Comparing Online Brokers Head-to-Head

An investor's time is money.  Wasting time is an 'opportunity cost' when you consider what else you could be doing instead of some unproductive activity.  This applies to time you spend on research, consultations, paperwork for tax filing, etc.  So when comparing online brokers, you have to consider the time you put in to save a bit of cash on fees.

I was sold on Questrade for a long time.  That is, until I needed client service and realized you get what you pay for ... and the obvious corollary nobody talks about is: if you don't pay for it, you don't get it.  Recently I have switched to Interactive Brokers because of steady, abysmal client service at Questrade over a couple years.  In contrast, Interactive Brokers offers:


i) lower trading fees
ii) lower margin rates
iii) better issue (ticket) tracking to resolve issues and questions
iv) better tracking of versions (revisions) to tax slips
v) more timely response to questions (unlike Questrade where if staff leave, your request could go cold)
vi) more accurate and complete tax slips

I was able to compare Questrade head-to-head with Interactive Brokers this past year when I held the exact same stocks at both places for part of the year.  The difference is night and day.

The most challenging thing with Questrade is not that there are problems, e.g., with accuracy or completeness of their tax slips.  That's life.  The issue is that there is slow acknowledgement (understanding?) of issues, incomplete resolution, and no compensation.

You may want to consider Questrade for registered accounts where your tax reporting does not matter and you won't need accurate tax slips for tax filing.  I've punted Questrade for non-registered accounts in favour of Interactive Brokers.