Investing, Stock Market

Questrade Review For 2022

If you have been looking for a comprehensive Questrade review, this article is for you.

Questrade is an award-winning provider of a competitive self-directed brokerage and robo-advisor in Canada. 

This reputable investment institution stands out from the crowd with its low-cost, flexible and diversified investment solutions. 

With Questrade, you can invest yourself or have everything done on your behalf by a robo-advisor.

At the end of this article, you should be able to decide if the Questrade platform is best for you or not. 

Without further ado, let’s get into the review!

Questrade Review

What is Questrade?

Questrade is an online wealth management and brokerage firm based in Toronto, Canada. It also ranks among Canada’s largest discount brokers at the moment. 

The Questrade company was established in 1999 by Edward Kholodenko and three partners. After 20 years in the financial industry, Questrade applied for a banking license in 2019. 

At the beginning of 2020, the company was recognized as the fastest-growing online brokerage in Canada. 

In February 2021, Questrade expanded its services by introducing Questwealth Portfolios – a Robo-Advisor solution for investing in multi-asset portfolios. 

As of today, Questrade has a record of $30 billion in assets under administration and 200,000+ new accounts opened yearly. 

Both beginners and expert traders in Canada can use the Questrade platform for trading Stocks, CFDs, FX, Mutual Funds, Bonds, GICs, ETFs and other securities. 

In addition to investment vehicles, Questrade also offers mortgage and insurance solutions to Canadians.

What Does Questrade Offer?

Questrade is well-known for its self-directed investing and robo-Advisor platform. However, it does offer other products and services like Insurance and mortgages. 

Let’s take a closer look at all the products and services offered by Questrade.

1. Questrade Self-directed Investing

If you don’t like automated investing and prefer to do things by yourself, this is the platform for you. 

The Questrade Self-directed Investing platform allows clients to manage every part of their investing and trading journey by themselves. 

With the Questrade Self-directed investing option, you can trade the following securities:

  • ETFs
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • CFDs
  • FX
  • GICs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Foreign equities
  • IPOs
  • Precious metals

The Questrade Self-directed investing platform also allows you to invest your money in unregistered and registered accounts including TFSA, RESP, LIF, LIRA, RRIF, RRSP and Cash.

When trading on the Questrade Self-directed investing platform, you can buy ETFs without paying any commission. 

However, there is a 1-cent per share commission that applies when you are trading stocks or selling ETFs. This is much lower than what many other Canadian brokerages charge as commissions.

Many people also use the Questrade Self-directed investing platform because it allows access to a comprehensive collection of resources and tools that ease trading. Some of the resources and tools include: 

  • Charts
  • Practice accounts
  • Real-time snap quote prices 
  • Automated rebalancing tool

However, you need at least $1,000 in your account balance to begin trading on the Questrade Self-directed investing platform. 

For some people, this is a major downside of the platform. However, this may not be a problem if you trade up to $1,000 at a time. 

2. Questwealth Portfolios

This is a Robo-Advisor platform that offers access to intelligent pre-designed portfolios at a lower fee.

Investing in the Questwealth Portfolios will save you the stress of researching, selecting and investing in ETF portfolios. The platform also rebalances your portfolio with a human touch.

Questwealth Portfolios makes it easy to invest in a portfolio that is automatically designed to fit your risk tolerance and investment goals. 

Questrade has a team of finance experts that are responsible for designing and managing the portfolios offered on the Questwealth Portfolios platform. 

At the moment, Questwealth Portfolios is rated as one of Canada’s best Robo-Advisors because of its lower fees.

What does the Robo-Advisor of Questwealth Portfolios invest in? 

It invests in diversified ETF portfolios that are designed to meet the investment goals of each investor. 

Below are five portfolios and risk levels currently available on the Questwealth Portfolios platform.

  • Aggressive growth portfolio
  • Growth portfolio
  • Balanced portfolio
  • Income portfolio
  • Conservative portfolio

Questwealth Portfolios also offers Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) portfolios with different asset allocations and risk levels.

On the Questwealth Portfolios platform, client funds can also be invested in unregistered and registered accounts including:

  • TFSA
  • RESP
  • LIRA
  • LIF
  • RRIF
  • RRSP
  • Corporate cash
  • Cash

Please note that Questwealth Portfolios does not charge account opening fees, electronic fund transfer fees, or trading fees. The only charges you pay on the platform include:

  • Management Expense Ratio (MER) – 0.17% – 0.22% (for ETFs in your portfolio) and 0.21% – 0.35% (for Questwealth SRI Portfolios)
  • Account Management Fees: 0.25% (on $1,000 – $99,999 balance) and 0.20% (on $100,000+ balance)

3. QuestMortgage

Community Trust, a subsidiary of Questrade, offers low-rate mortgages via a platform called QuestMortgage.

Whether you are looking to buy a new home or switch an existing mortgage to a better financial institution, QuestMortgage might be the perfect option to consider. 

QuestMortgage allows clients to access 1 to 5-year variable or fixed-rate mortgages with amortization of up to 25 years. 

Below is a table showing the current mortgage rates available on the QuestMortgage platform.

Mortgage typeTermRate
Fixed-rate1-year4.69%
Fixed-rate2-year4.69%
Fixed-rate3-year4.69%
Fixed-rate4-year4.69%
Fixed-rate5-year4.69%
Variable-rate3-year5.70%
Variable-rate5-year5.55%

From the above table, we can see that QuestMortgage offers the same rate for its 1 to 5-year fixed-rate mortgages. 

If you are about to buy a home, you might want to get the QuestMortgage pre-approval. It is a useful feature that will allow you to lock in a mortgage rate for up to 120 days. 

When it comes to mortgage payment frequency, QuestMortgage allows its clients to choose between 6 flexible payment schedules as follows:

  • Weekly
  • Bi-Weekly
  • Semi-Monthly
  • Monthly
  • Weekly Accelerated
  • Bi-Weekly Accelerated

Additionally, QuestMortgage also allows 100% payment of a mortgage’s original balance at any time you wish to do so. 

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4. Questrade Creditor Insurance

When you take a mortgage, some of the things you need to avoid include missed payments or late payment penalties. 

In fact, your credit score can be negatively affected if you continually have issues paying back your loan. It is also a known fact that defaulting on a mortgage payment can put you at risk of losing your home.

In order to avoid all these, you might want to consider Questrade Creditor Insurance. It is designed to protect you against unforeseen circumstances that might hinder your mortgage repayment. Such situations include:

  • Death
  • Disability
  • Critical illness

If the unexpected happens, your Questrade Creditor Insurance will be used to cover your mortgage repayment on your behalf or pay out your mortgage balance. 

Before you can qualify for the Questrade Creditor Insurance, you must be between 18 to 64 years of age; be a resident of Canada; be a borrower or a mortgage guarantor

Pros and Cons of Questrade

There are certain advantages and disadvantages to using Questrade. Some of the common ones are discussed below.

Pros

  • Commission-free ETF purchase: Buying ETFs on the self-directed brokerage of Questrade is completely free. 
  • Lower commissions and fees: Questrade is rated among the best low-cost brokerages in Canada. The platform charges low commissions on stock trading and other securities. Also, the MERs and account management fees of Questrade’s robo advisors are among the lowest.
  • Comprehensive collection of securities and accounts: GICs, Mutual funds, ETFs, Stocks and so many securities and investment accounts are all available on the Questrade platform. 
  • Multi-service (hybrid) institution: Questrade offers multiple services including self-directed investing and managed investing platform.
  • Welcome bonus: if you sign up on the Questrade self-directed platform and invest a minimum of $1,000, you will be given a $50 rebate in trade commission. The Questwealth platform also gives a bonus of 1-year management fee waiver on your investments of up to $10,000.

Cons

  • High minimum balance amount: Questrade requires a $1,000 minimum balance for you to invest on the Questwealth Portfolios or trade on the Questrade self-directed investing platform. 

Is Questrade Safe and Legit?

Yes, thousands of Canadians trust and use the Questrade platform for investing and trading. 

As per the financial industry standard, Questrade is safe because it is regulated by the IIROC (Investment Industry Organization of Canada). 

Questrade is also an award-winning financial institution that offers asset protection up to $1 million per insured category via CIPF (Canadian Investor Protection Fund). 

In addition, Questrade also offers insurance of up to $10 million on all managed accounts. This is extra investor protection that covers you in the event of Questrade closing down operations. 

As per trading, Questrade offers security alerts and notifications of safe trade periods. Additionally, Questrade will give you a 100% reimbursement if unauthorized transactions are detected on your account. 

With all these, there is hardly any reason not to feel safe when using Questrade. 

Questrade Fees

Trading and investing are affordable with Questrade because you don’t pay electronic funds transfer fees, inactivity fees or monthly fees. 

Questrade also doesn’t charge any fee for account opening and buying of ETFs. 

However, there are certain fees that apply to other services on the Questrade platform. See the table below for more info.

ServiceFee
Full deregistration of LRSP, LIRA, Spousal RRSP, RESP or RRSP plan$100
Partial deregistration of LRSP, LIRA, Spousal RRSP, RESP or RRSP plan$50
Full deregistration of LLP (Lifelong learning plan) and HBP (Homebuyer’s plan)$50
Partial deregistration of LLP (Lifelong learning plan) and HBP (Homebuyer’s plan)$35
Wire transfer (CAD)$20
Wire transfer (USD)$30
International wire transfer$40
USD$ and CAD$ uncertified cheque$50
Certified Cheque$75
Stop payment$25
NSF cheque / returned items$30
Transfer of account to another financial institution$150
Partial account transfer to another financial institution$25
Estate settlement$200 per account
Account statement copy$20
Document retrieval$20 per document
Duplicate tax document$20 per tax slip
Unclaimed property$29.95 per quarter
Special courier for Canada$35
Special courier for US$70
Regular mail$10

If you check under the Questwealth Portfolios section of this article, you will also see a breakdown of MER and management fees charged by Questrade. 

How to Open a Questrade Account

Being an online platform, the Questrade signup process is very easy and can be completed within minutes on a desktop computer or mobile phone. 

Follow the steps below to open a new Questrade account.

  • Visit the Questrade website or download and open their mobile app
  • Click on “Open an Account”
  • Choose the accounts you want to open for self-directed investing and/or Questwealth Portfolios
  • Follow the prompts and provide your proof of identity and personal details 
  • Deposit $1,000 or more into your Questrade account
  • Start trading or investing 

Depending on the investment platform you chose, Questrade will reward you with a welcome bonus of $50 or 1-year management fee waiver if you meet the eligibility,  

Questrade Alternatives

Aside from Questrade, a few other trading and investing platforms are also popular and widely used in Canada. 

Let’s compare Questrade to some of these other reputable platforms. 

Questrade vs Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple is currently one of the strongest competitors offering similar services as Questrade. 

The Wealthsimple platform was launched sometime in 2014 and that’s about 15 years after Questrade was established in 1999. 

Currently, Wealthsimple offers a more robust set of financial services than Questrade. Wealthsimple clients have access to tax filing, cash transactions, trading, and investing on the same platform. 

On the Wealthsimple platform, self-directed trading is available under the Wealthsimple Trade options. Moreso, managed investing solutions are available under Wealthsimple Invest. 

One unique thing about Wealthsimple is that it offers commission-free trading of ETFs and stocks with no minimum balance requirement under the Wealthsimple Trade platform. 

What this means is that you can trade fractional shares, US or Canadian ETFs and stocks on the Wealthsimple Trade platform without paying commissions. 

In addition, the Wealthsimple Crypto platform (under the Wealthsimple Trade app) allows access to commission-free trading of cryptocurrencies. 

Like Questrade, the Wealthsimple Trade platform also supports non-registered and registered accounts including RRSP, personal accounts and TFSA. 

However, the Questrade platform outshines Wealthsimple Trade by supporting more trading accounts and securities.

Just as the Questwealth Portfolios robo-advisor offers different portfolios and risk levels, the Wealthsimple Invest platform does the same. Below is a list of diversified ETF portfolios available on Wealthsimple Invest:

  • Conservative Portfolio
  • Balanced Portfolio
  • Growth Portfolio
  • SRI Portfolios (Conservative, Balanced & Growth)
  • Halal Portfolios (Conservative, Balanced & Growth)

On the fees side of things, Questwealth charges higher MER (0.17% – 0.22%) on ETFs compared to Wealthsimple Invest that charges (0.12% – 0.15%) MER on ETFs. 

In contrast, Wealthsimple Invest has a more expensive management fee of 0.4% – 0.5% while Questwealth charges lower as discussed above.

Questwealth Portfolios require a $1,000 minimum balance to begin investing on the platform. However, Wealthsimple Invest allows users to start their investing journey without any minimum balance requirement. 

Regardless of their differences, both Questrade and Wealthsimple are currently rated among the best trading and investing platforms in Canada. You cannot go wrong by choosing any of the two.

READ ALSO: Wealthsimple Fractional Shares Trading in Canada: 4 Quick Facts

Questrade vs Qtrade

Qtrade is another reputable brokerage firm in Canada that’s popular for its unique investment solutions.

The Qtrade Direct Investing (formerly VirtualWealth) platform offers the same services as the Questrade self-directed investing platform.

Virtualwealth is Qtrade’s equivalent of Questwealth. The Qtrade Guided Portfolios supports US and Canadian ETFs and Stocks.

However, it charges a higher management fee of 0.35% – 0.60% compared to Questwealth Portfolios. 

There is no minimum deposit requirement to open a Qtrade Guided Portfolios account. However, you need to have a minimum balance of $2,000 to begin investing on the platform. 

While Questrade only offers a commission waiver on buying ETFs, the Qtrade platform allows users to buy and sell 100+ US and Canadian ETFs without paying commissions. 

Qtrade users also enjoy access to multiple trading accounts, robust securities and a comprehensive collection of tools that contributes to trading success.

One major downside to Qtrade is that it charges $25 as an administrative fee every quarter while Questrade does not charge such a fee. 

READ ALSO:

Questrade vs Justwealth

Justwealth is a robo-advisor trading platform that is popular for one thing: RESP accounts.

While people often refer to the platform as Justwealth, the official company name is Justwealth Financial Inc. 

It is an online portfolio management platform founded in 2015 with headquarters in Toronto (Ontario) Canada.

Justwealth limits risk by offering an automated investing platform with human supervision. 

One good side to using Justwealth is that you gain access to a comprehensive collection of assets that is more than that of other Canadian robo-advisors. 

Justwealth also supports investing in registered and non-registered accounts such as:

  • RESP
  • LIF
  • LIRA
  • RRIF
  • RRSP
  • TFSA

One thing that might not sit well with a lot of people is the $5,000 minimum balance requirement on all Justwealth accounts except for RESP. 

This is relatively higher than that of other platforms like Questwealth Portfolios, Qtrade Guided Portfolios and Wealthsimple Invest. 

Justwealth also charges $4.99 as a management fee on its non-RESP accounts while the RESP account has a management fee of $2.50.

READ ALSO: Justwealth vs Wealthsimple Comparison

Questrade vs Competitors: Which to Choose?

Having varieties of options can sometimes make it difficult to choose the best trading or investment platform.

It is often advisable that you look beyond the name and popularity of the financial institutions available to you. 

A good starting point is to decide whether you want to invest through a self-directed investing or  managed investment platform.

Choosing a Self-Directed Brokerage

But if you prefer investing through a self-directed brokerage, consider the following factors:

  • Minimum investment balance
  • Available trading accounts and securities 
  • Commissions
  • Trading fees and administrative charges
  • Monthly or annual fees that apply
  • Customer support 
  • Accessibility (mobile, desktop, web portal)
  • Research and analysis trading tools

Choosing a Robo-Advisor

If you are looking to choose the best robo-advisor platform, you have to consider the following factors:

  • Assets allocations and available portfolios
  • Minimum investment balance 
  • Management fees and MERs
  • Available or supported investment accounts and securities
  • Past portfolio returns

You can make a checklist out of the above-listed factors and that will help you determine which brokerage or platform to choose. 

Verdict on Questrade Review 

No doubt, Questrade is still one of the fastest-growing online brokerages in Canada today.

The platform gives access to a lot of tools and services that ease and reduce investment costs. 

However, this Questrade review has shown that some investment platforms do better than Questrade in certain areas. 

For example, Wealthsimple Trade is a much better platform for commission-free trading of fractional shares, ETFs and stocks with no minimum balance requirement. 

Other popular trading and investing platforms like Qtrade also offer commission-free trading of 100+ US and Canadian ETFs.

This aspect of commission-free trading is one area that Questrade probably needs to improve upon. 

With all that has been discussed in this comprehensive Questrade review, I believe that you have more than enough information to decide if the platform is for you or not. 

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About John Adebisi

John Adebisi is a CPA, FCCA and MBA holder with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting & Finance. He has over a decade of experience in writing personal and business finance content for audiences across North America, Europe, the UK and Africa. In addition to his writing experience, he also has a strong background in financial research and analysis, giving him a unique perspective of the financial markets. John derives pleasure in helping people make smart financial decisions, and he believes that knowledge and experience can be valuable resources for anyone who wants to learn how to manage their money.

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