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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – January 31st, 2014

Orange is the new BeebsAs January comes to an end, looking back on all of the deals and announcements from discount brokerages, it seems like that there was way more drama amongst the brokerages than even Justin Bieber could muster up.  And if this past week is any indication of what’s ahead, February will see discount brokerages pushing to make headlines of their own.

Even though January was coming to an end, the Chinese New Year was just beginning and with it came deal announcements from two bank-owned brokerages as well as a dysfunctional relationship themed commercial just in time for Valentine’s Day.   Online brokerages were also in the spotlight for other reasons too as a pair of articles on trading traps and practice accounts came across our radar.  Finally, with all the deals now flying around a great forum post gives some perspective on how many free trades are enough.

Giddy Up

BMO InvestorLine kicked off the year of the horse with the launch of the traditional Chinese version of its website as well as with a cash-back promotion for $88.   Interestingly, BMO is also offering a deal with a slightly better payout of $100 alongside this promotion which makes it a bit of a tough call for investors who have to decide between being richer or potentially being lucky.  For full deals info, check out the discount brokerage promotions section here.

Caught in a Bad Romance

Also, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, it looks like BMO InvestorLine is pulling out all the stops with a relationship-themed video about choosing an online broker.  We spotted this video (see below) posted on Vimeo by what looks to be the agency associated with the commercial.  While having more than one brokerage is common for many investors, it’s an interesting to see the already intense marketing battle for brokerage clients heat up and move to video.

BMO InvestorLine – “A BMO InvestorLine Love Story”

Love for a Limited Time

Earlier this week, CIBC Investor’s Edge also ran a promotion alongside their Client Appreciation Day (Jan. 30th) in which they offered a very limited time offer of $400 for $50,000 deposits or $200 for $25,000 deposits.   Those wanting to access the deal for the online brokerage had to go into a CIBC branch to sign up.

Some Strings Attached

A pair of interesting articles for DIY investors crossed our radar this past week.  The first one from Yahoo Finance was about the traps that investors can get lured into by ‘low fee’ brokerages, especially in the context of TFSA accounts.   While there were some important points about avoiding over trading, another key point highlighted that DIY investors should decide what features or services are most important to their needs before deciding on commission price alone.

Another article from the Financial Post also geared towards self-directed investors had to do with practice trading accounts.  One of the central messages of the article is that practice accounts are better equipped to train investors on order entry rather than becoming savvy investors.  While somewhat true, there is definite value in being able to test and develop one’s discipline levels in a simulated environment rather than with actual cash.  As the famous investment saying goes, “if you don’t know what kind of investor you are, the stock market is an expensive place to find out.”

From the Forums

 Champagne Problems

Whether or not free trades are an incentive for those opening an online brokerage account depends on what kind of investor you’re talking about.  In this forum post from Canadian Money Forum, it is interesting to see that in spite of having 60 commission-free trades, one investor couldn’t really come up with trade ideas to use them on before the trade offer expired.  This highlights that sometimes how long a ‘free trade’ is available for might be more valuable than how many are offered.

That does it for this week’s roundup.  It will certainly be an exciting weekend for those keen on catching the Super Bowl.  For a fun read on picking Super Bowl champs using investing strategies, check out this link.  Let’s see if the Seahawks can buck this trend.  Have a great weekend!

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Digging, Dollars & Donuts – VRIC 2014 Event Review

Pic_EventReview_20140129_VRIC_Brochures_webIf there’s any good news to be found in the junior mining sector, it’s that those companies struggling to stay afloat are still around to struggle.  While the weight of negative news and uncertain forecasts still weighed on investors, this year’s Vancouver Resource Investment Conference (VRIC) nonetheless contained an interesting cross section of attitudes about where things in the junior mining space ‘go from here.’

Who Showed Up

As Western Canada’s largest junior mining & exploration conference, VRIC tends to pull in investors (both retail and institutional) interested in the companies in this sector.  In keeping with years past, this year’s conference was a two-day affair and featured a number of great guest speakers, company presentations, panel discussions and exhibitors.  Although attendance numbers were lower this year (~6000 investors, 2000-3000 exhibitor staff), many of the exhibitors were pleased with the crowd turnout.  In addition to the mining crowd, two discount brokerages had booths at this event: TD Direct Investing and Disnat (now Desjardins Online Brokerage). Unlike year’s past however, there were no really big conference promos although TD Direct Investing did have a draw for 2 hours of investing lessons 1 on 1 with one of their reps.

Pic_EventReview_20140129_CSE_Pavillion_webSome Highlights

A few noteworthy additions for this year included a couple of pavilions. The “Yukon” pavilion was abuzz with events and keynote speakers highlighting business development opportunities in the Yukon. As part of their rebranding campaign, the Canadian Securities Exchange (formerly the CNSX) had a very busy pavilion owing to the combination of some feature CSE listed companies, a big screen TV and an impromptu tailgate party during the Seahawks & 49ers game.  A great little guide was also produced this year by Cambridge House which contained the forecasts for 2014 from 18 thought leaders in the resource space. In addition to mining companies, media & analysts, there were a variety of organizations exhibiting covering everything from corporate social responsibility to crowd funding.

Digging In

Many attendees, exhibitors and speakers appear to agree that times for junior mining companies are bad.  As one mining company executive waiting in line for the conference said, “we’re hanging on by our fingernails.”   The attitude amongst company owners appeared to be, “if we’re fighting that means we’re not dead.”    Whether it’s resilience or denial, the mood amongst companies is to ‘hang on’ for as long as possible.

For investors in these companies, the case for mining and exploration companies spending valuable cash can seem somewhat tenuous.  On the one hand, if they’re not working with the cash, what is it doing? On the other, the timing for pushing forward on certain projects just doesn’t make economic sense.  The market seems equally as disoriented. For example, one mining company executive recounted when they announced that they’d shuttered their spending on exploration/development, they saw a bump in their share price.

Dollars Matter More Than Ever

In a challenging market such as this one, the laws of the investment jungle apply more than ever.  The strong will survive and the weak, no matter how ‘good’ the projects may be, will fall victim to either predators or circumstance.

What was interesting about this year’s VRIC is that there was a mix of both predator and prey in the same room.  Larger investors made no secret of their joy of being able to find undervalued and distressed assets. Analysts and guest speakers (even the usually bearish ones) also suggested that buying opportunities exist in quality companies/projects so long as you’re willing to do the homework to find them.  Perhaps that was cold comfort to some of the strategically weaker companies.  Still doing homework is part of the investment process. To that end, there were many analysts as well as several of the companies in the room, most notably Tickerscores, who have emerged with some interesting tools to help make the job of screening & identifying promising candidates substantially easier.

Pic_EventReview_20140129_VRIC_Donuts_webDo(nut) be Fooled

One of the great tips from the Tickerscores presentation for those interested in the junior mining & exploration space was to question management about how much cash the company has (not just the cash from financing either) to ride out this storm.  For investors, it is best to be aware that many company representatives report ‘sugar coated’ versions of events so be sure to do careful analysis of the company, ask management pointed questions and assess the sector  before considering these investments.

What’s in Store for 2014

Despite the lower turnout, this year’s VRIC crowd was especially enthusiastic to hear popular analysts/speakers giving their reasons to stay out of or dip into these markets.  While investors wait and watch to see what 2014 brings to the junior mining space, Cambridge House announced that investors can now also look forward to a tech investment conference (Cantech) being brought to Vancouver in June (June 12, 2014) shortly after the World Resource Investment Conference.   Either way, for those still in the game by their fingernails, it’s going to be a long winter ahead.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – January 24, 2014

Online brokerage marketing departments are madly working away this JanuaryThe temperatures are down. The loonie is down. The markets are down.  And while it seems like the “polar vortex” was busy cooling things off this past week, the action at the marketing departments of Canadian discount brokers was heating up.

In this week’s roundup, we cover the reaction from several online brokerages to RBC Direct Investing’s big price drop as well as where the new battleground for brokers appears to be emerging. In addition, we’ll also take a look at what was buzzing in the investor forums.

Price vs Value

The major announcement by RBC Direct Investing regarding their change in commission pricing has been making waves across the industry and with self-directed investors.   Now that a major Canadian financial institution has decided to lower (and simplify) their pricing structure, both the independent brokerages and the bank-owned brokerages will have to decide how best to respond.   For some, it will be with lower prices whereas other online brokerages will try to demonstrate the value of their customer service, new features or trading platforms.

Look at Me Now

Take for example, the announcement from Questrade. Even though earlier this month they had already reduced their minimum trading commissions for their active trader plan from $0.95 down to $0.01 (to match Virtual Brokers’ announcement last year), they nonetheless put out a press/marketing release reaffirming their traditional position as a low-cost online trading option.   Similarly, BMO InvestorLine also took to the news/marketing release to inform Canadians that a large portion of investors use technology to improve their lives and that they consume investing information online.  In addition to mentioning the technological strength of BMO InvestorLine, that same release also highlighted the AdviceDirect service they offer.

What does the Client Rep Say?

Another interesting angle to this story is the timing of all of these announcements.  Earlier in January, Dalbar Canada released their discount brokerage service award results (click here for a review of the 2013 Dalbar award).  As it happens, RBC Direct Investing narrowly edged out HSBC InvestDirect to take top spot for this year’s award.   This past week, however, another brokerage ranking from financial research firm Surviscor painted a less flattering picture of email response time from RBC Direct Investing.  According to Surviscor’s customer email responsiveness assessment, Qtrade ended up having the highest ranking for customer email responsiveness among Canadian online brokerages, whereas RBC Direct Investing was ranked 12th.  As with other rankings and assessments, it is interesting to see firms that rank highly in one assessment underperform in another – something that can generate confusion amongst consumers (see the following link for a fuller explanation of ranking of Canadian online brokerages).

Ultimately, what all discount brokerages understand is that it is what clients say to other clients about their experience with a brand that truly matters.  To that end, many brokerages may start paying more attention to what customers are saying in order to improve the services offered.

From the Forums

The Financial Webring forum has undergone a brand refresh and is now known as the “Financial Wisdom Forum”.   According to the homepage announcement, the change in the layout was done to help users on mobile devices have a better experience navigating from the homepage to forums and their financial wiki or “finiki” as they call it. The forum still exists and can be accessed via the menu at the top of the homepage.

Baby, It’s Cold Inside

Of course, before wrapping up this week’s roundup, there was a thread on Canadian Money Forum regarding TFSAs and commission fees for trades.  A new user to the forum, wanted some clarification on where the fees for commissions came from when trading in the TFSA.  The group not only offered an answer but also a look at how things work (and used to work) with RRSP accounts too.

That does it for this week’s roundup.  On another note, today also happens to be the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Apple Macintosh.  Going into to the weekend it’s amazing to think how so much has changed in so little time including the share price as laid out in the (now dated) infographic below.   To see Apple’s birthday tribute, click here.

Apple Stock History

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Review: Dalbar Canada’s Direct Brokerage Service Award 2013

For individual investors, shopping for an online trading account often requires doing a fair amount of research and comparison between brokerages.  While commissions & fees are the most important factor investors consider when choosing an account, what it’s like to be a client of a particular brokerage is also something many investors are often curious about.

Dalbar Award For Discount Brokerage Customer ServiceFortunately for self-directed investors, one Canadian research firm (Dalbar Canada) measures client experience for most of the Canadian discount brokerages as part of their direct brokerage service evaluation (DBSE) program.  As part of the DBSE, Dalbar Canada also recognizes the high achievers in their evaluation with their Direct Brokerage Service Award.

Earlier this year, Dalbar Canada announced  the two highest performing brokerages on the DBSE:  RBC Direct Investing and HSBC InvestDirect.

Quick Overview

In our previous two-part series explaining the Dalbar Direct Brokerage Service Evaluation, we looked in detail at how the evaluation takes place including the components that go into defining ‘client experience’ at discount brokerages.   Here is a brief overview of why client experience still remains an important feature to track when comparing discount brokerages.

More than Just Price

With competition amongst online brokerages increasing, many of them (especially bank-owned brokerages) have adopted very similar pricing models.  Thus, comparing discount brokerages by price alone may not provide enough information for potential clients to make a decision. Going forward, shoppers will have to turn to the other features of a brokerage (such as client experiences) in order to evaluate how ‘good’ they believe the fit will be.

For those shopping for an online trading account, the only somewhat reliable ways to find out about client experiences have been through third party research/reviews and/or from other investors via investor forums or friends, family and colleagues.  The Dalbar Direct Brokerage Service Award is therefore unique in its focus on client experience and tries to provide a picture of what clients can expect from a brokerage when connecting via phone or email.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – January 17, 2014

Wilson vs KaepernickStaying on top of all of the discount brokerage action going on this January feels a bit like chasing either Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick around the field.  The competition between these two elite quarterbacks pales in comparison, however, to that of Canadian brokerages.

This past week saw a game-changing commission drop announcement by a major bank-owned online brokerage that has probably got the other brokerages scrambling.  Against the backdrop of that news, there were still yet more deals being announced and the investor forums were ablaze with cheers and jeers on what it all means.    Let’s kickoff this week’s roundup with the biggest news from RBC.

RBC Direct Investing Drops Commission Pricing

It was tough to measure what dropped further this week: the prices for commissions at RBC Direct Investing or the jaws of their competitors.  RBC lowered the boom this week with their announcement that their standard commission rate is now $9.95 flat for all clients.   The reactions were swift across social media and on forums as to the gravity of this announcement and what it means for investors as well as the discount broker competitors.  While most of the reactions were positive, there were reactions from some individuals that felt that customer service wait times would be bogged down by the flood of new clients.

How things play out is only something we can wait and watch however to put it into perspective, the price drop from ~$29 down to $9.95 puts RBC Direct Investing’s commission pricing in line with that of the lowest cost discount brokerages – Questrade and Virtual Brokers.  The fact that they’re offering $9.95 flat means that in some instances, RBC may be cheaper because they won’t be passing through ECN fees.  Of course, in addition to lowering the price, they’ve also simplified it.  Gone are the days of elaborate calculations as to what the commission charge will be for a stock under a certain price and of a certain order size.

In a nutshell, while investors stand to benefit from the move and for RBC Direct Investing’s competitors, especially the lower cost brokerages, are going to have to get very creative and/or very efficient. Introducing steep inactivity fees or raising fees is no longer a viable strategy going forward.  For RBC’s larger bank-owned peers, if mortgage-rates were any indicator, the lowering/simplifying of standard commission fees is now just a matter of time.

January is Deal-icious for Discount Brokerage Accounts

Staying on the RBC Direct Investing theme, the cherry on the sundae was the announcement that RBC Direct Investing is also offering up 20 commission-free trades with a new sign up. These trades can be used for up to 90 days after account funding.   Co-incidentally, HSBC InvestDirect also quietly put a deal back on their homepage.  In HSBC’s case, for accounts that switch over to them, InvestDirect is willing to cover up to $150 of transfer fees and offer 5 commission-free equity trades.  Click the following link to learn more about the latest discount brokerage deals & promos. Both RBC and HSBC were recipients of top honors in the Dalbar direct brokerage client service evaluation, the results of which were announced last week.

From the Forums

Canadian investor forums were ablaze with the move by RBC to lower their commissions.   As the time draws closer to the RSP deadline for this year, the interest level and topics of discussion will start to pick up as they did this week.

The Wave

There were more than a few threads that were started in response to the RBC Direct Investing commission announcement.  Here are two of the more popular ones from Canadian Money Forum and from RedFlagDeals.

Going Solo

In this post from Canadian Money Forum, forum user ‘intricated’ contemplates how to make the jump from having a financial advisor to going it alone.  Find out some of the hazards and experiences other users flagged as being important when deciding to become a DIY investor.

Thanks for going the distance on this one.  Have a great weekend and of course, go Seahawks.

Go Wilson

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – January 10, 2014

This week it was bone-chillingly cold everywhere in Canada except for the discount broker deal space (and maybe Vancouver).  Several big promotions heated up the deals space this week in what is likely a sign of the fierce competition for self-directed investors’ assets to come this RSP deadline season.   Just in time for all that were a couple of big announcements too. One from a discount broker lowering their commission fees and another from a discount brokerage customer service evaluation. Closing out the roundup, we’ll take a look at the investor forums for some valuable lessons for those venturing into wild west of online trading.

Discount Brokerage Promotion Bonanza

As many readers may know, the discount brokerage deals section is one of the most popular places for investors looking for an online trading account to review.  This month however, there has been an unusual spike in activity, including from some usually dormant brokerages (such as Qtrade & Credential Direct for example).

On the whole, it looks like it’s a bench clearing deal brawl with BMO InvestorLine, Credential Direct, Qtrade and Scotia iTrade all launching some kind of contest, promotion or deal. Before the hockey tickets & cash settle, there are some insider sources that have mentioned some very big discount brokerage deals still to come.

The Gloves are Off

In a related vein, this past week  Questrade dropped the gloves (and their commission fees) in the competition to offer Canada’s lowest trading commissions.  Following Virtual Brokers’ lead a few months ago, Questrade too has now lowered their minimum commission on a trade down to a penny (on their active trader plan).

There is likely more to come from these two brokerages as RSP season heats up however the title of having the lowest commission in Canada is now one that Virtual Brokers will have to share.

Service with a Smile

Now that January is here, it is time for Dalbar’s online brokerage customer service award announcement.  This year things are a bit different with two brokerages being named as providing, in Dalbar’s assessment, leading customer service.

The two brokerages coming out on top of the field were HSBC InvestDirect (who earned the honor the previous year) and RBC Direct Investing.  Last year’s race was a close one so it is not a big surprise that these two brokerages find themselves atop the field for best customer service this year.

From the Forums:

With more people deciding to spend their time indoors, more than a few of them found their way into the investment forums.  As with the weather, winter can provide its own investing lesson: bundling up can save you a bundle.  Here are this week’s cautionary winter tales from the forums.

Limited Exposure

In this post, one user finds out the hard way about the difference between market orders and limit orders.  Of course, with many investors it’s learning by trial and error however here’s how the community stepped in to clarify when and how order types matter.

Getting out of the Driveway

Even with many of the advances in opening up discount brokerage accounts, there is still a natural drag of transfer time and reporting that seems misplaced in this world of instant everything. In this post from the RedFlagDeals investing forum, a user getting started with Interactive Brokers gets a little helpful informational nudge from fellow forum users.

That does it for this week’s roundup.  Be sure to check out the deals section regularly as this month is probably going to continue to see more deals announced.  Have a great weekend!

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – January 3, 2014

Winter is Here

Welcome to the first discount brokerage roundup of 2014.  Unfortunately for Canadian and US equity markets, the reception to the new year was about as warm as the Toronto winter was this past week.  Thankfully though, January looks like it will be a hot month for activity for Canadian discount brokerages.

In this week’s roundup, we’ll take a look at trading metrics from December, a new name for a growing Canadian stock exchange, some of the whispers going around the Canadian discount brokerage space and finally we’ll top things off a hearty serving of interesting investor forum posts.

Interactive Brokers’ Trading Metrics for December

As it is the beginning of a new month, the trading volumes and account metrics for one of North America’s largest discount brokerage firms (Interactive Brokers) were published for December of 2013. Trading activity improved on both an annual and month-over-month basis for Interactive Brokers across several important categories such as Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTs), customer equity, margin loan balances and new accounts.   Of particular interest is the average commission (including fees) per equity trade, which came in at $2.46. With these rates in mind, Canadian discount brokerages commission rates (especially at the bigger bank-owned brokerages) still have room to fall and so it will be interesting to monitor how long they will continue to hold out at their current pricing.

CNSX Becomes The Canadian Securities Exchange

Although the roll-out hasn’t officially hit full stride, Canada’s second largest stock exchange, the CNSX, is rolling into 2014 with a change to its name and logo. Going forward the CNSX will now be known as The Canadian Securities Exchange or The CSE.   We’ll continue to provide more information on what the change will mean for the exchange and what the impact will be to retail investors.  The new website can be found (appropriately) at

A Busy January for Canadian Discount Brokerages

The start of 2014 is bringing with it a flurry of activity from the Canadian discount brokerages.  Either late next week or shortly thereafter the winners for Dalbar’s Direct Brokerage Service Award are expected to be announced.   Recall that last year HSBC InvestDirect received the award displacing the multi-year winner in discount brokerage customer service RBC Direct Investing.

This year the format of the direct brokerage service award has changed slightly to include additional electronic service touch points such as chat.  Along with the announcement it is likely that the winner(s) will probably have some promotional campaign. We’ll keep on top of the results for that award as & when they are released.

In addition to the award announcement, there are whispers of a discount brokerage about to launch a major deal for self-directed investors.   Unfortunately we’ll just have to wait on the details however we expect that several brokerages will likely have to come up with something creative to match the proposed offer.  We’ll be sure to monitor & report on the deal announcement(s) as they unfold.

From the Investor Forums

This week saw a big return of individuals back into the investor forums.  While many topics were about the predictions for 2014, there were a number of great discount brokerage related topics.

Is Bigger Better?

In this thread from the Canadian Money Forum, there was a very interesting discussion about the importance of considering the size and/or stability of a discount broker when opening an account.

Growing the Pizza & Beer Fund

Even though for many university and college students, money is tight, there are still opportunities to learn about investing.  In this post from RedFlagDeals, one young investor is shopping around for a discount broker that fits the needs and realities of a student.

That’s it for this first week of 2014.  Bundle up out there and think warm thoughts!

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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – January 2014

[Updated: Jan 31/2014] *While we thought the beginning of January would be a busy time for deals, we didn’t know it would be THIS crazy. Since the beginning of the month there have been quite a few big announcements. Read below for more details* Welcome to the first discount brokerage deals post of 2014! 2013 was a great year for self-directed investors looking for deals & promotions when opening an online trading account. This past year the promos pitched from Canadian discount brokerages included:

  • commission rebates
  • cash back offers
  • referral bonuses and
  • other incentives (such as AirMiles and iPad minis)

If 2013 was any indication, this year’s competition for new accounts will be even more fierce amongst discount brokerages. Coming into 2014 one discount brokerage (Questrade) actually went so far as to launch a week-long promotion on Boxing Day.  So, while several discount brokerages have extended the deadlines on existing offers well into 2014, they may need to adjust that strategy if/when more aggressive offers start showing up. In terms of timing, with RRSP season right around the corner, there is a good chance DIY investors are going to see some interesting offers surface in the near future.  And on that note, let’s launch into the first deals post for 2014.

Expired Deals

The end of December took with it a couple of discount brokerage deals. First, the TD Direct Investing offer of 50 free trades (which expired on Dec. 20th) and also somewhat mysteriously, the HSBC InvestDirect 50 trade offer.  Why the mystery? Just before the end of the month HSBC InvestDirect had extended the deadline for their offer into March of 2014 however at the writing of this post (on Jan. 1) the offer has been removed from their website. We’ll stay on top of this one to see if the offer does come back in 2014.

Pending Deals

[Update: Jan 2/2014 – Scotia iTrade has now updated terms and conditions with a new expiry date on the refer-a-friend offer. This deal has now been moved to the extended deals section] The Scotia iTrade refer-a-friend offer is back in this section at the time of writing (Jan. 1). The Scotia iTrade website shows the offer available but the terms and conditions are not yet updated beyond Dec. 2013. We’ll check back to see if they extend this offer again and to what date.

Extended Deals

The trend towards extending deals continues with two discount brokerages.  First, Disnat has extended the deadline on their $300 commission credit offer out until the end of March 2014.  Second, BMO InvestorLine has extended their Refer-a-Friend promotion offer well out into next year with the new deadline for this offer being October of 2014. [Updated: Jan 2/2014 – Scotia iTrade’s refer-a-friend deal has now been extended to January 31, 2014]

New Deals

Updated: Jan 31/2014 Even though this is the last day of the January, there was another deal that caught our attention from BMO InvestorLine.  The offer is in celebration of the launch of the traditional Chinese version of the BMO InvestorLine website and also in celebration of Chinese New Year.  For this promotion, those who deposit a minimum of $25,000 may qualify for $88 cash back. See the table below for further details.

Updated: Jan 28/2014 CIBC Investor’s Edge is having a ‘flash promotion’ of sorts on top of their ‘customer appreciation’ program.  From January 26th until February 1st CIBC Investor’s Edge is  offering new clients either a) $400 and 50 equity trades for a $50,000 deposit or b)$200 cash back and 25 equity trades.  The commission-free trades are good for up to one year and they will not be charged up front (so there is no waiting for a rebate). This is an ‘in branch’ promotion that lasts until Feb 1st so unfortunately detailed terms and conditions are not available online.

Updated: Jan 27/2014 As January draws to a close, Virtual Brokers has jumped into the deal pool by offering a 25 free trade offer for new clients that are good for use for up to one year.  The minimum deposit to be eligible for this offer is $1,000.  According to the terms and conditions, the rebates for commission free trades takes place within 8 weeks of the last trade being used so the rebate depends on usage of the ‘free’ trades. Be sure to read the terms and conditions (link below) for full details.

Updated: Jan 21/2014 Another deal spotted this January is the commission credit offer by National Bank Direct Brokerage (NBDB).  NBDB is offering $500 in commission credits for new accounts opened with $20,000 or more, and a $1,000 credit for account deposits of $100,000.  Reimbursement takes place after 90 days according to the schedule laid out in their terms & conditions.

Updated: Jan 14/2014 Even though there are more deals to come for January, the offer announced today by RBC Direct Investing comes in conjunction with lowered commission-fee announcement and is most certainly going to make waves with other discount brokerages as well as with investors.  In terms of the deal, RBC Direct Investing is offering 20 commission-free trades (on equities or ETFs) that are good for up to 90 days.

Updated: Jan 13/2014 Questrade has reintroduced it’s “unlimited” trading offers once again.  With this deal, new or existing clients can get 1, 2 or 3 months of commission-free trading (depending on the deposit) when they open a new TFSA, registered or margin account.

Updated: Jan 11/2014A pair of deals/offers also released this week: Update 1: Credential Direct has an offer to waive their $50 RSP administration fee for those who deposit $5000 into their RSP account as well as $5000 into a TFSA or cash account. According to their fee sheet, Credential Direct charges an administration fee of $50 per year on RSPs with balances less than $15,000. Update 2: BMO InvestorLine has announced yet another offer this month.  They are offering cash back for those new or existing clients who open an RSP and/or TFSA accounts.  For deposits of $25,000 or more, the cash back reward is $100 and for deposits of $50,000 or more, the cash back reward is $250. This deal is not listed on the front end of the website however a link is provided to the info below.

Updated: Jan 8/2014 – There have been a number of deals/promotions announced by discount brokerages over the past 2 days.

Update 1: First up was an expected update from BMO InvestorLine. Their current offer (which expires in March 10 2014) is a bit of a twist on their previous $250/250 free trade offer. In the current promotion, the total cash rebate can be as high as $300 and 300 commission-free trades offered (up to a total maximum of $3000 in commission fees). The terms and conditions are incredibly long (~1650 words before examples) so be prepared for some reading to thoroughly understand the deal.  The examples are nicely laid out so that helps in understanding how this offer works.

Update 2: Qtrade Financial has also jumped into the promotional pool by offering a contest for new deposits. Qtrade is holding a draw for a grand prize of $10,000 open to new and existing clients who deposit at least $10,000 in cash or securities into an account.  Every $10,000 gets the depositor 1 entry into the draw. There are also monthly draws for a $1,000 Visa gift card in February, March & April.  The terms and conditions are also a bit lengthy but explain how it works well. The contest runs from January 1, 2014 to March 31, 2014. As this is purely a contest, it is not included in the table below however click here for the Qtrade Financial Best of Canada Giveaway contest.

Update 3: Scotia iTrade has launched a new promotion/contest by offering 100 commission-free trades, 60 days of their FlightDesk and chances to win tickets to the Stanley Cup finals and secondary prizes of 16GB Apple iPad Airs.  For new accounts with at least $15,000, individuals will be eligible to receive the free trades and ballots that will be entered into a draw for their grand prize as well as for the secondary prizes. As an incentive to gain additional deposits, Scotia iTrade is offering 5 ballots for every $5,000 on top of the original deposit amount that comes from a non-Scotia iTrade account.  The good news for those interested in the contest is that there is no purchase necessary in order to enter – an entry into the contest can be made from the Scotia iTrade website.  The terms & conditions along with the rules & regulations of this contest are over 2900 words (~8 pages) so there is quite a bit of material to get through to fully understand the offer. ]

Updated: Jan 2/2014 – Virtual Brokers has added a transfer fee deal in which they will cover up to $150 of the cost of transferring an account over to them (minimum deposit of $25,000)] There aren’t any new deals to report on as of Jan. 1st, however there are two deals that expire within the first week of January which means there may be some new deals to announce shortly. The deal of particular interest is BMO InvestorLine’s $250 cash back & 2 month commission-free trade offer which expires January 6th. As always if there are any new deals you hear of or if there’s any that have been missed, drop us a note here or in the comments section.

Discount Brokerage Deals

Company Brief Description Minimum Deposit Amount Commission/Cash Offer Type Time Limit to Use Commission/Cash Offer Details Link Deadline
Jitney Trade A Sparx Trading exclusive offer! Use the promo code “Sparx Trading” when signing up for a new account with Jitney and receive access to their preferred pricing package and a massive 45% discount on the Real Tick trading platform. n/a Discounted Commission Rates none For more details click here none
Open a new account with RBC Direct Investing before March 3, 2014 and they will offer 20 commission free trades that are good for use for up to 90 days. Use promo code: 20W17 when opening the account. Be sure to read the offer page and the terms and conditions page for full information. $0 20 free trades (equity & etf) 90 days For the offer page, click here and for the terms and conditions, click here March 3, 2014
Open a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) and receive $50 commission credit . Use promo code: kdkfnbbc $1,000 $50 commission credit none none none
Open an account with Virtual Brokers with a deposit at least $1,000 and Virtual Brokers will offer 25 commission free trades which can be used for up to 1 year. Use promo code “25FTNE” when signing up. This offer is open to new clients only. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for full details on this offer. $1,000 25 commission-free trades 365 days 25 free trades offer March 31, 2014
Refer a friend to Questrade and when they open an account you receive $100 and they receive $50. To receive this deal you must be an existing client with an equity account and refer a person that does not reside with you and who has not previously opened a Questrade account. $1,000 $50 commission credit (friend) $100 commission credit (referrer bonus) 60 days Refer a friend none
Open a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) by March 1 2014 A) $1000 or B) $10,000 to receive either A)10 commission-free trades or B)100 commission-free trades. The promo code QT100 must be used at time of account opening. There are many conditions attached to this offer so be sure to read the details link for more information. A)$1,000 B)$10,000 A)10 free trades B)100 free trades 60 days 100 commission-free trades March 1, 2014
Open a new TFSA, margin or registered account with Questrade and receive either A) 31 days B) 62 days or C) 90 days of unlimited commission-free stock & options trades. Use promo code UNLIMITEDW14 when signing up. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more information. A)$1,000 B)$25,000 C)$50,000 Unlimited commission-free trades during associated period. A) 31 days B) 62 days C) 90 days Questrade Unlimited Trade Promo March 3, 2014
Scotia iTrade If you refer a friend/family member who is not already a Scotia iTrade account holder to them, both you and your friend get a bonus of either cash or free trades. You have to use the referral form to pass along your info as well as your friend/family members’ contact info in order to qualify. There are lots of details/conditions to this deal so be sure to read the details link. A)$10,000 B)$50,000+ A) You(referrer): $50 or 10 free trades; Your “Friend”: $50 or 10 free trades (max total value:$99.90) B) You(referrer): $100 cash or 50 free trades; Your “Friend”: $100 cash or 50 free trades (max total value: $499.50) 60 days Refer A Friend to Scotia iTrade January 31, 2014
Deposit $5,000 into an RSP and $5,000 into either a cash or TFSA account and Credential Direct will waive the $50 administration fee for the RSP account. Be sure to contact their customer service to clarify the exact terms & conditions. $10,000 ($5000 into RSP + $5000 into TFSA/Cash account) $50 admin fee waived none 5+5 Promotion March 3, 2014
Scotia iTrade Open a new account with Scotia iTrade and fund it with at least $15,000, and you can receive 100 commission-free trades, 60 days of FlightDesk and be entered into a contest for a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals or one of 5 runner-up prizes of iPad Air (64gb). Use Promo code RS13-SCE when opening the account. Existing clients must call customer service to qualify for contest entry. There are lots of terms, conditions, and rules/regulations so be sure to read them for more details. $15,000 100 free trades ($999 max value @ 9.99 commission rate) 60 days Stake Your Claim to the Stanley Cup Promotion March 24, 2014
Transfer $15,000 from another institution into an HSBC InvestDirect account and receive 5 commission-free equity trades. This deal also offers a transfer-fee rebate of up to $150 per account transferred. $15,000 5 commission-free equity trades Trades valid for use until May 31, 2014 HSBC InvestDirect Transfer Fee Promo February 28, 2014
Open a new account before March 31, 2014 with at least a)$20,000 or b)$100,000 and National Bank Direct Brokerage will offer up to a)$500 or b)$1000 in commission fee credits. Use the promo code “CASHBACK2014” when signing up to qualify for this offer. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for this offer especially the refund dates for commission credits. A)$20,000 B)$100,000 A)$500 commission credit B)$1000 commission credit 90 days Invest and get cash back offer March 31, 2014
Scotia iTrade Open and fund a new Scotia iTRADE account with at least $25,000 before March 31, 2014 and the commissions associated with your first 100 trades placed within 60 days of the date the account is activated and funded are free. Also, the new FlightDesk platform is being offered for free for 60 days. Use promo code 100FT. See details link for further terms and conditions. $25,000 100 commission-free trades ($999 value @ $9.99 commission rate) 60 days Scotia iTrade 100 free trades + FlightDesk March 31, 2014
Open and fund a new account at CIBC Investor’s Edge with either A)$25,000 or B)$50,000 and receive either A)$200 + 25 free equity trades or B)$400 + 50 free equity trades. This is an in-branch promotion so contact either customer service or a branch for specific terms and conditions. A)$25,000 B)$50,000 A)$200 + 25 commission-free equity trades B)$400 + 50 commission-free equity trades 1 year Must visit branch to qualify February 1, 2014
BMO InvestorLine Open and fund a new RSP or TFSA account with BMO InvestorLine with either A)$25,000 or B)$50,000 and they will pay either A)$100 or B)$250 cash back. The promo code for the $100 cash back is “SELECTR100” and for the $250 cash back offer is “SELECTR250”. Be sure to read the terms & conditions for more information. A)$25,000 B)$50,000 A)$100 B)$250 Payout occurs after 6 months Registered Account Cross Sell Campaign March 31, 2014
BMO InvestorLine Open and fund a new Cash, Margin, or RSP account with BMO InvestorLine with $25,000 or more and receive $88 cash back. The promo code for the $88 cash back offer is LUNAR2014. Be sure to read the terms & conditions for more information. $25,000 $88 Payout occurs after 3 months 2014 Lunar New Year Promotion February 22, 2014
*Expired* Open a new account at Questrade by January 2, 2014 and fund it with a minimum of $25,000 to receive 25 commission-free trades which can be used throughout 2014. Use offer code BOXING13 when signing up for the account to qualify. Be sure to read the terms and conditions associated with this offer for more details. $25,000 25 commission-free trades End of 2014 Questrade Boxing Day Promo January 2, 2014
*Expired* Open and fund a new account with $25,000 or more and you will qualify for 25 free trades. The offer code changed with different visits to the site, so click through the RBC Direct Investing homepage to generate a valid code. There are a number of terms and conditions attached to this offer, be sure to read see the details link. $25,000 25 commission-free trades (no restriction on commission rate listed) 365 days 25 Free Trades Offer Terms & Conditions ; Link To generate an offer code no longer valid. none
Disnat Disnat is offering new & existing clients $300 in commission credits which can be used for up to 6 months. To be eligible, new/existing clients need to deposit $50,000 into a Disnat account. You’ll have to call 1 800 268-8471 and mention promo code Disnat300. See details link for more info. $50,000 $300 commission credit 6 months Disnat $300 Commission Credit Promo March 31, 2014
BMO InvestorLine *Expired* Open a new account or upgrade an existing account with A) $50,000 or more OR B)$100,000 or more and receive either A)250 commission-free mobile-placed trades OR B) 250 commission-free mobile-placed trades + $250 cash back. Use Promo Code: MOBILE when signing up to qualify. NOTE: There are lots of details/important conditions attached to this promotion. Be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully. A) $50,000 B)$100,000 A) 250 commission free mobile-placed trades B) 250 commission free mobile-placed trades + $250 Cash Back Payout occurs after 6 months Free Mobile Trading/Cash Back Offer January 6, 2014
BMO InvestorLine If you refer a new client to BMO InvestorLine and they open an account with a)$50,000 – $249,999 or b)$250,000+ the referrer and the referee will both receive cash. The new account must be opened with the referral code specific to the referrer. A) $50,000 – $249,000 B) $250,000+ A) You(referrer): $200; Your Friend(referee): $50 B) You(referrer): $300; Your Friend: $100 Payout occurs after 60 days (subject to conditions). Refer A Friend Terms & Conditions October 31, 2014
BMO InvestorLine [Main offer]Open a new account or deposit new funds of $100,00 or more and you can be eligible for cash rebates of $250 and 250 commission-free trades (Promo code: RSP250). [Bonus Offer] If you open a new account or fund another account you could also be eligible for an additional $50 and 50 commission-free trades (Promo code ADD50). Be sure to read the full details & terms of this offer. $100,000 (main offer) $5000 (bonus offer) [main offer] $250 cash back + 250 commission-free trades (max value $2500) [Bonus offer] $50 + 50 commission-free trades 90 days $300 + 300 trade offer March 10, 2014
Open a new account or transfer new assets of $100,000 or more and choose between receiving either a)A 16GB iPad Mini or B)$250 cash back. Be sure to choose the appropriate code (IPADMINIW13 for the iPad Mini and CASH250W13 for the cash back offer) for each offer. There are several important conditions so be sure to read the terms and conditions for this offer. $100,000 A) iPad Mini (16 GB) [~$270-320 value] B) $250 Cash Payout/iPad delivery occurs after 30 days. iPad Mini or $250 Cash Back March 1, 2014

Transfer Fee Deals

Company Brief Description Maximum Transfer Fee Coverage Amount Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee Eligibility Details Link Deadline
Transfer in $15,000 or more into an HSBC InvestDirect account from another institution, and HSBC will cover up to $150 of transfer fees per funded account. $150 $15,000 HSBC InvestDirect Transfer Fee Promo February 28, 2014
Transfer $15,000 or more to RBC Direct Investing and they will pay up to $135 in transfer fees $135 $15,000 Transfer Fee Rebate Details none
Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they’ll cover the transfer-out fee up to $150. $150 $25,000 Transfer Fee Promo none
Virtual Brokers will cover transfer fees from your transferring institution to a maximum of $150 per account. This offer is only applicable to accounts opened with at least $25,000 in equity before March 31, 2014 $150 $25,000 Transfer Fee Promo March 31, 2014
Transfer $25,000 or more to a National Bank Direct Brokerage account and they will pay up to $135 plus taxes in transfer fees $135 $25,000 Transfer Fee Rebate none
Qtrade Investor Qtrade Investor will reimburse your transfer fee up to $125 when transferring a balance of $25,000 or more. For reimbursement, please mail or fax a copy of your statement from the transferring institution that shows the transfer charge to Qtrade Investor at 604.484.2627 and indicate your Qtrade Investor account number. $125 $25,000 Transfer Fee Promo none
Disnat Disnat is offering up to $150 to cover the cost of transfer fees from another institution. To be eligible, new/existing clients need to deposit $50,000 into a Disnat account. You’ll have to call 1 800 268-8471 and mention promo code Disnat300. See details link for more info. $150 $50,000 Disnat $300 Commission Credit Promo March 31, 2014