HSBC InvestDirect Review: Low Fees & Intuitive Interface

Dividend Earner

Dividend Earner

Updated on

4 min read Affiliate Disclosure

HSBC InvestDirect is a wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC Bank Canada. It is a self-directed, online investing brokerage firm in Canada.

The platform is best for trading on North American and international markets. 

HSBC InvestDirect grants access to 30 domestic and international markets and allows them to settle transactions in 10 different currencies. A client can freely trade in key international markets of the U.S., Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Frankfurt.

The platform offers a robust collection of investment products and accounts including equities, MFs, Canadian and US options, ETFs, IPOs, fixed income, and GICs.

It also provides protection of accounts from unauthorized access with its security guarantee.

HSBC InvestDirect Summary

Here is a summary to get you started, but there is a lot more information below if you want to get into the details.

Choosing a discount broker is a personal choice and the discount broker should satisfy your requirements. Know what you need above and beyond the fees.

Hidden Sort wdt_ID Features HSBC DirectInvest Comments
1 1 Stock Transaction Fee $6.88 Represents 0.7% fee on a $1,000 trade. Cheapest is Questrade with just under $6 per trade.
2 2 ETF Transaction Fee $6.88 If ETFs is what you need, check their free ETFs first
4 3 Dual Currency Account Yes A must to build a growing portfolio. US holdings play a big role in my performance.
6 4 Synthetic DRIP Yes A must have with a dividend growth investing strategy.
7 5 DRIP Discount No A must for any dividend investor.
8 8 Access To Research Morningstar Most platforms are disappointing for research. Don't decide based on this factor.
9 10 Account Minimum $10,000 It's relatively small.
10 11 Accounts Non-Registered; RRSP; TFSA; RESP; RRIF; LIF; LIRA It's all of them. Can't ask for more.
11 12 Mobile App Not available
3 13 Real-Time Quotes - No indications from the website
5 14 Norbert's Gambit Unknown The BEST setup to exchange USD.

HSBC InvestDirect FAQ

Can I have the fees waived with HSBC InvestDirect?

There are no indications that any of the transaction fees can be waived.

Moreover, HSCB InvestDirect charges a $25 inactivity fee if no transactions are made during the quarter. But this fee can be waived off if you maintain a fund balance of $10,000 or more in your account.

You can have your trading fee reduced to $4.88 if you are an active trader but that’s still more than Questrade if fees are important to you 

How do I deposit money into my HSBC InvestDirect?

The fastest way to deposit money to your account is through Electronic Funds Transfer or Bill Payment from your banking account.

You can also make a direct cheque deposit at any HSBC branch or transfer funds from a third-party institution.

There is no minimum balance required to open an HSBC InvestDirect account.

How can I contact HSBC InvestDirect customer support?

By email or phone in multiple languages. The details are clearly outlined on their site.

Trading Costs

North American trades can be executed for as low as $6.88 and a 20% discount can be availed on international phone trades. It also has a $4.88 fee for active traders making more than 150 transactions per quarter.

This fee structure is applicable for online trades in North America. For international market trades, there are additional commission fees as well. 

HSBC InvestDirect does not offer any commission-free ETF compared against leading peers such as Qtrade, Questrade and Virtual Brokers.

HSBC also offers a banking and brokerage preferred pricing if one has combined assets at HSBC Bank.

Investment Account Details

HSBC InvestDirect provides registered accounts like all-in-one, TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, RESP, LIRA/LRSP, and LIF/LRIF. It also offers a demo account for potential clients.

HSBC InvestDirect offers preferred services like HSBC Premier and Advance client investing benefits, Active Trader Pricing, Global Investing, and SIP.

HSBC client investing benefits include preferred pricing, exclusive trading rates, preferential rates on debit and margin balances, and dedicated support 24/7. The active trader pricing offers the lowest flat fee for online trades and preferential rates on debit and margin balances.

To qualify for HSBC InvestDirect Active Trader pricing of $4.88, customers must have an active HSBC InvestDirect account and trade more than 150 times per quarter. A SIP allows users to start with as little as $100 a month.

The firm allows investing in ETFs without any minimum investment requirements. It also allows trading in 4,000 commission-free mutual funds if mutual funds are part of your plan but be aware of mutual fund fees eating your returns.

Clients can place market, limit, or stop-loss orders with a minimum transaction fee of $6.88.

The transaction fee of $6.88 beats all of the bank discount brokers except for CIBC Investor’s Edge but it’s still behind Questrade and Wealthsimple. It comes ahead of the big banks by a dollar in the end.

Investment Research

HSBC InvestDirect does not provide investment advice or recommendations regarding any investment decisions.

The company provides comprehensive investment tools to analyze markets, identify investment trends, in-depth equity reports from S&P, and mutual fund reports from Morningstar.

There are ratings to choose top-performing funds. It provides reports from global leaders in financial market intelligence as many of the other discount brokers.

Customer Service

HSBC Investment representatives provide support and advice in English, French, Mandarin, and Cantonese. The support team is adept at answering technical questions about HSBC’s online trading system.