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Sunday, November 28, 2021

A recap of my experience switching broker from TD Direct to National Bank Direct Brokerage

I was grocery shopping today with my mom and I spotted some turkeys, which I didn't have in a really long time. The price for a Butterball frozen turkey - the best turkey EVER by the way - was ENORMOUS: $63.99. And that's before taxes! So the delicious Butterball stays where it was in the freezer... I don't care about turkey. But wait, I also saw some ham at $43... and not even half of a big ham... The price for groceries here in New Brunswick is not cheap at all. 

One day, my mom bought a small bag of clementines for $8... She wanted to please me, but I told her not to buy anything high price. I can sacrifice my clementine for instead apple or banana, which are way cheaper fruits. If you buy fruits that are out of price, you are giving the impression that you actually accept to buy items at a high price, and it's not my case, even if I really like orange, clementines, and grapefruits. 

Generally speaking, I find that everything is cheaper in Montreal. However, it's possible to buy groceries at a fair price here where I am in New Brunswick, it's just that you cannot buy everything you want. You need to buy what is on sale and plan your meals accordingly. Nothing too complicated. You need to do what you need to do in order to save a few bucks where you can, and that includes commission fees for trading.

Currently, in Canada, we now have two brokers how are offering a 0$ commission fee for trading: National Bank Direct Brokerage and Desjardins Online Brokerage. National Bank Direct Brokerage was the first institution in Canada to offer this opportunity to investors. Desjardins Online Brokerage followed the lead shortly after the National Bank Direct Brokerage historic move. National Bank Direct Brokerage made its announcement during the summer while I was away on vacation in New Brunswick. 

At the time, we didn't have Internet at home in New Brunswick, so I couldn't do anything. When I came back from my vacation, I immediately took action. In my mind, it was all clear. I had to take advantage of the National Bank Direct Brokerage offers, and ASAP! I had been using TD Direct brokerage services since something like 2007-2008. I actually began to invest in stocks shortly before the 2008 stock crash. Since that time, I had been paying $9.99 per buy and sell trading operations. I just prefer not to even try to calculate the amount of money I spent on trading fees over the years...

I quickly realize that National Bank Direct Brokerage was now a real game-changer. And here is how goes my process from switching from TD Direct to National Bank Direct Brokerage. 

First, I call TD Direct, asking if there were any upcoming changes in regard to their commission fees, and if they were planning to do like National Bank Direct Brokerage. I learned that nothing had been announced in that regard and TD Direct didn't expect to abolish their commission fees at the present time. Unfortunately.

Next, I called National Bank Direct Brokerage. I asked if their $0 commission fee was just temporary, like a promotion or something - or if it was for the long run. I knew the answer to that question, but I just wanted to make sure... And the answer was the one that I expected, this wasn't a promotion for a limited time, it was for the long run. Basically, it's how things were going to be from now on with National Bank Direct Brokerage. The National Bank Direct Brokerage's broker told me that I needed to call TD Direct to make sure everything was ok regarding my margin account.

After that, I contacted TD Direct one more time, explaining that trades with National Bank Direct Brokerage were at a $0 commission fee, that I really liked TD, but I was thinking about switching over to National Bank Direct Brokerage. I explained to the broker that I needed to verify if I could proceed with the transfer and if everything was fine with my margin. The broker put me on hold, and told me everything was fine with my margin. I don't really know what they were looking for, but in my case, everything was ok.

Following this, I opened a broker account with National Bank Direct Brokerage. I already had a small investment with National Bank. I used that already existing account info to log in and from there I completed a PDF form online, on which I entered my info to proceed with the transfer "as is" of my investment portfolio from TD Direct to National Bank Direct Brokerage. The selection of "as is" is really important if you want to take everything you have at your current broker transfer as is over your new broker. "As is" means that you proceed with the transfer as is, without selling anything, without changing anything to your existing investment portfolio.

Opening a broker account with National Bank Direct Brokerage was quite easy and quick. My account was created within 48 hours. Following this, both National Bank and National Bank Direct Brokerage proceed with a credit check, which is mandatory for a margin account. It took a while for my margin account to be created. My non-registered Canadian margin account had been the last account to be transferred from TD Direct to the National Bank Direct Brokerage. 

It took me a good month to get everything transferred to the National Bank Direct Brokerage. I guess I got stuck at the time where the 0$ commission fee was a bit more well-known and I guess that many investors may have switched over the National Bank Direct Brokerage at the exact same time that I did.

I knew that an account of mine at TD Direct was about to get transferred to National Bank Direct Brokerage when the account at TD was no longer there. When an account is nowhere to be seen, it meant that the account will arrive the following business day over the National Bank Direct Brokerage. Following the arrival of one of my accounts over National Bank Direct Brokerage, I checked for those points for each and single investment:

-the list of actual stocks - to check if nothing is missing in that specific account;

-the number of stocks per investment;

-the initial value per share;

-the initial value of the investment.

Following the arrival of an account to National Bank Direct Brokerage, don't panic if you are missing one investment or more. It usually takes 48 business hours before you'll receive everything. It took more than 48 hours for my non-registered portfolio, but I let it go, and I received everything in a matter of a couple of days. If you notice that you are missing an investment, I would suggest that you wait at least 48 business hours before calling National Bank Direct Brokerage.

While proceeding to an "as is" transfer from let's say TD Direct to National Bank Direct Brokerage, don't perform any trades at TD Direct. It's important that you don't change anything because you just don't know exactly when the transfer of assets will be made. When you decide to actually switch brokers, don't proceed to any trades until your transfer is done and completed.

Also, when you decide to switch brokers, save all statements for the previous years and the current years, all past tax papers, etc. Save everything you can because once your account goes transferred over from let say TD Direct to National Bank Direct Brokerage, it's most likely that your account will get closed at TD Direct once everything got transferred over National Bank Direct Brokerage.

I am currently at the real end of this whole transfer process. I asked TD Direct to reactivate my accounts so I can have access to my upcoming tax papers for 2021 via their eServices, which is their service to receive all of your statements online. I don't want to receive anything by mail. TD Direct was able to reactivate my accounts. Everything is now in order. Overall, my switch from TD Direct to National Bank Direct Brokerage went smoothly.

There are just a few things that I don't like with National Bank Direct Brokerage: very long delay before being able to talk to a broker over the phone. And secondly, with National Bank, you don't see the value of the investments that you hold in your portfolio in real-time. There's always that 15 minutes delay, so the value that you see of your stuff online with National Bank Direct Brokerage is never totally accurate. That's for me a major turn-off. However, if you place a buy order, you'll have the value in real-time of the stock you want to buy. When the new acquisition is in your portfolio, the value that shows up is not in real-time. 

I find this to be really insulting. It's like National Bank Direct Brokerage is screaming right in my face: YOU ARE JUST A F SMALL INVESTOR AND YOU DON'T DESERVE BITCH TO SEE YOUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIOS VALUES IN REAL TIME.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Worry pas ta brain. Ça va être fine.


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