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Is E*TRADE available in Canada?

Andrew Goldman

Andrew Goldman has been writing for over 20 years and investing for the past 10 years. He currently writes about personal finance and investing for Wealthsimple. Andrew's past work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine and Wired. Television appearances include NBC's Today show as well as Fox News. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of Texas. He and his wife Robin live in Westport, Connecticut with their two boys and a Bedlington terrier. In his spare time, he hosts “The Originals" podcast.

Evidently you’re curious about whether E*TRADE operates in Canada.

It’s a little complicated. Technically, ETRADE doesn’t operate in Canada, however, a few years back, ScotiaBank acquired ETRADE Canada and rebranded the business as Scotia itrade.

We know. Following bank acquisitions is a little like trying to keep the couples straight in The Young and the Restless. We’ll clarify everything you need to know below.

What is E*TRADE and is it available in Canada?

E*TRADE is an American financial corporation best known for its electronic stock trading platform.

It’s likely that the first time you learned of E*TRADE, it was from one of their adorable baby commercials like this one, a campaign that ran from 2008 to 2014 and quite winningly declared that their stock trading platform was so intuitive and simple that a (talking) baby could easily master it.

But ETRADE dates back almost as long as Apple. In 1982, two guys living in Palo Alto, William A. Porter and Bernard A. Newcomb started the precursor to ETRADE, TradePlus, with $15,000 they scraped together, and it became pretty much the only game in town to trade stocks on internet dinosaurs Compuserve and America Online. As of a few years ago, ETRADE boasted of hosting 3.6 million brokerage accounts.More recently, ETRADE has expanded beyond stock trading into other financial services like advisor services and online banking.

In 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, ETRADE, like so many other companies, ran into financial trouble. According to an article in the Toronto Star, it had been “slammed by the U.S. mortgage meltdown because of large holdings of troubled mortgage-backed securities.” Scotiabank, formerly Bank of Nova Scotia, purchased ETRADE Canada for $442 million (U.S.) and subsequently rebranded the company as Scotia itrade.

A word of caution for all investors and stock traders. Pay close attention the various fees associated with trading anywhere you do business. Should you want to research and compare them to other trading platforms, download Scotia itrade’s fee schedule here. Before taking the plunge into the market, novice stock traders may want to take a deeper dive on the subject with this “How To Buy Stocks—Beginners Guide.”

An alternative to E*TRADE for Canadian investors

One question: Have you considered Wealthsimple?

Toronto-based Wealthsimple is best known as a “robo-advisor,” meaning that when people invest with the company, their money isn’t actively managed by humans but rather by a computer algorithm. You may want to read more about robo-advisors.

In August of 2018, the company launched Wealthsimple Trade, a trading app

Those who are seeking a brokerage account to trade stocks and ETFs should try Wealthsimple Trade, which, unlike many other discount brokerage, offers commission-free trading, meaning you pay absolutely no fees to trade stocks or ETFs. Here are some of the app’s highlights taken from Wealthsimple’s big unveiling:

  • Unlimited commission-free trades of over 8,000 Canadian and U.S. stocks and ETFs

  • No account minimum

  • Instant execution of trades

  • One-tap sign up for existing Wealthsimple clients

  • Zero annoying paperwork, no jargon

  • Available on iOS and Android

  • CIPF protection up to $1,000,000

  • It’s also really pretty to look at

Trade with confidence knowing Wealthsimple is anything but a fly-by-night startup; it’s Canada’s largest automated investing service. It’s received $265 million in investment from some of the world’s largest financial institutions in Canada and Europe. As of May 2019, Wealthsimple boasted more than 150,000 clients and $4.5 billion of assets under management. Wealthsimple’s brokerage Canadian ShareOwner Investments Inc., which handles all client trades, is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). CIPF is a program that insures all accounts up to one million dollars against member firms bankruptcy.

Looking for the best no-fee trading platform in all of Canada? Take a look under Wealthsimple Trade’s hood. You’ll be astounded by the kind of trading experience you can get absolutely free these days.

Last Updated October 10, 2018

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