Scotia iTrade Discount Broker Review

by Mike Holman

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This week, we are taking a look at Scotia i-Trade discount brokerage. This brokerage, is of course owned by Scotia Bank, one of the big five Canadian banks. Scotia started iTrade and then bought E-trade and amalgamated it into the iTrade brokerage. Trade Freedom brokerage has also been purchased and will be merged into iTrade as well.

If you would like to compare all the different Canadian discount brokerages, check out the Canadian discount brokerage comparison.

Overall impressions

Scotia iTrade is cheaper than any of the other discount brokerages owned by the big banks. The highest trading fee is $24.99 which is less than ~$29 for most bank-owned discount brokerage, but not by a whole lot. You only need $50,000 in assets to qualify for the cheaper $9.99 trades vs. $100,000 for the other bank-owned brokerages.

The fact that there are no annual account fees for registered accounts is a big plus for lower-asset investors who can’t normally get their fees waived at the other banks.

If you want to have a discount brokerage account at a big bank, then this is the cheapest one. You can still do a lot better on fees though, by choosing any number of the independent brokers.

Online trading commissions

  • $24.99 per trade
  • $9.99  – If you have $50,000 in combined assets or 30-149 trades per quarter
  • $6.99 – 150+ trade per quarter

Phone trading commissions

  • $45 plus online trading commission

Annual account fees

  • Non registered account - $25 per quarter unless minimum balance of $10,000 or one trade per quarter.
  • Registered account – $100 if balance of all accounts is less than $25,000.
  • RESP – $25 if balance of all account is less than $15,000.
  • TFSA – No fee.

Foreign exchange fees

  • Spot rate + 1.65%

Mutual funds

  • Full range of mutual funds available

Free real-time quotes

  • Yes

Minimum dollar amount to open account

  • None

Some user opinions on iTrade

I asked a few people over at the Canadian Money Forum what their opinion of iTrade was.

First person was Harold, who is a low-volume trader and owns individual stocks and ETFs.

Trading platform/interface:

I have been using the web platform only since I originally started with E*Trade a few years ago.  The transition to Scotia iTrade did not change much on the web platform, except replacing the purple E*Trade motif with the Scotia red look-and-feel.
So far, I have been relatively satisfied with the web platform. This is my only online brokerage account, so I can’t claim to have experienced any different.

Customer service:

So far, good.  When you call, usually they pick up the phone within a couple minutes.  On particularly volatile trading days (like May 6th), wait times are longer but I’d expect that to be the case with any other brokerage.  Their trading desk staff are courteous, understanding and knowledgeable.

Research reports and tools:

  • Yes, I use the Analyst reports and they are ok.  I believe TD have better quality analysis.
  • I think they can improve their data tracking and charting capabilities.  Generating price charts and other types of TA charts is not very powerful.
  • They really need to build a good stock scanner into their web platform, like, yesterday.

How many transactions would you do in a month/year?

A dozen transactions, I think. Even though I don’t trade much, but I use the web tools a lot.
My usage is about 1 hr. a day on average – mostly individual stock analysis and pricing history.
I think I’m pretty familiar with all the features they have on the web platform.
Since last 2 years, I have been gradually moving my other accounts over to iTrade so I’ve become familiar with how they handle various types of accounts.
I also lived through the migration of their registered accounts from Penson Financial over to Scotia Capital (after the Scotia transition).

Frugal Trader:

  • Their online interface is adequate and usable, and their prices are reasonable providing that you have a $50k balance ($9.99/trade).
  • Their telephone service has been relatively quick to answer and knowledgeable from my experience.
  • I do not use research reports. One thing they do lack are real-time charts for traders and candlesticks and other indicators.
  • Overall, I like my iTrade account and would recommend them for accounts greater than $50k.

Mario

  • I use I-trade and trade quite often.
  • The platform is quite good, especially compared to CIBC my other brokerage.
  • The service is average at best, and the research is like most others.

If you have any experience with Scotia iTrade and want to share your thoughts, then please leave a comment.

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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachelle

The transition was absolutely awful, now they’re ok.

They did completely lose my paperwork for my TFSA.

I can’t say I care for my SIN number and personal business floating around where no one knows it is.

2 Mike Holman

@Rachelle – Yes, I heard the eTrade conversion was an absolute disaster.

I don’t suppose they gave you any free trades or something to make up for losing your application?

3 Canadian Couch Potato

I have been waiting for Scotia to announce that they’re doing away with Scotia McLeod Direct Investing (which is terrible) and bringing everything under the iTrade umbrella. But I’m running out of patience. iTrade is not even allowing current SMDI clients to take advantage of their “50 Free Trades” incentive.

4 A.Rajah

I am thinking of switching from my current discount broker. Looking forward to read the review of other discount brokerages.

5 Stevie

Not sure how it works under Scotia itrade, but with TradeFreedom, I was charged a monthly “trading platform fee” of $31.45.

6 Mike Holman

@Potato – Time to move to Questrade. :)

@A Rajah – You will be sick of the brokerage reviews by the time I’m done!

@Stevie – Did you have some sort of premium trading platform? Normally there is no charge for the basic trading platform.

7 Fernando

Last time I checked iTrade would not support USD currency in registered accounts. Has that changed? Do they support this or some other method (wash trades a la TDW, perhaps)?

8 Mike Holman

Fernando – It doesn’t say in the review that they support USD RRSP, which I believe is acccurate.

9 Scotia_iTRADE

I’m Ryan from Scotia iTRADE, just dropping in to lend a hand with any questions you may have. Please know that we really appreciate all the feedback and as always we do our best to make your experience with Scotia iTRADE a positive one. I’m here to help so please do feel free to contact me with any queries.

@Rachelle Sorry to hear about your experience with Scotia iTRADE. We appreciate your patience and understanding during our back-office conversion last year.

@Canadian Couch Potato
ScotiaMcLeod Direct Investing clients can now switch to Scotia iTRADE upon request. No need to re-apply or transfer between accounts, your account number will remain the same. Simply call one of our Customer Service Specialists at 1-888-872-3388 to switch.

@Stevie
No need to pay monthly fees any longer, use our website trading or advanced Trading Desk for no monthly fee. Compare our platforms here: https://www.scotiaitrade.com/pages/itrade/qualify.shtml

@Fernando
While we cannot hold USD currency in Registered accounts, we do offer wash trades. Just call us the day after you make your USD trades in a Registered account to request.

If you have any questions or suggestions about Scotia iTRADE, feel free to email me directly at ryan@scotiaitrade.com. I look forward to hearing from you all.

Thanks again,

-Ryan | Follow us on Twitter @Scotia_iTRADE

10 Greg

I am looking for a broker that gives me GOOD DETAILS on ACB (adjusted cost base ) info – so I can process the data to my accountant quickly and painlessly. BMOInvestorline don’t do this – suggestions really appreciated.
Greg

ps – BMOInvestorline only allow USA & Cdn trades … hmm … do I need to trade on more exchanges ??

11 Greg

sorry – one more thing I would REALLY LIKE – the ability to compare Mutual Funds and ETF’s for returns ….
ps – am GOLDGlobeInvestor ( so I pay the $$ to globe & mail for extra service ) –and they don’t do it — should I expect a Broker to do it ?

Greg

12 Jen S.

I have been an E*Trade / Scotia iTRADE customer for many years (maybe 10?), and have been quite happy with the trading platform.

I recently moved my entire RRSP account over from iTRADE to Questrade though.

For the sole reason that iTRADE really does charge 1.65% *EACH DIRECTION* just to convert C$ to US$, which I eventually figured out was costing me — literally — thousands of dollars.

Questrade charges only 0.5% (less than one-third of the iTRADE rate) for forex conversion (which is still pretty high, when you really think about how little the brokerage does to earn the money.)

13 CK

If I do not have a Social Insurance Number (SIN), am I able to open a brokerage account ? I am currently a Tax Resident, having fulfilled the 183-day stay, but do NOT yet have a SIN.

14 Mike Holman

CK – you need to get in touch with the brokerage you want to sign up with and see what their rules are

15 The Passive Income Earner

I use ScotiaITrade and one major benefit for me is the synthetic DRIP and how you also get the discount provided by the companies for the re-investment. I know that Interactive Broker doesn’t support that – not sure about other brokers.

16 The Passive Income Earner

Just a follow up, I did asked Questrade earlier in the year and they provide support for DRIP but do not support the discount that you can have. For example, if you own shares of BNS you would get a 2% discount on shares purchased through DRIP. Some companies have discounts up to 5%. It’s an upfront profit!

17 Craig

I have been using iTrade since the old e*Trade days. My opinion is they have transitioned okay. Not bad, not great.

The main issue I have is with US equity trades in my RRSP account. Several other brokerages offer seperate US$ holdings within the RRSP and iTrade as resisted – mostly likely because they are picking up 1.65% on the purchase and the sale. Yes you can call to get a currency wash but you have to call in the next day (no other days, no emails, etc.) and of course it only works on days when you both sell and buy a US$ equity.

As of writing today (DEC 6) their system has been down for the majority of the morning – you would think they could at least put a note on their website informing their customers.

I look forward to your other reviews Mike, as I may be looking for a new brokerage in the near future!

18 Scotia_iTRADE

Hi Craig,

Thanks for your input on US$ holdings within the RRSP. I will share your message with the right people.

We apologize for today’s system issue and working to have all the features restored. Feel free to email me [nabil@scotiaitrade.com] if there is anything I can do to help you.

We value your business and appreciate your understanding.

Thanks again,

-Nabil

19 Mike Holman

@Craig – in case you haven’t seen it, I did a comprehensive review of all the Canadian discount brokerages:

http://www.moneysmartsblog.com/canadian-online-discount-stock-brokerage-comparison/

20 The Passive Income Earner

I did contact ScotiaITrade about providing a US account for RRSP recently and they replied that they will offer it in early 2011. I hope they are right otherwise, I’ll be looking at moving broker. My patience has limits…

21 collin knight

can you tell if i can buy penny stocks through scotia i trade thank you for your help

22 Nigel P

The Scotia Itrade “Market Trader” tool was decommissioned May 24, 2011 because Reuters would no longer support the product, according to Itrade.

The replacement product, “Flight Desk”, is a clumsy, amateurish tool that looks like it was designed and slapped together by high school students. It does not compare to the previous tool in terms of speed, quality, looks or features.

They replaced a Dash 8 with an out of tune 1931 Tiger Moth Trainer that can barely get off the ground. On Day 1, “Flight Desk” appears to be an untested “Work In Progress”, with many basic features not working.(Fortunately, Itrade says that they are working to fix things like Market Depth and Venture Quotes, for example.)

The stuff that is working is rather quirky. I tried to draw a simple chart
for Royal Bank but I typed “Ry.to” which did not work; seems you have to
type all Upper Case or all Lower Case. On daily charts, it did not seem to
show me the current day during trading hours. I figured out how to add
Simple Moving Average on the Charts and it displayed the 38 Day, the 50 Day and the 100 Day Moving Average. Why the default 38 Day? I have no idea. Unlike the old tool, it does not appear that you can choose custom moving averages.

The interface seems to be geared towards Americans so if you just type RY you will get the price quoted in New York. Make sure you type RY.TO if you want Canadian market prices.

The color scheme is black or white but to be fair there is a lot of grey! The online Help looks pretty limited and archaic, like “Flight Desk” itself.

Considering the tool is less functional, less user friendly, and less
intuitive than many free tools on the internet, I would expect Itrade to
drop the max $99 fee to avoid loosing too many customers. But even if it becomes free to all customers, I suspect many will prefer not to use it.

23 Nigel P

Correction: You can see latest day values in the day chart but still confusing. Right now seeing May 26 candle for RY.TO but noting previous 2 days both show May 24 date instead of May 24 and May 25 so something odd there.
Strangely, for JJC, on the 1 year chart I am seeing May 19 entry but all entries missing until May 26. I am not making this up. (I have 20 years experience in systems consulting and another consultant has looked over my shoulder to confirm.)

24 goldoilbanks

Scotia Itrade FLIGHTDESK:
If you are a trader…….DO NOT use Itrade.Their new platform is a nightmare.See more comments at http://forums.redflagdeals.com/scotia-itrade-flightdesk-vs-markettrader-platforms-1037588/.Much better software at TD Waterhouse.

25 goldoilbanks

Sorry above link not working.Just type: markettrader vs flightdesk ,in Google and it will take you to comments (complaints).

FLIGHTDESK SUCKS

26 Jim

I stayed with itrade solely because of the market trader which is a rebadged Reuters bridgechannel. Replacing it with the awful flightdesk is a big mistake.

27 Brad

I was thinking the same thing as Nigel, “The replacement product, “Flight Desk”, is a clumsy, amateurish tool that looks like it was designed and slapped together by high school students.”

Flight Desk is an example of iTrade’s lack of competence and concern for its customer base. iTrade launched Flight Desk and eliminated Market Trader, before Flight Desk was ready for launch. With Flight Desk one cannot even add any symbols from the Toronto Venture exchange, such a level of incompetence is incredulous in my opinion for any company that considers itself a player in the online trading game. Flight Desk reminds me of an airline that launches a 4 engine airplane, with only 2 engines working, and makes the corporate decision to try and fix the other 2 engines in the air with the plane full of passengers…

28 mozy3141

I’m a newbie and I’ve been looking at itrade to learn with my teenage son about investing and saving…in the hundreds of dollars…is this where we should start looking or can someone suggest a better starter place, thanks

29 Canadian Couch Potato

@mozy: iTrade charges a fee on accounts with small balances and “low activity,” meaning no trades during any quarter. With very small amounts of money to invest, your best be may be something like ING Direct, which charges no fees. I believe Questrade also offers accounts with no fees.

30 Brad

@mozy3141,
iTrade is genuinely trying to improve its platforms and services, it is a decent trading vehicle. It also offers webinars and training videos that could be helpful to you and your son.
Questrade is probably all in all the best. It is a pure stock market service provider for individuals and business, unlike iTrade and others who are banks first and provide stock market trading tools as an afterthought for their customers. Quest trades platforms are considerably cheaper than iTrade. Questrade’s market tracking platform is around half the cost of iTrade’s flightdesk, and is well designed in comparison to iTrade’s. Questrade will also provide you with a free trial period of all their platforms and services. All Questrade does is provide tracking and trading services for its customers and is therefore unlikey to change or launch new platforms before they are in perfect working order unlike iTrade or other trading services provided by banks.

31 m.n

I just closed my account with them and moved somewhere else.

Things you should know if you make a U.S, trade make sure you move your money from canadian optimizer account over to U.S margin account other wise these thief’s they charge you 5 cents for conversation fees per dollar for each trade on the buy and sell and even if you have a US margin account they still convert it to canadian to make extra from you which i don’t think anybody else does.

Another words if you are an active trader this is not a site to use since if you make like 20 trades it could cost you a few hundreds of dollars in conversation costs aside from trading costs. when it was E*trade the service was much better and rubbery did not take place in bright day light.

32 m.n

Uh i forgot to mention, it really is about options not so much trading the stocks it self. Since i do have an account with two other brokers i noticed that

never ever it is a good idea to sell or buy at market price with scotia trade since i did test them and bought and sold the same amount of option on i trade an another platform at the same time on two different screens and pressed entered with less a a second difference and to my amazement the market price on both buy and sell using i trade was more on the buy side and less on the sell side.

So be very careful with these guy they cheat like there is no tomorrow.

33 Scotia_iTRADE

@m.n: We’re really sorry to hear about your experience and appreciate all the feedback.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share our account setup and some of the ways to avoid any potential foreign exchange conversion. You can have your cash/margin accounts denominated either in Canadian currency, U.S. currency, or both currencies. If the order instructions entered does not match the currency of your account, you’ll receive the following alert message: ‘This Trade will be Converted to the Currency of Your Account’. At this stage, you can click Change Order to review your initial instructions and to re-enter the order in your USD account to avoid any potential foreign currency conversions.

If you wish to proceed with your initial order instructions and acknowledge the alert message, a trade can be placed and the foreign currency conversion will be applied to the transaction. The actual conversion rate to be charged is not fixed until late in the trading day. For more detailed information on currency conversion, please visit, https://www.scotiaitrade.com/helpcentre/lcmmmbi3.shtml.

Please note that any loan in a CAD/USD margin account is collateralized by the stock, and if the value of the stock drops sufficiently, the account holder has the opportunity to either transfer more cash, or sell a portion of the stock to satisfy the account margin requirements.

If you have an account denominated in one currency and wish to add the other or would like us to investigate a trade, please contact our Customer Support team. We’re here to help and we’ll be happy to assist you. Feel free to contact me directly [nabil@scotiaitrade.com] with your questions or concerns.

We look forward to the opportunity to win back your business and to serve you again.

Thank you,

-Nabil

34 Ron

I was with E-Trade prior to the Scotia conversion. The switch over was so horrific I moved my funds out for a few months. It was not an easy decision. I would lose 3 days to let my trades settle and 3 days to transfer funds. I was willing to lose 6 business days to transfer funds rather than take a chance on how many more trading days i would lose if I had stayed. Turns out it was the correct decision. Fortunately i have 2 other brokerages so i was still able to do some trading. Unfortunately they are with CIBC and Royal which are okay for investing but not for trading. After several months I-Trade seemed to have things up and running properly again so i switched funds back to I Trade, but not as much this time because they still needed to earn my trust again. Everything was working as expected and was okay. After being back for a few months flightdesk shows up. I knew it had arrived but what i didn’t know was that i would have no choice but to use the flightdesk. One day i sit down to work and there it is, my only option. No warning from I-trade! When you log in they sometimes give you important messages like a market being closed or a stock trading under a different ticker, etc. . I guess this wasn’t important or just another oversight.
On BNN i watched an interview of a high up executive from Scotia. It might have been president and CEO Rick Waugh. Anyway they stated that they would not mess with the E-Trade platform. They could respect that clients were there for a reason. I am really concerned that they are going to make it into the typical bank brokerages platforms such as RBC direct, CIBC Investor services etc. It seems that this is where it is heading. Will i start getting timed out every 20 minutes like they do with the banks. That is annoying at best.
I use to be able to have Market Trader running on all my 4 computers if i wanted, but now i am limited to ONE! This is typical of the bank brokerages.
So here it is Oct. 12,2011 and i am locked out of flightdesk for the second day in a row. They have now added another password to get entry. 3 passwords to trade!! Wow.
The flightdesk is cool in the respect that you can have many spaces in your overall workspace. Streaming day charts is an awesome feature when it works. The rest of the charting tools suck big time, so i go somewhere else for that.
Market depth works 75% of the time.
If i have several watchlist displayed and click on a ticker it will add that ticker to the bottom of all of the other watchlists.
When things get very busy in the market the sight bogs down and runs so slow that flightdesk is just a mess.
.TO on the end of each Canadian ticker is an insult when this is Canadian company.
Colour schemes are terrible and the constant flashing of green and red is annoying. If a stock is up on the day and happens to be heading down for a tick it will highlight it in red. I find myself looking for the plus or minus in front of the price.
This could really be an awesome trading platform if they can fix all of the issues and stop adding bank brokerage ideas.
Overall i am very disappointed in management giving a work in progress tool. There could be a message posted when things are not working properly to save me time before i finally call in to find out AGAIN that I-Trade is at fault. That is a total lack of RESPECT. My patients have run thin and I-Trade is costing me money.
Seriously looking for something else.

35 Scotia_iTRADE

@Ron: thank you for taking the time to share your feedback on FlightDesk. We’re always looking for ways to further enhance the platform’s offering and based on past feedback, we’ve recently implemented many new and exciting features for our subscribers. You can find a list of these features under the What’s New section within FlightDesk Help Centre.

I’d like to take this opportunity to address some of the points raised in your post and would like to offer some helpful tips to optimize your experience with our platform.

Timed-out: In order to avoid getting timed-out, I suggest you increase your platform session time by visiting Settings (upper right hand corner) > Time till logout menu > Select the desired time frame, and click OK.

Password: The platform can be accessed once you’re logged into our website by clicking on Platforms & Services tab > Scotia iTRADE FlightDesk > Launch. Once authenticated, subscriber will not be asked to re-enter the login password again. If you continue to experience multiple login screens, kindly email me [nabil@scotiaitrade.com] the screenshots of your second or third login page for us to identify the path and troubleshoot the error.

Charting: Were you looking for something specific here? The platform offers a multitude of aesthetic and technical customization options such as technical indicators and oscillators, cross-currency, or overlay comparisons. You can quickly configure by pressing and holding the Spacebar for multiple selections to be made at once. You can view the Quick Menu options here, https://help-flightdesk.scotiaitrade.com/Components/Charts/Charts.htm

Market Depth: It can occur as a result of a temporary lapse in connection to the FlightDesk servers. Changes have been made to fix this issue. However, if the problem occurs again, closing and re-launching the application should resolve it.

Watchlist: The platform will add ticker to the bottom of a watchlist if the Link Mode feature is enabled. Link Mode allows symbols to broadcast to several components at once through a single click. To learn more or to disable this feature, please visit: https://help-flightdesk.scotiaitrade.com/Workspace/Link_Mode.htm. Please note, where the watchlist is the active component it will also add the symbol entered in the global search regardless of Link Mode settings.

Symbology: FlightDesk uses the RIC (Reuters Instrument Code) format for entering and displaying symbols. It is constructed using the root symbol, instrument type and exchange suffix (i.e .TO, .N, etc). Suffixes appended to the end of a symbol are important for interlisted securities trading on multiple exchanges. Our search feature compares the entered text against symbols and instruments in the database, and returns 10 most suitable matches. By hovering over a result, a fly-out menu to access a symbol on various markets is displayed. You can also narrow your search by clicking on the glass to filter results by security type.

Colour Templates: Colour options for both the text and background will be added to FlightDesk in a future release and we will update the What’s New section once this enhancement is ready for deployment.

Lastly, we keep our customers informed on new products and services via direct mail, email and website alerts. Please be sure to check your filter settings and any folders where emails are stored. Furthermore, kindly visit the Accounts tab > My Info tab > Email Options within scotiaitrade.com to verify your email address we’ve on file for you.

I hope you find the above tips and information helpful. As always, we’re here to help and can be reached at 1.888.872.3388 or via email service@scotiaitrade.com with questions/concerns or for any product/service related feedback.

Thanks again,

Nabil

36 Ron

I do have my log out menu set for 8 hours. Since Oct. 3rd it does not work properly. Closing and relaunching multiple times a day is annoying at best. It is not even 10AM and I have been kicked off 3 times and can’t get back on. Just great when I’m involved in a trade. Link mode never did work properly at the introduction of flightdesk ; changes have been made twice since. Work in progress is frustrating. I don’t want to spend my time figuring out what has changed. I want to sit down and be able to work on a reliable platform.

37 Brad

I would not recommend Scotia iTrade. There trading platfrom Flightdesk is a dangerous tool if you are an active trader. I have been a customer since 2008, and today was the straw that broke the camels back. The flightdesk platform is so unstable and unreliable it is beyond words that do not involve a plethora of profanity. For and active trader or day trader, it is completely useless. One cannot get the times of sells or buys of the major trading houses like one could on their previous platform. One cannot even tell who the brokerage houses are that are trading.

The platform is unbelievably unreliable and unstable. Today for example (and this is not a unique example) 3 stocks I actively regularly buy and sell were simply gray bars with no information. No price, no price change, no % change, no volume. No way an active trader can rely on flightdesk to follow his stocks, if he/she cannot even get a price or volume figure in the price or volume window. Dealing with their customer service is also a major fail. For example to day I phoned them up because Lignol Energy Corporation (LEC.V) showed up as a gray bar, with absolutely no information of the flightdesk platform available. I phoned them up and was informed it was not their problem, that I should check the TMX group to find out what was going on. So I phoned TMX, who told me there is nothing happening with the stock, it is listed at $0.11 per share nothing wrong with it at all. I then phoned back iTrade customer service. This time an agent told me he is looking at it on his flightdesk terminal and I am right there is something wrong at their end. All this took me over 1 hour. One simply cannot function as an active trader with a platform this unstable and unreliable. This is only one of the many problems with their FLIGHTDESK platform. Another major issue is if one accidently closes their “watchlist” window, which window appears alongside chart windows, news window and analytical window, your watchlist is deleted. Gone, deleted, spfitzo pop bang gone. No warning “are you sure you want to delete this watchlist” it is an easy mistake to do especially since the watchlist window open or close feature is on the same line as the option to open or close charts, news and analytics. One would think, “Ok I will just log off Flightdesk, then log back on and my watchlist will reappear.” Not so, it is deleted if you close that box. On top of this it is virtually impossible to figure out how flightdesk works without hours and hours of researching it through their tutorials. Not like their former platform which was so simple and self explanitory, one needed to do no researching tutorials to quickly gain a working knowledge of it. Compared to the Royal Bank, QuestTrade, or Toronto Dominion, iTrades stock monitoring platfrom Flightdesk is disfuntional. To not be able to follow the time a block of shares was bought or sold is insane for a platform that claims to be for an active trader. If streamlined means, missing pertinent information an active trader needs to be able to function at the top of his game, then indeed it is streamlined. And priced at $70.00 a month this is insane, when QuestTrade offers a far more utile platform at half the price. The newsfeed from Google, Reuters, Yahoo, on their free service is 10 times more upto the minute and informative.
I am done with iTrade, and switching over to QuestTrade. As an active trader I simply cannot function using iTrade’s Flightdesk platform, and stay on top of my game. If I had the time and money, I would sue them for false advertising, and I guarantee just by comparing it to some of the platforms that are much less cost, or even the free ones, I think my chance of being successful in a lawsuit of this nature would be %80 (a figure that did not even show up in 3 of my stocks this morning, on flightdesk).

38 peter

Glad to see I’m not the only one PISSED OFF at This Flightdesk joke…
at this until a couple weeks ago I had the full market depth (by order)
now they save even more money plus it’s so unreliable even more so than this summer…

39 Scotia_iTRADE

@Brad: I apologize for the confusion when you called for assistance and for the trouble you’re having with our platform. As mentioned in my previous posts, I’m here to help find solutions and appreciate the time customers take to discuss our products and services. Allow me to clarify platform issues present in your post:

Time & Sales: you’ll find this feature under Analytics and it provides detailed historical trading and fundamental data. To access, select the Analytics component and click Time & Sales from the fly-out menu. It contains a list of all the trades that have occurred for a symbol during the current trading day and displays the time, buyer/seller broker ID, quantity, price, date and any message. You can view the screenshots to help you with the navigation here, https://help-flightdesk.scotiaitrade.com/Components/Analytics.htm

Symbol: I pulled LEC-V price history and as of 10/25 (9:25a.m EST), the last trading activity recorded was on 10/18 and no activity for 10/24. Please note that the Venture quotes on the platform are delayed as mentioned in our Help Centre and you can always check Quotes & Research tab on our website to obtain real-time quotes.

Managing Watchlist: Please be sure to save your watchlist, once created. To do so, click Save List (or Save List As) from the component menu. A prompt will be displayed to enter a name for the watchlist. Changes to an existing list can be saved by selecting Save List. By saving your lists, you can always restore them if you close the window in error. To select a saved list, access the List drop-down menu at the top of the Watchlist component. I hope this helps.

We value your business and always strive for satisfied customers. Feel free to email me directly [nabil@scotiaitrade.com] with your questions or concerns.

Thanks,

Nabil

40 Brad

Thanks Nabil, for your response. I have since figured out more of the features on FLightdesk. On your previous platform, I did not have to spend hours of my valuable time researching and studying, and going through various tutorials in order to learn how it functioned. It was extremely user friendly and did not require pouring over hours of tutorials in order to operate it and access the various functions.

Today was definitely the last straw though, when I logged onto my iTrade account, and turned on Flightdesk, I was presented with a completely empty screen. My watchlist was non-existent, my portfolios which appear in my righthand vertical window were also non-existent. In essence my Flightdesk was a big black box, completely void of any information. All my various horizontal window divisions were gone. When I log onto flightdesk I am usually presented with my market depth chart, from my previous days information I left on before logging off, below that is my horizontal news window, and below that is my watchlist containing the 25 or so stocks I monitor. This morning there were no horizontal window divisions. All that appeared was one big black area entirely void of any information whatsoever. I phoned up customer service, and was informed once again, that Flightdesk was down, and there was nothing they could do. The technicians are working on it.

I am sure you can understand my frustration. As an active trader who logs on 30 minutes before markets open (today was a rare exception), and during volatile trends makes 3-12 trades a day for my personal portfolio, I need a reliable stable platform at my disposal. iTrade’s Flightdesk just does not cut the mustard my friend.

I am in the process now of switching over all my 5 accounts to Questrade. After using their platform for a month on a free trial basis, I have found it accomodates my needs. I do not have to close certain windows I like to monitor to open other windows to look at charts or analytics, or market depth or quotes. They are all right there like iTrades former platform used to provide. I put up with Flightdesk for a long time giving iTrade the benefit of the doubt, while you tried to iron out the bugs. I have reached the end of the rope on this one though.
If from the start, iTrade had truly planned things out to accomodate their customers, they should have taken the time to design Flightdesk, implement a working beta version for their account holders to run alongside the pre-existing platfrom for 3 months or so. Polled their customers regarding Flightdesks efficacy as compared to the old platform, and made the transition easier and more accomodating.
The monthly cost of $70.00 for your Flightdesk platform is a grossly unreasonable high price to pay for such an inefficient tool. It should be free until you people at Scotia iTrade actually get it working. The fact remains though, at $70.00 it is not even half the tool other brokerages provide for $35.00, or free for users such as myself with over $100,000.00 in account deposits. I do not envy you your job Nigel, having to try and sell Flightdesk and accomodate a growing number of dissatified account holders. This is one account holder you will not have to worry about any longer. My relationship with Scotiabank has been a very long one (40+ years), and for the most part, harmonious and delightful compared to relationships with other big Canadian banks. I am truly sad to say that due to Flightdesk, and for that reason alone I will be severing any future association with Scotiabank. I would still recommend Scotiabank for people who want a friendly personable banking experience, but for convenience sake I have no need to continue mine now that I am transferring all my investment accounts to another brokerage provider.

41 Margaret

My account at SMDI was internaly transferred to itrade recently as all accounts will be. I had Quotestream as a screening tool. Now I have Flight Desk. I’m a day trader and I am really unhappy with the streaming which is not keeping up with real time quotes. I’m constantly having to get individual quotes outside of Flight Desk. I will be transfering to another brokerage because I can’t work like this all day.

42 Already Unimpressed

To any thinking of opening account with Scotia iTrade. Scotia iTrade’s 100 Free trades promotion if you open a new account and fund it with at least $25,000 is not actually “Free”. I recently opened an account with Scotia iTrade and made a $26,000 deposit to qualify for their “100 Free trades” promotion. Well their definition of “Free” isn’t actually “Free”. If you have less than $50,000 in your account, they’ll still charge you $19.99 per trade, but only credit you back $9.99, meaning your “Free” trades actually cost you $10 each! I’m really put off that Scotia iTrade words this promotion in a way that makes you think that if you open an account and fund it with $25,000, you’ll get your first 100 Free trades “Free” … Apparantly, “Free” in Scotia iTrade terms means “It actually costs you $10 per trade.” Is it even legal for iTrade to advertise like this?? No where on the website was it mentioned that if you fund with at least $25,000 but less than $50,000, that you would be charged $19.99, but only refunded $9.99, meaning that you would effectively be charged $10 per trade.

Worse was that I both emailed and phoned Scotia iTrade about this 100 Free trades promotion specifically mentioning my concern that my regular comission level was $19.99, and that I noticed that the fine print said you would only be reimbursed $9.99, and whether my first 100 trades with the initial 60 day were in actually “Free” and the agents both on the phone and by email assured me that they were. This is a blatant lie. Unless their definition of “Free” actually means it would cost you $10 per trade.

I read a lot of bad reviews about iTrade but went against my gut feeling (bad idea) decided to give it a go anyway because of the 100 “Free” trade promotion. I’ve been with them less than a month, and am already thinking of switching over to TD Waterhouse. Listen to the reviews folks. These guys really ARE that bad.

43 Scotia_iTRADE

@Already Unimpressed: I’m really sorry to read about your experience with our current free trades offer and for the confusion it has caused.

Once qualified to receive the offer, the commissions associated with your first 100 trades placed within 60 days of the date the account is activated and funded, will be credited back to you. As mentioned on our website, you’ll need at least $25,000 (cheque deposit or transfer of assets) in your newly active account to qualify for the offer. Please note that the maximum total cash rebate from this offer is $999 and your account must be correctly identified by our system to receive the rebates. Once identified, the account commission tier will drop to $9.99 under the Accounts > Complete View tab for the promotion.

We’re excited to offer free trades and I’d like the opportunity to review your account setup to ensure you’ve been correctly identified by our system to receive trade rebates. Please email me directly at nabil@scotiaitrade.com and I’ll be more than happy to review the account for you.

Thanks,

Nabil

44 Already Unimpressed

@Nabil: I’m currently in the process of getting this resolved with a senior customer service representative. I will let you know how it goes.

45 The Passive Income Earner

I am with ScotiaITrade and thinking of switching … RBC Direct Investing is my front runner candidate at the moment. Anyone got comments on RBC?

My current issues with the ScotiaITrade platforms are:
- It’s really difficult to know exactly how much you can transfer between accounts (Especially with US and CAD accounts). The amount shown is always a combination of both currencies.
- Exchange rate is adjusted at the end of the day and that’s a pain. It means that you should not transfer everything out of an account because you may have to top it up.
- The US settlement for registered accounts cost money !?!
- I want to have a spousal account for TFSA and it’s not clear if my wife can benefit from my assets to avoid higher trading costs.

ScotiaBank doesn’t really care how much I have with ScotiaITrade and what other services I have. RBC will waive fees based on the number of products I have with them.

The only other platforms I have used in the past are ScotiaMcLoad and E*Trade. ScotiaMcLoad is expensive. Canadian version of E*Trade doesn’t compare with the US version at all.

46 Scotia_iTRADE

@The Passive Income Earner: We’re always looking for ways to improve our products and as always appreciate the input. Please allow me to present solutions to some of the concerns in your post.

- Internal Funds Transfer: You’ll find the non-consolidated details under the Accounts > Complete View > By Allocation tab. Here you can access Total Assets, Cash & Cash Equivalents and Equity & Equity Equivalents in USD, CAD and Percent of Total.

- External Funds Transfer: You may have to top it up if you perform the transfer of funds based on an estimated F/X rate from your USD brokerage to CAD brokerage, and then to a CAD bank account immediately. We’ve recently introduced the ability to initiate Easy Transfers between bank and brokerage accounts of different currencies. Under this one-step transfer process, you won’t have to rely on an estimate to transfer to your bank account and an actual rate on the transfer date will be used. Please note that transfers received after 1:00 pm ET will be processed on the following business day and the F/X rate can change on the date when your transfer is processed. For more information on F/X conversion, please visit: https://www.scotiaitrade.com/helpcentre/lcmmmbi3.shtml

- TFSA: Your spouse can activate her Tax-Free Savings Account and can benefit from your commission tier if you are the assigned trading authority on the account. Once activated and linked, the account will be visible under your log-on ID and trades placed through your log-on ID on her TFSA account will benefit from your commission tier.

If you wish to learn more or require clarification, please do not hesitate to email me [nabil@scotiaitrade.com] directly or contact our support team at 1.888.872.3388.

Thanks,

Nabil

47 Michel

I have been a customer since before the changeover from etrade.
Scotia Itrade does not pay any interest on cash balances within RRSP accounts. Also, a transfer fee of $125. to another brokerage seems a bit steep to me. Small fees, but they seem to come back at you in other ways.

48 R Walker

I have been a SMDI customer for 10 yrs with 5 accounts and 2.7 million invested. After the recent changes my commission charges were increased from $8.95 to 9.99. I could no longer fund trades from my bank acount but had to pre fund trades without benefitting from the normal 3 day settlement rule. Conversley, I sold stock with today shown as settlement date and at 4:00 pm I still don’t have access to the funds. Not happy with the changes. It appears all the changes are in the banks favour.

49 Ron

Posted last in Nov./Dec. Have been on holidays for a couple months, so not really trading. Sold some positions and just sitting back and watching. Today is my real first day back to work and is Feb. 8/2012. First day back to work really sucks; but to make it worse, flightdesk is screwed up AGAIN. The indexes and stock prices are not updating and 12 of the 30 stocks i follow just show 0.00 for bid/ask.(this is not the 1st time). Called I-trade …” we are working on it” is the reply. I have even sent my info. to the IT department which resulted no response. I was also told that i should shut my computer off and then sign back in again; when i said i had done this ,their response was to keep trying. WOW!! The link mode is the only thing that they have fixed in the last 2-3 mths that i’m aware of.
“We value your business and always strive for satisfied customers.” Now if that were true there would not be so many complaints posted against the flightdesk on the internet.
There is too many problems to list regarding the flightdesk. I don’t know what they are working on, or even if they are trying, but there is no results after all this time.

R Walker- “Not happy with the changes. It appears all the changes are in the banks favour.” — I concur !

The Passive Income Earner- RBC has a lot of valuable info. To trade you need to fill in your order and go through 3 pages to place your order. You will also get timed out every 20 minutes. If you are an investor, it is a good sight. If you are a trader, do not go there..-” I want to have a spousal account for TFSA and it’s not clear if my wife can benefit from my assets to avoid higher trading costs.” At RBC yes you can consolidate to reduce trading commissions.

Final thoughts: Guess I should have switched prior to X-mas instead of trusting what BNS had to say. My front runners are TD / Questrade. If anyone has comments on these 2 it would be greatly appreciated.

50 Fernando

Ron, have you considered Interactive Brokers? I have no issues with them.

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