I am TD Canada Trusts biggest fan. I post great things about their great service, great staff and creativity when I have been faced with complicated financial messes. I post all these great things about them just because I think they are great. They never paid me to say these great things. I like them so much I bought stock in the company. Now I have a lot to say about the brokerage arm of the bank and none of it is good.
I have about $3,700 in a TD Waterhouse brokerage account. I hold 2 individual shares and my shiny new Vanguard ETF inside my TFSA (tax free savings account) with TD Waterhouse. I have an appointment with my bank Monday to close my 2 RRSP (registered retirement savings plan) accounts with TD and move that money in an RRSP inside the TD brokerage account to buy more of the Vanguard ETF shares. I have $1,245 in an RRSP savings account and $2,624 in a RRSP mutual fund. The book value of the mutual fund is $2,434 but the current market value is $2,634. I want more of the Vanguard ETF funds because of the low management fees and the bank run mutual fund is not much of a performer.
I am quite lazy by nature and I have never bothered to investigate lower brokerage fees. I am embarrassed to say that I have been paying $29 per trade. I only make a few trades each year because I buy and hold dividend paying stocks so it didn’t seem like much. I have to stop being lazy and move to the lower cost TD brokerage where I could get trades for $9.99 or less. A dollar is a dollar and I was wasting some of mine on unnecessary brokerage fees.
It all seemed so easy. I just went online to the TD site (http://www.tdwaterhouse.ca/products-services/investing/td-direct-investing/commissions-fees/index.jsp ) and happily read lots about fees that can be as low as $7 per trade. Then I hit a road block. Under the heading of Electronic Brokerage Services Commission Schedule I read the condition ” $50,000+ in Household Assets2“.
The tiny little 2 above the word asset lead me to this “You are automatically eligible2 for our Flat Fee Commission Rates when you meet the trading activity thresholds or the household asset level threshold.” I don’t have $50,000 in assets. I do all my banking with TD and I own my own home so I thought it was worth a phone call. The very polite man explained that I needed to have $50,000 worth of assets with TD to qualify for the discount rate. I don’t have close to that amount. The very polite man explained that if I did the minimum number of trades each quarter I would also qualify for the discount rate. Then he told me that the minimum number of trades to get the reduced rate was 30 each quarter. That would mean 120 trades per year for me. I made 7 or 8 trades all last year and have only made 4 trades in 2013.
I told the man that I would have to take my business elsewhere because I was certain I could get a much lower rate elsewhere. He cautioned my that TD Waterhouse was the only brokerage that offered 24 hour phone support. I have never had a stock emergency at midnight so I could easily work with a brokerage that is closed when I am sleeping. Your loss TD Waterhouse. Some day soon I will have $50,000 in a brokerage account but it will be with some other brokerage that wants business and knows that small accounts grow in to larger ones.
Regular readers will recall that I was denied for a Capital One MasterCard with a high cash back rate because of my low income. I grossed 49K last year and the Capital One minimum yearly income for the card I wanted was $60K (http://solvingthemoneypuzzle.com/2013/04/02/credit-card-fail/). Apparently there is asset based discrimination in bank run brokerages as well as credit cards. The financial institutions make it harder for lower income people to get ahead when they deny us bonuses because of our income and charge us more for the same services because we don’t meet the minimum asset requirement. TD has really let me down. To offer a discount service to 1 group of customers and charge TRIPLE to others is discriminatory.
I am keeping my bank appointment on Monday. I will vent to petite bank lady Diane and she will help me to collapse my RRSP mutual fund and put that money in to my RRSP savings account so that it will be an easy move to an RRSP account at my new brokerage.
I will worry about moving my shares in my TD TFSA brokerage account when I am set up somewhere new. Now I have to go on a quest to find a discount online brokerage who wants my business.
Debt on January 1, 2013 $20,800
Debt on September 21, 2013 $12,761.