Virtual Agents Review 2018 — A Top Canadian DIY Discount Brokerage

Back in 2012, a survey showed that nearly 34% of Canadians used (or planned to use) an online discount broker, such as Virtual Brokers. While there were just a few online trading platforms available a few decades ago, much has changed from the landscape ever since then.

Of those 13 or so Canadian online trading and investing platforms available now, the huge majority are either directly or indirectly owned/operated by enormous Canadian banking associations. In our attempt to introduce our readers into the broader independently-owned non-bank related Canadian discount broker landscape, we composed the Ultimate (full with voucher code) on among Canada’s leading online trading and investing platforms.

Today’s post takes a closer look at Virtual Brokers — another prominent Canadian online broker services.

Sneak Peek

We’ll save a more detailed debate on what generates Virtual Brokers so persuasive to Canadians for after in this article, however, here’s a preview of what we’ll cover:

  • Strong foundation and a Terrific pedigree
  • multiple platforms to Pick from, each with its own unique user experience to offer
  • Strong research tools targeting various levels of customers, from novice investors and seasoned traders, to specialist money-managers and institutional investors
  • Competitive fees
  • Background of value-added bargains and money-saving Features
  • Excellent performance track record – recognized as best of breed from individual sector watchers
  • Variety of charge arrangements to Select from

virtualbroker review
Canadians looking for a DIY method to take control of their own financing might also locate Virtual Brokers a fantastic alternate to a few of the online trading platforms supplied by the huge Banks. Canadians in pursuit of fantastic customer experience will love what Virtual Brokers has to offer. Within an 2016 poll by financial-services analyst Surviscor, while Virtual Brokers was rated 5th entire, it’s customer satisfaction standing (at 76 percent) was four areas higher than what it was a year earlier (in 2015). This tells us is that the organization has put in enormous effort over the course of a year to make sure it matches — and even surpasses — its client’s expectations.

Solid Foundations

Established in 2009, Virtual Brokers is a division of BBS securities Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of one of Canada’s most esteemed worldwide asset managers, CI Financial. Together with it’s ultimate parent firm handling over $181 billion in global assets, nobody can doubt Virtual Brokers’ pedigree when it comes to investment and portfolio management.

Since it’s founding, the company has laid a solid foundation with many advanced features amongst its diverse offerings, including:

  • “The Penny”, at which traders and online investors could trade stocks for just one penny a trade
  • The “Kick Start Investment Program” (KIP), which aided younger Canadians put their savings and investment plans on a no-fee autopilot Automated buy app
  • A unique self-directed buy plan (among Canada’s earliest) called the Self-Directed Dividend Purchase Plan where, unlike traditional DRIP plans, investors might choose to purchase other eligible ETFs and stocks using cash flows from dividend-paying investments  

Through the years, Virtual Brokers has built a reputation as an innovative online broker that continues to invest in its own products and technology. While gone are the times where you could trade stocks for a penny, Based on the types of account stored, the organization still offers customers:

  • Commission-free equities
  • Purchasing ETFs commission-free
  • Free Mutual Fund transactions

Clients trading and investing on the digital Brokers platform also enjoy peace of mind knowing that their investments are protected. As a member firm of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), Virtual Brokers customers have the usual maximum of $1 million from related to their own accounts. In addition, the company has gained supplemental coverage by Lloyd’s of London to the tune of $10 million each account. This usually means that Virtual Brokers account holder is .

Multiple Programs

What is good about Virtual Brokers is that it delivers a vast assortment of trading platforms and instruments that traders can opt for according to their needs and degree of experience.

Platform Target Portfolio Fee (yearly)
VB WebTrader Streamer For customers that need real-time snap quotes, and those that trade stocks, options, bonds and mutual funds $35 CAD
VB WebTrader Light Designed for customers that need simplified order entry FREE
PowerTrader Guru Targeting active dealers $250 USD
RealTick Ideal for dealers wanting fast real-time analytics $400 USD
ITS TraderLite A high performance, low-footprint tool for all Canadian marketplaces $580 USD
IRESS Complex trading platform designed for active dealers From $1,120 USD
Electricity Trader® Mobile Mobile trading app for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry consumers FREE

Clients have access to features that have live quotes, technical evaluation and timely research data from trusted sources like Morningstar, Recognia, Zack’s, and 5i Research.

virtual broker reviewYour choice of a particular alternative may depend on whether you want a program (PowerTrader) or some online interface (VB WebTrader). If complexity is the forte, you might want to appear at PowerTrader Guru to access complex options trading features. Professional dealers might be more at ease with IRESS, ITS and RealTick.

Heavy on Research Tools

Whether you’re a casual retail investor, a day trader or an institutional investor, research supplies you the very best opportunity to make sure you make informed purchase, sell or take decisions. The Virtual Brokers Research Centre offers customers at all levels a few of the most extensive research at their fingertips, including:

  • Technical Analysis
  • Market View
  • Equity Research Centre
  • Mutual Fund Research Centre
  • Bond Research Centre
  • Preferred Share Evaluation
  • Warranty Analysis
  • ETF/ETN Research Centre
  • Convertible Debenture Evaluation
  • Screeners & Alerts
  • Financial Planning Tools
  • …and a Lot More

Dealers and investors needing more sophisticated research tools will find Virtual Brokers’ “Advanced Portfolio Planner / Replies” a very handy resource. Inspired by research supplied through Morningstar, this set of tools provides investors a wide assortment of preparation and portfolio tracking features.

Virtual Brokers Review 2017For instance, you can monitor how well your current portfolio is doing, and see how it stacks up against a variety of indices or even a select set of basic portfolios. The application also allows you to conduct an “X-Ray of your portfolio” against regions and geographic market sectors where your investments are concentrated.

Aggressive Charges

When Moneysense failed its yearly comparison of Canada’s greatest online brokerages in early 2017, Virtual Brokers stacked up pretty well against some recognized players from the Canadian online broker area.

For starters, it was much simpler and less costly for Canadians to maintain a digital Brokers account (minimum $5,000), as it is with rivals BMO, CIBC, HSBC, Scotia, National Bank and TD ($10,000 to $25,000). One can start a digital Brokers accounts with as much as $1,000, though a Commission-Free accounts could be started with at least5,000.

It is a fact that Virtual Brokers abolished its favorite “Penny-a-Trade” commission arrangement back in early 2016, but with fundamental online trading commissions costing at $9.99 a transaction, the firm prices its transactions fairly when matched against its own Big-Bank competitors. At $6.95, just CIBC and Questrade rank on a fundamental online commission basis. Virtual Brokers also comes out on top in comparison on commissions charged under different conditions, together with active dealers billed zero commissions.

Virtual Brokers also supplies reasonably-priced tiered monthly contract rate constructions that may make using its stage more cost-effective for customers looking to use Options strategies (US and CAD) to power charge their transactions.

Virtual Brokers Promotional Offer Code

Retail investing platforms typically come out with numerous promos throughout the year, so that they could continue to entice new customers and convince existing account holders to stay. Virtual Brokers topped many of its peers with its 2017 promos:

  • Until recently (Sept 2017), launching a new account got you up to 3 weeks of FREE trading on ETFs
  • Newly opened accounts get $50 CAD cash-back each quarter where they set 20 commissionable stock transactions
  • New enrolled and non-registered accounts were entitled to get up to $100 cash back
  • By Registering for their special membership offer, you’d get access to 1 year of exclusive investment research from among Canada’s most renowned independent research firm — 5i’s Research
  • They offered a robust Cash Referral Program that gives you funding in the event you refer a friend or relative to sign-up into the firm’s trading platform

While nearly all of these offers are no longer available, it is going to show the innovativeness and creativity of the platform provider to attract customers value-added offers.

Value for Money

In , Virtual Brokers pivoted out of the until-then “ultra cheap” image. From being a penny stock broker, the company implemented a $9.99 flat fee for online stock orders. According to Bardya Ziaian, the main of the firm:

“I wish to go past the notion that Virtual Brokers is a affordable way of trading…we would like to add value”

Though the new fee arrangement dropped Virtual Brokers down a notch on the cost-ranking scale, the platform still offers fairly good value for money, depending on what investors are looking for.

As customers, you can opt from three different fee programs, which will make it possible for you to trade an assortment of goods, including Indices, Options (US and Canadian), ETFs, Mutual Funds and Fixed Income products (like GICs). Depending upon the fee program you selected, and your Virtual Brokers trading system of choice, you could tailor a exact cheap package that gives you great value for the money.

While the charges listed are general representations only, they could be affected by the volume of your trades in addition to by ECN/Network Charges and Clearing Fees. Even then, for all the whistles and bells that Virtual Brokers platforms offer, it’s definitely money well spent.

When the Globe and Mail awarded Virtual Brokers the top spot in its own back in 2012 they had these words to say about the afterward 3-year old firm:

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“These guys are nimble, new thinkers who don’t play follow the leader. They plan to be the chief, and they’re succeeding…”.

Almost five decades after, Virtual Brokers still retains top honours in almost every group that investors and traders appreciate most in their online broker platforms. The company continues to invest heavily on its own platforms and technology, and has consistently proved it may deliver to the expectations of its customers — even in the face of stiff competition from traditional (Banks and Insurance companies) and unconventional (Robo Investors and Algorithmic trading tools) sources. We encourage Young and Thrifty readers to compare Virtual Brokers with in their attempts to find the best match!

Virtual Brokers Review 2018 — A Leading Canadian DIY Discount Brokerage initially emerged on Young And Thrifty