Frequently Asked Questions

Take the mystery out of investing. Get helpful information about common investing questions, to help you grow your investments with confidence.


There is no one standard of what defines a high quality execution. TD is committed to executing your trades in their entirety, as expediently as possible, and at the price you were quoted (or better).

What is execution quality?

The quality of the executions your broker provides depends on how well they obtain the best terms reasonably available when executing a trade on your behalf. While there is no one standard of what defines high quality executions, we believe that clients want their orders filled in their entirety, as fast as reasonably possible, and at the price they were quoted or better.

What factors go into determining where my orders are sent?

Many factors are considered when determining where to send your order, including the price at which the trade would occur, the speed of execution, the certainty of execution and the cost of the transaction. We leverage sophisticated order routing systems that automatically take these factors into account when sending your orders to the market. Please see our disclosures regarding order routing for Canadian equities.

Is TD Direct Investing obligated to always seek the best executions possible?

Yes. Our regulatory obligation is to diligently pursue the execution of each order on the most advantageous terms available under the circumstances. This obligation extends to the entire order, even if the entire order cannot be filled at the National Best Bid or Offer.

How do you measure execution speed?

We measure execution speed from the time your order has been received by the order router, to the time the last execution was completed at the market centre. This does not include the time taken by the market centre to notify TD Direct Investing that your order was executed, and therefore, may differ from the time reported on WebBroker.

What is the National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO)?

NBBO is the consolidated quote for a single security that is representative of the highest bid price available and the lowest offer price available among participating quoting market centres.

What is Price Improvement?

Price improvement occurs when you receive a lower offer price or a higher bid price than what was quoted by the National Best Bid and Offer. Price improvement is possible when there is additional liquidity in a security that is not visible on the quoted market centres.

What orders are included in the execution quality metrics?

Execution quality metrics include all orders executed through TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. using any of our electronic brokerage services, an Investment Representative, or an Advisor.

About TFSAs

What is a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)?

A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a type of registered plan. Through a TFSA, you can put your savings into eligible investments and not pay tax on the investment income you earn.

Who is eligible for a TFSA?

The idea behind TFSAs is to make the benefits of tax-free savings available to as many Canadians as possible. For that reason, TFSAs are available to every Canadian resident who is 18 years of age or older and has a Social Insurance Number (SIN).

However, at TD, you must have achieved age of majority in order to open a TFSA. So, if you live in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, then you can’t actually open a TFSA until you are 19, which is the age of majority in those provinces. However, you will accumulate contribution room from the time you are 18.

How is a TFSA different from an RSP?

An RSP is designed specifically to provide you with income after you retire. Your contribution limit is based on your income and the contributions you make are tax-deductible, but you do pay tax on the money when you receive it as income.

A TFSA is not designed specifically for retirement, but to help you save money for a wide range of goals. The amount you can contribute is not based on your income and your contributions are not tax-deductible. You can withdraw your money any time you want it, and you don’t pay tax on those withdrawals. You also don’t lose contribution room when you make a withdrawal – you can recontribute that amount to your TFSA the following year or any year after that.

Contributions

How much can I contribute?

From January 2009 to December 2012, you could contribute up to $5,000 a year to your TFSA, 2013 and 2014, up to $5,500 a year and in 2015, up to $10,000. In 2016, the annual contribution limit has been reduced to $5,500.

What if I can’t contribute the full $5,500?

You can carry forward any amounts not contributed into future years indefinitely. So, for example, if you opened a TFSA in 2014 and contributed only $5,000 in that year, in 2016 you could contribute up to $10,500 (the $5,500 limit for 2016, plus the $5,000 you had left over from 2015. If you have never contributed to your TFSA, the cumulative contribution limit in 2016 would be $46,500).

How will I know what my contribution limit is for each year?

Every year, the government will calculate how much TFSA contribution room you have available. You will be informed of your contribution limit when you receive your T1 Notice of Assessment.

Can I contribute more than my limit in a particular year?

If you contribute more than your contribution limit, you will pay a penalty of 1% per month on the excess amount. The annual TFSA contribution limit was $5,000 from 2009 to 2012, $5,500 for 2013 and 2014, and $10,000 for 2015. The TFSA contribution limit for 2016 is $5,500. Annual TFSA contribution limit is subject to change by the federal government. Excess contributions to a TFSA will be subject to a penalty tax of 1% per month based on the highest excess TFSA amount in that month. The penalty will be calculated on a monthly basis until the excess amount is withdrawn.

Can I make spousal contributions to my spouse’s TFSA?

No, you can’t contribute directly to your spouse’s TFSA as you can with a spousal RSP. However, you can give your spouse money, which they can then contribute to their own TFSA. Any income your spouse earns on the money in their TFSA is theirs and will not be attributed back to you.

Withdrawals

When can I withdraw my money?

You can withdraw funds from your TFSA any time you want1 – you don’t have to reach a certain age before you withdraw your money.

Do I have to pay income tax on my withdrawals?

No, you don’t have to pay tax on the amounts you withdraw.

Because TFSA withdrawals don’t count as taxable income, they don’t affect Federal income-tested benefits or tax credits you may receive, including the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the Working Income Tax Benefit, the Goods and Services Tax Credit and the Age Credit. TFSA withdrawals also won’t reduce benefits based on your income level, such as Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and Employment Insurance benefits.

What can I spend the money on?

Anything you want. You could wait until you retire and use it to supplement retirement income you have from pensions, RSPs or other sources, but you can also use it for short-term savings goals like a new car or a vacation, or for needs that arise suddenly like repairs to your home.

Once I’ve withdrawn my money, is that contribution room lost?

No, you never lose your contribution room – in fact, you can recontribute amounts you have withdrawn. You have to wait until the next year to recontribute, but you can carry forward the recontribution room indefinitely.

For example, first assume you fully used all your contribution room up prior to 2015. Then say you contributed $10,000 to your TFSA in January 2015. Then, in the summer of 2015, you withdrew $3,000 to pay for some repairs to your home. You can’t recontribute that $3,000 in 2015, but, in 2016, it will be added to your contribution room again, meaning you could contribute up to $8,500 in 2016 (the 2016 contribution limit is $5,500).

Are there any restrictions on withdrawals?

You can withdraw funds at anytime, however, some restrictions may apply, depending on the investment options chosen.

Taxation

Do I have to pay tax on my money?

No, you don’t pay any tax on the investment income you earn in the account, and you don’t pay income tax on the amounts you withdraw.

Are my contributions tax-deductible, like RSP contributions?

No, you can’t deduct contributions to your TFSA from your income as you can with your RSP contributions.

Investments

What kind of investments can I hold in my TFSA?

You can hold many of the same investments you hold in your RSP in your TFSA, including mutual funds, GICs, stocks and bonds.

Note: The above information about the Tax-Free Savings Account is based on the information currently available from the Canadian government. To learn more or to check for updates, visit the TFSA information page on the Canada Revenue Agency website.

For more information about the TFSA and how you can reach your savings goals, call us at 1-866-280-2022. We're here for you. Monday to Friday, 7 am to 6 pm ET.

Fixed Income

What is the TD Direct Investing Fixed Income Centre

The Fixed Income Centre allows you to:

  • Buy, sell or request quotes for money market paper and bonds online
  • Search for a bond that meets your needs
  • Find prices, yields and credit ratings on hundreds of bonds and money market instruments

What are the conditions placed upon orders through the TD Direct Investing Fixed Income Centre?

All orders entered through TD Direct Investing Fixed Income Centre are market orders. In other words, investors cannot specify a limit price or a yield-to-maturity. Subject to certain conditions, TD Direct Investing will fill buy or sell orders placed during market hours (bonds: 8:30am-4:30pm ET / money market: 8:30am-2:00pm ET. Note that these times may vary, usually on days preceding holidays.) at the current price posted on the Fixed Income Centre.

Orders entered after the close of markets will be filled after market opening the following business day provided that the price is equal to or better than the listed price when the order was placed. Should the price move not favour the client, the order will be cancelled. The order status can be viewed through the Fixed Income Centre the following business day.

What is the difference between a Subject and Firm offer status?

All orders placed through the Fixed Income Centre are actually offers to buy or sell. The most common types of offers are Subject and Firm. The differences between the two are:

  • Subject: An offering status that has a lower probability of execution as the price and quantity are indicative only. This status is usually placed on an offer after defined market hours or in a fast moving market.
  • Firm: An offer status which has a high probability of execution. The order can still be rejected by the contributor based on a change in the order criteria. An example would include the inventory level changed after an order was submitted but prior to being received by the contributor. This status is placed on most offerings during market hours.

What types of bonds and money market investments are available through the TD Direct Investing Fixed Income Centre?

The following types of bonds are available:

  • Government of Canada bonds
  • Provincial Bonds
  • Government agency bonds
  • Municipal Bonds
  • Investment Grade Corporate Bonds
  • Zero Coupon or Strip bonds (from a variety of issuers e.g. federal, provincial governments)

The following types of money market investments are available in terms of 30-, 60-, 90-, and 180- days and one year:

  • Government of Canada Treasury Bills
  • Bankers' Acceptances and Bearer Deposit Notes
  • Commercial Paper rated R-1 by Dominion Bond Rating Service (R-1 is "Prime Credit Quality")

Online money market and bond trades are restricted to Canadian dollar issues. Information pertaining to all issues can be obtained using the Fixed Income Centre's "Fixed Income Lookup" search engine. TD Direct Investing will offer a selection of fixed income instruments that can be traded online. These issues can be retrieved by using the "Quick Picks" tool (for all offerings available for immediate execution) or the "Search Offerings" tool (where investors can stipulate criteria to search for specific bonds available for immediate execution).

The bonds available for online order execution is not an exhaustive list of what can be traded through TD Direct Investing. For more information, please contact an Investment Representative at 1-800-465-5463. We're here for you. Monday to Friday, 7 am to 6 pm ET.

What type of fixed income issues cannot be traded through the TD Direct Investing Fixed Income Centre?

The following is a list of fixed income issues that cannot be traded through the TD Direct Investing Fixed Income Centre:

  • Money market and bonds denominated in foreign currencies
  • Mortgage Backed Securities
  • Exchange-traded bonds
  • Guaranteed Investment Certificates and Term Deposits
  • Hybrids and Asset-backed bonds
  • Real Return Bonds
  • Bonds with special features (e.g. extendible, retractable, step-up)
  • Federal or provincial savings bonds

What if I cannot find the specific fixed income security that I wish to buy or sell online?

TD Direct Investing offers a comprehensive representation of available fixed income securities through WebBroker. Not all fixed income securities available will be offered through WebBroker.

If you cannot find the specific fixed income security that you are looking for, please contact an Investment Representative at 1-800-465-5463. We're here for you. Monday to Friday, 7 am to 6 pm ET.

What do I do if I have a bond certificate that I wish to sell online?

Bonds cannot be sold at TD Direct Investing, either online or through an Investment Representative, until they have been endorsed by the owner and deposited into the TD Direct Investing account. Certificates can be taken to any TD Direct Investing, TD Bank or Canada Trust branch where they can be signed, or endorsed, in the presence of a bank employee. The branch can send the bond certificate to TD Direct Investing so that it can be received in your account as book-based entry. Once a negotiable certificate has been received by TD Direct Investing, the bond may be sold.

What search features are available through TD Direct Investing Fixed Income Centre?

TD Direct Investing Fixed Income Centre offers three ways to search for fixed income securities:

Quick Picks View a list of fixed income offerings available for immediate execution.
Search Offerings Use search criteria to find specific fixed income securities that suit your investment needs and are available for immediate online trading.
Fixed Income Lookup Search for outstanding fixed income issues using search criteria such as name, term to maturity CUSIP, etc.

Who can I contact regarding general questions about bonds and fixed income investments?

For more information, please contact an Investment Representative at 1-800-465-5463. We're here for you. Monday to Friday, 7 am to 6 pm ET.

Who do I contact in order to obtain technical assistance?

Inquiries of a technical nature can be referred to the TD Direct Investing Electronic Brokerage Services Help Desk (1-800-667-6299).

What is a ladder and how does it work?

A ladder is a fixed income investment strategy where an investor staggers maturing bonds over a longer duration to mitigate reinvestment risk caused by interest rate fluctuations.

The TD Direct Investing Fixed Income Centre allows you to create a hypothetical portfolio of bonds with corresponding investment statistics such as monthly and total interest income. It also provides you with an annual graphical representation of the bonds held and their corresponding maturity.

A ladder is built by checking off the bonds from either a search result or a quick pick result and clicking on the Build Ladder button. This will move you to the Build Ladder page. Once in this page, you can select the quantity held for each bond selected and recalculate the investment statistics based on the values entered.

Print preview will allow you to generate a printer friendly version of the document for your review.

What are bond and money market ratings?

Investment Credit Ratings

Credit ratings are forward looking measures that assess the overall financial creditworthiness of an issuer, covering capacity and willingness to meet financial obligations. Issuer credit ratings can be long-term or short-term.

It is important to note that credit ratings are not static as they can be impacted by a number of factors including the economic and competitive environments in which companies operate.

In Canada, investments are rated by three agencies: Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS), Moody's Investor Services (Moody's) and Standard & Poor's (S&P).

Rating Scales Used by Different Rating Agencies:

Credit Quality DBRS Moody’s S&P
  Long Term Short Term Long Term Short Term Long Term Global CP Scale Canadian CP Scale
Superior AAA R-1 High Aaa P-1 AAA A-1+ A-1 (high)
  AA High R-1 High Aa1 P-1 AA+ A-1+ A-1 (high)
  AA R-1 Mid Aa2 P-1 AA A-1+ A-1 (high)
  AA Low R-1 Mid Aa3 P-1 AA- A-1+ A-1 (high)
Good A High R-1 Low A1 P-1 A+ A-1 A-1 (mid)
  A R-1 Low A2 P-1 A A-1 A-1 (mid)
  A Low R-1 Low A3 P-2 A- A-2 A-1 (low)
Adequate BBB High R-2 High Baa1 P-2 BBB+ A-2 A-1 (low)
  BBB R-2 Mid Baa2 P-2 BBB A-2 A-2
  BBB Low R-2 Low Baa3 P-3 BBB- A-3 A-3
Speculative BB High R-3 High Ba1 Not Prime BB+ B B
  BB R-3 High Ba2 Not Prime BB B B
  BB Low R-3 High Ba3 Not Prime BB- B B
Highly Speculative B High R-3 Mid B1 Not Prime B+ C C
  B R-3 Mid B2 Not Prime B C C
  B Low R-3 Low B3 Not Prime B- C C
  CCC R-3 Low Caa Not Prime CCC C C

How can I view the status of open fixed income orders?

The status of a fixed income order may be viewed by selecting "View Orders". This will provide detailed information about the bond orders entered for the day.

Where can I view my fixed income positions already in my TD Direct Investing account?

Your portfolio, including fixed income positions, can be viewed one day after trade date by selecting "Account Inquiry" and then "Display Holdings" from the WebBroker home page.

What quantity restrictions are there for fixed income online orders?

The minimum purchase and sell amounts for bonds is $5000 face. Both regular and strip bonds must be traded in increments of $1000 face. The maximum amount that can be traded is $500,000 face. The minimum purchase and sell amounts for money market instruments is $5000. The maximum amount that can be traded is $500,000 face.

What is the settlement period for Canadian fixed income issues?

Product Settlement
All Money Market Same day
Government & Government Guaranteed with a maturity less than 3 years 2 days
Government & Government Guaranteed with a maturity greater than 3 years 3 days
Strips with a maturity less than 18 months 2 days
Strips with a maturity greater than 18 months 3 days
All other bonds 3 days

Are there fees/commissions for trading bonds?

In all fixed income product transactions, we will act as principal. We and parties related to us receive revenue based on the difference between the applicable bid and ask prices.

Are fixed income holdings marginable?

The following outlines the margin requirements for certain fixed income issues:

Type Margin Requirement
Government of Canada Bonds and Federal guarantees 4%
Provincial and Municipal bonds 10%
Corporate Bonds 15%
Provincial Savings Bonds 1%
Canada Savings Bonds 100%
Government of Canada T-Bills 1%
Bankers’ Acceptances 4%
Commercial Paper 15%
Guaranteed Investment Certificates 15%
U.S. Treasury Bonds 4%

What do the fields in the View Orders page mean?

Acct No. Identification of your current TD Direct Investing account.
Action Details of your order.
Buy An order to buy a specific bond.
Cancel An order that has been successfully cancelled.
Coupon The annual rate of interest that the issuer pays the bondholder until maturity.
  • Coupon rate is constant throughout the life of the bond.
  • Coupon rate is determined as a percentage of the bond's face value.
CUSIP Each bond has a unique 9-character CUSIP number, which is similar to the ticker symbols used for stocks, options and mutual funds.
  • CUSIP is an acronym for Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures, which was established under the auspices of the American Bankers Association to develop a uniform method of identifying securities.
Expired An order that has expired.
Issue Description of the bond, including issuer.
Maturity Date The date when the principal amount, or face value, of the security becomes due and payable.
Net Money Amount of bond transaction, net of transaction fees and accrued interest.
Order# A code used to track your order.
Pending Cancel An order for which cancellation has been requested but not yet received.
Price Price of the bond.  Most bonds are issued in $1,000 increments; however, the price is expressed as a percentage of par value, e.g. a single $1,000 bond priced at 90 would be worth $900.
Qty Number of bonds for the order.
Rejected An order that was rejected prior to execution. May include orders for which sufficient funds are not available.
Sell An order to sell a specific bond from an account.
Status The current state of the bond orders.
Time Time you placed the order.
Trans Type of transaction placed.
Yield Unless otherwise indicated, Yield refers to Yield-to-Maturity (YTM).
  • YTM reflects the rate of return on a bond issue, taking into account its coupon, time to maturity, and dollar price.
  • YTM varies throughout the life of the bond; as the price increases, YTM decreases and vice versa.  However, once a bond is purchased YTM is locked in until maturity or sale.