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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – July 26, 2013

It’s hard to believe but July is almost coming to an end.  As it rounds out though, there seemed to be a spike in the interest by self-directed investors in asking about discount brokerages.  With US stock indices such as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones continuing to push all-time highs, it seems like Canadian investors are taking notice.  In this week’s roundup we cover a couple of the news stories on discount brokerages getting dinged for regulatory infractions and take a tour of the discount brokerage conversations in the forums.

Brokerages Behaving Badly

The list of discount brokerages getting dinged for violating market rules continues to grow. This past week the terms of the settlement between the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and two different discount brokerages were published and continued to show that breaking the rules isn’t cheap.  Since May of this year, over $400,000 in fines (including costs) have been handed out against a number of brokerages including Scotia Capital Inc, parent of Scotia iTrade ($160,000), Questrade ($80,000), Interactive Brokers ($60,000), and JitneyTrade ($100,000).

As part of Jitneytrade’s settlement agreement, they admitted that between February 2011 and February 2012 they:

 “failed to implement an appropriate trade supervision system reasonably well designed to prevent and detect violations of UMIR requirements for the size and nature of its Direct Market Access Clients’ business, contrary to UMIR 7.1 and Policy 7.1”

Jitneytrade was fined $90,000 for the infraction and also paid $10,000 in costs to IIROC.

IIROC also published the settlement agreement between itself and Interactive Brokers. As part of that agreement, Interactive Brokers was penalized $50,000 (plus $10,000 to IIROC for costs) for violations of UMIR 7.1 and Policy 7.1 between November 2007 and April 2008.

Opening Remarks

The forums were buzzing this past week with questions about discount brokerage services and comparisons.  In particular, two postings on account openings in different forums caught my eye. The two different brokerages in those postings were TD Direct Investing and Interactive Brokers. Interestingly, Interactive Brokers came up in a couple of different threads indicating it was on the minds of more than a couple of different forum users.

In the Canadian Money Forum, the user “2tire2work” posed the question of whether or not he/she should open a TD Direct Investing (TD Waterhouse) account.

Several of the forum users provided insight on where the original poster (OP) could find additional resources to get started and how to tell apart some of the jargon regarding types of fees and commissions.  The explanation of management expense ratios (MERs) was well done and an important concept for those with a buy and hold approach to understand. To read the full posting click here.

While Interactive Brokers came up in a couple of different forum discussions this past week, one of the best discussions on using Interactive Brokers came from the RedFlagDeals investing forum. Specifically, the user ‘Error916’ asked the forum users for their thoughts on using Interactive Brokers and what some alternatives would be for discount brokerages offering registered accounts (because Interactive Brokers Canada doesn’t currently support registered accounts).

In particular, a couple of users pointed out the restrictions on Canadian margin amounts as well as the account funding requirements for those considered to be ‘pattern day traders’, considerations that those looking to Interactive Brokers should be aware of.   To read the full thread, click here.

That’s it for this week’s roundup. If you would like to check out the other forum links discussing discount brokerages from this past week you can click the links below.  Have a great weekend!

Canadian Money Forum: Short Seller Friendly Broker

Financial Webring Forum: Interactive Brokers Thread

RedFlagDeals Investing Forum: Online Brokerages that Allow Norbert’s Gambit

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