Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 11, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Questrade Financial Group, Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
- Employees at Questrade Financial Group are encouraged to stay healthy with generously subsidized memberships to an onsite GoodLife fitness centre complete with squash courts and instructor-led classes
- Questrade Financial Group also encourages employees to keep their skills sharp through in-house training initiatives and generous tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions, up to $5,000
Questrade invests in people and values
You could say that the Questrade Financial Group, Inc. is an important part of the reason China-born Lulu Feng decided to stay in Canada. It's that kind of place. Feng left her native Beijing to study at the University of Toronto, and right after getting her BCom in Finance in 2011, she got a job at Questrade as a client services specialist. The Toronto-based firm is Canada's fastest-growing online brokerage.
But like so many international students, Feng was still thinking about where she wanted to live. Booming China offered many opportunities, and she still had to convert her student visa to permanent residency within three years to stay in Canada.
That's one of the ways the firm supported her. "Questrade really helped me with my immigration documents," she says. "That was very important for me to stay and build a life and career in Toronto. Not a lot of companies would do that for their employees."
She also considered lifestyle. "After a few years, I realized I wanted work-life balance. At Questrade, I had that sense of balance. I could also see that if you put in your effort, you would see rewards and recognition at the end."
At the same time, Feng rose steadily in the fast-growing company, and is now Manager, Tax & Clearing Operations, with three teams totalling about 30 people reporting to her. She is currently completing a part-time MBA through U of T, funded by Questrade.
Feng has also been able to make an impact on the company itself by recently starting a Women in Leadership group that is bringing together women in management roles and will eventually reach out to all female staff.
"At Questrade, I've felt valued and recognized and supported," she says. "It's like a home forever."
That's the environment President and CEO Edward Kholodenko has been intent on creating since he founded Questrade in 1999. "We not only care deeply about helping Canadians become more financially successful and secure, we also care deeply about our own people, ensuring that we give them the guidance and support they need to progress in their careers," he says. "Our values drive the company culture, and the people who work here really love it - they are making an impact. And that comes out in the service we provide our clients."
Among values, says Kholodenko, "honesty and integrity is core to our business. So is being customer-centric. We have an abbreviation, IQ-Tech - the I is for innovative, the Q is for 'curious' and optimistic, and Tech stands for team-oriented, entrepreneurial and agile, customer-centric, and honest with integrity."
The company's biggest employee groups are client services and technology staff. Kholodenko says client services people don't necessarily need a financial background. "We provide them with a lot of in-depth training and they become very knowledgeable before they speak to customers on the phone, over chat or by email," he says.
So does it look like a financial company or a tech company? "If you come in, you'll find doodles on the wall, interesting art on the cubicles, a ping-pong table, billiards, a video games centre and lots of comfy chairs, but there are desks as well," he says. "We're a mix - we're really a tech company, but strapped onto a financial services company. We're probably Canada's largest fintech."
Staff can take advantage of RRSP matching, subsidized gym memberships, education assistance up to $5,000, maternity leave top-up and incentive bonuses linked to business performance. There is also an annual volunteer day and plenty of social events designed to support the firm's "one team" culture.
Kholodenko feels, like Feng, that Questrade is a home. "Some of the people who've worked here, starting young, think, maybe there's something else out there - maybe the grass is greener. And it just isn't. We've had a few who left and asked to come back - it's very gratifying to see." For them, Questrade turned out to be the better investment.