The Bank of Nova Scotia said Monday it will double its size in the online investing market by buying E*Trade Canada for $444 million.

President and CEO Rick Waugh said the deal is "an excellent growth opportunity" and fits with bank plans to increase its Canadian wealth-management business.

Trading stocks online is becoming more important to Canadians, said Chris Hodgson, the vice-president in charge of the bank's domestic personal banking arm. 

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Three-month Nasdaq trading in E*Trade Financial

E*Trade Canada has 190 employees and $4.7 billion in assets under administration, the bank said in a release Monday.

It's being sold by its parent, U.S.-based E*Trade Financial Corp., which has been struggling to turn around. The U.S. company has been selling non-core assets like its Canadian arm, Donald H. Layton, chairman and CEO, said in a release.

E*Trade Financial stock closed down 26 cents US at $2.46, after trading for as much as $23.63 in the past year. The deal was announced after the market closed.

Scotiabank expects that E*Trade Canada will continue as a separate brand "in the near term."

Last year, Scotiabank bought online brokerage boutique TradeFreedom Securities Inc.