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Online Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – August 23 2013

As September draws nearer, Canadian discount brokers are polishing up their websites and marketing campaigns to get ready for the increased activity in the stock markets that tends to happen at the end of the year.  This past week, there have been some notable updates in the homepages and advertising campaigns of a couple of Canadian discount brokers. In addition to the discount broker activity picking up, forum activity has also continued to increase and I highlight a post about regulations investors should know about when considering non-Canadian dividend paying stocks.

Getting Freshened Up

As summer winds down, self-directed investors begin to pay more attention to the stock markets as well as to online discount brokers.  Ahead of this pickup in interest, several discount brokers have freshened up their homepages, key sections on their website and their marketing campaigns.  The trend of upgrading was started a few weeks ago when National Bank Direct Brokerage’s website added a number of elements to its new homepage.  This past week changes were spotted at RBC Direct Investing, Disnat and Qtrade.

Online Investing: Everybody’s Doing It

Following up on their campaigns comparing online investing to shoe shopping and vacation planning, RBC Direct Investing has launched another in the series of focusing on how “easy” online investing is (see screenshot below).  In the latest iteration, the angle appears to be that everybody seems to be online these days so why not invest online while you’re there – that is, of course, if you can tear yourself away from Facebook and Twitter long enough to spend time researching.

Investing Online from RBC Direct Investing

Taking a Friendlier Approach

Qtrade’s discount brokerage homepage also got a bit of a touch up recently with the stern looking investor fellow being switched out in favour of a much friendlier set of images of people having fun (see screenshot below) and the best online broker awards that Qtrade Investor has received.  With the Globe and Mail online brokerage awards around the corner, Qtrade’s previous accolades in this area are highlighted front and center and are likely to be a topic of conversation again when the reviews come out later this fall.

Online Broker Qtrade Investor - Friendlier People

The Colour of Money

Disnat’s long running $300 commission credit offer got a bit of a paint job recently. The new ad (see screenshot below) has a multi-coloured ‘gift card’ feel to it and almost makes the term ‘commission’ seem a little more fun than it should – almost.

Disnat Commission Credit Offer Gets Colourful

 Investor Forum Chatter

Slowly but surely investors are coming back to the investing forums with lots of interesting questions, experiences and ideas to share.  This week there were several conversations that dealt with dividends from US stocks/ETFs the confusion that arises from withholding taxes.

Although it doesn’t go into all of the rules/regulations behind receiving dividends from foreign sources, the following thread started by ‘SandsofTime’ on the RedFlagDeals’ forum asks about a W8-BEN form at Questrade and it highlights some important points for investors to keep in mind when considering non-Canadian dividend paying stocks. Another older article by the Globe and Mail here provides additional information on the subject.

RedFlagDeals Investor Forum Form Question

That’s it for this week’s discount broker round up.  Have a great weekend!

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