Why is the brokerage industry so dispersed in terms of its offering to specific countries? You have probably noticed one platform available in dozens of countries and a close competitor only available in a handful of regions (only in Asia, for instance).
Some attribute it to regulation, others to corporate choices, but at the end of the day, no one seems to know the exact reason why X platform is available in Y country and others are not.
The same applies to eToro, which is unavailable in many countries, including Canada. In this article, we will briefly talk about eToro’s restrictions and present you with solid alternatives accessible in Canada.
Why is eToro unavailable in Canada?
eToro presents a detailed list of countries not supported by them due to regulatory requirements and business decisions. It includes more than 150 countries globally with some notorious names such as Egypt, India, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and Turkey.
Regarding Canada, there is no clear explanation on whether it was purely related to regulatory rules, a business decision or a combination of both. Moreover, eToro has no plans to enter the Canadian market in the near future, so other options must be considered.
Best eToro alternatives in Canada
Since you cannot open an account in eToro, we found two excellent alternatives! Our selection criteria involved having similar features as eToro, like the ability to invest in stocks and cryptocurrencies, low fee structure, a hassle-free trading platform, good customer support and top-tier regulator bodies overseeing those companies.
Founded in 1978, IBKR is one of the world’s most trustworthy brokers. It offers an enormous range of financial products (stocks, ETFs, Options,…), and low currency conversion fees (FX fees).
💡 Interactive Brokers also launched IBKR GlobalTrader, a modern mobile trading app to trade Stocks, Options and ETFs, ideal for novice investors.
This digital bank combines cash-back debit cards, stocks, ETFs, cryptos, commission-free trades, managed to invest accounts, and tax filing services.
1# Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers at a glance
Founded in 1978 and publicly listed in NASDAQ (ticker: IBKR), Interactive Brokers is a global online broker which surpassed major financial crises, showing resilience and a rigorous risk management process.
Interactive Brokers offers an advanced investment platform that includes a wide range of products (stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, futures, bonds, and currencies) from 150 markets, solid trade execution (IB SmartRouting), and a set of technical and fundamental tools to help you in your investment decisions.
It offers the three types of investment accounts that Canadians can benefit from:
- Personal: A regular taxable account;
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP): A retirement account that allows you to save in taxes by deferring its payment to a later stage. This means more of your money (pre-tax) can stay invested and grow faster.
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TSFA): A savings account that allows you to grow your investment tax-free (post-tax money) so your future earnings will be completely tax-free. The currency conversions fee is limited to USD/CAD.
Interactive Brokers Canada Inc. is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF)
On the downside, Interactive Brokers’ fee structure is quite complex, the registration process is lengthy but fully online, and the broker doesn’t offer commission-free trading. However, when considering FX fees, narrower spreads, and the stock loan program, Interactive Brokers’ clients still get significant savings compared to most brokers.
Interactive Brokers also launched IBKR GlobalTrader, a modern mobile trading app to trade Stocks, Options and ETFs, ideal for beginner investors. Some of the features of IBKR GlobalTrader include automatic currency conversions, fractional shares, demo account, and more.
Want to know more about Interactive Brokers? Check our Interactive Brokers Review.
Wealthsimple at a glance
With over 2 million clients, Wealthsimple is a Canadian fintech offering stocks, ETFs and crypto trading along with other additional services such as managed investing, saving and tax services.
The trading platform supports thousands of stocks and ETFs listed only in major Canadian and US exchanges and provides fractional shares both in the Canadian and US markets. Still, it lacks a lot of financial instruments like bonds and options.
Like Interactive Brokers, it also offers types of investment accounts dedicated to Canadians: Personal, Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and Tax-Free Savings Account (TSFA).
The main fee charged is the currency conversion fee (or FX fee). If you open a “Basic” account, it will only be in CAD, and you will be charged a 1.50% fee every time you trade a USD-denominated stock or ETF. If you opt for a “Plus” subscription account, you will pay C$10/month, but no FX fee is charged on stocks and ETFs in USD. However, Plus subscribers still pay a 1.5% conversion fee to convert currency between CAD and USD (during depositing, withdrawal or within the account).
Wealthsimple Investments Inc, the entity that offers stocks and ETFs, is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). As a result, client assets (Securities and cash) are protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). This would only apply if Wealthsimple became insolvent.
At last, crypto assets are not protected by the CIPF, the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation, or any other investor protection insurance scheme.
Which is the best alternative?
As you may imagine, there is no single answer. Each platform sets itself apart from its competitors in certain features. For instance, we believe Interactive Brokers is the best broker overall. Still, if you are exclusively looking for social trading, you will quickly realise that there is no real alternative in Canada.
Additionally, you should pick the best one for you according to your needs and goals. Are you looking for day trading or a more long-term approach (“buy and hold”)?
All in all, you should always do your own research to assess which online broker will be better for you. We hope this article helped save you some research time and ultimately leads you to choose the most suitable platform for you!
Did we answer all your questions? If not, please let us know in the comments section below!
Does eToro operate in Canada?
No, eToro is not available in Canada. Still, you can find equivalent alternatives like Interactive Brokers and Weathsimple.
Can You Use a VPN to open an eToro account from Canada?
No, a VPN can only offer access to eToro’s platform and not in any way facilitate an account opening since the broker requests a valid ID. Proving an eligible residency remains an essential requirement. No VPN is able to sidestep this requirement–only shift your IP address.
What is eToro?
By now, you should have an idea about eToro but let’s give a recap of what you can find there. With over 25 million users, eToro is a multi-asset trading platform that enables investors to invest in the assets they want, from stocks and commodities to crypto assets. The platform makes it easy to buy, hold and sell assets, monitor their portfolio in real-time, or even copy other people’s portfolios.
Besides, eToro is an established and reliable company. It is highly supervised by top-tier regulators, including FCA, ASIC, and CySEC and authorised by each country’s local financial regulators where it operates (e.g. BaFin in Germany or CNMV in Spain).
But not everything is a bed of roses. Did you know eToro charges $5 per minimum withdrawal of $30? Or that only the US dollar is accepted as a base currency? Our alternatives charge no withdrawal fee and one displays multiple base currencies.