Author Topic: National bank or Questrade?  (Read 2961 times)

Prairie Stash

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National bank or Questrade?
« on: January 17, 2018, 11:41:19 AM »
Mr. Rich Moose posted a link to National Bank for RESP, but the rules are the same for RRSP and TFSA. If I understand it correctly, they now have no fee ETF. They also pay interest on cash balances.
https://nbdb.ca/en/pricing/

https://nbdb.ca/en/pricing/interest-rates

Am I getting this correct? Is National Bank better than Questrade and everywhere else now?

I always end up with cash in my investment accounts I periodically sweep into investments (dividends that are too small for DRIP). Interest on it sounds nice, especially if I don't have to do anything.

RichMoose

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 01:27:37 PM »
Yep, sort of... There is a catch though, you have to buy 100 units or more with each purchase/sale. If you don't have 100 units, you pay the $9.95 commission.

I just found this myself today while doing some quick Googling for Katie.

I'll be doing a blog post on this, no more promoting of Questrade only! :D

Prairie Stash

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 01:55:32 PM »
Mr Rich Moose, I saw your comment. Then I checked the fee schedule; is it every 100 units or can I buy/sell 120 units for free? Could I sell 100 units and then buy 150 of the same thing?

I have requested a representative to contact me. I'll get it from the sales rep.

For the record I'm going from mutual funds to ETF in my RESP account...its a big savings! Rough math says it could be several thousands in difference for my children who are 4 and 1. My plan is $2500/year/child for 10 years plus 20% grants - mutual fund MER of 0.72% on my Canadian Index fund, US index fund is the same. In your blog post don't forget you can contribute when the kid is 0 years old, so my 1 year old (today) has 3 contributions already - birthday later this 2018 year. This was actually the optimal plan when I started due to provincial grants, times have dramatically changed. 

https://nbdb.ca/~/media/CDBN/PDFs/Bareme_2018_EN.pdf?la=en
Commissions on Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
Canadian and American ETFs
Commission*, 1 $0
* For buy and sell transactions involving 100 or more units in ETFs. Customers
must also subscribe to the electronic document service for all their documents.



RichMoose

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 02:34:55 PM »
Thanks for sharing! Let me know what the rep says. I read it to be a minimum of 100 units per transaction, not blocks of 100 units.
Yeah those savings will add up big time over 18-20 yrs.

Prairie Stash

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 02:52:51 PM »
From an Email, received in an hour of requesting more information:
"All Canadian and American ETFs can be traded in a NBDB account. No commission applies to these transactions when they are placed online and involve at least 100 units (you also need to sign up for electronic delivery of all your statements)."

I think 120 units can be bought/sold, that should help clean up the cash balance. When I talk to them I'll ask specifically.

Whatever the outcome, I'm hoping more banks will follow suit and reduce trading fees on ETF. Its nice to see Questrade getting some serious competition.

RichMoose

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 03:24:41 PM »
Whatever the outcome, I'm hoping more banks will follow suit and reduce trading fees on ETF. Its nice to see Questrade getting some serious competition.
Thanks for the update, I like how they got back to you that quick.
I agree, I'm quite surprised that BMO hasn't offered commission free transactions of their own ETFs.
I think Questrade has strayed a bit from their original low cost focus. All they promote these days are their portfolio and ETF products. I suppose there is a lot more money in that for them.
Thankfully other brokerages like Virtual, RBC, and Qtrade are never far behind on pricing.

daverobev

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 05:25:39 PM »
100 units? That is quite a lot - considering the $200 or so that goes into RESPs, then the GoC grant that goes in after... where I can buy one share with QT and incur no fee.

100 units of many of the best ETFs will be north of $2k. Say your TFSA has $50k invested, with stuff yielding 3% = $1500 a year, $375 a quarter. Assuming you don't have a synthetic DRIP on (or don't want it on)... that's not enough.

Or am I missing something? If you have enough with Questrade that $2k chunks... you should be looking at Interactive Brokers, IMHO.

Novik

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2018, 07:21:53 PM »
Interesting! Not sure I'd move from Questrade for this, especially given that 100 units adds up pretty quick, but something to keep in mind.

The "paying interest" part confused me though since it looks like it says prime (3.2%) - 4.75%.... so is that negative interest, 0% interest, or is it 95.25% of 3.2%?

rocketpj

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2018, 12:13:02 AM »
Questrade promotes stuff?  I suppose they do, but I rarely read their front pages.  I just log in, make my free ETF purchases and log out.

I have had zero problems with Questrade.  If you are like me and buy ETFs in small chunks all the time - literally every week I'm buying a few units, then the no fee purchases at Questrade are great.  They do charge a fee when you sell, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon and when it does it will be rarely.

Prairie Stash

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2018, 09:02:59 AM »
Update From National Bank, I asked a rep the question everyone was throwing out.

"No commission applies when at least 100 shares of an ETF are traded online, so trading 110 would be free of commission as well.

The Prime Rate would have to rise above 5% for interest to be paid on the cash balance of your RESP (please click here for details). However, you could invest your liquidities in a high-interest savings account (held inside the NBDB RESP) in order to earn interest on the cash portion of your portfolio.

Should further assistance be required, please dial the number indicated below to speak to a Customer Service Representative from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday, or simply reply to the present email.

Thank you for choosing National Bank Direct Brokerage."

RichMoose

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2018, 09:33:57 AM »
Interesting! Not sure I'd move from Questrade for this, especially given that 100 units adds up pretty quick, but something to keep in mind.

The "paying interest" part confused me though since it looks like it says prime (3.2%) - 4.75%.... so is that negative interest, 0% interest, or is it 95.25% of 3.2%?

Yeah, I agree that it is probably not worth switching for anyone still in saving mode. Maybe a different story once FIRE and not making those regular smaller contributions.

Prairie Stash

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2018, 09:53:25 AM »
100 units? That is quite a lot - considering the $200 or so that goes into RESPs, then the GoC grant that goes in after... where I can buy one share with QT and incur no fee.

100 units of many of the best ETFs will be north of $2k. Say your TFSA has $50k invested, with stuff yielding 3% = $1500 a year, $375 a quarter. Assuming you don't have a synthetic DRIP on (or don't want it on)... that's not enough.

Or am I missing something? If you have enough with Questrade that $2k chunks... you should be looking at Interactive Brokers, IMHO.
Good points.

Using your scenario, small amounts are better invested into Questrade. Its the withdrawals that are better at National Bank. To go between the two is free, National Bank will cover the transfer cost (up to $135). So keep buying at Questrade, switch to National for withdrawals.

If you do a large lump sum ($2500+$500) at the start of the year they are equivalent (assuming $3000 buys 100+ shares). However, I think you could sell 100 shares and then buy 120, but that sounds like a PITA.

If you hold cash, currently, they are equivalent. If interest rates rise (needs to be over 5%, currently at 3.20%) then National will pay interest on cash. This sounds promising for the future, its meaningless currently. 

If you are located in Saskatchewan or B.C., National is better as they accept SAGES grants and BCTESG (provincial programs). Alberta and Quebec grants are accepted at both Questrade and National.

You can also have accounts at both, transferring the money at some point. In B.C. keep the large purchased amount at National and then make small monthly purchases at Questrade. Then Move everything over to National for withdrawals later on (when the child enters school).
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 09:57:53 AM by Prairie Stash »

Lews Therin

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2018, 10:10:43 AM »
So when I FIRE I should head over to NB, since all my sales will be free, and accumulation will simply be not selling portions of stash (I.E. if I have a small part-time job, I'm not re-investing at that point, but rather withdrawing less).

Anyone know the actual price of transferring out of Questrade? Moving from BMO to Questrade was 170 (RRSP/TFSA) which was above the amount they were willing to repay. I wonder if it's the same case. (Though two simple sales will equal the difference in prices.

RichMoose

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 12:03:55 PM »
So when I FIRE I should head over to NB, since all my sales will be free, and accumulation will simply be not selling portions of stash (I.E. if I have a small part-time job, I'm not re-investing at that point, but rather withdrawing less).

Anyone know the actual price of transferring out of Questrade? Moving from BMO to Questrade was 170 (RRSP/TFSA) which was above the amount they were willing to repay. I wonder if it's the same case. (Though two simple sales will equal the difference in prices.
Questrade charges $150 to transfer out a full account.

Don't be afraid to negotiate with the incoming institution. A while back I was debating a move to RBC Direct or Interactive for my NR account. In speaking with RBC, they were willing to reimburse any and all costs Questrade might charge me within a reasonable limit (basically their words). Now I would have been transferring over $300k, so maybe they wouldn't for a small transfer but it never hurts to ask.

Lews Therin

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 12:06:34 PM »
Hmm. Done.

Will put in my calendar... If this is still valid in two years time. (Who knows which will be the best then!)

daverobev

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2018, 12:06:56 PM »
When I eventually get round to taking money out of QT... I'll probably mostly just be withdrawing dividends from the TFSA (in fact I very much doubt I'll ever sell the ETFs in the TFSA, as I'll be moving money in still every year), and the RRSP... I'd guess I'll be doing one withdrawal a year from ETFs? I really don't know. I have ~20 years before I'll start drawing from RRSPs, when the children leave home but before OAS etc starts up.

So generally I'm likely to be selling one 'thing' a year in QT in retirement. I think for the $5-10 commission I'll just leave it be!

Lews Therin

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2018, 12:16:24 PM »
When I eventually get round to taking money out of QT... I'll probably mostly just be withdrawing dividends from the TFSA (in fact I very much doubt I'll ever sell the ETFs in the TFSA, as I'll be moving money in still every year), and the RRSP... I'd guess I'll be doing one withdrawal a year from ETFs? I really don't know. I have ~20 years before I'll start drawing from RRSPs, when the children leave home but before OAS etc starts up.

So generally I'm likely to be selling one 'thing' a year in QT in retirement. I think for the $5-10 commission I'll just leave it be!

Why won't you be taking very small amounts of RRSP every single year? (my plan is dividing the amount of time I have until 55 (when my LIRA unlocks) and spreading the RRSP amount equally until then: I.E. for me 4k per year for two decades in order to empty completely while receiving the lowest possible tax bill for my RRSP, since they are the least optimized for taxes withdrawal).

daverobev

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2018, 01:28:45 PM »
When I eventually get round to taking money out of QT... I'll probably mostly just be withdrawing dividends from the TFSA (in fact I very much doubt I'll ever sell the ETFs in the TFSA, as I'll be moving money in still every year), and the RRSP... I'd guess I'll be doing one withdrawal a year from ETFs? I really don't know. I have ~20 years before I'll start drawing from RRSPs, when the children leave home but before OAS etc starts up.

So generally I'm likely to be selling one 'thing' a year in QT in retirement. I think for the $5-10 commission I'll just leave it be!

Why won't you be taking very small amounts of RRSP every single year? (my plan is dividing the amount of time I have until 55 (when my LIRA unlocks) and spreading the RRSP amount equally until then: I.E. for me 4k per year for two decades in order to empty completely while receiving the lowest possible tax bill for my RRSP, since they are the least optimized for taxes withdrawal).

Child benefit (CCB amount depends on income), and the fact I don't have much in my RRSPs to begin with, means I should be ok pulling between 5x and 6x. And because I am a 'recent Canadian' I will get more OAS if I defer collecting it (you get 1/40th IIRC for each year you're resident; so I'll get a double increase for each year of deferring it).

Oh, also, some of it came from the UK via QROPS so you can't pull it without being taxed by the UK for a certain amount of time, too.

Prairie Stash

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2018, 01:48:18 PM »
So when I FIRE I should head over to NB, since all my sales will be free, and accumulation will simply be not selling portions of stash (I.E. if I have a small part-time job, I'm not re-investing at that point, but rather withdrawing less).

Anyone know the actual price of transferring out of Questrade? Moving from BMO to Questrade was 170 (RRSP/TFSA) which was above the amount they were willing to repay. I wonder if it's the same case. (Though two simple sales will equal the difference in prices.
Questrade charges $150 to transfer out a full account.

Don't be afraid to negotiate with the incoming institution. A while back I was debating a move to RBC Direct or Interactive for my NR account. In speaking with RBC, they were willing to reimburse any and all costs Questrade might charge me within a reasonable limit (basically their words). Now I would have been transferring over $300k, so maybe they wouldn't for a small transfer but it never hurts to ask.
I've never transferred a NR account. Does that trigger any gains or is a transfer in kind for the stocks and ETF? I presume a transfer in kind...tough one to get wrong though.

RichMoose

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2018, 11:29:40 AM »
Don't be afraid to negotiate with the incoming institution. A while back I was debating a move to RBC Direct or Interactive for my NR account. In speaking with RBC, they were willing to reimburse any and all costs Questrade might charge me within a reasonable limit (basically their words). Now I would have been transferring over $300k, so maybe they wouldn't for a small transfer but it never hurts to ask.
I've never transferred a NR account. Does that trigger any gains or is a transfer in kind for the stocks and ETF? I presume a transfer in kind...tough one to get wrong though.
I sure hope no gains were triggered!

I did the transfer in-kind using the ATON system, it basically moved everything over exactly as it was in my Questrade account. However, I did notice that the position cost (or ACB) was changed to the price of the ETFs on the date of transfer, not my actual cost of purchase. I have the original cost base stored on my own files, so if questions are raised it should be easy to show.

Lews Therin

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2018, 06:12:56 PM »
Let us know how it went! I might be interested in moving over if NR accounts can be transfered without triggering gains. (Though even right now, it's all of 10k. That's it... so... 5k gain.)

Prairie Stash

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2018, 08:28:04 AM »
Let us know how it went! I might be interested in moving over if NR accounts can be transfered without triggering gains. (Though even right now, it's all of 10k. That's it... so... 5k gain.)
This raised an interesting question. Is it helpful to have 2-3 banks controlling your accounts? You get to control the Capital gains with precision then. Want more gains, sell a long term holding. Want fewer gains in a taxation year and more return of your money, sell a short term holding. It keeps the ACB from being adjusted higher with time as you put in fresh contributions.

I see it as the best way to draw down the RRSP early on. Combine some taxable account from short term holdings, with a large RRSP withdrawal to get your annual cash you need. You'll still be under the basic exemption, no tax owed. Use the excess cash to fully fund TFSA in FIRE, then when you hit later years your RRSP will be drawn down to nothing but your TFSA will be maxed, so you wont have clawbacks in old age. If I'm wrong, it can't possible be detrimental in any way, there's only upside at this point.

In other words, keep the money in the same spot Ben. You have nothing to lose or gain unless you are looking for a lower MER. Thoughts?

Lews Therin

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2018, 08:42:19 AM »
The idea is removing the commission from each sale, which would allow me to take out money more often with smaller numbers. TFSA/RRSP aren`t issues, since it would be easy to transfer them to NB, (Since there is no chance of hitting a capital gains event) but if transfering the NR account does trigger gains, it would be unwise for me to transfer it, since the savings from having no comissions would be lost in taxes.

It would simply be NB holding all my accounts, since they would be a better deal than Questrade. (In FIRE, I doubt i`d ever need to invest/withdraw small enough numbers that selling 100 units would be an issue. I`d simply draw more out for future use, or keep the cash.)

My income is in the 20k-25k range for FIRE, so I should be able to pay 5% income tax if I play my cards right. (Simpletax has me at 2.42%!)

RichMoose

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2018, 09:08:35 AM »
This raised an interesting question. Is it helpful to have 2-3 banks controlling your accounts? You get to control the Capital gains with precision then. Want more gains, sell a long term holding. Want fewer gains in a taxation year and more return of your money, sell a short term holding. It keeps the ACB from being adjusted higher with time as you put in fresh contributions.

I see it as the best way to draw down the RRSP early on. Combine some taxable account from short term holdings, with a large RRSP withdrawal to get your annual cash you need. You'll still be under the basic exemption, no tax owed. Use the excess cash to fully fund TFSA in FIRE, then when you hit later years your RRSP will be drawn down to nothing but your TFSA will be maxed, so you wont have clawbacks in old age. If I'm wrong, it can't possible be detrimental in any way, there's only upside at this point.

In other words, keep the money in the same spot Ben. You have nothing to lose or gain unless you are looking for a lower MER. Thoughts?
Not sure if I might be misunderstanding your idea.... ACB is calculated across all NR accounts if the holdings are the same. There should be no benefit to having more than one NR account from this perspective.
The only benefit I can see is if you and your SO each have your own joint NR account. It can be helpful in keeping clear track of contribution flows and investment strategies for tax efficiency. For example, the lower income spouse contributes to one NR account (as much as possible) and invests in interest and dividend generating investments. The higher income spouse contributes to another NR account and invests in capital gains generating investments.

Prairie Stash

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2018, 09:30:08 AM »
This raised an interesting question. Is it helpful to have 2-3 banks controlling your accounts? You get to control the Capital gains with precision then. Want more gains, sell a long term holding. Want fewer gains in a taxation year and more return of your money, sell a short term holding. It keeps the ACB from being adjusted higher with time as you put in fresh contributions.

I see it as the best way to draw down the RRSP early on. Combine some taxable account from short term holdings, with a large RRSP withdrawal to get your annual cash you need. You'll still be under the basic exemption, no tax owed. Use the excess cash to fully fund TFSA in FIRE, then when you hit later years your RRSP will be drawn down to nothing but your TFSA will be maxed, so you wont have clawbacks in old age. If I'm wrong, it can't possible be detrimental in any way, there's only upside at this point.

In other words, keep the money in the same spot Ben. You have nothing to lose or gain unless you are looking for a lower MER. Thoughts?
Not sure if I might be misunderstanding your idea.... ACB is calculated across all NR accounts if the holdings are the same. There should be no benefit to having more than one NR account from this perspective.
The only benefit I can see is if you and your SO each have your own joint NR account. It can be helpful in keeping clear track of contribution flows and investment strategies for tax efficiency. For example, the lower income spouse contributes to one NR account (as much as possible) and invests in interest and dividend generating investments. The higher income spouse contributes to another NR account and invests in capital gains generating investments.
My bad, I see my mistake now.  https://www.adjustedcostbase.ca/blog/can-you-rely-on-your-brokerage-for-calculating-adjusted-cost-base-and-capital-gains/

I've only had a single account so far, I didn't realize that you had to include all accounts when calculating ACB. Luckily it hasn't happened yet.

Beard N Bones

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2018, 01:13:00 PM »
100 units? That is quite a lot - considering the $200 or so that goes into RESPs, then the GoC grant that goes in after... where I can buy one share with QT and incur no fee.

100 units of many of the best ETFs will be north of $2k. Say your TFSA has $50k invested, with stuff yielding 3% = $1500 a year, $375 a quarter. Assuming you don't have a synthetic DRIP on (or don't want it on)... that's not enough.

Or am I missing something? If you have enough with Questrade that $2k chunks... you should be looking at Interactive Brokers, IMHO.
Good points.

Using your scenario, small amounts are better invested into Questrade. Its the withdrawals that are better at National Bank. To go between the two is free, National Bank will cover the transfer cost (up to $135). So keep buying at Questrade, switch to National for withdrawals.

If you do a large lump sum ($2500+$500) at the start of the year they are equivalent (assuming $3000 buys 100+ shares). However, I think you could sell 100 shares and then buy 120, but that sounds like a PITA.

If you hold cash, currently, they are equivalent. If interest rates rise (needs to be over 5%, currently at 3.20%) then National will pay interest on cash. This sounds promising for the future, its meaningless currently. 

If you are located in Saskatchewan or B.C., National is better as they accept SAGES grants and BCTESG (provincial programs). Alberta and Quebec grants are accepted at both Questrade and National.

You can also have accounts at both, transferring the money at some point. In B.C. keep the large purchased amount at National and then make small monthly purchases at Questrade. Then Move everything over to National for withdrawals later on (when the child enters school).
Just a note of clarification - Saskatchewan has "suspended" the SAGES grant as of Jan 1, 2018.  In other words, Saskatchewan no longer has a provincial education savings grant now.
http://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/education-and-learning/scholarships-bursaries-grants/grants-and-bursaries/save-for-your-childrens-post-secondary-education

Prairie Stash

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2018, 08:34:35 AM »
100 units? That is quite a lot - considering the $200 or so that goes into RESPs, then the GoC grant that goes in after... where I can buy one share with QT and incur no fee.

100 units of many of the best ETFs will be north of $2k. Say your TFSA has $50k invested, with stuff yielding 3% = $1500 a year, $375 a quarter. Assuming you don't have a synthetic DRIP on (or don't want it on)... that's not enough.

Or am I missing something? If you have enough with Questrade that $2k chunks... you should be looking at Interactive Brokers, IMHO.
Good points.

Using your scenario, small amounts are better invested into Questrade. Its the withdrawals that are better at National Bank. To go between the two is free, National Bank will cover the transfer cost (up to $135). So keep buying at Questrade, switch to National for withdrawals.

If you do a large lump sum ($2500+$500) at the start of the year they are equivalent (assuming $3000 buys 100+ shares). However, I think you could sell 100 shares and then buy 120, but that sounds like a PITA.

If you hold cash, currently, they are equivalent. If interest rates rise (needs to be over 5%, currently at 3.20%) then National will pay interest on cash. This sounds promising for the future, its meaningless currently. 

If you are located in Saskatchewan or B.C., National is better as they accept SAGES grants and BCTESG (provincial programs). Alberta and Quebec grants are accepted at both Questrade and National.

You can also have accounts at both, transferring the money at some point. In B.C. keep the large purchased amount at National and then make small monthly purchases at Questrade. Then Move everything over to National for withdrawals later on (when the child enters school).
Just a note of clarification - Saskatchewan has "suspended" the SAGES grant as of Jan 1, 2018.  In other words, Saskatchewan no longer has a provincial education savings grant now.
http://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/education-and-learning/scholarships-bursaries-grants/grants-and-bursaries/save-for-your-childrens-post-secondary-education
You still need to transfer SAGES to accepting institutions. Transfer to the wrong place and poof, its gone forever and no mechanism exists for getting it back (my understanding is they still revoke grants). All the money put in before 2018 has to be kept in Institutions accepting SAGES.

I understand that it is no longer possible to process claims for money previously put in either, the clock has run out on getting SAGES funds for previous years contributions. For anyone in that boat, the government feels bad for you I bet.

It was a terribly run program. The first few years most banks didn't accept SAGES. I wonder how many people are missing funds? Even if your bank switched to accepting they still had to submit retroactive claim forms (not always done). Nothing was automatic with the program.

Beard N Bones

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Re: National bank or Questrade?
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2018, 09:38:47 AM »
100 units? That is quite a lot - considering the $200 or so that goes into RESPs, then the GoC grant that goes in after... where I can buy one share with QT and incur no fee.

100 units of many of the best ETFs will be north of $2k. Say your TFSA has $50k invested, with stuff yielding 3% = $1500 a year, $375 a quarter. Assuming you don't have a synthetic DRIP on (or don't want it on)... that's not enough.

Or am I missing something? If you have enough with Questrade that $2k chunks... you should be looking at Interactive Brokers, IMHO.
Good points.

Using your scenario, small amounts are better invested into Questrade. Its the withdrawals that are better at National Bank. To go between the two is free, National Bank will cover the transfer cost (up to $135). So keep buying at Questrade, switch to National for withdrawals.

If you do a large lump sum ($2500+$500) at the start of the year they are equivalent (assuming $3000 buys 100+ shares). However, I think you could sell 100 shares and then buy 120, but that sounds like a PITA.

If you hold cash, currently, they are equivalent. If interest rates rise (needs to be over 5%, currently at 3.20%) then National will pay interest on cash. This sounds promising for the future, its meaningless currently. 

If you are located in Saskatchewan or B.C., National is better as they accept SAGES grants and BCTESG (provincial programs). Alberta and Quebec grants are accepted at both Questrade and National.

You can also have accounts at both, transferring the money at some point. In B.C. keep the large purchased amount at National and then make small monthly purchases at Questrade. Then Move everything over to National for withdrawals later on (when the child enters school).
Just a note of clarification - Saskatchewan has "suspended" the SAGES grant as of Jan 1, 2018.  In other words, Saskatchewan no longer has a provincial education savings grant now.
http://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/education-and-learning/scholarships-bursaries-grants/grants-and-bursaries/save-for-your-childrens-post-secondary-education
You still need to transfer SAGES to accepting institutions. Transfer to the wrong place and poof, its gone forever and no mechanism exists for getting it back (my understanding is they still revoke grants). All the money put in before 2018 has to be kept in Institutions accepting SAGES.

I understand that it is no longer possible to process claims for money previously put in either, the clock has run out on getting SAGES funds for previous years contributions. For anyone in that boat, the government feels bad for you I bet.

It was a terribly run program. The first few years most banks didn't accept SAGES. I wonder how many people are missing funds? Even if your bank switched to accepting they still had to submit retroactive claim forms (not always done). Nothing was automatic with the program.

@Prairie Stash  Awesome information.  Something I was not aware of.  Thank you for that!