Is E*TRADE available in Canada?

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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.

Dennis Hammer is a writer and finance nerd with six years of investing experience. He writes about personal finance for Wealthsimple. Dennis also manages his own investment portfolio and has funded several businesses in the past. Dennis holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut.

If you’re interested in online investing, you may be wondering if E*TRADE is available for Canadian citizens. Technically, E*TRADE doesn’t operate in Canada and there’s no “E*TRADE Canada” for Canadians. If you want to trade in Canada, you’ll need to find an investment platform that permits Canadian citizens. In this article, we’ll explain why E*TRADE isn’t available in Canada and offer an alternative.

What is E*TRADE?

E*TRADE is an American financial corporation best known for its electronic stock trading platform. Currently, it’s part of Morgan Stanley, a leading global financial services firm known for its wealth management, investment advisory services, online banking, research, corporate stock plan management, and market insights.

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

But E*TRADE dates back almost as long as Apple. In 1982, two entrepreneurs in Palo Alto, William A. Porter and Bernard A. Newcomb started the precursor to E*TRADE, TradePlus, with $15,000 they scraped together. It was pretty much the only place where retail investors could trade stocks on internet dinosaurs Compuserve and America Online. We can credit E*TRADE with pioneering the way for regular investors like you to control their investments without the need for a human broker.

In 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, E*TRADE, 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 E*TRADE Canada for $442 million (U.S.) and subsequently rebranded the company as Scotia iTrade.

In October 2020, E*TRADE was acquired by Morgan Stanley. Since then, the company has been working closely to offer access to an expanded array of financial products and resources. Its goal is to help investors pursue their financial goals on their terms with a suite of comprehensive features that both E*TRADE and Morgan Stanley can provide. Today, E*TRADE boasts 5.2 million customer accounts with $360 billion in assets.

A word of caution for all investors and stock traders. Pay close attention to the various fees associated with trading anywhere you do business. Research and compare them to other trading platforms. 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.

Is E*Trade Available in Canada?

No. E*TRADE does not accept applications from non-U.S. citizens. While E*TRADE may be an attractive online investing platform that meets your needs, you can only use it if you are a U.S. resident and citizen. Canadians must find an investing platform or robo-advisor that permits Canadian citizens in order to trade in Canada. This includes the E*TRADE app and web platform.

A division of E*TRADE, E*TRADE Canada existed for a short time until the brokerage decided to focus on their U.S. operations and divest some of its non-core assets. So while E*TRADE operated in Canada at one time, it doesn’t any more.

An alternative to E*TRADE for Canadian citizens and investors

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.

Those who are seeking a brokerage account to trade stocks and ETFs could try Wealthsimple Trade, which, unlike many other discount brokerages, 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

  • Accounts for all kinds of investing goals

  • 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 June 2022, Wealthsimple boasted more than two million clients and $15 billion of assets under management.

Wealthsimple’s brokerage Wealthsimple 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. ETRADE and Questrade are different brokers. Whereas ETRADE is only available for U.S. citizens, Questrade is a Canadian online investing brokerage firm that offers Canadian citizens a way to direct their own investing or use pre-built investment plans. Questrade is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

Generally speaking, E*TRADE is considered a good online brokerage for beginner investors. There are many account type options, multiple investment products, and a robust library of educational material. Purchasing stocks, bonds, or other securities is relatively straightforward and they offer good tools to monitor your investments. Keep in mind, however, that an easy-to-use platform does not guarantee good performance of your investments.

There are countless trading platforms available these days. Whether E*TRADE is right for you or if there’s a better alternative depends on your financial goals, investment strategy, account balance, and other factors. Before choosing to use any investment platform, it’s important to research its features carefully and consider whether it meets your needs.

Last Updated July 6, 2022

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