FAQ

Account Opening/Account Transfer
What is the minimum account opening balance?

The minimum deposit required for opening an account at Virtual Brokers is $1000 CAD for clients in Canada and $25,000 CAD for clients outside Canada (we do not open accounts for U.S. residents). Client wishing to open a Commission-Free Trading account must fund it with a minimum of $5,000 CAD.

How long does it take to open an account at Virtual Brokers?

After we receive your account applications with supporting documentation, we will typically open your account in 5-7 business days at which time a welcome e-mail will be sent pertaining to your account information and login details.

What type of accounts can I open?

You can choose from Individual, Joint, Corporate and Institutional – all in both CAD and USD for:

  • Non registered accounts: All-in-One (Equity/Option/Margin/Short) and Commission-Free All-in-One (Equity/Option/Margin/Short) Trading account.
  • Registered accounts (RRSP, TFSA, RRIF, LIRA, LIF, RESP (CAD only, except for RRSP)
Can I transfer my accounts from my existing broker to Virtual Brokers?

Yes, we provide transfer-in services for both registered and non-registered accounts. Simply complete and send us the original transfer forms and we will proceed with your transfer request. Note that we do not charge a fee for transfer-in but it is likely that your transferring institution will.

How do I start trading?

Once you have funded your account, we can add the quote feeds requested via e-mail. Once the quote feeds are set, you are ready to trade.

Banking
How do I deposit funds into my Virtual Brokers account?

To make a deposit in Canadian dollars, simply logon to your bank’s website and transfer by using the “bill payment” option. Set up a new biller/payee under BBS Securities Inc.-Virtual Brokers with your 10-digit Virtual Brokers account number.

To make a deposit in US dollars, please use the wire method.

Please note we do not accept cash, cheques, money orders or bank drafts for account funding purposes.

How do I withdraw money from my Virtual Brokers account?

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is free and can be processed in both Canadian and US dollars. You can transfer up to $25,000 per day from your settled funds in Virtual Brokers to your bank account on file.

Trading
What markets can I trade on?

We provide trading of stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs and bonds on all major North American markets.

What are your margin rates?

Maximum Loan Value based on Market Value
Long Position Equities / 1x ETF 2x ETF 3x ETF
If price < $1.50 0% 0% 0%
If $1.50 ≤ price < $1.75 20% 7.14% 0%
If $1.75 ≤ price < $2.00 40% 14.29% 0%
If price ≥ $2.00 (Reduced Margin) 70% 35% 10%
If price ≥ $2.00 (Not Reduced Margin) 50% 25% 0%
Minimum Credit Requirements based on Market Value
Short Position Equities / 1x ETF 2x ETF 3x ETF
If price < $1.50 2x Market Value but to a minimum of $1.50 per share $6 per share $9 per share
If $1.50 ≤ price < $2.00 $3 per share $12 per share $18 per share
If price ≥ $2.00 (Reduced Margin) 130% 165% 190%
If price ≥ $2.00 (Not Reduced Margin) 150% 175% 200%

Note: Reduced Margin eligibility for Canadian securities is determined by Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) on a quarterly basis. Most major US stocks with listed options are eligible for reduced margin. BBS Securities Inc. reserves the right to impose more stringent margin requirements at any time without prior notice. These changes often take effect immediately and may result in the issuance of a margin call.


Best Execution / Multiple Marketplace Disclosure Trading of Canadian Listed Securities on Multiple Marketplaces

Virtual Brokers (“VB”) is a division of BBS Securities Inc. make reasonable efforts to ensure that clients achieve the best execution of their orders to buy or sell Canadian listed securities that are quoted or traded on Canadian marketplaces. “Best execution” is our obligation to seek the most advantageous execution terms reasonably available under the circumstances when executing a transaction on behalf of a client, including consideration of factors such as price, speed of execution, certainty of execution and overall cost of the transaction.

The Canadian equity market is composed of multiple marketplaces, including traditional exchanges and Alternative Trading Systems (ATSs). The same security may be traded on multiple marketplaces.

As a result of Canada’s evolving multiple marketplaces, Virtual Brokers (“VB”) is a division of BBS Securities Inc.  wishes to advise their clients on how orders will be handled.  Our trading system is connected to a Smart Order Router, which will ensure that our clients receive the best price for their equity transactions.

BBS is a participant of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V), TSX-Alpha Exchange, Aequitas Neo Exchange, Nasdaq CXC & CX2, The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE), and Omega.

The parent company of BBS Securities Inc. is a shareholder of Aequitas Innovations Inc., the parent company of Aequitas Neo Exchange, has representation on the Aequitas Board of Directors. As a Canadian registered investment dealer bound by both internal and external requirements respecting the handling of client orders in a manner that provides each client with the most advantageous execution terms available, BBS Securities Inc. will consider as part of its order routing protocol, execution opportunities on the Aequitas Neo Exchange.

Hours of Operation for Trading in Listed Canadian Securities

Hours of operation for trading in publicly listed Canadian securities are between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday, excluding Canadian statutory holidays.  Our trading staff is available for order execution between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time ("EST"), Monday through Friday, not including Canadian statutory holidays. Pre-market and after-hours trading facilities are available in limited situations.

Order Types

Day Orders
A "day order" is an order to trade that expires if it is not executed the day that it is booked to the marketplace.  Any unfilled portion of a day order will expire at the close of business of the marketplace where the order was last booked.

Good Through Orders
A "good through order" can be defined as Good Till Cancel or Good Till Date. The former ensures that the order remains open for a maximum of 90 calendar days. The latter requires that the client specify a date for their order to expire. All good through orders will remain booked until executed, cancelled, or upon expiry, whichever comes first.

Market Orders
A "market order" is an order to buy or sell a security at whatever price is available in the marketplace. Market orders provide no control over the execution price. In cases of extreme market volatility or liquidity imbalance, a market order may execute at a price which is significantly different than the expected execution price. Investors can use marketable limit orders (as described below) in place of market orders to eliminate the risk of the order executing at a price outside of an investor's acceptable range.

Limit Orders
A "limit order" is an order for a security at a specific minimum sale price or maximum purchase price that is not to be exceeded. A limit order provides control over the execution price but reduces the certainty of execution. In a fast moving market, a limit order may miss the opportunity to buy or to sell a stock. Marketable limit orders (i.e., buy limit orders priced higher than the prevailing offer price or sell limit orders priced lower than the prevailing bid price) will trade much like market orders, increasing the certainty of execution without the risk of the order trading at a price outside of an investor's acceptable range. 

Stop Loss Orders
A "stop loss order" is an order that becomes a market order or a limit order when a board lot trades at or through the stop price on the marketplace in which the stop loss order has been booked. Stop loss market orders are filled at the best available market price once the "on stop" is activated. If the order is filled when the relevant stock or overall market is experiencing rapid price declines, an investor may receive a price that is much lower than expected. Investors can place stop loss limit orders as an alternative. Stop loss limit orders allow investors to define the lowest price an investor is prepared to sell at once the "on stop" is activated, in effect creating a price range for the investor's sell order.
  
Fill or Kill Orders
A "fill or kill order" is an order that will fill immediately and completely, or not fill at all. If the order is not filled in its entirety, the order is cancelled (killed).

Immediate or Cancel Orders
An "immediate or cancel order" is an order where all or part of the order will fill immediately. Any portion of the order that is not filled immediately is cancelled.

Special Terms Orders
A "special terms order" is an order with specific terms that are not executable in the regular marketplace.

Special terms orders are booked to the Special Terms Market of the primary listing marketplace, unless they are immediately executable on an alternative marketplace at the time of entry.

Marketplace Fees and Rebates
We may pay marketplace fees or receive marketplace rebates when routing certain orders to certain marketplaces. Marketplace fee schedules are disclosed on the websites of each marketplace. Client trades with the Commission-Free Trading account may be subject to ECN/Exchange, Clearing and Special Handling Fees.



Do you participate in extended hours trading?

Yes, for U.S. stocks that participate in the pre-market and after hours sessions, we allow trading from 8:00 AM ET to 9:30 AM ET and 4:00 PM ET to 5:30 PM ET. For TSX-listed stocks, the last sale crossing session is between 4:15 PM ET to 5:00 PM ET.

Clients entering their orders pre-market or after hours on the VB WebTrader, VB WebTrader Light or the Power Trader Mobile app will be queued until the opening of the regular trading session or on the following trading day in the case of the after hours market. Please contact the trade desk at 416.847.7221 to place broker assisted trades. Client orders entered on all other platforms can participate in the pre-market and after hours session.

Fees
In terms of equity trades, what is the difference between Per Trade and Per Share commission structure?

If you decide to open a margin account, you can choose between “Commission-Free” and “Classic Pricing”. Click on the links to each of these commission structures for more details. For all types of registered accounts, such as RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, LIRA and LIF the “Classic Pricing” commission structure would apply.  Please note, opening a Commission-Free Trading Account requires having a trading platform application and market data subscription.

What are ECN fees?

ECN stands for Electronic Communications Networks and is a fee associated with the exchange in which the order was routed to. This fee is charged when you remove liquidity from the market, which happens when you enter a market or marketable limit order. For U.S. stocks, ECN fees can be avoided during the core trading session (9:30 AM ET to 4:00 PM ET) when you use “MNGD” as the order route.

Do I need to pay for a quote feed service?

Most of our clients start with our free real-time snap quotes. Should you require streaming real-time quotes or market depth (Level II), a data subscription for each exchange is required.

What is a borrow fee?

In order to short a stock, that stock has to be borrowed. The associated fee is called a borrow fee.

What interest rates do you apply on account debits and credits?

Interest is calculated daily and credited/debited to your account on a monthly basis. No interest charges will be applied if you borrow intra-day (positions flatten by end of the day).

What is the spread for currency conversions?

For foreign exchange transactions, Virtual Brokers acts as principal with you, and may earn revenue on the spread (75 - 199 basis points). These rates would also apply to forced currency conversions (happens when you trade a U.S. stock in a CDN registered account). Please note that to avoid a forced currency conversion, Virtual Brokers offers USD denominated registered accounts at $15 per quarter.

General Questions
Are my accounts with Virtual Brokers protected under CIPF?

Yes. Virtual Brokers, a division of BBS Securities Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). Virtual Brokers has secured additional securities insurance for our clients. Each client enjoys an additional $10 Million in excess of CIPF coverage allowing for a total of $11 Million per each eligible account. Virtual Brokers has purchased excess CIPF coverage through Lloyd’s of London, a London-based firm. Excess CIPF is fully protected by the Lloyd’s trust funds and Lloyd’s Central Fund. The additional protection currently provided has a $10 million limit per each eligible account in excess of CIPF coverage and up to $25,000,000 in total.

What are your hours of operation?

Office Hours:
Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET

Customer Service Hours:
Monday – Thursday 8:00am - 9 :00pm ET
Friday - 8:00am - 6:00pm ET
Saturday – 11:00am - 6:00pm ET
View our Holiday Schedule here

Can I demo your trading platform(s) before opening an account?

Yes, you can request a demo account by clicking here. You will have 14 days to test drive our trading platform risk-free with $100,000 of practice money.

Do you offer Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs)?

Instead of DRIPs, Virtual Brokers offers the Dividend Purchase Plan (DPP), where shares are bought automatically on the market using the dividend proceeds (as opposed to obtaining shares through the transfer agent). The cost is $1.00 per month for each account with stocks enrolled for DPP.

BBS is also a participant of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V), the Canadian National Stock Exchange (CNSX), Alpha, Pure, Chi-X, and Omega. VB specializes in providing outstanding trade execution services to investors, traders and fund managers who demand excellence. Powered with innovative technologies and deep understanding of financial markets, VB provides superior products and services to all of its clients.