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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – August 16, 2013

As we officially cross through the halfway mark of August, interest in the markets is picking up on the forums and the discount brokerages are busy planning their September promotions.

In this week’s roundup, I recap the most recent addition to the mobile trading platform reviews; I look at a couple of brokerages gearing up for back to school; I look at which brokerage has made it easier to access registered accounts and finally I round off with some interesting conversation threads spotted on some investment forums.

Qtrade’s Mobile Website Review

This past week, the review of Qtrade’s mobile trading platform was released.  Along with a video walk-through of the mobile trading website in action, there is also a review of some of the key features of the website for mobile traders to keep in mind.  Interestingly, there was a neat article by Chuck Jaffe of MarketWatch that highlights some of the perils of having access to your trading account on your mobile phone.

Back to School Savings

With back to school on the minds of many parents, several discount brokerages are hoping that some of the savings from all of those back to school sales gets redirected into RESPs.

Throughout the week, Questrade has been trumpeting their latest promo to chip in $50 in free trades when opening a new RESP on TV as well as on Twitter.   They weren’t alone, however, with National Bank Direct Brokerage also participating in the RESP reminders earlier in the week.

Access Granted

Scotia iTrade sent out a notice to clients letting them know that it is now possible to withdraw funds from a registered account electronically instead of having to go through a client representative.  Accessing the money is a bit of a double-edged sword because while it is more convenient to transfer the money, clients need to be cautious with the transfer of funds and remember the restrictions and/or fees that come with moving money out of certain registered accounts.

On the investing forums

This past week the forum activity appears to have picked up with questions about strategies, new ETFs from Vanguard and options trading.  Interestingly there was also a post last week asking about where to find out information about Canada’s best discount brokerage but if you’re reading this article then you already know where to look 😉  Amongst all of the conversations a couple of interesting threads jumped out.

The first was an interesting question was posed on the financial webring forum earlier this month about starting to invest with an advisor. The conversation has turned into a great snapshot of the transition from advisor to do-it-yourself investor for many of the respondents

Another interesting post mentioned the customer service experience when dealing with Questrade over the phone.  As unexciting as it may sound, there are many forum posts that have mentioned the challenges individuals have encountered when dealing with their discount brokerage on the phone, with Questrade customer service catching its fair share of heat (see the topic name of the thread for example).

It was interesting to note that someone had a positive experience and then posted something positive about it demonstrating that sometimes doing things well gets noticed.  For those interested in learning more about the client service experience at discount brokerages, earlier this summer I did a special piece on Dalbar Inc, a company that specifically measures & works with discount brokerages to improve client experiences via telephone.

That’s it for this week in the discount brokerage space. Hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy what’s left of the summer!

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