DIY Investing: What Online Brokerage to Use?

DIY Investing What Online Brokerage to Use

There are various routes to access the stock market when it comes to investing your hard-earned cash. You may seek out a wealth advisor or investment advisor that works at an investment firm, or a financial planner who works at a bank or at a mutual fund/insurance company.

These investment experts must hold a license to sell clients investment products and they usually get paid through a commission or fee based on the amount of money you invest through them.

But today there is a less costly avenue available: the DIY option. Of course, this is for the investment savvy who are comfortable with learning and doing it on their own.  This option is less expensive because you are not paying the expert for their advice.

The DIY option is through an “on-line brokerage” firm. Each of the five largest banks in Canada own one, plus there are the independent ones, too.  There are so many “on-line brokerage” firms to chose from that it can be discouraging to even start this process.

But if this is an option for you, I have tried to make the process easier by researching six on-line brokerage firms to compare commissions, fees and service. Click the link to see my ‘quick, handy review’ table of differences for yourself.  

Through personal trial and error, the less expensive firms were not up to par in terms of quality of service.  The two less expensive firms, Virtual Brokers and CIBC Investor’s Edge, lost documentation, which slowed down the process drastically for clients.  Whichever firm you decide on I would recommend you take copies of what is mailed in. Then you can follow up with the staff on what was included in the envelope.

The best on-line brokerage in terms of pricing, website layout, support from staff is Questrade. 

As for time requirements, set aside at least an hour for completing the paperwork to open the account. You may need to seek advice on what type of accounts would best suit your goals and time horizons for those goals.  The more involved part is setting up a portfolio of investments in the account. You want investments that align with your goals, a time horizon of when funds are needed and, especially, risk tolerance.  I highly recommend you work with a financial coach that has investment experience if you do decide to DIY. The financial coach can assist you each step of the way or can be used just to double check decisions.

If you would like to learn more about investing before the DIY step call me at 250.899.4541 or email at

X0$, Shannon

 This is the opinion of Dollar Dame Coaching Co. Information provided is to be taken as general and if implemented adjusted to suit your personal situation at all times.