Zero-Commission Fight Reaches Canada as National Bank Ends Fees
(Bloomberg) -- The move to commission-free trading that’s swept through U.S. discount brokerages over the past two years may finally be making its way north of the border.
National Bank of Canada, the country’s sixth-largest bank by assets, announced Monday that it’s eliminating commissions on online trades of Canadian and U.S. stocks as well as exchange-traded funds through its direct brokerage. That would make it the first direct brokerage affiliated with a Canadian bank to do so.
While some online platforms, such as Power Corp. of Canada’s Wealthsimple, already offer free trading, the country’s big banks have held out on giving up those commissions. National Bank’s move “reignites competitive intensity” that arose in 2019, when U.S. brokerages started eliminating fees, Gabriel Dechaine, an analyst at National Bank, wrote in a note to clients Monday.
The change poses the biggest threat to Toronto-Dominion Bank, which generates about 2% of its revenue and about 4% of its earnings from commissions, Dechaine said. Banks could offset the effect of eliminating those fees with new products like margin accounts and foreign-exchange trading, he said.
Toronto-Dominion has a stake in Charles Schwab Corp., which bought TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. last year. Both brands offer commission-free trades in the U.S.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.