Posted on Leave a comment

Event Review – TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage Direct Investing Expo – Vancouver 2012 – Part 1

The Vancouver Direct Investing Expo organized by TD Waterhouse provided self-directed investors the chance to learn about macroeconomic trends and issues coming in 2013, tips on technical analysis, exchange traded funds and several options trading strategies. This day-long event featured top-tier speakers such as Bob Gorman, TD’s Chief Portfolio Strategist, as well as a line-up of speakers from Investools, Horizons Exchange Traded Funds and from TD’s Wealth Management division.

Even though it was a typical rainy Vancouver day, the Direct Investing Expo launched on a bright note with a great breakfast spread. The TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage booths surrounding the foyer area had demo stations for several of the major tools of interest to self-directed investors including the TD mobile trading app, the thinkorswim platform, web broker and global trading.  Horizons Exchange Traded Funds and the Montreal Exchange also had booths providing investors with information on their products and services.  Like most discount brokerage sponsored events, TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage took the opportunity to showcase their products to the audience as well as try and land some new clients. To that end, one interesting incentive they offered was a refund of the $100 price of admission for non-TD clients who wanted to sign up for a TD Waterhouse account on the day.  Overall, however, the balance of the day was decidedly on education rather than sales.

The World in 2013 According to Bob Gorman

The first speaker to take the stage was Chief Portfolio Strategist for TD, Bob Gorman.  Investors listened attentively as he outlined his case (impressively without notes) for the economic and investing climate for 2013.  In his view, Bob Gorman believes that 2013 won’t be as dire as some market observers are currently forecasting.  His arguments on the US fiscal cliff being more of a fiscal drag, the recovery of the US auto and housing sectors and an overall soft landing in China mean that on a valuation basis, 2013 could be a positive year for certain sectors.  The tactical approach on where to invest included advising investors to tread carefully with fixed income investments, favouring large cap companies to smaller cap companies and to focus on what he calls ‘dividend-growth stocks’.  For those looking for something more adventurous, the emerging markets may hold promise in the “MIST” countries (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey) over the traditional “BRIC” (Brazil, Russia, India, China).  The mix of economic news and concrete picks made this session a very valuable one for investors looking for some investing themes and companies.

Getting Technical

There was a split in the schedule with two sessions running concurrently.  One was on “The Art and Science of Analyzing Charts” i.e. technical analysis (which I attended) and the second was “ETF Trading: Income Investing Using ETFs” presented by Horizons Exchange Traded Funds. The technical analysis session was led by Ryan Lewenza, V.P. & U.S. Equity Strategist at TD Wealth Management.  Ryan walked the crowd through some of the basics of support, resistance and chart reading.  While technical analysis isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there were some interesting points made on being able to better time entries and exits on ‘fundamentally good’ companies, with the bottom line (no pun intended) being that stocks are not things investors should ever fall in love with.  Of course, while some folks were writing notes during this one, others who felt a little out of their depth with “Relative Strength Indicators” and ‘on balance volumes’ were fortunate enough to have brought their knitting. Trying to get the basics of technical analysis down in a one hour session is a tricky undertaking, so this session was a understandably tough to follow for most beginners

Check out part two of this review where we describe the sessions with Investools and provide some tips for attending these kinds of  investor seminars.

Posted on

Stock Market Education Videos – TD Ameritrade

Stock market education videos was the theme of today’s online hunt and we found a great educational resource for investors on the TD Ameritrade website. There are just over 40 videos on topics for beginner, intermediate and advanced investors. In addition to videos, however, there are links to over 80 webcasts, various articles, courses and publications.  Even though there is a lot of material geared towards US investors on there, Canadian investors looking to learn about stocks, options and investing will have a lot of well-prepared materials to go through.

We’ve also summarized the different topics according to experience level below. To visit their page click here. As an FYI, we’ve also got more video material that we’ve collected links to here.

Title Length New Investor Intermediate Investor Advanced Investor Expert Investor
Avoiding Common Investor Behavior Pitfalls 5:54
Balancing Your Portfolio 4:27
Diversifying Your Portfolio with Bonds 4:49
Diversifying Your Portfolio with Stocks 5:07
ETF Diversification 2:26
Individual Investment and Market Risk 2:33
Introduction to ETFs 3:25
Investing Basics: Options 4:54
Investing Basics: Stocks 4:15
Long-Term Investment Performance 11:14
Making Retirement Income Last 4:05
Mutual Funds Commissions and Fees 3:45
Mutual Funds Style Analysis 3:34
Portfolio Diversification 4:53
Portfolio Performance 4:46
Potential Returns for Value and Growth Stocks 3:14
Reducing Risk for Your Long-Term Goals 4:03
Understanding Value and Growth Stocks 3:57
Allocating for Target-Dated Funds 4:22
Defining Target-Dated Funds 3:12
Determining Retirement Income Sources 3:09
Diversifying through Sector Investing 4:01
Diversifying Your Portfolio through Global Investing 4:46
Exploring Frontier Markets 3:36
Handling Market Downturns 3:15
Interest Rates and Stock Prices during Downturns and Recoveries 4:57
Investing in Commodities 4:10
Investing in Emerging Markets 3:17
Opportunities and Risks in Sector Investing 5:01
Performance and Market Cycles 3:17
Risks and Returns in Commodity Investing 6:01
Taxes and Investment Performance 5:07
U.S. Market Downturns and Recoveries 3:39
Understanding Investing Risks 8:26
Understanding Target-Dated Funds 4:21
Posted on Leave a comment

Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – Oct. 26th 2012

Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup

This week provided an interesting lesson in activity fees handed out to one RBC Direct Investing client, covered via Global News here.  If you’ve got an account open that you’ve forgotten about, you may want to look closely at what you’re being charged by keeping the account open (you can check out our fee comparison page here).  We looked at the latest news story evolving in markets, complicated orders, and the bigger issue of ‘fairness’ to all players the market.  An interesting twist to this comes from the exchange traded fund (ETF) industry and how major stock exchanges, such as the NASDAQ, are considering allowing a particular order type specifically for ETFs.  This latest turn might be an effort to restore waning investor confidence in stock markets and investing.

Lastly, just before press, there was a great piece published by Rob Carrick in the Globe and Mail (Three smart ways to find an online broker) in which gets mentioned.  Also included in this article are a couple of other sites to do some of your research on.

Best Canadian Discount Brokerage Tweet of the Week:

The best discount brokerage tweet for this week comes from @Jitneytrade for passing along a colorful article by author Michael Sincere explaining what options are.  You can read the tweet here.

Event Horizon

As mentioned in our last edition of the roundup, this Saturday October 27th (tomorrow) TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage will be putting on its Direct Investing Expo in Vancouver. There will be a number of speakers including Bob Gorman, Chief Portfolio Strategist for TD Waterhouse.  For more details click here.

Also, around the corner are a couple of other investment seminars, including an Evening with Michael Campbell featuring Tyler Bollhorn, taking place in Calgary (October 29th) and Vancouver (October 30th). Tyler will be talking about his new book, The Mindless Investor as well as giving signed copies of the book to attendees. The Small-Cap Conference (November 6th) in Vancouver just announced their speaker list and for those folks who pre-register via, they get a great bonus gift! For registration details, click here.

The People Have Spoken

The comments section on the Michael Sincere article mentioned in the Jitneytrade tweet also got some readers to chime in on whether or not options are easy as the article might suggest. Check out all the comments here.

Canadian Discount Brokerage Jobs

On the hiring front, there are a couple of more positions that Canadian discount brokerages are trying to fill. Sometimes the hiring pools can be indicative of things to come, as we see from the job positions popping up this week.

Qtrade recently announced that they’re looking to hire a Content Strategist and writer.  Qtrade has been  a bit quieter in the social media arena, but it looks like they’re prepping to step into it along with these other discount brokerages.

Questrade is looking for some extra hands in the form of New Accounts Specialists to help for the upcoming RSP rush (yup it’s around the corner).  If you’ve ever been curious to know what it’s like to work as a service agent for Questrade or what it is that they are tasked to do for you as a client, check out the posting we found here.

RBC Direct Investing is also looking to add an Assistant Manager to their Investor Centre staff in downtown.  Interestingly, according to the posting, “main objectives of this position and all activities conducted within the Investor Centres are to drive new client acquisition, consolidate assets from existing clients, and to increase the profitability of each client.”

Posted on

The Mindless Investor – preview

mindless investorIn his soon to be released book, The Mindless Investor, Tyler Bollhorn goes ‘head to head’ with the biggest enemy of most stock traders: their common sense. According to the main theme of the book, if you try to use your head you won’t get ahead and that is because, as Tyler puts it, “without understanding what drives stock prices and how your decisions are affected by the stress of risk-taking, you can only do well in the market if you’re lucky.”

The book itself will cover quite a bit of ground, with chapter topics that could (and should) form a list of good trader habits to tape to one’s wall. Topics such as “never fall in love”, “let your profits run” and “stop working hard” are gems that most experienced traders will tell you they’ve had to learn the hard way. Certainly picking up a book written by an experienced trader is a much cheaper way to learn some of the valuable lessons many traders end up paying much more to learn.

While it is formally set to launch early next year, Tyler has been providing snapshots of the Mindless Investor via his free newsletter at and will be offering an early look at the book to attendees of the upcoming sessions with Michael Campbell in Calgary on October 29th and Vancouver on October 30th.

To get a few tips from Tyler on using ‘uncommon sense’, check out our interview with him here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Complicated orders? Maybe we do need to call security

complicated ordersToday’s daily stumble landed an interesting article about the “complicated” stock market order types and the alleged preferential order routing taking place by institutional traders for preferred clients.  While this would be another bombshell if it is true, I would question whether it is entirely surprising.

The reality of stock markets is that they are filled with armies of programmers and mathematicians. The same technological innovations that have enabled competitors to enter the discount brokerage market and drive down commission pricing, have also enabled new methods of extracting value from financial transactions.  If, as the exchanges claim, the data feeds and order types are all efficiently published, then the system as a whole is transparent and there is no harm being done. In this case, there happens to be sophisticated market observers who could give themselves a mathematical advantage by monitoring how, where and when a trade gets executed. Perhaps they’re just simply doing their homework. Should they be penalized for that?  The crux of the debate, I believe, will come down to whether any systematic preferential routing is taking place or if there are just some savvier participants taking advantage of the rules.  Unless there are some clear smoking gun emails, however, it won’t be easy for regulators to untangle that at all.

The competition in the stock market is true of competition in most places – it drives innovation. Even though seeking an advantage at the expense of ‘fair play’ isn’t exactly ethical, neither are stock markets.  It sort of brings to mind all the ‘diving’ we often witness in professional soccer (and sometimes hockey too) – some of the “best” players do it and leave it to the referees to enforce it and even though fans might be outraged once in a while, they keep watching and the game keeps on going.   Of course, as the MADtv character Bon Qui Qui so elegantly points out here, sometimes complicated orders can cause all kinds of problems too, and the right call is to call in security.

Posted on Leave a comment

Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – Oct. 20th 2012

Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup

From the Canadian discount brokerages, this past week saw the launch of a new contest by Questrade  called “Ring the bell with Questrade”.  Winners of the contest will get to ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite and round trip airfare to New York City, three nights’ accommodation and $500 in spending money. For contest details you can click here.   TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage officially announced the Thinkorswim Canada platform (which readers of already heard about a few days earlier here).  Some feature upgrades to the services at BMO Investorline earlier this month include the Recognia-based Technical InsightTM Tool being deployed (you can read the news release here).  Recognia’s tools are a popular offering amongst many Canadian discount brokerages and provide technical analysis tools and screening for major stock indices in Canada and the US.

For the US discount brokers, several discount brokerages reported their quarterly earnings.  While Schwab reported a third quarter profit increase of 12 percent, the interesting stats were the drop in revenue trades (down 19% year over year) and a huge 61% drop in new brokerage accounts opened compared to last year. Full details on the Schwab release can be found here. Etrade also reported their earnings which came in lower than expected, and also saw a 61% drop in new accounts vs last quarter.  Interactive Brokers also reported a decrease in their earnings year over year and while new accounts grew 11% year over year, they too seem be suffering from decreased trading volumes (19% lower year over year).  TD Ameritrade reports later this month. For a quick overview of the US discount brokerage stocks, check out this Forbes article here.

On the hiring front, social media folks take note. There appears to be some opportunities to work for a couple of Canadian discount brokerages if you’re so inclined.

Best Canadian Discount Brokerage Tweet of the Week

This week’s best tweet comes from @nationalbank (on behalf of National Bank discount brokerage) via their content partners at @DesautelsMcGill.  The article, entitled ‘knowledge investing: the path to safer returns – part 1’ takes a look through the lens of value investing and the role that knowledge can play in selecting potential investments. You can access @nationalbank’s tweet here.

Event Horizon

This Saturday October 27th TD Waterhouse will be putting on its Direct Investing Expo in Vancouver. There will be a number of speakers including Bob Gorman, Chief Portfolio Strategist for TD Waterhouse.  For details click here.

The People Have Spoken

The following thread on Canadian money forum discussing the launch of ThinkorSwim Canada saw some good tips on the platform and eligibility along with the usual digs/cheers for favourite platforms.

Posted on Leave a comment

Name: Investing Blog



The investing section of’s blog is a great source for educational articles on the stock market or investing.  Most of the articles are aimed at general or beginner American  audiences so they are good ‘starter’ sources. The content itself comes from a number of different sources and appears to update information weekly.

Posted on 1 Comment

10 Questions Investors Might be Too Embarrassed to Ask

While wading through the internet today, I came across this post on  It is the first of a two part series authored by, an investor information site, and it describes 10 questions that investors might feel a bit sheepish about asking.   The questions that are brought up could take up entire chapters or even books to fully answer, so these brief answers are a good starting point to exploring these questions.  The questions the article covers are provided below.

  1. Am I missing out by not investing in stocks?
  2. How do I find research by analysts and how would I know if an analyst is any good?
  3. What are the most important indicators of a stock’s health?
  4. What’s a dividend?
  5. If I hear about an upcoming IPO, how can I buy into it?
  6. I always hear about investors shorting a stock. What does that mean?
  7. What are the differences between preferred and common stocks?
  8. What’s a decent return for nonprofessional investors?
  9. Can I invest in a hedge fund? Should I?
  10. What’s an ETF and why should I care?

Posted on Leave a comment

Is Buy and Hold Gold or Mold?

An ongoing debate for investors is whether or not the strategy of “buy and hold” is better or worse than trying to time the market.  The advocates for each side of this debate are fairly passionate about their positions which makes it difficult for retail investors to sift through the numbers that “support” each side.  Even so, there are some interesting points to reflect on in the following infographic (originally found here) that attempts to explain the decision making tendencies of retail investors.

The crux of the infographic is that most investors are far too emotional when it comes to making investment choices, falling victim to their own mental trappings.  Biases such as loss aversion, mental accounting, overconfidence, anchoring and sunk cost fallacies can all interfere with the ability to stick to a defined strategy.

Even though the ‘solution’ offered is to stick to a long-term investment plan, doing so is much easier said than done.  Plans are only as good as the discipline to implement them, which is something short-term traders, market timers and buy-and-hold investors could all agree on.


buy and hold

Source: via SFO on Pinterest

Posted on Leave a comment

Investing Online Resource Center

Investing online resource center Today I came across a great educational tool for individual investors curious about online investing.   The investing online resource center (IORC) was designed to to be a source of noncommercial information about investing online and was created by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).  While it is still online, the IORC does not seem to be updated anymore.  Even so, there is a useful section for beginner investors to check out called the “investing simulation center” which contains three interactive modules:

  • Find out what it’s like to trade online
  • Learn how margin accounts work
  • Don’t get burned: Spot the hype

Overall the modules are both interactive and informative.  My biggest recommendation is to turn down the volume when going through the modules as there is a constant strange techno “music” playing in the background (and there is no way I found to turn it off). Also, the modules are flash based (mac users take note).


About the Daily Stumble
This section provides links to interesting websites or resources that we uncover as we scour the internet and beyond for the best stock market education resources for investors.