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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – September 13, 2013

Welcome to the Friday the 13th edition of the discount broker weekly roundup.  It’s been an exciting week in the markets as news of the widely anticipated Twitter IPO became official.  This week, I’ll provide some highlights of fee drops and deal announcements that took place, followed up by a couple of interesting forum on discount broker costs.  Finally, there are a couple of examples of how “social media” is being used by discount brokerages/financial firms to connect with Canadians interested in investing.

Fee Information Gets No RESP(ect)

Earlier this week, I wrote a piece on CIBC Investor’s Edge and how they’ve waived the annual fee for the RESP for balances under $15,000.  As a quick heads up, neither the fee schedule nor the commission page have been updated as yet, however the announcement does appear on their home page.

Deal Updates

RBC Direct Investing also just recently jumped onto the deals and promotions bandwagon by offering 25 commission-free trades that can be used for up to a year.  Their marketing strategy of being able “trade free for a year” is definitely catchy however be sure to read the fine print.  To see how this offer stacks up against other discount brokerage deals, click here.

In the Forums

Forum activity has been picking up recently, with investors looking to other investors for their thoughts on market direction and particular stocks.  Along with the increase in market interest, there were a couple of discount brokerage related questions that came up about the costs at Questrade.

In this first post on Canadian Money Forum, a mini-debate was touched off by Questrade’s recent announcement to its clients that it would be raising its options assignment/exercise fee to $24.95 (flat) from $12.95.

Forum Post on Questrade Option Assignment Fee

The following post on, there was some clarification required on the actual interest rates for margin accounts.  While the original poster had their answer clarified, the follow up post shed light that Questrade’s margin interest rates are not, in fact, as cheap as other discount brokerages.  This is a good example of why it is important to understand all of the costs associated with choosing a discount brokerage and whether some tradeoffs on price make sense for the style of trading that is anticipated.

Investors and Social Media

A recent survey commissioned by BMO InvestorLine showed that investors may not find social media as reliable as “traditional media” when it comes to investing information.  Intriguing as the results were, there are more results daily of the shift in media towards the new channels, such as Twitter, Facebook and others.  The following examples from this week’s roundup seem to suggest that social media is something investors and Canadian discount brokerages, are starting to embrace more fully.

From FaceBook

While it might be hard to imagine Facebook being a source of investment information, the following example of funny video from TD shows how TD is leveraging Facebook as a way to connect with investors in their “TD Helps” forum

From Twitter

Twitter is awash in content being provided by various discount brokerages. While there is often an incentive to try and direct traffic to the brand, online brokers such as National Bank Direct Brokerage, have used Twitter to connect visitors to educational content. And they’re not alone, brokerages on Twitter such as Scotia iTrade and Virtual Brokers are also doing the same, albeit to different degrees.


As these major brands migrate more of their content onto social media channels, users may find it ‘easier’ to trust the channel if they begin to trust the personalities present on them.

That’s it for this edition of the roundup, hope everyone has a spectacular weekend!

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