Can I Use Charles Schwab in Canada?

| September 19, 2022
✓ Verified by Vishesh Raisinghani

Charles Schwab is not available in Canada. They sold their Canadian business to Scotiabank in 2002 and have not returned.

Alternatives to Charles Schwab for Canadians

Interactive Brokers

Summary

A low-fee platform that offers access to a variety of asset classes. A great option for advanced traders, as the platform offers a variety of technical tools and market research.

Pros

  • Ability to purchase fractional shares.
  • Low commissions, especially for high-frequency traders.

Cons

  • The platform is not as user-friendly as other options.
  • The pricing structure is complex, and understanding commissions may be difficult at first.
TD Direct Investing

Summary

TD Direct Investing is a platform preferred by customers looking to stick with a bank-owned brokerage platform. TD Direct Investing offers access to advanced research tools that may be of interest to advanced traders.

Pros

  • A well-known and trusted Canadian bank.
  • Easy setup, especially for existing TD customers.

Cons

  • Higher commissions compared to competitors.
Qtrade

Summary

Qtrade is a Canadian brokerage firm that offers a low-fee platform with great customer support. Combined with access to analytical tools that allow traders to discover, evaluate and monitor investments, Qtrade is a great choice for both amateur and experienced investors.

Pros

  • Variety of asset types.
  • Commission-free trading available on 100 ETFs.

Cons

  • Quarterly account fees and relatively high trading costs.

Fortunately for Canadians, there are several alternatives to Charles Schwab.

Advanced traders who are looking to take advantage of the tools and services offered by Charles Schwab can get similar functionality with one of the alternatives mentioned here.

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is a great alternative for Canadians.

The costs of trading are extremely low, and there are several different pricing structures to choose from depending on the type of trader you are.

The fixed pricing structure offers trading for as low as $0.005 per share of US equities, with a minimum of $1 and a maximum of 1% of the trade value.

For the tiered structure, pricing starts at $0.0035 for the first 300,000 shares and drops to $0.0005.

As you can see, high-frequency traders are likely to benefit the most from the Interactive Brokers pricing structure.

Aside from stocks, investors also have access to a wide range of other assets, including ETFs, options, futures, FOPs, warrants, structured products, SSFs, currencies, commodities, indices, fixed income, and mutual funds.

Interactive Brokers offers their Canadian clients a variety of account options.

Both registered and non-registered accounts can be created in just a few simple clicks.

TFSA, RRSP, Spousal RRSP, margin, and various trust accounts are all available through the trading platform.

Interactive Brokers also offers the ability to trade fractional shares, except in RRSP and TFSA accounts.

This feature has been highly requested, as it allows for traders operating with small sums of money in their accounts to buy stock in companies with high individual share prices such as Amazon.

The investment platform offers both a mobile application and a desktop application, both of which have an initial learning curve to them.

However, once users get a grasp of the interface, there are a variety of useful features that can be used to conduct research to make better financial decisions.

Definition

Registered Accounts: A type of investment account that is registered with the government in order to receive tax-deferral or tax-shelter benefits.

TD Direct Investing

For individuals looking to keep their trading account with a big 5 bank, TD Direct Investing is a solid choice.

The platform’s commissions are slightly higher than some of their discount brokerage competitors at $7.00 per trade for active traders, and $9.99 on standard trades.

In addition, a maintenance fee of $25 is charged per quarter if your account has a balance of less than $15,000. 

While costs are higher, TD Direct Investing offers many great features to make up for this difference.

In particular, TD Direct Investing provides access to a full suite of analytical tools that are comparable with some of the top platforms in Canada. 

In terms of the user experience, both the web platform and mobile application are easy to use.

Customers are generally happy with their user experience and also commend TD Direct Investing for their customer service. 

Qtrade

Qtrade is a brokerage platform based in Canada.

The company is owned by Aviso Wealth, a large wealth management company.

Aviso manages over $95 billion in assets on behalf of over 500,000 Canadians. 

The platform offers commission-free trading for over 100 different ETFs and charges $6.95 to $8.75 on all other trades.

Outside of stocks and ETFs, investors can access mutual funds, Canadian and U.S. bonds, options, and GICs.

For high-frequency traders, the Investor Plus option offers lower commissions, as long as you have at least $500,000 in your account or make 150+ trades per quarter.

Aside from lower commissions, Investor Plus users also gain access to USD accounts and independent research services. 

Will Charles Schwab come back to Canada?

While Charles Schwab was at one time available in Canada, the company sold its operations to Scotiabank in 2002.

Since then, the company has not announced any plans about returning to Canada.

It is not likely that Charles Schwab will be coming back to Canada as a standalone brand anytime soon. 

What is Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab is a financial services company based in the United States.

The company manages $7.5 trillion dollars of assets, making it one of the largest investment service firms in the world. 

Charles Schwab is an attractive option for advanced traders, as the platform offers a suite of software tools that use sophisticated trading technology.

These tools are great for those looking to pick out undervalued stocks. 

These tools are highly regarded in the sector, with Charles Schwab winning the “Best in Class” award for Trading Platforms and Tools in 2021. 

While Charles Schwab used to offer services in Canada, they exited the market in 2002 through the sale of their Canadian operations to Scotiabank.

Charles Schwab platform opening on mobile phone

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Charles Schwab available in Canada?
  • Can non-US citizens open a Charles Schwab account?

I have been investing for half a decade, using the perspectives gained from my work experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors to shape my investment outlook. I have a specific interest in the potential of emerging disruptive technologies and their impact on the future.