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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – August 29, 2014

Greetings roundup readers. This pre-long weekend version of the discount brokerage roundup is coming to your from none other than the ‘fabulous’ Las Vegas.

Against the backdrop of opulent hotels, sunny skies and seemingly endless “premium” brands, an interesting takeaway from Vegas is just how tricky competition makes things for brands.

Sidestepping the association between trading and casinos, for Canadian online brokerages getting and keeping the attention (and loyalty) of Canadian investors is going to hinge on getting those investors to ‘care’ about the product and service. After all, if everyone claims to be the best, what ‘the best’ means starts to become muddied.  So, there is probably a need to shift strategies away from claiming to be the best and towards something different. The challenge is formidable considering that finance (and online investing) is typically not very ‘touchy-feely’. Interestingly, on the banking side, TD has been actively evolving their image and experience to become more ‘friendly’.

In this week’s abbreviated roundup, we take an early look at the deals landscape as we roll over into a new month as well as an interesting article geared towards DIY investors wading into markets. From the investor forums, we’ve got a couple of interesting threads on how orders get displayed and the ‘other’ fees investors need to consider when looking at a discount brokerage.

Deal Me Out

As we near the end of August, there are a number of online brokerage deals that are set to expire. The early look at September’s deals section shows that Questrade has shuffled the deck on their promotions and that there have been deal extensions from Desjardins Online Brokerage, and Scotia iTrade.

Here’s a quick highlight of the deals currently set to expire going into September:


  • 100 commission-free trades
  • Free trade per month offer
  • Unlimited trade promotion

Scotia iTrade

  • 100 free trades

Stay tuned for the full September deals run-down coming soon.

DIY Investing meets Gen Y

Canadian personal finance writer Rob Carrick has published part two of his “Gen Y” focused investor guide. Like the first part, part two of his guide provides quick tips for beginner investors on low-cost portfolio building strategies using mutual funds and ETFs.

From the Forums

Tipping Hands

Transparency and stock trading are constantly at odds with one another. On the one hand, the system as a whole is supposed to function efficiently when buyers and sellers can trust that they’re getting the best price for their order. On the other hand, information about how much ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ there is for any given stock is incredibly valuable to traders looking to gain an edge on order flow. This post on where an order to buy or sell shows up when placed provides an interesting look under the hood of a trade.

Hooked on a Fee-ling

The reality of all Canadian online brokerages, big or small, is that they’re in business to make money (would you feel comfortable putting your money with a brokerage that was running at a loss?). Brokerages that offer a break on trading commissions are appealing to many, however to make up the revenue ‘lost’ from lowering commission fees, other areas such as margin interest or administrative fees are typically high. This post from Red Flag Deals’ investing forum shows that the upcoming changes to Questrade’s administrative fee structure are on the minds of value-savvy investors – specifically for ‘partial de-registration’ fees.

That’s a wrap for this week’s roundup. Remember Canadian and US markets will be closed Monday for the Labour Day holiday. Wherever you happen to find yourself this long weekend, have a safe and enjoyable one.

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