HSBC InvestDirect Review 2022

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

Advertiser Disclosure

HSBC InvestDirect is a discount brokerage platform in Canada offering access to a variety of investment products, accounts, and markets.

It is a division of HSBC Securities (Canada) Inc. and is owned by HSBC Canada, the seventh-largest bank in Canada based on asset size.

Online brokerage platforms that are close competitors of HSBC InvestDirect include Questrade, Wealthsimple Trade, National Bank Direct Brokerage, CIBC Investors Edge, Desjardins Online Brokerage, TD Direct Investing, and a few others.

DIY investing using online brokers has skyrocketed in recent times as investors try to minimize their investment fees and optimize returns.

While the HSBC trading platform charges standard fees when you place trades, there are also options to buy and sell stocks and ETFs for free in Canada using a no-commission broker.

This HSBC InvestDirect review covers its fees, trading platform functionalities, pros, cons, and alternatives.

HSBC InvestDirect Accounts

You can open different types of investment accounts depending on your needs.

In addition to personal non-registered accounts (cash and margin), HSBC InvestDirect offers these registered accounts:

  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
  • Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA)
  • Locked-in Retirement Savings Plan (LRSP)
  • Locked-in Retirement Fund (LRIF)

Business investment accounts are also available and include Corporate, Estate, and Investment Club accounts.

One unique feature of this platform is that you can trade using 10 different currencies. This feature is handy if you place trades on international stock exchanges and can help you minimize foreign currency exchange fees.

HSBC InvestDirect Products and Trading Platform

The common investment securities are available:

  • Stocks
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • Options (Canadian and U.S.)
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
  • Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)

The platform offers standard trading tools including charts, news, research reports, watchlists, the ability to set up alerts, and more.

HSBC InvestDirect Trading Fees

HSBC InvestDirect’s trading fees are average for the industry but are not as competitive as the $0 commission charged by Wealthsimple Trade for ETF and stocks trades.

The trading fees for stocks, ETFs, and options on this platform are:

 StocksETFsOptions
Trading fee$6.88$6.88$6.88 + $1.25
Active trader pricing$4.88$4.88$4.88 + $1.25

The commission rates vary for trades placed by telephone based on the stock’s price and whether it is a Canada or U.S. listed equity.

The minimum commission payable for telephone trades is $43.

HSBC clients who have a chequing account (HSBC Premier or HSBC Advance) get a 5% to 10% discount on the standard telephone trading rates.

The commission rate for bonds (fixed income assets) ranges from $40 +$1.50 per $1,000 per value to $40 + $1.00 per $1,000. The minimum fee is $110.

You can purchase 4,000+ commission-free mutual funds. If you sell the mutual fund within 90 days of purchase, a 1% fee applies (minimum $40 fee).

Also, the mutual fund’s management expense ratio still applies.

The trading commissions are different for international markets. For the most updated fees, visit their website for more details.

The other markets you can trade include:

  • Australia: Australia Securities Exchange
  • China: Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange
  • Europe: Several (EASDAQ, EPA, MATIF, FWB, etc.)
  • Hong Kong: Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  • Indonesia: Indonesia Stock Exchange
  • Japan: Tokyo Stock Exchange
  • Malaysia: Bursa Malaysia
  • Philippines: Philippines Stock Exchange
  • Singapore: Singapore Stock Exchange
  • Thailand: Stock Exchange of Thailand
  • UK: London Stock Exchange

HSBC Chequing account clients and active traders get up to a 20% discount off international trading commissions.

HSBC InvestDirect Account Fees

A $25 inactivity fee applies if you do not have an account balance exceeding $10,000, or place one or more commissionable trades in the last 3 months.

RRSP, RRIF, and Locked-in registered accounts have a $100 annual administrations fee if your combined balance is under $25,000 CAD.

For RESPs, the annual administration fee is $50; full RSP de-registration costs $135 and $75 if partial, and account transfers to another bank cost $135.

One unscheduled RRIF withdrawal is free per year, and a $50 fee applies per additional unscheduled withdrawal.

Is HSBC InvestDirect Safe?

HSBC InvestDirect is a division of HSBC Securities Inc which is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

CIPF insures your account for up to $1million against bankruptcy of the firm.

HSBC Bank Canada is one of the biggest banks in the country and it has been operating since 1981.

Pros and Cons of HSBC InvestDirect

Benefits and downsides of using this trading platform are:

Pros:

  • Offers a variety of accounts and investment securities
  • Active traders get a discount on fees
  • Provides access to several international markets
  • You can settle transactions using 10 different currencies

Cons:

  • The standard trading fee of $6.88 is not as competitive as Wealthsimple Trade ($0) or Questrade (starts at $4.95).
  • A $25 quarterly fee increases your overall costs if you don’t place trades or have a small account balance.
  • Has no commission-free ETFs
  • The trading platform does not have a dedicated mobile app

HSBC InvestDirect vs. Alternatives

The table below comprises HSBC InvestDirect with some of its competitors including CIBC Investors Edge, Wealthsimple Trade, and Questrade.

 HSBC InvestDirectWealthsimple TradeQuestradeCIBC Investors Edge
Stock and ETF trading fees$6.88$0$4.95 – $9.95$6.95
Options$6.88 + $1.25N/A$9.95 + $1$6.95 + $1.25
Commission-free ETFsNoYesYes (on purchases)No
Types of AccountsTFSA, RRSP, RRIF, LIRA, LRSP, margin, corporatePersonal non-registered; TFSA, RRSPTFSA, RRSP, RESP, RRIF, LIF, LIRA, margin, corporateRRSP, TFSA, RRIF, LIRA, LRIF, margin, corporate
Maintenance fee$25/quarter if balance is <$10,000NoneNone$100/year; waived with $10-25k balance
PlatformsWeb interfaceWeb and mobile appWeb and mobile appWeb and mobile app
Transfer-in fees waivedN/AUp to $150 waived on transfers of $5,000+Up to $150 waived per accountN/A
PromotionsN/AGet a $50 bonus when you fund and trade $150Get $50 in free trades when you deposit $1,000+N/A
Learn moreVisitVisitRead review
HSBC InvestDirect review
3.5

Summary

HSBC InvestDirect’s brokerage platform offers trading access to various securities. This HSBC InvestDirect review covers its fees, pros, cons, and alternatives.

Pros

  • Offers multiple account types and investment securities
  • Active trader discount
  • Access to international markets
  • Accommodates 10 currencies

Cons

  • High standard trading fees
  • $25 quarterly fee
  • No commission-free ETFs
  • No dedicated mobile app

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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