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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – May 23, 2014

Even though there was a shortened work week after the Victoria Day holiday, neither the Canadian discount brokerages nor those in the SparxTrading camp wasted any time bouncing back into the action.

In this week’s roundup, we’ll reveal the big news about an exciting feature we’ve been working on. We weren’t the only ones with big news though, as pair of major online brokerages took to using the major news media as a selling tool in two different ways. Next on the menu was a new promotion by another popular online brokerage – this one aimed at younger online investors. Also, a usually quiet discount brokerage signed up with an interesting platform partner. Finally, we round out the roundup with some interesting opinions from the investor forums.

Beta be Good News

Earlier this week the long awaited update to the Canadian discount brokerage profiles rolled off the assembly line. We began the redesign by listening and researching how it is that Canadian self-directed investors were hunting for information on discount brokerages. The fruits of that research told us that Canadians were looking for a platform to learn about, share experiences on and connect to discount brokerages.

The beta versions of these pages, which are now open to the viewing public, are built around these ideas with features that make the task of researching a discount brokerage much simpler. We’ll save the deep-dive on all the new bells and whistles for a dedicated blog post, but for now, we encourage readers to take the new profiles for a spin. If there are any issues or suggested improvements, we’d love to hear them.

2014 will continue to bring some added improvements to the site in terms of function and form, so we look forward to an exciting next few months.

Desjardins Online Brokerage in the Spotlight

Earlier in the week, Desjardins Online Brokerage (aka Disnat) sponsored a special piece in the Financial Post. It was an interesting overview of the online brokerage, most notably because it was done in a Q&A style that had a particular focus on new or beginner investors.

Good Times

Scotia iTrade also announced earlier this week that they will be adding to their investor information stream by enabling iTrade clients to access content from the Financial Times. Scotia iTrade clients can now access to this information feature under the ‘investing ideas’ section. Two notable authors from the Financial Times that have syndicated content available are Gillian Tett and John Authers.

You Must Be At Least This Young

BMO InvestorLine launched a very interesting promotion at the tail end of last week that didn’t make it into last week’s roundup. Not to worry (unless you are another discount brokerage) though, as we put together a detailed look at their latest offer. For those of the TL;DR generation, the new promotion is aimed at online investors between the ages of 18 to 35, and is offering 35 free trades (good for up to 90 days) as well as waiving of the minimum $5,000 deposit. In addition, making at least 2 trades within 6 months waives the minimum balance fees for non-registered and registered accounts.

A Wize Move?

Canadian discount brokerage Jitneytrade announced this week that they are the preferred Canadian brokerage partner for a software platform known as WizeTrade. According to the release, Jitneytrade clients are now able to integrate the WizeTrade interface with Jitneytrade’s Desktop Pro platform to allow direct trading from the WizeTrade platform. Wizetrade is a charting/scanning platform that enables users to scan/trade currencies, equities, options and commodities.

From the Forums

Ungraceful Exit

One of the interesting scenarios that comes up is when it comes time to switch brokerages. Most brokerages impose a penalty for leaving, with some even putting an additional charge if users leave within a year of signing up. On the flip side, most brokerages getting a client have offers to pay transfer fees. Unfortunately, for investors such as the one in this Reddit post, the threshold to have those fees reimbursed was higher than the amount getting transferred. Nonetheless, check out what other readers had to offer in terms of advice.

One DRIP at a time

The dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) is a popular strategy for building wealth by using dividend payments. How smoothly this process goes depends somewhat on whether an investor chooses to use this strategy inside or outside of a registered account. While possible outside of a registered account, there is a bit more work that’s required to ensure the transactions are properly accounted for. The following post from Canadian Money Forum highlights one user’s experience with setting up a DRIP in a non-registered account.

That’s a wrap for this shortened week. As a reminder, US Markets will be closed on Monday for the Memorial Day long weekend. It’s likely that Canadian markets will also trade more lightly because of the US market closures so whether it be on the weekend or in the trading lull on Monday, enjoy the following video pitching a novel approach to using solar power (cue the solar bull drool).

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