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Criteria for the ranking

Globe and Mail Update

Here's a rundown of each of the six criteria in which the 13 brokers in our survey were ranked.

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Costs

The emphasis here is on stock trading commissions, but fees for trading mutual funds are included along with fees for registered retirement accounts, inactivity fees and such.

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Trading

The focus here is on the utility of a broker's website for trading stocks, although fund and bond trading is also considered.

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Customer satisfaction

Here, we've enlisted the help of consulting firm Phase 5, which has shared data culled from a survey in which 936 online brokerage clients were asked about how happy they were with the service they received. The survey was completed last month, which means investors had a chance to vent their frustrations over using broker websites on high-volume market days.

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Tools

Includes stock and fund research as well as financial planning tools.

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Account Information

Looks at how good a broker is at telling clients how their accounts are performing.

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Website

Having a security guarantee that protects clients against fraud is a major aspect of this section, while other factors are overall website freshness and the presence of any communications designed to calm clients unsettled by market conditions.

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