Tag Archives: td waterhouse

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. 🙂

How to Open Up a TD Waterhouse Active Trader Account

I have been practicing day trading for the past six months on TD’s Active Trader demo platform and finally decided to open up a real cash account. While opening up the account was not difficult, it did require a number of steps to be performed before actually having access to the platform. You can’t sign up to the Active Trader platform directly: you must have a TD Discount Brokerage account before. There are a number of reasons TD does this, and I will detail them later on.

First thing’s first, you must create a TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage account. This is free, but it will take up to 2 weeks for the application to go through. In my case, I found out that TD contacted my bank for authorization and validity purposes.

Once your Discount Brokerage account is created and ready to be used, you must then call the Active Trader team via telephone to register. They will ask you a few questions to make sure the platform is for you. From what I recall, they asked me questions such as my experience level, if I have tried the demo platform, how much will I be transferring to TD and if I have any proof of executing 150 trades in a quarter. The latter question is a bit important, as TD will charge you platform fees if you trade 30 times or less per month (I think a 99$ fee per month). Also, the actual trading fees will vary, from 7 to 10 dollars depending on your volume. They expect you to trade at least once a day.

In my case, whether I was getting charged 7 or 10 dollars per trade did not matter, as my current discount brokerage account at my primary bank charges me 28$ per trade! The savings here are obvious if I go with TD. Among other reasons, I chose TD because their trading platform is highly customizable (you can put in your own values for MACD, EMA, RSI and Stochastic charts).

For those who have not tried the Active Trader platform yet, I highly recommend a demo/dummy account. For about two weeks, you can play with the platform and see if it’s right for you. Compare it to the other financial institutions offerings, such as RBC, NBC and BMO. In my mind, TD’s Active Trader is the best out there, and I can’t wait to start my real trades in January!