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RBC Direct Investment or iTrade


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I'm not sure if forex is an issue for you, but last I checked RBCDI allowed $U.S. inside registered accounts.


This is anecdotal at best but I've read online from different sources that iTrade has frequent technical problems, I don't see the same from RBC.


I'm not sure if you've seen Rob Carrick's rankings or not.  I don't know how much info is really helpful.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/2010-online-broker-rankings/the-12th-annual-online-broker-rankings/article1790577/


MDJ seems to update his comparison regularly. http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/review-canadian-discount-brokerages.htm

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There are advantages and disadvantages of each. 


However, for about the past year, RBC has allowed clients to maintain both $Cdn and $US registered accounts.  For me, this is a tremendous advantage as foreign exchange spreads can significantly eat into your returns (ie, if you want to buy 1000 shares of WMT, and you only have CDN$, you'll pay about $500 in foreign exchange spread when you buy, and then if you sell again in a few weeks/months and convert back to $CDN you'll get hit with about another $500 in foreign exchange spread).  There have always been other ways to avoid these charges with RBC by swapping securities in and out of your cash and registered accounts, but it was a real PITA....now it's simple.


RBC used to have much higher equity commissions and higher other fees than I*trade, but that is no longer true.  You should, however, look at your asset level to determine what sorts of charges you'll end up paying.  IIRC, for both RBC and I*trade, "cheap" trades and low administration charges start when you hit about $50k in assets.....and then the RBC Gold Circle benefits kick in at $250k assets.  Those thresholds are very important to consider when assessing your probable investment fees (I am the original tightwad bastard cautious with my money and I avoid fees when I can).


While I haven't used I*trade in a couple of years, my recollection is that neither website is anything to write home about.  They both get the job done, but they look like they were developed by a 15-year-old in his basement in 1998.

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Between RBC and RBC Bank (US), I have a US checking account, a US savings account and several CDN bank accounts, a US Visa card, TFSA, an RBC Direct Investing account and an RSP through RBC Dominion Securities.


With a click I can transfer between my accounts (instantly with most) and can see all the balances on one screen.


Trading fees are now just $9.95 with $50K in assets which is not too bad if you don’t do many trades. I also find that I can ask just about any investing question through their e-mail center and get a reasonably quick response.


I have recommended RBC to friends South of the Border who have summer residences in the area and they find having all their accounts in one bank on both sides of the border works very well. I just wonder if it will all work so seamlessly now that RBC has sold off their US branches. RBC seems to think so. DI fees are covered here  http://www.rbcdirectinvesting.com/commissions-fees-schedule.html



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