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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – April 11th 2014

Between a few days of markets selling off and glitch named ‘heartbleed’ that is turning the internet upside down, it has been a tough week for anyone sitting behind a screen. For those with a view of the outdoors, however, it has probably been even tougher as the nice weather has finally started to show up in Montreal and Toronto (save the bragging Vancouver). The online brokerages may have to wait to get outside, however, as many of them were very busy this past week dropping prices, introducing products and navigating the ‘busy season’ for investors.

In this week’s roundup we look at an interesting trend highlighted by one of Canada’s largest discount brokerages. Next we look at another cost reducing product for investors, this time in the mutual fund space. A pair of updates to the deals section takes us to the halfway point. For TFSA holders, we found a great video offering tips for those trading US stocks with dividends. Finally we round out with some interesting tweets that we spotted as well as some informative forum threads.

Thoughtful Thirties

There’s something about turning 30 that makes people, and discount brokerages, a little more reflective. This past week, as part of their 30th anniversary, TD Direct Investing reflected on how the profile of the ‘typical’ investor has changed since the launch of their discount brokerage service in 1984. As part of their news release, TD Direct Investing highlighted that online investors are more diverse with younger investors and women investors forming a greater percentage of the investing population. The timing of this announcement was interesting as there were two separate articles that also highlighted the growing interest and perhaps the advantage that younger investors have in the online trading space.

Mutually Assured Discount

BMO InvestorLine recently announced the roll out of a new group of 33 discounted mutual funds, known as Series D, to online investors. Also in the announcement was the news that management fees were being lowered on the Series F products. The move by BMO InvestorLine into the low-cost mutual fund arena appears to be in line with both RBC Direct Investing and TD Direct Investing in this space.

Discount Brokerages Dealing Back In

A pair of moves in the discount brokerage promotions section over the past week signaled that competition for clients remains high.

Starting with Questrade, they have taken a seat back at the $100,000 table by introducing a cash back offer of $250.  Their iPad mini offer (or cash back) offer for deposits at this level recently expired however this latest move looks like they’re interested in buying back in.

BMO InvestorLine also checked on their $300 + 300 trade offer by further extending the deadline for this deal from April 9th to April 30th.

Little Birdies

Birds chirping is a great sign of spring.  Online however, tweets from investors across the Twitterverse can be a little less delightful. This past week there were a couple of interesting moments we spotted. First, as Questrade found out, even though the ice on the sidewalks is gone, there’s still room for tax slips to cause problems. Of course, with the warmer weather also comes a bit of heat – which is what one twitter user sent Scotia iTrade’s way when asking about the ability to route orders to the new ‘HFT – free’ exchange IEX.

No Party in the TFSA

While Miley Cyrus may enjoy rocking out in the USA, having US dividend paying stocks in a TFSA is a bit of a portfolio wrecking ball. The following video from Rob Carrick and the Investor Education Fund provides a quick overview on how to navigate the tricky waters of withholding taxes and registered accounts.

From the Forums

Bucking a Fee

In the following post from RedFlagDeals, community members were alerted to an interesting observation from an Interactive Brokers Canada client – namely that minimum monthly fees of $10 appear to be waived for clients with assets over $100,000.

D is for…

The announcement by BMO InvestorLine of a low cost mutual fund series that could rival either TD or RBC was certainly enough to get the discussion going on the forums. Interestingly while the announcement caught the attention of forum members, so too did the way in which the roll-out took place.

That does it for this week’s roundup. For those in the west – enjoy the summer, and for those in the east, brace yourselves for a potential dusting. Yes, April is still full of surprises all around. For those trying to make sense of all the heartbleed hype, here is a comical explanation:

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