November is Financial Literacy Month and with it has come a number of events geared towards helping Canadians better understanding and manage their personal finances. There’s also another growth-oriented spin to November – facial hair, as it also happens to be Movember. While we have yet to see too much in the way of wacky mustaches (it’s still early though), Discount brokerages appear to have hopped onto the investor education bandwagon in a big way.
In this week’s roundup, we take a moment to walk visitors and readers through one of our most exciting projects (and acronyms) of this year, AXIS. Next, being the beginning of a new month, we’ve got a quick recap of the latest offers and promotions being pitched by Canadian brokerages. We’ve finally made it through the pile of education events being offered this month and provide an overview of interesting observations as well as bring back the Event Horizon from a week’s hiatus. Finally, we are excited to loop the SparxTrading community activity into the forum posts that caught our attention over the past week.
There is no Community Without U and I
One of the reasons marketplaces of all kinds are so exciting is because they bring together different, sometimes opposing, interests. But, as any seasoned investor or trader knows, it takes two sides to make a market.
If you’ve ever stared at the strangely hypnotic stream of market data quotes and marveled (or gasped) at the way in which buyers and sellers connect then you’ll probably appreciate the symbolism behind the SparxTrading.com logo letter X.
Why the diatribe on logos and symbols? At the heart of the logo is the idea of convergence – of bringing investors, providers, opinions and facts together into the same space.
In line with the theme of this year’s financial literacy month theme of strengthening financial literacy through collaboration, our latest feature launch, AXIS (which stands for Answers, eXperiences, Insights and Sharing) is the next step in the evolution our site.
We believe that by creating and caring for a space for the community of online investing stakeholders, from investor to provider, the quality of the online investing experience and understanding will improve for all.
Over the next several weeks, while the platform is in beta testing, we will include highlights and information on AXIS in the roundup. We encourage all visitors to sign up and contribute their experiences, questions, answers and perspectives for the betterment of online investors everywhere. Click the following link to access our community page.
Cold Weather, Warm Deals
At the outset of another month, we’ve surveyed the Canadian discount brokerage deal landscape and packaged all of the published offers we’ve found into our deals section.
This month the deals and promotion activity looked fairly healthy with 13 (and a possible 14th to be confirmed soon) offers on the table. Of these only two are scheduled to expire before the end of November meaning that DIY investors have a bit of time to shop around.
The deals that are set to expire this month come from TD Direct Investing and Questrade. Of the two, TD has not historically offered as many deals during the year so those on the fence may want to weigh that into their decisions as the deadline approaches.
Making the Grade
One of the interesting observations from the list of this month’s investor education events is just how many providers are offering intensive education.
This month, Desjardins Online Brokerage’s educational partner Stockscores (and its founder Tyler Bollhorn) will be going on a ‘Coast-to-Coast’ intense Canadian tour. For those who haven’t attended a session with Tyler Bollhorn and are interested in Technical Analysis/Trading, this is an interesting and ‘beginner friendly’ session.
Desjardins isn’t the only brokerage also sponsoring a national investor education roadshow. Scotia iTrade along with Larry Berman’s Independent Investor Institute are also taking their investor education seminar back and forth across the country this month.
Interestingly, National Bank Direct Brokerage is stepping up their educational offering by partnering with educational providers from Learn to Trade Global (who are partners with the Montreal Exchange teaching many of their options courses for DIY investors) as well as a Quebec based firm Decision Plus. New to the lineup of offerings from NBDB are paid investor education courses. Clients of NBDB, however, may be eligible for reimbursement of certain sessions in the form of trade commission credits.
While TD Direct Investing still offers the most investor education events this month, it looks as if they are looking over their shoulders a lot more as other brokerages are holding special events across the country to make up for the lack of physical branch presence.
Discount Brokerage Rankings
Speaking of grades, there are only a couple of weeks until Rob Carrick’s annual online brokerage rankings are set to roll out. Brokerages and online brokerage enthusiasts are keeping an eye out for who will wear this year’s crown.
The Globe and Mail online brokerage rankings won’t be the only broker rankings/ratings to be unveiled later this month. Morningstar Canada, as part of its investment awards gala, will announce their ‘best online brokerage’ award at a ceremony to be held November 26th. Unlike other rankings/ratings brokerages pay to participate in the Morningstar rankings so depending on who decides to participate, the field of brokerages covered may be narrower than other rankings.
Nov 8. (Sat) – Desjardins Online Brokerage – Coast to Coast Stockscores Tour
Nov 10. (Mon) – Desjardins Online Brokerage – Coast to Coast Stockscores Tour
Nov 12. (Wed) – Scotia iTrade – Building a Collar with Montreal Exchange
Nov 12. (Wed) – TD Direct Investing – Options Trading Mistakes to Avoid
Nov 12. (Wed) – TD Direct Investing – Understanding Margin & Short Selling
Nov 12. (Wed) – TD Direct Investing – Dividend Investing using ETFs
Nov 12. (Wed) – NBDB – Technical Analysis – [Fr]
Nov 13. (Thur) – TD Direct Investing – Options Strategies for your RSP & TFSA
From the Forums
In this week’s forums sweep, we take a look at an interesting question one SparxTrading.com visitor asked about deep discount brokerages and how they can afford to stay in business with ultra low commissions. Check out the full question and answer here.
Prose on Pros
Talking about advisors is all the rage right now in the investment community. While most of the discussion has been about robo-advisors, there are still lots of folks who swear by the human touch. In this post from the Reddit Personal Finance Canada thread, a user wants to find out what the community had to say about using professional advisors.
For the Record
Most people know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The same applies to services offered by financial institutions, even when it comes to record keeping. If there’s one thing folks should count on its that those who run financial institutions for a living like to count things, including the cost for services. In the following post from RedFlagDeals’ investing forum, one visitor wondered aloud about where the fees for record keeping come from at financial firms. Check out what the community had to say in response.
That’s a wrap for this first week of November roundup. While many of us have heard that money doesn’t grow on trees, there are many homeowners out there that can vouch for what does grow on trees (and where it all seems to land). Have a great weekend either admiring the fall colours, trying to keep them off your lawn or thoroughly enjoying making a mess!