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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – July 12, 2013

In this week’s discount broker roundup, we highlight an article launch, how hard it is for discount brokers to be really, really popular and the beginning of what looks to be a busy promotional battle between discount brokerages for self-directed investors’ new business.

More commission-free ETF info

Earlier this week, part 3 of the series on commission-free ETFs was released.  In it, there were some key highlights about the commission-free ETF trading offers at Scotia iTrade and Qtrade as well as some interesting stats on the dominant provider of commission-free ETFs for the various discount brokerages. To read part 3 click here.

Don’t hate me because I’m bountiful

For many discount brokerages, keeping up with compliance is simply a cost of doing business. Failure to keep up, however, usually ends up costing more.  So it seems that Interactive Brokers has been growing a little too quickly that they let the paperwork on a few of their clients slip. The US arm of Interactive Brokers got a hard lesson in keeping up with their regulatory requirements from the National Futures Association.

While the $300K fine was a small amount for a multibillion dollar company to absorb, the bigger lesson apparently is that no publicity is bad publicity.  In the official response from Interactive Brokers, a company lawyer didn’t pass up the chance to sell the features and pricing that Interactive Brokers. The press release also contained a handily placed plug of their 2013 best online broker award win.  Well-played Interactive Brokers.

Discount Brokers Making Attractive Offers

While July is usually when barbeque grills are heating up, funnily enough discount brokerage promotions have also managed to flare up all of a sudden. On the heels of the TD Direct Investing 50 trade offer expiry, Questrade, Scotia iTrade and Disnat all launched additional offers to new or existing clients.

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The biggest launch of discount brokerage deals came from Questrade where they announced they’re giving away iPad minis, commission-free trades, and…wait for it… magnets.  It seems like the marketing team from Questrade has launched the promotions war with some big guns.  Their 3 months of commission-free trading is certainly going to get the attention of their peers, however the innuendo-filled magnets may not be as ‘attractive’ as they think.

As part of Scotia iTrade’s roll out of their iPad app, they are offering clients one free trade (equity or options) for downloading and using the app. As was mused about earlier in the week in one of our tweets, with all of these touch screen devices now being used for trading, will the incidences of ‘fat-finger’ trades be on the rise?

Instead of playing the free commission game, Disnat is going with the ‘free information and research’ route. Disnat is offering 6 months free access to Michael Campbell’s Money Talks online resources for existing Disnat clients. At the end of the 6 months, subscriptions will cost $9.79 plus any extra charges for other site content (such as certain videos).

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