Exchange-traded funds

Spreading your wealth has never been easier

ETFs, or exchange-traded funds, offer a simple and accessible way to balance (and rebalance) your portfolio. They trade like a stock, so you can buy or sell them whenever the markets are open. But generally they protect against market fluctuations, just like a mutual fund. There are thousands of ETFs listed on the Canadian or U.S. markets today, and our clients can trade them all.

Sounds good? Well, it gets better: you can buy ETFs commission-free at Questrade.


What exactly is an exchange-traded fund?

An ETF is a pooled security that typically holds a basket of different stocks or indices (like a mutual fund) but they’re traded on an exchange (like a stock).

ETFs first appeared on the markets in the 1990s, and in fact they were invented by Canadians at the TSX! There were only a few available in the beginning, but long-term investors flocked to them – attracted by the balance they offer and the low fees. By the early 2000s, there were over 200 ETFs. Today, there are thousands.

What’s the difference between an ETF and a mutual fund?

There are two main differences. The big one is fees. The MERs (management expense ratios) for an ETF can be as low as 0.06% . Compare that to a mutual fund MER which can be more than 2%.

The other benefit is you can trade ETFs just like a stock any time the markets are open (including pre- and post-market), while mutual funds are traded once a day at the most (and some only trade once a week or once a month).

How do I trade ETFs with Questrade?

ETFs are traded just like stocks: right in your IQ trading platform. Plus, any service or tool we offer for stocks is available for ETFs, everything from research to market data, from executing a trade to registering for our free DRIP program. And any time you buy an ETF in one of our Questrade IQ trading platforms, they are absolutely (and completely) commission-free. When you decide to sell the ETF, you’ll pay the standard commission.

What’s the easiest way to start trading ETFs?

To make sure your account has the funds available when you’re ready to buy an ETF (commission-free), set up automatic pre-authorized deposits (PADs) from your bank account to your Questrade account. Building your investments has never been easier.

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