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Update on Questrade Pricing Change

Questrade Pricing Change:

Here’s one for the “you don’t see this from a financial institution every day”.  We reported a recent announcement from Questrade in which they stated that they would be implementing a minimum activity threshold of one trade a month starting in July 2012 for those account holders with less than $5000 in their account. Those who did not make the one trade a month or have more than $5000 would be subject to a fee of $9.95.   This is still posted on their website as you can see here in the following picture taken on May 17th:

questrade pricing


It turns out, however, that after thousands of customers that use the popular deal site Red Flag Deals saw this and several hundred complained, Questrade decided that they may need to rethink their strategy on raising prices. The director of communications for Questrade, Lynn Suderman,  has now announced how Questrade is going to charge customers for inactivity fees according to the announcement below.  I use the word “supposedly” because this message does NOT appear anywhere on the Questrade website and so should be taken with caution. [Update: I have received an email from Lynn confirming this change will be announced soon and updated on their website over the upcoming weekend]

The highlights of the supposed new fee format are:

  • If your account has less than $5000 in it, to avoid paying an inactivity fee you have to make one trade per quarter otherwise it’s a charge of $19.95
  • Trades placed in the quarter after you have been charged a quarterly inactivity fee will be free up to the value of $19.95
  • Clients under the age of 25 don’t pay any inactivity fees whatsoever (= regardless of their balance or activity level there is no activity fee)
  • Households (clients living in the same physical address) with a total of greater than $5000 in Questrade accounts don’t pay the inactivity fee
  • This fee change will not take effect until September 30 (instead of the previously mentioned July 10) 2012

We’ll keep monitoring this situation as it unfolds, however for the time being it looks like the responses to this change are mildly positive.  Surely there are many customers and potential customers that have been put off by the increasing in prices, however there are also many customers who saw this gesture by Questrade as an olive branch and a reasonable compromise.


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Options Industry Council –


Technical Analysis Tools: no

Fundamental Analysis Tools: yes

Markets Covered: US, Canada

Notes: The Options Industry Council has recently redesigned their website and has done an amazing job, providing excellent user experience and quality, reliable information.  With tools and resources including an Options Calculator, Virtual Trading System and Position Simulator, you can test out trading strategies or evaluate options pricing very quickly.  In addition, the site offers you the “option” to call or chat live with options education professionals about your options questions – all for free!

Whether you are a complete beginner and advanced option trader, the OIC’s educational resources, videos, articles, news and events listings will keep you fully informed about all things options related.  Best of all, registering with OIC is free!  Free quality education from the industry sources themselves? Now that sounds like a great trade to us!

OIC Options Industry Council

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Questrade to charge minimum activity fee starting July 10

Questrade just made the following announcement via email:

Inactivity fee

As of July 10th, 2012, an inactivity fee of $9.95 per month is charged to clients with under $5,000 in combined equity for any month in which the client does not complete one commissionable trade. Clients are exempt from this fee if the account is open for less than 6 months.

This is a big shift from their historical position as the “no fee” discount brokerage.   To read more about the announcement you can click here.

If you’d like to check out who doesn’t charge a minimum fee you can click through our Canadian discount brokerage comparison section.

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Discount Broker Deals & Promotions – As of May 1st 2012

Here are the latest Canadian online discount broker deals and promotions. This month Disnat Direct still holds the front of the pack with their monster  “Active 5” deal.  Scotia iTrade also has an interesting commission rebate of up to 100 trades (with a max value of $999) with a transfer of $25,000.  National Bank still has their $6.95 commission rate for 6 months deal, however it is only limited to Western Canada (BC & Alberta).

While we strive for accuracy in our reporting we cannot guarantee that the information presented below will not have changed or be altered without notice. Please ensure to check the brokerage’s website directly for full details.

Company Brief Description Details Link Deadline
Open a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) and receive $50 commission credit . Use promo code: kdkfnbbc none none
Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they’ll cover the transfer-out fee. Transfer Fee Promo none
Open and fund your account with a minimum of CAD $1,000 before May 31st, 2012 and you’ll get 10 commission-free trades. Use your 10 stock trades within the first 30 days. Buy or sell, one at a time or all at once. Stick12 additional terms here May 31st 2012
Maximize your returns. Get up to 1% (or more) of your mutual fund value rebated back to you. Mutual Fund Rebate Promo none
Open a new account with Questrade and you could qualify for a new iPad. To enter in a draw for 1 of 10 iPads, you can open a new account and deposit $1000. If you deposit $250,000 or more, you will get a free iPad (applies to both new and existing clients) iPad Promo May 31st, 2012
A monster deal called the “Active 5 Deal” by Disnat: 5 Months of no platform fees on DD Xtra & DD Web (includes no fee for TSX venture quotes) 5 Months trading on the best commission rate of $5 50 free trades ($250 commission credit) 5 Months access to Tyler Bollhorn’s daily newsletter $500 off Tyler Bollhorn’s live trading course Minimum Deposit: $10,000 Disnat Direct Active 5 Offer June 1st 2012
Transfer $25,000 or more to a National Bank Direct Brokerage account and they will pay up to $135 plus taxes in transfer fees Transfer Fee Rebate none
BMO InvestorLine Open a new account with BMO Investorline and you could receive cash back. For a $50,000 deposit/transfer – you get $100; for a $100,000 transfer, you get $250 cash back; for a $250,000 transfer/deposit you get $600 cash back. Enter the code BONUS when you open your account. BMO transfer offer June 1st, 2012
Credential Direct Switch your account to Credential Direct and they’ll pay up to $125 of the transfer fees your online broker charges. If after 90 days you’re not completely satisfied, Credential Direct will waive the $125 transfer out fee. To qualify, you must deposit at least $5000 within 30 days of opening a Credential Direct account. Promo code “SWITCH ME” Switch Me Offer June 30th, 2012
Become a new National Bank Direct Brokerage Client before June 30, 2012 and receive a fixed rate commission of $6.95 for 6 months. Minimum deposit not specified. Promo code “TRADE2012”. Note: National Bank is releasing a similar promo early April where you have to open a margin account to receive 6 months at $6.95 – according to customer service details to be released soon. Call customer service: 1-800-363-3511 – Available to Western Canada Customers only (BC/Alberta) June 30th, 2012
Holders of National Bank Platinum, Ovation Gold, Allure or Escapade Mastercard or a card identified by a professional association can now redeem À la carte reward points for a contribution to your National Bank Direct Brokerage RRSP or Spousal RRSP account, or the new TFSA (Tax-free savings account). As the principal cardholder you can exchange your points, either partly or entirely, for one or more 100 $ contributions (100 $ = 11,000 points). contact one of National Bank Direct Brokerage’s Investor Services representatives (514-866-6755 or 1-800-363-3511). Mastercard points transfer none
Virtual Brokers will cover transfer fees from your transferring institution to a maximum of $150 per account. This offer is only applicable to accounts opened with at least $25,000 in equity before June 30, 2012. Transfer Fee Promo June 30th, 2012
Open a new account with $25,000 before June 30, 2012 and receive 150 trades free. (Applies to the first 150 trades placed within 60 days of account opening at a maximum of $6.49 per trade with a total maximum value of $973) New Account Promo June 30th, 2012
Scotia iTrade Open and fund a new Scotia iTRADE account with at least $25,000 (cheque deposit or transfer of assets) before June 30, 2012 and the commissions associated with your first 100 trades placed within 60 days of the date the account is activated and funded with at least $25,000 in the account, will be credited back to your account within 30 days of each order fill, to a maximum of $9.99 per trade in the currency of the account (maximum total cash rebate from this offer is $999). Offer valid only for the first Scotia iTRADE account opened by new Scotia iTRADE clients who do not have an account with ScotiaMcLeod Direct Investing or TradeFreedom. Free trade credits and other Scotia iTRADE offers have no cash redemption value. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotional offer. Scotia iTrade $100 in free trades June 30th, 2012
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Event Review – Small-Cap Conference Vancouver 2012 attended the Small-Cap Conference Series held in Vancouver on April 10th. We went for a status update on the small-cap (short for small market capitalization – check out Investopedia’s definition here) companies but what we got was so much more. Guest speakers Ryan Irvine of KeyStone Financial Publishing Corp., Theodor Tonca of Vancouver Value Investors Club and Brent Todd of Canaccord Wealth Management educated the audience on the intricacies of trading small-cap stocks.

Most notable was Brent Todd’s approach to investing: “heads you win a lot, tails you don’t lose much” creating good odds for investors. Theodore Tonca discussed ownership of a stock as the same as ownership of a company and Ryan Irvine noted that focused diversification is where it’s at; owning 8-12 stocks is the sweet spot.

Conferences like this make us realize that learning is continuous and that the investment of time made (the conference was free!) is well-worth the confidence in trading later. We hope you take advantage of all conferences, learning seminars and webinars happening in your area. Another small-cap conference is coming up on May 10th 2012 in Calgary. For a full list of upcoming educational conferences and events check out our events calendar here.

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Event Review – Options Education Day – Vancouver 2012

Options Education Day is an annual series of events organized and hosted by the Montreal Exchange (part of the TMX Group) as part of their goal to better educate retail investors about options and derivatives products.  While options and derivative products are more complex than your average stock, there has been an enormous growth in availability and interest in these types of investment products because of the versatility of strategies they offer investors. So, even though it takes some extra effort to learn them, there are many more potential strategies for creating wealth as well as preserving it that options offer investors.

There were three great speakers at the Vancouver stop on the Options Education Day: Jason Ayres, President of Learn to Trade Global and founder of;  Joseph Burgoyne,  director of institutional and retail marketing for the Options Industry Council and Patrick Ceresna, chief derivative market strategist for Learn to Trade Global.  Click on the following links to see our interviews with Jason, Joseph and Patrick.

The event itself had workshops for “beginner” and “advanced” topics that provided information appropriate to the level of complexity investors were willing to dive into.  The beginner sessions covered an “introduction to options trading” and “introduction to ETFs” whilst the more advanced sessions covered “advanced options spreads” and “getting to know the greeks and the impact of volatility”.  A final workshop covered using options as a tool for creating a balanced portfolio.

Exhibitors at the event included Canadian discount brokerages such as Disnat Direct, Interactive Brokers,  Jitneytrade, TD Waterhouse, Virtual Brokers and National Bank Direct Brokerage, as well options education firm Learn to Trade Global, and also the most awesome Canadian discount brokerage comparison company Sparx Trading (yes it is a shameless self-plug!).  We had a chance to talk to lots of investors of all levels who were all there not only for the great food, but also to get a better understanding of options and how to use them in their investing and trading strategies.

Overall this is an excellent event for individuals who want to learn about options at a live event and also network with fellow investors.  It was well-organized, the venue choice great and the cost was nominal and included materials, breakfast and lunch – a great deal for their price of $45.  The conference organizers did a great job of preparing materials that attendees could use during the presentations and take with them after the sessions were done.

For those that could not attend in person, the Montreal Exchange also has a lot of the material that was covered at prior options education days in the education section on its website.  Another excellent source of education materials for individuals looking to learn more about options is the Options Industry Council website available here.

Upcoming stops for the 2012 sessions of Options Education Day include Winnipeg (June 2), Montreal (September 8), Toronto (September 29), Calgary (October 20) and Edmonton (October 21).  You can find out more details for these and other education events checking our events calendar here.

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Event Review – Stockscores Canadian Active Trader Expo (SCATE)

We stopped by the Stockscores Canadian Active Trader Expo (SCATE) this past week and had a chance to sit through a presentation by veteran trader and founder of Tyler Bollhorn. This event was also sponsored by Disnat which has launched one of their best deals/promotions alongside the SCATE tour.  You can find out more details about their deal here.

The session was a condensed version of Tyler’s educational program with topics on trader psychology and trading strategies from less active or position trading to very active day trading strategies, such as one he called “the worm” (as in “the early bird gets the worm”).   He walked through the platform and how to use it to find trading opportunities along with the tool (which we discuss here) as a means to practice (or paper trade).

After sitting through many different presentations on investment/trading strategies Tyler’s presentation is one of the more engaging and clearly delivered.  Like any master of their craft, Tyler makes it look very easy.  In his words, ‘trading is simple, but not easy’.  The difficult part for anyone who is just starting out or who has been at it for a long time comes down to managing emotions and risk.

A central point in Tyler’s presentation (as well as in his upcoming book) is that trading is a skill, not a talent.  To learn and perfect a skill, whether it be playing the piano or doing surgery, it takes practice and discipline.  It is not important how often you are right or wrong, but rather how much you make when you are right versus how much you lose when you are wrong.

One of the most interesting observations from this session is that it took Tyler 8 years of practice before things actually started to “click” for him as a professional trader – before he was able to trade and be consistently profitable.  He attributes the turning point in his success to properly managing risk – cutting his losers early and letting his winners run; a piece of “uncommon sense” which most traders don’t adhere to and explains why they’re on one side of the performance column and Tyler is currently successfully sitting on the other. Check out our interview with Tyler earlier this year for some extra tips on being a successful trader.

To find out more information on the SCATE tour, check out our events section here.