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Dale Jackson

Your Personal Investor

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Toronto Dominion bank rang in the new year with a big customer relations problem.

Social media was ablaze Tuesday with complaints from TD Webbroker investors who were not able to make trades. The first signs of trouble came on Dec. 29. That’s a significant date for investors waiting for the last opportunity for tax loss selling. The 2017 deadline to sell equities at a loss to apply against capital gains going back three years was Dec. 27. The deadline is two days early because the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) says the trades must be settled by the last trading day of the year.

TD says they’ve been working around the clock trying to resolve the problem but it’s not clear if any tax loss settlements are delayed to 2018.

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    If that’s the case, those losses probably can’t be applied until the 2018 tax year and can only go back two years from now. Fortunately, capital losses can be applied against capital gains going forward indefinitely.    

    As a TD Webbroker customer myself, I can feel for some of the customers shut out from their trading accounts. Most discount brokers have their problems but this isn’t the first time TD’s online brokerage service has broken down. Some customers want retribution, but trading costs are often not enough to compensate for lost opportunity. One customer commented on social media that she would switch to a different broker but it was too much of a hassle.

    There is, however, a breaking point. The latest ranking of Canadian online discount brokerages by Surviscor finds bank-affiliated brokerages continue to slide when it comes to user satisfaction. Users were asked over 4,000 questions relating to nine categories and 40 sub-categories focusing on areas including getting started on the website, usability, research tools, support and costs.

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    Qtrade Investor took top spot for the second year in a row with a 90 per cent satisfaction rate. Questrade took second spot with a 79 per cent satisfaction rate. The big banks made their appearance in a tie for third between Scotia iTrade and BMO Investorline at 77 per cent.

    RBC Direct Investing and TD Direct investing – once a pioneer in the online discount brokerage industry – came next.

    There is one theme that should get the attention of the big banks: Customers, who often have day jobs, were disappointed with brokerages who only offer full services during regular business hours.

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