Virtual Brokers Review

Virtual Brokers is a solid option for investors looking for a wide array of investment options and trading platforms to customize their trading style.

WRITTEN BY
Lisa Rennie
Updated November 11, 2020

Virtual Brokers is an online discount trading brokerage that promises to deliver top-notch trade execution services for investors of all levels of expertise. It offers a number of trading platforms, each one best suited for specific types of traders. 

The online brokerage has been around for over 10 years and is a division of BBS Securities, a subsidiary of CI Financial, a well-known global asset manager. Over the years, Virtual Brokers has amassed an impressive roster of investment portfolios.

The virtual trading platform is designed for self-directed investors who want to take the reins with their investing and trading without having to rely on an investment broker to make every trade. It’s also geared towards those who are comfortable trading online, whether new to the world of trading or with a long track record of experience. 

That said, Virtual Brokers also offer broker-assisted investing for those who would like a little assistance along the way.

Virtual Brokers offers an array of products, services, and tools that are both web and mobile-friendly, and comes with much lower fees that you would typically find with a traditional investment brokerage. 

Let’s go into more detail about this virtual trading platform to help you decide if this is the right avenue to take to invest. 

How Does Virtual Brokers Work?

To sign up for an account, follow these simple steps:

  1. Provide personal information about yourself using the online application, such as your full name, contact information, and proof of identity.
  2. Submit your application.
  3. Get verified.
  4. Load funds into your account.

Once your account is all set up and loaded, you can start trading. But before you do, you’ll want to choose which platform to trade on. Virtual Brokers offers a myriad of platforms, and the one you select should suit your trading style, your level of experience, and the type of investment products you’re interested in. 

The platforms available with Virtual Brokers include:

  • PowerTrader Pro
  • VB Wave 
  • VB WebTrader 
  • IRESS
  • ITS 
  • RealTick 

For beginners and active traders, PowerTrader Pro, VB Wave and VB WebTrader are best. For those who have more experience under their belt, IRESS, ITS and RealTick may be considered. 

Important Features to Consider When Working With Virtual Brokers 

Virtual Brokers has a number of different features to consider:

The Penny. Investors can trade stocks for only one penny per trade.

Kick Start Investment Program. Younger investors can use this program to get their feet wet in the world of trading, which places savings and investment plans on an automatic purchase program at no charge. 

Self-Directed Dividend Purchase Plan. This is a self-directed purchase plan that allows investors to purchase ETFs and stocks using cash flows from investments that pay out dividends. 

Multiple platforms. There are several trading platforms available on Virtual Brokers for clients to choose from. The one you opt for should be based on your experience level and investment needs. 

Advanced Portfolio Planner/Comparison. More advanced traders and investors will find this tool very helpful and resourceful, which offers an array of planning and tracking features.

Benchmarks. Get detailed insight into how the stock market is doing to help you determine the right time to jump into an investment. 

Research tools. Benefit from equity research tools to ensure you make the right investment decisions.

Screeners. Virtual Brokers comes with a variety of screeners and alerts to help you spot a lucrative market opportunity.

Research tools. Analyze your opportunities and portfolio and get feedback on specific types of investments. 

Technical analysis. With this tool, you can catch trends as they’re starting to capitalize on investment opportunities. 

Mobile app. Trade on the fly with Virtual Brokers’ mobile app. 

Account Types Available With Virtual Brokers 

Choose from several accounts when you invest and trade with Virtual Brokers, including the following:

Cost of Trading With Virtual Brokers 

Virtual Brokers operates on a tiered monthly contract price structure as follows: 

Self-DirectedBroker Assisted
Equities– $1.99 – $7.99/ trade
– $3.99/ trade flat for active traders
$50/ trade + 3% of principal value (up to $0.03 per share)
Options– $7.99/ trade + $1.25/ contract
– $3.99 + $1.25/ contract for active traders
$50 per trade + $2 per contract
ETFs– Buy for free
– Sell for $1.99
– $7.99/trade
Not specified
Mutual fundsFreeFree
Exchange-traded debentures$24.99 + $1/$1,000 par value per side1.5% of principal value

What Perks Does Virtual Brokers Have?

There are a number of benefits that come with trading with Virtual Brokers:

  • Low fees. The cost associated with trading on Virtual Brokers platforms is far less than what you’d pay with a traditional investment brokerage. 
  • Competitive value for active traders. Those who make at least 150 trades per quarter can benefit from a competitive per-ticket system and reduced commissions.
  • Several investment types. You’ll have a variety of investment vehicles to choose from, including equities, ETFs, mutual funds, and options.
  • Research tools. Get educated on investing and trading with the help of Virtual Brokers’ educational tools to make more informed investment decisions.
  • Multiple platforms. Choose the trading platform that best suits your investment style and comfort level. 
  • Free ETFs and mutual fund trades. Buy ETFs and trade mutual funds at no charge. 
  • Low minimum account balance. You just need $1,000 in your account to keep it over the minimum balance requirements. 

Who is Virtual Brokers Best Suited For?

Virtual Brokers is perfect for both beginners and experienced traders. There are different platforms available to trade on, allowing investors along all parts of the spectrum to trade with ease and confidence. 

This online discount brokerage is also great for those who appreciate the value in innovative trading platforms coupled with low commissions. 

Overview of Virtual Brokers 

Fees$1.99 – $7.99/trade for equities
Minimum balance$1,000
Investing adviceYes
Account types– Stocks
– Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) 
– Mutual funds
– Options
– Fixed income & exchange
-traded securities
Real-time quotesYes
Screening tools Yes
Market newsYes
Technical AnalysisYes
Watchlists Yes
Research ToolsYes
Screeners & AlertsYes
Financial Planning ToolsYes
Portfolio AnalysisYes

Is Virtual Brokers Safe?

Investments are heavily protected with Virtual Brokers, which is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). Up to $1 million in deposits protected through CIPF coverage, and another $10 million is protected via Virtual Brokers’ supplemental protection program through Lloyd’s of London. So, Virtual Brokers clients can have as much $11 million of their funds protected.

Final Thoughts

Virtual Brokers is a solid option for investors looking for a wide array of investment options and trading platforms to customize their trading style. It’s also an excellent option to keep fees to a minimum and is best suited for those who have some experience with digital platforms. With all the training and research tools available and the competitive fee structure, Virtual Brokers makes trading streamlined and affordable.