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Dale Jackson

Personal Finance Columnist, Payback Time


Competition is heating up among Canadian online brokers – but they still aren’t meeting the needs of increasingly sophisticated investors.

Those are the basic findings of the Surviscor 2016 Online Discount Brokerage Review released on Friday.

Surviscor ranks the nation’s discount brokers on aspects like usability, mobile accessibility, research tools, service and of course, costs.

While choices are opening up overall, the survey found that service levels are at its lowest in five years. Surviscor found that the average response time to a customer inquiry is 40 hours, compared to 26 hours in 2015 and 18 hours in 2012.

Here are some of the trends emerging among discount brokers:

  • Robo-advisors are becoming more popular as computer-savvy millennialsopt to save on costs by putting strategic investment decisions in the virtual hands of a computer.
  • Free ETF transactions have become a trend among some discount brokers, which gives more leverage for investors looking for their own broker to drop the cost of trading exchange traded funds.  
  • Competition continues to drive fees down, but Surviscor warns there are more strings attached, so read the fine print.
  • Discount brokers are providing more customized trading platforms designed to suit the needs of the individual customer.

For a look at how your discount broker ranks, watch the video above.