National Bank cancels commissions on shares

Free transactions on exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are also maintained nationwide. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

National Bank of Direct Brokerage (BNCD) clients no longer pay commissions on buying and selling shares on the online brokerage platform since Monday morning.

The National Bank broker, which made the announcement on Monday, is following a trend already well established in the United States. Since 2013, the Robinhood app has allowed free stock trading. The platform caught the attention of regulators and the media earlier this year amid a flurry of speculation fueled by Reddit users.

Online broker Charles Schwab made headlines when it scrapped transaction fees in 2019. Many independent investors had hoped the offer would emulate brokers affiliated with major Canadian banks.

Currently, Nationale is the first major Canadian bank to no longer charge commissions on trades of listed stocks. Transaction fees at the bank’s competitors range from $5 to $10 per transaction. Wealthsimple, of which Power Corporation is the largest shareholder, already offers free stock trading.

Free transactions on exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are also maintained nationwide. This is a practice that has already been adopted by many Canadian online brokers, including BMO InvestorLine, Scotia iTrade and Qtrade.

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