need a place with dual currency accounts stay away from exchange fees.

  • SP December 28, 2009, 7:17 pm

    Same boat as everyone here, I have had a running email battle with Trade”Freedom” about the monthly fee. I find it completely unacceptable and unbelievable that they can invent a fee that automatically takes nearly $400 / year from my account without my EXPRESS CONSENT. Their responses have been rude. When I finally won a commitment for only one month’s reimbursement not only did it never arrive, but they continued to charge the monthly fee. This is on top of the loss of my personal information a couple of years ago. I am seeking to close my account immediately, enough is enough. I encourage all to either stay away or close their accounts.

  • Maumaj January 17, 2010, 8:21 pm

    I’m also a trader and with Scotia at the moment and paying 15$ a trade but need real time data and a decent platform from which to trade at a better rate than Scotia.

    I’ve got the ThinkorSwim (TOS) software with real time data but can’t transfer to TDAmeritrade because they only accepts US$ accounts, no RRSP, just like IB.

    Also TOS only has data on US equities so I use Stockcharts for canadian equities. Way too many programs working at the same time. I would surely like to simplify my life with one supplier.

    Canada is really archaic compared to the USA, Britain, Europe and Asia. Regulators seem more interested in protecting their fat bank clients than helping the citizens and opening the market to real competition.

    Does anyone know of a data feed supplier in Canada that can be linked to Ninja Trader software?

    Also has anyone had any experience with Disnat brokerage?

    Thanks for the feedback on Trade Freedom. I will avoid them for sure.

  • Maumaj January 17, 2010, 8:47 pm

    Just discovered this:
    http://www.optionsxpress.ca/promos/rrsp2.aspx

    I have been looking for a decent broker for months now. Could this be it?

    Please give me feedback if you have experience with them. Thanks.

  • JT January 17, 2010, 11:43 pm

    NinjaTrader can be used with InteractiveBrokers in Canada. InteractiveBrokers data feeds will give you the Canadian data feed. I currently use Disnat and have to say that they are an excellent company. You will have to stay on top of your minimum monthly trade quantities to get the free Nexa platforms through Disnat. However, their low commission trades make that fairly simple.

  • JT January 17, 2010, 11:43 pm

    NinjaTrader can be used with InteractiveBrokers in Canada. InteractiveBrokers data feeds will give you the Canadian data feed. I currently use Disnat and have to say that they are an excellent company. You will have to stay on top of your minimum monthly trade quantities to get the free Nexa platforms through Disnat. However, their low commission trades make that fairly simple.

  • Maumaj January 18, 2010, 12:28 am

    Thanks JT. It’s nice to know you are satisfied with Disnat.

    I read a bit about OptionsExpress and they are rather expensive @ $14. They only seem to have a web based platform and the real time data only seems to apply to quotes. I’ve sent an email asking about that and will post once I get an answer from them.

    I follow a blog in the US, Trading-to-Win which I find most knowledgeable. It would be nice to have such a blog in Canada. It’s a collection of traders who like to help each other out using different techniques of technical analysis. Lots of trading ideas but of course, all US based. It’s still possible to use some of the ideas with canadian ETFs. If anyone knows of a similar canadian group or would like to participate in a canadian version, let it be known that I am interested.

    I use basic technical analysis indicators but especially appreciate Tom Demark’s sequential indicators. Others are Elliot Wave types or use their own proprietary indicators that they freely share with others. The group is quite large and hundreds of posts are done everyday. Some trade stocks, others ETFs, others options, others Forex, others commodities, etc…. Something for everyone. I share an interest in Natural Gas with a trader in Hawai. Another trader is in Asia, I believe one is in Great Britain and there are half a dozen canadians.

  • Rich11 February 5, 2010, 6:22 pm

    FYI – I closed my account with TradeFreedom this week. I was at a point that I wasn’t comfortable holding my hard-earned money with them. They can decide anytime, on a whim, to charge whatever fee they wish without fear of reprisal.This to me was too scary + they’re merging their accounts with i trade, so the cost advantage will obviously disappear.

  • Zack February 24, 2010, 10:32 pm

    Hi there,
    Agree on most what you are saying about TF. It looks like inventing fees is winding up there. Poor customer service, bad accounting, bad reporting, mediocre WEB site, high exchange fees, inconsistent trading platforms, new fees for everything are driving me away. It is not easy and simple to open brokerage account with anyone. I have 4 accounts at TF (all family members have one).
    Reading posts on this site I came to conclusion that there is no brokerage that stands out with low fees and solid setup. I kind of had impression that Questrade is good and maybe Interactive Brokers. But after spending several hours reading posts on this site you should just see what people are saying who tried it. It is like endless list of horror stories.
    I myself went to open new accounts with TDW and transfer all positions there. That experiment costed us hundreds of dollars, many errors on both sides and it is still not over since I cancelled whole process.
    It looks like that none of the brokerages understands basic concept and that is that they are holding and dealing with other peoples money … a lots of it. Mostly lifetime savings. They rather take it is carte blanche to do with that money whatever they want and not be responsible to anyone for their actions.
    I would really, really appreciate suggestion for brokers that:

    1. Have RRSP accounts (besides regular ones)
    2. Low trading fees (7-10 bucks a trade)
    3. Good platform with no or low fees for level 2 feed
    4. Charting is must
    5. No low activity fees
    6. Low exchange fees
    7. Correct accounting

    Most of above is clear enough. Is there a such brokerage or what I am asking is science fiction? I want to switch but it must be to sure better thing not another crap like TF.

    I must say that Edge is only platform I ever used and I got used of it. It is Nexus or something like that and TD and others are using it as well under other names. I like live chart and it is good enough for me.

    Whole this list of posts makes me think that similar thing to cell phone market should happen here. Some fresh, no frills new broker, something like Virgin in cell phone world with no strings attached could sweep the market and people would sign up in masses, I think. It should not be impossible to create company like that.

  • Maumaj February 25, 2010, 10:42 pm

    In response to Zach’ s post:
    I agree with you. We are very badly served in Canada. I guess it’s the price to pay for having such a low population and so few banks. Until something better comes around, I’ve decided to go with Disnat. They seem to have a good reputation. We’ll see. JT above seems satisfied. I will be leaving Scotia. My sister is with TD and the service is poorer than at Scotia though her fees are lower since she has a bigger account.

    At Disnat the first 25 trades are free then they will start you at $5 a trade. You keep that rate if you trade a minimum of 10 trades a month. Free real time data feed with those 10 trades with the web based platform. You can download it for a free trial period. Very basic but you at least have real time data, essential to time your entry and exit with limit price orders. I never trade market orders since I don’t appreciate paying a premium when I buy and being robbed when I sell, which happened the few times I tried that. If you trade more often, you can use one of their two other better performing platforms. To get free data feeds with platform Xtra you will need more than 31 trades a month and for the Plus platform 41/month. No Mac versions though.

    If you don’t maintain those 10 trades they will charge you $20 a trade the following month until you do at least 10 in a calendar month. It would be cheaper to churn out a few trades at $5 (10 X 5 = $50) rather than have to pay 10 @ $20 = $200. Another way of looking at it would be to say it will cost you $50/month in trading fees which is a lot better than what I was paying at Scotia at the beginning ($30 X 10 = $300).

    You can get a free platform from Think or Swim, available for download on their web site. Also have a version for Mac. Excellent charting platform. Real time data on the charts for free. The Watchlist prices are delayed 20 minutes. Only US products though but that’s alright since you can most always find a surogate product to do your charts. I use Natural Gas Futures (/NG) when I want to trade GAS.TO or HNU.TO. I can use EWC when I want to chart TSE.TO. /YG for Gold, WTIC for oil, AUY for YRI.TO, etc….

    I want Ninja and will eventually open a US$ account with Interactive Brokers since their data feed can be used with Ninja. Ninja is one of the few platforms that offers DeMark indicators and D-Wave charting which I find essential in my trading. TOS has a poor version of DeMark which is better than nothing till I get Ninja. The best DeMark charting is with Bloomberg but that will cost you close to $2,000/month so forget that unless you are an institutional trader.

    Check out http://trading-to-win.blogspot.com for a free blog with incredible traders and great learning tools and educational products. No other blog (and I’ve tried dozens) can compare to this group of genuinely decent people. Say that Maumaj sent you. You can lurk at first but I encourage you to post and let them know you are there. They will welcome you with open arms. This is a group of American traders (from all over: New York, mid-west, west coast, Hawai, etc…) but we are at least half a dozen Canadians, a few British, a few Australians and one in Shanghai to my knowledge. There is even a small group of Forex traders who are there part of the night as well.

  • Zack February 26, 2010, 1:31 am

    Maumaj,
    I really appreciate time you spent to elaborate on different things with trading. I am seriously looking into Disnat and checking other leads you provided.

    Disnat sounds good as long as you keep active. It looks like it is same kind of platform I am familiar with from TF. I could not confirm cost of live feed but that is easy to check with one phone call.

    Finally somebody indicated existence of Mac platform!! I am just not sure how can you use platform from Thinkorswim with Disnat?? How that works?

    I am also hooked into gas trades, HNU.TO and HND.TO. Now I am in big minus sitting in wrong side of trade with HNU.TO. Is there place with more discussions about those two ETFs?

    Zack

  • JT February 26, 2010, 3:07 am

    I am a more active trader that most others in this forum. Therefore a lot of the trade minimums do not apply and those of you that are only placing 1-5 trades per month will have very different needs. Placing very few trades likely means that you are an investor rather than a trader and your broker search should likely have more emphasis on broker education and research than on commission pricing.

    Maumaj: I now use Disnat only for my RSP account with a small Margin account for active trading to keep my $5 trade pricing. Disnat includes free access to STOCKSCORES education and tools which is a key reason why I will keep an account with them… the handful of times that I needed customer service they have been very easy to deal with and I received immediate answers. When I was doing my active trading with Disnat, I was using Thinkorswim for all of my charting as this is lacking with the Nexatech platforms. The Thinkorswim platform will be available through TD Waterhouse shortly (within a few months) as a result of the TD Ameritrade purchase of TOS a while back. This should allow Canadians to hold CDN $ accounts with TOS as currently a Canadian can only hold US $ with TOS.

    In regards to pricing for the active trader, InteractiveBrokers can’t be beat (for Canadians) with their low price per share trading. However, if you trade large volume per trade (2000 share and up) then you should look else where as their pricing gets more expensive than nearly everyone else in Canada. If you are an active trader and consistently trade 2000 share per trade or more than TD is actually the cheapest at $7 per trade. Disnat is only cheaper if you trade only US shares and less than 1000 shares per trade.

    Ninjatrader is a good little piece of software for the price ($1000 lifetime lisence or free for charting) although not everything works with IB’s data. Of the issues I am having so far, IB Level 2 data does not show all the ECN’s at each price level in the NinjaTrader API which is a big problem for how I trade. For the moment, I am using NT’s free lisence and using IB’s level 2 window with IB’s booktrader to actually place my trades. As I really would prefer to place my trades directly on the NT platform, I will likely use eSignal for data with NT and IB.

    Hope there is some useful info here.

  • Maumaj February 26, 2010, 11:25 am

    Hi Zach and JT,
    I have to trade at the moment, so I’ll get back to you this weekend. Thanks for your feedback.

  • TL April 16, 2010, 9:52 pm

    Just read all 85 comments above and decided to throw in my story here as well

    PART ONE – EDGE platform fees
    I have an account with TF for 2-3 years now. I’m a very inactive investor – 1 trade/quarter sometimes less. In the beginning everything was fine, since I was trying to use the service as sparingly as possible. /Now I’m trying not to use it at all/ The troubles began when TF got bought out. At the time it so
    happened that I was in Europe and missed one of the statements. I did read the warning in the other statement about the new-coming inactivity fee but I was so sure it would not apply to me that I simply ignored it. After all, I had no trades whatsoever in the past 5-6 months since the market collapse – no trades means I didn’t use their software, right? I bought a new computer as well and didn’t even have the EDGE platform installed on it. 3 months later I
    decided to install the software considering entering the market again. Then I remembered about the new fee and decided to contact TF first and ask them whether the fee would apply to me, since I was an old customer – my plan was to use the web platform in case they refuse to waive the fee. Imagine my frustration when the guy on the other side told me that not only the fee applies to me, but my account had already been charged for several months. I couldn’t believe my ears. I was also told in a quite impolite manner that they were not obliged in any way to care about my money and that I should be looking after my portfolio. After this I exchanged several emails with their customer service demanding reimbursement. 90% of the time I received standard form replies, same as most of you must have received. /just copy/paste/ basically stating that there will be no reimbursement and that it was entirely my fault. The story doesn’t end here unfortunately. At that point I decided to discontinue my business relationship with TF. I didn’t want to sell my positions though, so I was looking for a different discount broker to transfer my account to – so far I haven’t found any. In the meantime another statement arrived from TF and guess what – my account is being charged an inactivity fee! My blood boiled at that point – I mean this is nothing less than a fraud – since they
    already have my money I couldn’t do anything – they’ll simply take whatever they felt belonged to them. I come from an ex communist east europian country, but even there I’d say such thing couldn’t happen. You don’t get charged for something you DO NOT use, it’s the other way around. And Canada was the last place I expected I’d fall victim of such a scam. After contacting them again via email furious about what had happened they agreed to refund my account for the last fee and haven’t deducted any other fees since then. /I ended up loosing ~120 in total/

    PART TWO – Password lockouts
    I consider myself an advanced computer user – particularly in network security and related issues, for reasons I won’t discuss here. As mentioned above I try to minimize unnecessary logins to the system, partly because of security reasons – the less you use your account the less likely it’ll be compromised. Not according to the IT guys at TF! Apparently if you don’t login to your account for certain period of time that is considered an account abuse and it gets locked, so your password doesn’t work anymore. This thing happened to me several times and no one could explain to my why – everytime I contacted TF to have my password reset they’d blame it on me, claiming that I must have forgotten my password or I wasn’t typing in right. Then I realized that it could be some sort of a system issue on their side, since I don’t believe someone would bother locking my account on a regular basis. Last time I called TF to have my password reset I asked the guy whether it was possible that my account gets locked because of inactivity and he confirmed, explaining that it was built into their software for security reasons, but failed to explain how it benefits the users and even more surprisingly didn’t know what the inactivity period was.
    All my questions thereafter were treated as I was a hacker doing some social engineering. Anyway – in a followup email 15 days later they specified that “loging in at least once weakly should prevent your account getting locked”. Now I try to remember to reset my TF cutoff counter once a week to avoid that phone password reset experience.

    PART THREE – OPTIONS and account types
    Recently I decided to modify my account to include basic options trading. Not that I really need them, but just in case. I was sent a PDF form to fill and mail them back. So I did. I had this feeling that
    something would go wrong and I still wouldn’t be allowed to trade options. I was right. I received an email in which they sent me the exact same form yet again, telling me that I had to convert to margin account first in order to enable options trading. Since the form had 2 separate fields for options trading /which I want/ and for margin account /which I don’t want/ I decided to look at the web site and double check the account types. On
    http://www.tradefreedom.com/en/tradingprodfees/accounttypes.asp
    it says that
    “With a cash account, you can trade equities, options and mutual funds. This is the most common type of account and is meant for investors who intend to pay cash for every purchase.”
    I think I may have been somehow blacklisted and they simply don’t want to provide this service to me. In the following letter they explained that their
    website was incorrect and that they’ll update it, however I cannot trade options with my cash only account. As of today the web page remains still unchanged.

    So the biggest issue right now is not whether to use TF or not, but rather – where do I transfer my account to? Each time I find a new canadian discount broker my research takes me to forums such as this one, where people describe such ridiculous experiences /Scottrade stands out/ that I find it hard to believe this is possible in a country like Canada in the 21st century. Having to pay 30+30 per buy/close trade, maintenance fees, taxes on the profits, exchange fees and commissions – looks like they want to keep people out of the market. The 3-4 discount brokers out there available for canadians seem to offer the same terrible service /or lack thereof/ making it an even worse choice. I’d appreciate any solutions from you guys, I think we have a long enough list of problems already.
    I was thinking – since I have a European citizenship, should I consider taking my money to a europian online broker?
    Any comments/advice on this?

    Thanks in advance

    PS> 58. cedricloi, 60. Rich11, 61. Jake, 67. Ryan, 70. kevin and others – I agree 100% and willing to assist in anyway possible to recover that EDGE fee ripoff. Any updates on your stories, guys?

  • zander April 16, 2010, 11:06 pm

    Reply to post #86 by TL:

    TL, I am at a loss as to why you insist on continuing business as usual with TradeFreedom. Here you have outlined in great, long detail your history and dissatisfaction with them, yet you not only continue to deal with them, but are actually expanding your account with them (to accommodate options).

    I first posted here almost a year ago (post #37). I too had an inactive account, as I had changed by behaviour from trading to investing. I began the process of closing my account just about the time they introduced the inactivity fee and it took me several months to finally get my account closed.

    Finally, after my account was confirmed as closed, I posted my last here in #49 as follows: “Please take heed and break ties with this company if your experience proves similarly abusive.”

    TL, not to put you on the spot, but you say you came from the former communist bloc. Well, truth be told, so did I. To that end, it takes me but a split second to recognise an abusive relationship by an entity and, once I do, I will break ties with that entity as quickly as possible and at any cost. Isn’t that the reason we ended up on the free shores of the west? To be able to have the choice and freedom to do so? I think so.

    I am with TDWaterhouse now. I don’t trade much at all. Maybe just a few transactions a year to realign or add to my positions. Because of the low amount of trades, I do pay high fees. Do I mind? Not for one second! The service at TDW is second to none! I’ve actually had that account since before TradeFreedom. TradeFreedom was going to be my infrequent trader account with no inactivity fees, whereas TDW had a fee of $25 per quarter of inactivity. Again, do I mind now? Not for a second. I am making money by investing. If a small percentage of those gains goes towards fees for exemplary service from a top notch bank, so be it. They can have it with my blessings. (If you are a frequent trader with TDW, the fee per trade is $7, by the way)

    I’ll say it again, in departing. If you see an abusive relationship towards you in a business entity, break all ties immediately. At any cost! It’s not a personal relationship like a spouse or a family member which you should work on saving. No, it’s a business. There are a thousand and one other businesses waiting with open arms, if one doesn’t value you enough. That’s a fact! It’s the nature of the market, be it retail, or financial, or whichever.

    Remember the movie “Rainmaker” with Matt Damon and Danny DeVito? Remember this scene in the courtroom?

    “On seven prior occasions we have denied your claim in writing. We now deny it for the eighth and final time. You must be stupid, stupid, stupid. Sincerely…Everett Lufkin, vice-president of claims.”

    Remind you of anything?

    Do yourself a favour. Don’t try to change the way an abusive company does business. People waste all this energy on trying to change the direction of a great big ship. Get off the ship and go board another ship. If enough people leave this ship, it will soon enough run aground on its own. Either run aground, or rust out from no one using its cabins and services. THAT is how you change a business.

    Good health to you and prosperity.
    zander

  • TL April 17, 2010, 12:13 am

    Thanks zander for your prompt response.
    I’ll try to avoid turning this blog into a personal conversation, but let me quickly clarify some things that may be beneficial to other readers as well.

    >I am at a loss as to why you insist on continuing business as usual with TradeFreedom

    No – I don’t. As stated in my posting:
    “So the biggest issue right now is not whether to use TF or not, but rather – where do I transfer my account to?”

    Let’s do the math – closing the account will cost me a $100. Selling my positions will be around $50 may be. Converting the USD to CAD? Who knows, depends on the current rates, will have losses from lost dividends and finally when I find another broker to reacquire the same positions I hold now will cost me several times their trade fees.
    All this said I think you’ll agree that transferring my account is a much better alternative not to mention that some brokers are willing to cover the transfer fee should you choose to switch. The problem is that right now I’m kinda stuck with TF – there simply doesn’t appear to be a better place to go. I’m still looking for a better broker and I’m not putting anymore money in my TF account.
    Will research TDWaterhouse for sure, but $100 per year maintenance fee seems kinda pricy. After all – is there much difference whether they charge you for inactivity or for software or whatever name they happen to put on it – either way they cut their share out of your pie, most importantly without any risk or additional service on their side. It may appear to some readers that I’m looking for a discount broker that’ll provide the best service in the world for free with all the bells and whistles but all I really need is the most basic service possible – just place an order and forget about it. Is this too much?

    Finally let me disagree with you:
    >If you see an abusive relationship towards you in a business entity, break all ties immediately. At any cost!
    In game theory what you’re doing here is called punishing – you’re exiting at a loss, just to punish the other guy. This however may or may not be your best strategy. And following your best strategy at any given moment in order to maximize your desired payoffs is called being rational. That’s what I’m trying to do, may be not as successfully as I wish. I’m very cautious now, but I think that my biggest losses from my business with TF are already in the past. Until I find a place to transfer my account to I will most likely remain with TF – this is simply my best /least expensive/ strategy right now.

  • Chris W May 17, 2010, 5:02 pm

    Just want to add that I too fell victim to TF and Scotia iTrade. I’m a very infrequent trader. When the new ‘inactivity fee’ came out, I felt that I would trade at least every 3 months so wasn’t too worried about it. I noticed on one statement last year that I was charged the $25 fee and just made a note to do the odd trade.

    I did however somehow miss the news that they were going to start charging the $29/month fee for their crappy software.

    I didn’t notice this until I opened a statement in March of 2010. That was the first time that I saw I had been charged $160 so far for this fee.

    I emailed them and demanded that they return the money they stole. I got the standard response that I was ‘notified’ last June.

    I agree with everyone above that TF should be boycotted completely. I am also in support of a class action suit as this is outright theft and they are not conducting business in good faith.

    What prompted me to find this today is that I just noticed I can’t purchase OTC stock on their crappy platform. One more reason to switch.

  • TL May 18, 2010, 1:16 pm

    Chris, would you share with us here – what discount broker are you gonna switch to? I’m still on the search for a TF alternative, but the outlook isn’t good at all. Unless I find a decent discount broker in the meantime I’ve decided to wait till I have the $100 000 and then go with some of the big guys, most likely RBC

  • JT May 21, 2010, 5:47 pm

    It seems that most people complain about $30 a month fees, then they complain about trade fees being to high, then inactivity fees. Maybe trading isn’t for you if $30 a month or $100 a year causes such an uproar. That is the cost of entry. A retail business owner does not expect to find free rent!

    On another note, due to the poor customer service I have closed my accounts at TF (although they were very infrequently used). I continue to use and be very happy with DISNAT Direct for my RSP account and IB for my trading account.

  • Mathieu August 24, 2010, 9:33 pm

    Just got my info pack for TradeFreedom’s move to Scotia iTrade. It is as I suspected; my commissions will be doubling effective October 18.

    (equities)

    150+ trades/quarter
    $6.99

    30+ trades/quarter or $50,000+ assets
    $9.99

    others
    $19.99 + $0.02/share over 1000 shares

    They refer to these values numerous times as “low” and “competitive”. Ha ha, I’ll be shopping around thanks. The transfer-out fee alone will be less than the extra I’d have to pay to sell everything off.

  • TL August 25, 2010, 1:06 am

    Same here!
    I’d add that there’s also an inactivity fee that they’ll charge, something like $60/year /not too sure/ on accounts with smaller value. Also read several posts on the net and the overall impression is that Questrade is the worst and iTrade is the second worst discount broker out there in terms of user experience and (dis)satisfaction. Seems to me there’s not much choice for us the little guys, so I think I’d me switching to QTrade – not that I really want to but at this point I kinda have to. I’d be paying between 25-30 per trade probably but considering the fact I don’t trade that often anyways it’s probably the right thing to do.
    I’d like to hear QTrade user experience out there – share your insights with us pls.

  • RKN September 4, 2010, 1:20 am

    I signed up with Tradefreedom in early 2007 and finally have the courage to take my meager savings and run.

    These guys are charlatans and thieves of the highest degree. My father signed up with these guys after one of their sales reps met my dad in person and offered *very very competitive* exchange rates for US equities in RSP accounts, and same for margin.

    After trading lots and lots of options and stocks over 3 years, the service kept getting worse. Our accounts were shrinking. New fees like the data fee and recently the low activity fee were added.

    Then suddenly one day I found out how they were gaming us. They would show how much we earned in a trade but you could NEVER see how much Canadian Dollars they ACTUALLY credited to your account. Both my father, me and my mother’s rsp and margin accounts had HUGE spreads.

    On some trades I paid over 400 basis points over the exchange rate. I was furious. So they offered to refund us with preferred rate for this last quarter that ended in june, 2010. I got 400$ back. My father got $2200 + $185 in 2 accounts.

    Right now another broker is processing my in-kind full transfer. Tradefreedom should be investigated by the government. The sales rep was a total d…che when the push came to shove.

    My father slowly is moving things to another broker for margin and has already made quite a few trades very happily with them. You will regret TF once you’ve lost tons of money to their criminal ways of doing business. If this is slander so be it. I got papers to prove it.

  • Peter October 20, 2010, 7:51 pm

    Tradefreedom has now been shut down and Scotia Itrade has taken over all the accounts. They have all the junk fees that TF didn’t. I was never charged the platform or low useage fee. However, It took them 2 months to set up my account, and another month to get the edge platform working.
    It seems Questrade is now the only other option for low costs and light trading.

    RIP Tradefreedom!

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