If you are curious about which investment companies in Canada can be considered “the best,” it can be difficult to find a specific criterion.
One of the best ways to approach looking at an investment company is to determine how satisfied clients are.
Full-service investment brokerages offer clients investment advisors that can work with all kinds of investments and financial planning tools. In Canada, roughly 7% of investors receive all of the elements that make up comprehensive advice.
If you are considering using one or more full-service brokerages to put your money to work, investor satisfaction is a good metric to keep an eye on.
I will go over the best investment companies in Canada below and offer an overview of each.
Working with an Investment Company – is it Worth it?
A full-service investment company offers investors access to investment advisory teams that build investment portfolios for clients. They will also usually be able to help with financial planning, insurance, tax planning, and retirement planning.
Full-service investment companies can be found as part of the major banks (i.e. RBC Dominion Securities) or as independent companies (i.e. Raymond James).
Investment advisors or investment advisory teams usually charge you an advisory fee for working with them. This fee will be added to any fund MERs or other product fees.
I do not personally recommend working with an investment advisor because of the significant amount of fees that you will likely end up paying. In most cases, it is a better option to do your own research on financial matters and build a low-cost ETF portfolio.
If you are looking to trade your own investments and be in charge of your own portfolio, I strongly recommend using a broker like Wealthsimple Trade to avoid paying trading commissions for North American stocks and ETFs and cut your costs down even more.
10 Best Investment Companies in Canada
I will be ranking the best investment companies (aka full-service brokerages), based on J.D. Power’s client satisfaction study. The study is done in Canada and focuses on seven factors:
- Products and services
- Value for fees
- Flexibility in wealth management
- Problem resolution
- Digital channels
1. Raymond James
Raymond James was the highest-rated full-service brokerage in Canada based on investor satisfaction across the seven metrics of the study.
The firm is an independent financial services company founded in Florida. Although it has a much smaller presence in Canada, the company has over 8,700 advisors and over $1.0 trillion in client assets.
Raymond James offers investment banking, asset management, and insurance. The company is known to place a huge focus on client service. The firm is constantly ranked as one of the top companies to work for by Fortune magazine.
Raymond James also focuses heavily on philanthropy and community involvement.
With the top satisfaction rating in Canada, Raymond James is a great full-service brokerage to consider.
2. Edward Jones
Edward Jones is second when it comes to full-service brokerages in Canada. Like Raymond James, Edward Jones was also founded in the US (St. Louis, Missouri).
The firm is fairly unique because it operates on a partnership model – advisors with the firm are part owners of the company.
Edward Jones has almost 19,000 advisors and over eight million clients. The company manages just over 1.7 trillion in assets.
Unlike most full-service brokerages that keep advisors together in branches, most Edward Jones advisors have individual offices scattered around cities and towns. The firm places a huge emphasis on face-to-face meetings and a more personal approach to investing.
Coming in as a close second, Edward Jones is also a great brokerage option in Canada.
In third place is Assante, a much smaller brokerage than the first two. Assante is owned by CI Financial, which is one of the largest non-bank Canadian wealth management firms. Assante was founded in 1988 in Toronto, where it is also headquartered.
Assante has approximately 900 advisors and manages approximately $46 billion in assets for Canadian investors. Like other full-service brokerages, Assante offers investment management, retirement planning, insurance, and tax planning.
In terms of advisor count and assets under care, Assante is substantially smaller than both Edward Jones and Raymond James. This is mainly due to a lack of the firm’s expansion throughout the US, which is a much larger market than Canada.
With a strong score, Assante is a great Canadian independent brokerage.
4. National Bank Financial
National Bank is the smallest of the large Canadian banks here at home. Their full-service brokerage, National Bank Financial, ranks fourth on the J.D. Power client satisfaction study.
National Bank Financial currently offers investors a network of 850 advisors from coast to coast. These advisors are responsible for managing just over $140 billion in assets.
Like most peers in this space, National Bank Financial offers investment banking, institutional sales and trading, wealth management, and financial planning. The firm has offices in major Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary.
Aside from a high client satisfaction score, National Bank Financial is known for its Canadian capital markets expertise.
Scoring well across the survey, National Bank is a great investment company to consider in Canada.
5. IA Private Wealth
In fifth place is another independent full-service brokerage – Industrial Alliance (IA) Private Wealth. With more than 500 investment advisors across Canada, IA Private Wealth is among the smallest of the brokerages on my list.
The company currently manages roughly $48 billion in client assets. IA Private Wealth advisors follow six steps when it comes to working with clients:
- Understanding your goals and what is important
- Confirming priorities
- Establishing short- and long-term goals
- Developing a holistic plan
- Implementing your plan
- Monitoring plan progress
IA Private Wealth’s advisory teams are well spread out across Canada. If you are looking for a firm with a good satisfaction score, IA Private Wealth is a good choice.
6. IG Wealth Management
Next on the list for client satisfaction is another independent brokerage – IG Wealth Management. IG Wealth Management is headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba but has offices spanning all across Canada.
The company focuses mainly on portfolio management, financial planning, retirement planning, and tax planning. IG Wealth Management has a network of over 1,500 advisors from coast to coast and has been in business for more than 90 years.
IG Wealth Management currently has approximately $107 billion in assets under management. With good investor satisfaction scores, IG Wealth Management has put a very strong emphasis on client service over the past several years in an effort to rebrand.
7. RBC Dominion Securities
Scoring well in terms of investor satisfaction, RBC Dominion Securities is also constantly being ranked as the highest-scoring bank-owned brokerage in Canada. RBC Dominion Securities has over 1,600 advisors as part of its network and currently manages roughly $205 billion in assets under administration.
RBC Dominion Securities is the largest full-service brokerage in Canada by assets. The brokerage is also backed by the Royal Bank of Canada, which is typically the largest Canadian bank at any given time (by market capitalization).
RBC Dominion Securities has been professionally managing money as a dealer since 1901. RBC advisors can leverage a wide range of tools and resources when it comes to managing their client’s assets.
As one of the most successful brokerages in Canada, RBC DS is a good investment company to consider working within Canada.
8. BMO Nesbitt Burns
Falling closely behind RBC Dominion Securities in the J.D. Power study is BMO Nesbitt Burns. Nesbitt Burns is BMO’s full-service brokerage and network of Investment advisors that are spread across Canada.
BMO Nesbitt Burns currently has a network of roughly 1,300 investment advisors over 76 branches around the country.
Nesbitt Burns focuses on investment banking, institutional sales, trading, wealth management, and private banking. BMO’s Private Banking and Nesbitt Burns business units manage over 195 billion in assets for clients.
If you do your banking with BMO already, it may be extremely simple to get in touch with a Nesbitt Burns advisor – they can usually be found in most branches.
9. CIBC Wood Gundy
Continuing on with major Canadian bank full-service brokerages – next is CIBC’s Wood Gundy. CIBC Wood Gundy has over 1,400 investment advisors across more than 100 branches all over Canada. Wood Gundy is a subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).
CIBC Wood Gundy manages roughly $160 billion in assets for its clients. If you are currently a CIBC banking client, you should have an easier time being set up with a CIBC Wood Gundy Account.
Keep in mind that CIBC Wood Gundy, despite coming in at number nine in Canada, is actually below the industry average when it comes to investor satisfaction for 2022.
10. Scotia McLeod
Almost concluding the full suite of Canadian big bank full-service brokerages is Scotia McLeod. Scotia McLeod is Scotiabank’s full-service brokerage, having a lot of branches from coast to coast across Canada.
Scotia McLeod works mainly with high-net-worth clients across fields such as retirement planning, investment management, financial planning, tax planning, and estate planning.
Ranking below CIBC Wood Gundy in terms of investor satisfaction, Scotia McLeod again falls below the industry average score, as outlined by the J.D. Power study.
Since Scotia McLeod falls in last place on my list, it has a substantially lower investor satisfaction score than top brokerages. If you are looking for the best investment companies in Canada, you are better off working with some of my top choices.
If you are looking for professional wealth management services, working with a reputable brokerage in Canada may be a solution for your needs. Keep in mind that working with an investment advisor typically comes with very high fees and is generally not worth it.
One of the best ways to determine which investment companies in Canada are worth using is to look at investor satisfaction. J.D. Power’s annual study is an excellent resource to see which brokerages in Canada rank highly.
If you are a new investor and are also considering investing through a robo-advisor (to save on fees), be sure to check my guide on the best robo-advisors in Canada.