The first thing you notice about the Questrade website is its clean, sleek style. Navigating the site it simple, and the descriptions and explanations of its offerings are easy to read and understand. And this first impression isn’t a con to persuade to sign up to a trading platform that then lets you down at every turn. This is one of the best platforms on the market today.
The company started trading in 1999, and has taken a while to get to the standard it has now hit, but it’s been worth the wait.
New to trading? No problem.
Questrade have an online trading academy that gives its account holders a range of courses to suit all levels and all instruments. Courses are presented by professional traders, and any cost is rebated by commission discount, though this might take a while to recoup: Questrade’s trading fees are some of the lowest in the market. There are also other free seminars and courses, including the option to register for one-on-one sessions. This is a company that realises its success depends upon its clients’ success.
Maximizing Mutual Funds
Many mutual funds pay brokers a trail commission, which average out at around 1% per year. Questrade rebates this commission to its customers, meaning that performance is enhanced. The website has a handy calculator that works out the benefit to a mutual fund investor over a given number of years.
Questrade offers pretty comprehensive mutual fund research, but the real bonus is how cheap these funds can be traded. At just $9.95 per buy or sell, Questrade is one of the cheapest platforms on which to move in and out of mutual funds.
However, this said, the catch is that Questrade charges a monthly processing fee of $29.95. The effect that this has is that the 1% trailer rebate is negated for funds below $36,000.
As a Questrade trader, you receive 24/7 online help, including video tutorials, the obligatory FAQ’s and a community blog to interact with others.
Broker assisted trades are charged at $45, and this is on top of standard commissions. For those traders that are likely to use this facility on a regular basis, then Charles Schwab, at $25 plus standard commission, is a better selection.
The Trading Platform
Now to the business end, and again you won’t be disappointed. The multi window trading screen is fully customizable, and trades can be executed from a standalone order window of from the portfolio position screen. There are currently two platforms to choose from: IQ Web and IQ Edge.
The Edge is the full package platform, and the one that will most interest active, professional traders. This is the platform that allows the most adaptive customization, and is software based rather than web. Streaming data means that charts are live and responsive, and you can have several order windows open simultaneously. On this platform all order types are supported, which provides for better stock management. Questrade supports pre and post market hours trading.
Questrade also offers prospective customers a virtual real time trading environment that is exactly like using the real thing. It’s loaded with $500,000 of virtual money, so it’s possible to have some fun!
Research made easy
Whether you pick your trades by fundamental or technical analysis, the Questrade platform provides a host of tools, reports, news, and information that will help the trader make his selections and monitor trade ideas.
The charting functionality is advanced, and allows traders to set up default charts and use a number of indictors. Trading from the chart screen is easy, too, and for those that like to have the chart sat in front of them, the print facility is customizable to improve print quality and cut down on ink usage.
The drawback is that for those traders who trade an international portfolio, Questrade isn’t for you. The company only supports the Canadian and United States markets.
From first to last, cheap, easy, fast
An account can be opened online with Questrade in around twenty minutes. Providing you supply your bank details and can upload bank statements, you can begin trading almost immediately (if you don’t want to do this online, you can do it by snail mail).
There are no portfolio maintenance charges, and if you stop trading for a while, you won’t be financially penalized, either (though this is due to end in October 2012, when a $19.95 per quarter charge will be levied, unless you execute one commissionable trade per quarter).
Its multi account process can be a little tedious to navigate, but once you get used to this it’s not too problematic. Mutual fund investors will love the refreshing approach shown by Questrade, and will benefit financially from it, too, providing the mutual funds account balance is in excess of $36,000.
All in all, this is one of the best trading systems around, with a great fee structure. Though its market access is restricted to America and Canada, the Questrade philosophy and costing model is hard to find replicated elsewhere. It’s such a shame that it’s not available to anyone who isn’t a Canadian resident!