Monthly Archives: September 2010

National Bank of Canada Improving Their Trading Tools and Platform

For the past year, I have been trading using NBC’s direct brokerage service much to my displeasure, as their web interface and trading tools are simply terrible. There are no charts, no real-time feed and the commissions are way too high for day trading (28$ a trade!). I was about to move my assets to TD Waterhouse until I came across Market-Q, their real-time trading platform, based on eSignal. I also found out they offer better commissions (7$ with a maximum of 10$) if you trade 30 times and more per quarter, which I have recently hit within 40 days. National Bank needs to do a better job at advertising their services to their clients, as I was about to leave them for a competitor. I recall asking my financial advisor at NBC if they had a real-time trading platform, yet she didn’t have a clue.

Regardless, Market-Q is straight-forward, customizable and very easy to use. Comparing it to TD’s Active Trader platform, I believe MQ is a lot more stable and powerful. With AT, I couldn’t have more than 3 boxes in my charts. MQ doesn’t seem to have a limit of how many boxes you can attach to a chart. Also, the overall design and functionality of MQ is quite nice and easier on the eyes. I can also separate charts from the trading platform, so I don’t need to keep the entire application window open. This saves me a lot of space on my desktop and allows me to use my monitors selectively, as Active Trader needs to have the entire application spanned across my monitors for me to read charts while Market-Q’s charts are detachable and free-roaming.

Market-Q is 39.00$/month if you wish to use it, but free if you do 10 trades a month or more. Active Trader, on the other hand, doesn’t have a monthly fee and is free to use has a monthly fee as well (which I cannot recall).

Lastly, I have a tip to offer to all who wish to use NBC as their brokerage. If you move 25,000$ in cash to National Bank, you qualify for the 7$ trades from the beginning, but you must call them first. I had moved said amount but didn’t call them for the better rates when I started. Once I had enough of losing 56$ each time (after 2 months of trading and losing profits to commissions) I called them up and complained. They said they couldn’t do anything until I traded 2 more times (I had already done 28 trades) to qualify for the 7$ trades. Really? I have been trading with National Bank for over 2 years, and they can’t give me the better rates now? Regardless, customer service managed to give me the better rates sooner once I completed two more trades. I didn’t have to wait for the next quarter to arrive so I benefited from the lower commissions right away.

For the record, the customer service representatives at National Bank are fine people, and they are always friendly and professional over the phone. For this, they’ll be keeping my business for a while. :)