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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – November 14, 2014

This week has been one of milestones, or as we might say here in Canada, kilometer-stones. Perhaps the biggest stone of all with all of the kilometers or miles behind it was the first ever landing of a probe on a comet hundreds of millions of kilometers away.

Back here on Earth, investors this week apparently also had stars in their eyes. The big news from the US was markets touching new all-time highs, however even a Canadian marketplace, the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) crossed the 2 billion shares traded mark within a year; the first time that securities exchange has done so.

Not to be outdone, Canadian discount brokerages also had some technical achievements to marvel and tweet over.

In this week’s roundup we take a look at a new trading platform being launched into the mix by a bank-owned brokerage. Next we look at a marathon effort on social media from another brokerage that has earned them a bit of distinction from their online peers. On the home stretch will be a quick highlight of an article focusing on the power of communal advice. Finally we’ll showcase upcoming investor education events and close out with some investor banter from the forums.

BMO InvestorLine’s New Trading Platform: BMO Market Pro

BMO InvestorLine quietly rolled out their newest platform offering this past week – BMO Market Pro. After months in development it was interesting to see the soft-launch take place for this platform.

So, why a fancy trading platform?  

In a bid to compete with their bank-owned direct brokerage peers, BMO InvestorLine is throwing a more sophisticated order entry interface into their mix to attract and appeal to clients who want the bells and whistles. More importantly, they don’t want their clients who want those features to be wandering elsewhere to get them.

While public details on the platform are few, here are some early details. BMO Market Pro will include real-time data and analysis and also streaming charts with technical analysis studies. For individuals trading 30 times or more in a quarter (i.e. spending about ~$100/month on average in commission costs) or who maintain a balance of at least $500,000 the data fees for this platform are waived.

The trading platform is a very interesting battleground that we mentioned this past summer and with BMO Market Pro, it enables BMO InvestorLine to better compete against a similarly featured Scotia iTrade platform as well as some of the smaller players who rely on platforms as a key selling feature.

If history is any precedent, however, we anticipate a much larger splash to be right around the corner. Hopefully, however, the team at BMO InvestorLine can take a cue from US online brokerage Tradestation’s commercials from a few years ago (see the end of this week’s roundup for the video).

One Small Tweet for Brokerage-Kind

#Props must be given to the social media team at Questrade. Unlike several of their peers on Twitter, Questrade has been quite persistent in their efforts to be visible and relevant on social media.

Although we don’t typically report it, it is something we monitor. And, the reason that we mention it here is that they’ve done something that is worth commenting on out loud. Images from Questrade’s twitter feed are showing a lead up to a ‘special announcement’ on Nov. 17th.

The lead up itself is noteworthy as it takes the combination of personality and medium in an interesting direction. Equally interesting is that this announcement could be in line with earlier hints from Questrade’s CEO and posts on the Questrade blog as well as a lot of hype about advisors (and robo-advisors) of late.

What does it all mean?

While just speculation at this point, the addition of a wealth management arm does imply that this could be another area that Questrade is hoping to capitalize on while the interest level in this space continues to heat up. And, they wouldn’t be the first discount brokerage to make such a move.

For some context, the largest brokerage in the US Charles Schwab just announced that they would no longer be reporting monthly trading stats (boo) but as far as optics and brand identity go, they are looking to shift the perception of their business away from discount brokerage and towards wealth management (and full service). They also recently rolled-out robo-advisors in a big way.

The fact that we’re talking about it may be proof enough, however the fact that Questrade has teamed up with a popular Twitter personality means that they may have a little social media comet dust of their own with this next announcement and business direction.

More Than Just Cat Videos

Reddit brands itself as the ‘front page of the internet’ however there is definitely a sense of being an information frontier.

In a special piece we published this past week, we take a look at the growing influence of a popular Reddit thread, Personal Finance Canada (PFC). We also had the opportunity to interview one of the forum’s moderators to get a unique perspective on what draws people into the community space and what motivates the people who run it to keep going. Click here to read the full article.

Event Horizon

There’s lots going on with investor education related events this week, including the Desjardins Online Brokerage Stockscores tour.  Ready, Set, Scroll.

Nov 15. (Mon) Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – Coast to Coast Stockscores Tour – Edmonton

Nov 17. (Mon) Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – Coast to Coast Stockscores Tour – Calgary

Nov 17. (Mon) Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – Coast to Coast Stockscores Tour – Calgary

Nov 18. (Tue) Scotia iTrade – Day Trading with Pro Market Advisors

Nov 18. (Tue) TD Direct Investing – Minimum Volatility Investing

Nov 18. (Tue) TD Direct Investing – Introduction to Technical Analysis

Nov 18. (Tue) NBDB – Managing risk while investing in stock

Nov 18. (Tue) Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – Coast to Coast Stockscores Tour – Calgary

Nov 19. (Wed) NBDB – Mastering Technical Analysis for Trading Success – [Fr]

Nov 19. (Wed) TD Direct Investing – Introduction to Fundamental Analysis

Nov 19. (Wed) Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – Coast to Coast Stockscores Tour – Burnaby

Nov 19. (Wed) NBDB – Find trading opportunities using technical analysis

Nov 19. (Wed) Scotia iTrade – Getting Started With ETFs with iShares

Nov 19. (Wed) TD Direct Investing – Investing in a context of rising interest rates – [Fr]

 Nov 19. (Wed) Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – Coast to Coast Stockscores Tour – Burnaby

Nov 20. (Thur) NBDB – Take advantage of margin accounts – [Fr]

Nov 20. (Thur) TD Direct Investing – Unlocking the Value of your Locked-In RSP

Nov 20. (Thur) Scotia iTrade – Charts and Patterns 101 with AJ Monte

Nov 20. (Thur) Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – Coast to Coast Stockscores Tour – Surrey

From the Forums


This past week in the investor forums was noticeably quieter. That said, here was one particular thread that points to an investor who is opening their first TFSA and decided to ask the community of investors on Reddit for some advice. Click to see what the readers offered up.

Anonymous  Advice

As an add-on to our special on the personal finance Canada thread on reddit, this post on the forum captured the reactions and conversation that surrounded the topic of taking the advice of strangers.  There’s also a cool link in there to a ‘Because Money’ episode.

And that’s a wrap for this week’s roundup.  Congrats for making it through this week and and this roundup! Here’s some fun discount brokerage marketing from the US which may or may not inspire some Canadian brokerages to become a whole lot more entertaining.  Have a great weekend!


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