This review of the National Bank Direct Brokerage (NBDB) covers its fees; trading platform features, benefits, downsides, and alternatives.
National Bank Direct Brokerage is a securities broker offering access to self-directed trading of stocks, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), options, GICs, and bonds.
It is a division of National Bank Financial Inc. and a part of National Bank, the sixth-largest commercial bank in Canada.
National Bank Direct Brokerage recently dropped its trading commissions on stock and ETF trades, the first bank-owned brokerage to do so in Canada.
National Bank Direct Brokerage Accounts
DIY investors can open a variety of registered and non-registered accounts with NBDB.
Personal non-registered accounts include cash, margin, and short-selling.
For registered tax-advantaged accounts, you can open a:
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
- Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
- LIF, LIRA, and LRSP
Business entities can also open investment accounts with options including sole proprietorship, partnership, association, and trust accounts.
Also available are estate, investment club, and individual pension plan accounts.
National Bank Direct Brokerage Investment Products
Investors can use the platform to access a variety of investment products for their portfolios, including:
- Stocks (Equities)
- Mutual funds
- Bonds (government, corporate, and municipal)
- Exchange-Traded Debentures
- Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)
- Linked notes
National Bank Direct Brokerage Platform
Traders get access to an online trading platform that is available via a web interface.
You get technical and fundamental analysis tools and easy setups for watchlists, alerts, real-time market data, and more.
The brokerage platform also offers access to Recognia for technical analysis and investment ideas.
National Bank Direct Brokerage Trading Fees
The trading fees for ETFs, stocks, and options are:
|Standard Pricing||$0/trade||$1.25/contract (min. $6.25/trade and max. of $19.95 when transaction value <$2,000)|
Most mutual funds can be purchased commission-free; however, the inbuilt MER will apply.
A minimum purchase of $1,000 or higher is also required for most mutual fund transactions.
Exchange-Traded Debentures cost $0 per trade.
Orders placed by phone incur additional costs. For example, the minimum commission for a stock, ETF, or mutual fund phone order is $44.95.
National Bank Direct Brokerage Account Fees
In addition to trading commissions, you should watch out for general account fees such as:
- Account Administration Fee: $100 is charged annually if your account balance is lower than $20,000 or you do not meet other qualifying requirements (e.g. 30 years old or younger; at least 5 stock, ETF or options trades for the trading year- June 1 to May 31, etc.).
- RRSP, RRIF, or LIF withdrawal: $50
- Excess contribution reimbursement: $100
- Account transfer to another institution: $150
- Paper statements: $6/quarter
- NSF cheques: $45 each
- Estate settlement: $200 per estate
- Gains and losses report: $50 per item
- Duplicate statements or confirmations: $10 per item
Is National Bank Direct Brokerage Safe?
National Bank Direct Brokerage is a division of National Bank Financial Inc., a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
CIPF membership affords NBDB’s clients asset protection of up to $1 million if the firm becomes insolvent.
This online discount broker is also a part of the National Bank of Canada which was founded in 1859 and is one of Canada’s largest banks.
Pros and Cons of National Bank Direct Brokerage
The benefits and downsides of this trading platform are:
- $0 commission stock and ETF trades
- Offers a variety of accounts and investment products
- Owned by a big bank
- The annual inactivity fee increases your costs if you have a moderate account.
National Bank Direct Brokerage vs. Alternatives
The table below compares NBDB with some of its competitors, including Questrade, Wealthsimple Trade, and Qtrade.
|National Bank Direct Brokerage||Wealthsimple Trade||Questrade||Qtrade|
|Stock trading fee||$0/trade||$0||$4.95 – $9.95||$8.75|
|ETF trading fee||$0/trade||$0||$4.95 – $9.95||$8.75|
|Options/contract||$0 + $1.25||N/A||$9.95 + $1.00||$8.75 + $1.25|
|Types of accounts||RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, LIRA, LIF, margin, corporate, etc.||Personal non-reg, RRSP, TFSA||TFSA, RRSP, RESP, LIRA, LIF, RRIF, margin, corporate, etc.||TFSA, RRSP, LIF, RESP, margin, corporate, etc.|
|Account administration fee||$100/year if balance is less than $20,000; or do not meet other conditions||None||None||$25/quarter if balance less than $25,000|
|Platforms||Web||Web and mobile app||Web and mobile app||Web and mobile app|
|Promotions||N/A||$25 bonus when you fund with $150 or more||$50 in free trades when you deposit $1,000 or more||$50 bonus when you deposit $1,000|
|Learn more||–||Visit||Visit||Read Review|
Related: Best National Bank Credit Cards
National Bank Direct Brokerage Review
Ease of use
National Bank Direct Brokerage is an online discount broker in Canada. This review of the platform covers its fees, features, and alternatives.
- $0 commission stock and ETF trades
- Multiple accounts and investment products
- Big bank owned
- Inactivity fees