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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – July 25, 2014

As we cruise into the end of July, every trader’s favourite season is drawing to a close. No, it’s not summer but rather earnings season. Depending on which side of an analyst’s estimate a company falls, the news may be great or simply a great disappointment. Regardless, the lesson the market forces everyone to learn over and over again is to keep your expectations realistic.

In this week’s roundup, we look at some of the interesting expectations that Canada’s online brokerages have created and are fanning the flames on. In particular, we take a brief look at 2 fierce competitors and their latest features to be released after which we quickly scan through this month’s expiring deals and round out with an #FTF (From the Forums).

Looking for a Hot Date?

Desjardins Online Brokerage’s new investor education calendar may have several to offer. After receiving a significant makeover, the investor education calendar from Desjardins Online Brokerage launched and is poised to create a bit of a stir across the online brokerage industry. Specifically, with the recent commission price drops across the industry seeming to cool-off, online brokerages will be looking to other components of their business to highlight or improve in a bid to differentiate themselves from one another.

For those discount brokerages that are heavily invested in providing education to online investors (such as National Bank Direct Brokerage, Scotia iTrade and TD Direct Investing) the news probably signals time for some ‘fresher’ thinking when it comes to user experience and investor education.

Read more about the new features of the Desjardins Online Brokerage education calendar here.

It’s All About the Benjamins

National Bank Direct Brokerage has officially joined the ranks of online brokerages that offer US dollar registered accounts. As you can see from a screenshot of their site below, the announcement marks the formal roll out of this account option for RRSP, RESP, TFSA as well as several other popular registered account types.

The ability to have USD registered accounts is a sought after feature with many investors that trade/invest in many US listed securities and who want to avoid some of the steep currency conversion fees imposed by brokerages.

As was reported in February, National Bank Direct Brokerage has been rolling out this feature in phases and with feature how hitting the front of their website, it won’t be long before we start to see more about it and perhaps a response from those brokerages who still don’t offer this account type to investors.

Should They Stay or Should They Go?

With the end of the month just around the corner, there are usually some deals or promotions timed to expire. The two that are currently set to go at the end of this month are the 50/50 offer from BMO InvestorLine and the iPad Mini offer from Questrade. Of the two, the iPad Mini offer has expired once before only to be resurrected. We’ll see which (if either) get a time extension but for the moment both of these deals are scheduled to be in their final days.

From the Forums

This past week across the investor forums saw the usual interesting assortment of questions regarding DIY investing. On the menu for this roundup, we look at where to park cash in a trading account, how Virtual Brokers clients

Cash is king, but where does his highness hangout when not being put to work?

In this post from RedFlagDeals, an investor is looking to squeeze some extra juice out of some cash sitting in their trading account. The community chimes in with some interesting suggestions to try and get that cash to work.

The pricing plan is right

In another thread from RedFlagDeals, the cost of buying and selling ETFs at Virtual Brokers got put under the microscope. Because of their different pricing plans, clients can pick which commission charge works best for a particular trade. Find out what strategies folks ended up suggesting when trading ETFs by clicking the link above.

Lather, rinse, repeat

The ever popular Gambit trade between dual listed stocks was the topic of this post on the Canadian Money Forum. Specifically, a user shared with the community their experience of a bit of sticker shock when trying to do a Gambit in a non-registered account with TD Waterhouse (TD Direct Investing). Fortunately the other forum members chimed in with some helpful tips on how to get it done right.

That does it for this week’s roundup. With the US and Canadian markets (and even Facebook) hitting new highs again, it seems there might be cause to celebrate going into the weekend. Strangely, it seems like Mr. Market and traders don’t exactly know what to expect from one another – kind of like the high five moment gone awry.


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