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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – December 26, 2014

It’s hard to believe but another year is almost in the books. Going into the end of the year, things typically quiet down across the markets and amongst the online brokerages this past week was equally quiet. Of course, that didn’t stop major US indices from continuing to push new highs and breaking records yet again.

Going into the end of a year, it is also a natural point to look back and reflect on the events, big and small, that helped shape 2014 for DIY investors as well as look ahead to 2015 to see what Canadian online brokerages may get up to.

In this last roundup of 2014, we’ll keep it short and sweet. We’ll take a look at another brokerage that participated in our executive video series, highlight another brokerage commercial making the rounds on US airwaves and take a quick victory lap with the biggest discount brokerage story of 2014.

Interview with Desjardins Online Brokerage

The second episode of our executive video series was launched just ahead of the Christmas holiday this year. In this episode, we spoke to Laurent Blanchard the Vice President and General Manager of Desjardins Online Brokerage. The conversation was yet another example of the interesting individuals at the helm of Canada’s online brokerages. It was definitely fascinating to learn not only about the personalities behind the company however there’s also an exclusive sneak peek at what Desjardins Online Brokerage has planned for 2015. Check out the video on their profile page here.

Commercial Viability

Given the competitive landscape for online brokerages, advertising is almost a given. For DIY investors, going into 2015 means preparing from an onslaught of advertisements across all the screens we use. Throughout 2014 we’ve highlighted a number of commercials that we’ve spotted being broadcast by various brokerages and as we head into the end of 2014, here’s one from Interactive Brokers that caught our attention. While aimed at US audiences, the point of the commercial definitely positions Interactive Brokers as an attractive consideration based on their pricing – a story that has dominated the landscape here in Canada for 2014. It will be interesting to see how Canadian brokerages step up to handle the pricing message as this is going to continue to be highly volatile issue (we think) even in 2015.

Headline Number

If there is one story that stood out in 2014, it was certainly the drop in standard commission pricing.

When we first reported the story in January that RBC Direct Investing had lowered their commission prices, it was clear that they had done something game-changing. Based on their size in the marketplace and their popularity as a provider, it was a move that would force the response of almost every other bank-owned brokerage as well as independent online brokerages to step up.

In the weeks that followed, major bank-owned brokerages such as TD Direct Investing and BMO InvestorLine also lowered prices with other brokerages eventually joining in. It would take until October for the next major price drop to take place, but in a bold maneuver, we broke the news that CIBC Investor’s Edge was going to lower their standard commission pricing to $6.95.

Aside from being a major win for DIY investors, the lowering of standard commission prices showed just how important pricing is to the online brokerage world.

The speed and magnitude of the shift in pricing has demonstrated that when something matters to providers, they move quickly on it regardless of their size. Whether a firm matches or betters CIBC’s offer will be interesting to watch for given the apprehension felt by brokerages at having to come down to the sub-$10 level. Looking to the US, where there is now zero-commission trading (thanks to a startup firm Robinhood), as well as to the deep discount providers here in Canada such as Questrade and Virtual Brokers, however, there is still room for commission pricing to fall.

Once the domino of pricing fell, a chain of events had also been set in motion that would widen the scope of the efforts of discount brokerages to win the attention and loyalty of DIY investors.

On the heels of the announcement from RBC Direct Investing in January, we stated that not only would other brokerages follow, but that there would also be a shift by online brokerages to “demonstrate the value of their customer service, new features or trading platforms.”

Indeed, over the course of the year, after the wave of price drops came the announcement for new services (such as USD registered accounts from NBDB and TD Direct Investing, ), a long (and growing) list of new features (such as bracket order types) and even new trading platforms (e.g. BMO InvestorLine’s active trader platform).

To cap off the year, we assembled a collection of perspectives from 9 Canadian online brokerages that also provided a fascinating look back at 2014 through the eyes of the brokerages themselves. In case you missed the snapshot series we put together on our Twitter feed, here are the top 5 themes we spotted from that series.

A year of milestones

In addition to the online brokerages, 2014 was also a great year for A couple of really special milestones that we achieved this year were the release of our revised brokerage profile pages, the beta launch of our online community, the roll out of our executive video series and our year in review compilation from 9 of Canada’s online brokerages.

We’re definitely excited about 2015 as we’ve got a number of great features planned and are looking forward to staying on top (and helping to make sense of) what Canada’s discount brokerages do next.

On behalf of the crew, have a fantastic (and safe!) New Year!

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – December 19, 2014

*Edited Dec. 22/14* It looks like December isn’t going to go quietly. With huge volatility coming into the markets, traders are certainly cheering. Canada’s discount brokerages are also not wont to stand still going into the year end. Whether they’re gearing up for a busy 2015 or pushing hard into the finish line of 2014, this is definitely a year for the record books all around.

In this week’s roundup, we take a look at a major compilation of Canadian online brokerage’s perspectives on the year that was and the year upcoming. Following that we take a look at one online brokerage that had a change at the top, a brokerage that decided to launch an early Christmas gift to potential clients, some news from a technical analysis provider and round out with some festive forum banter.

Online brokerage year in review & preview

2014 has been a wild ride for DIY investors. It started with a boom and is ending with a bang.

This past week we released our exclusive compilation of perspectives from 9 Canadian online brokerages. Here is the list of discount brokerages that participated (the links go to their particular submission):

Regardless of their size or focus, when compared alongside one another, there was a wealth of information about the year that has just passed.

Without question, commission price lowering was one topic that stood out almost across the board. As each discount brokerage showed, however, price wasn’t the only place they sought to evolve. New features, order types, services, platforms, investor education offerings and service experiences were among the other areas that brokerages were all actively working to improve in.

Something that was really special about this compilation was what certain brokerages were able to share about what’s coming around the corner for 2015.

For example, in our recent interview with Nancy Paquet, President of National Bank Direct Brokerage, she shared with us the focus that NBDB will be placing on investor education – however they’re not alone. In addition to NBDB, brokerages such as Desjardins Online Brokerage, Scotia iTRADE and TD Direct Investing are all highly active in terms of providing investor education and plan to be even more so in 2015.

What was interesting to learn from the year in review compilation was that Credential Direct may be looking to augment its educational resources as well as the news that Jitneytrade has been partnering with educational providers. Even for several brokerages that didn’t participate in the year-end review, we’ve learned that investor education is going to be a priority in 2015.

As a lead into the holiday season this year, we thought it would be great to offer up the top 5 themes we saw emerge from the year end compilation. With so much information provided by the brokerages, we’ve put together a fun way to learn about what the brokerages had to say. Here’s a teaser from day one of the top 5 countdown. We’ll be releasing one a day over the next 5 days exclusively on our twitter feed.

Qtrade announces leadership changes

This past Wednesday, Vancouver based online brokerage Qtrade Financial announced that CEO Scott Gibner and President and COO Joe Perrin will leave the organization as of January 16, 2015.

Bill Packham, who is the Co-Chair of the Qtrade Board of Directors, will take over as interim CEO, as the firm seeks to make a permanent appointment.

The announcement comes just weeks after Qtrade earned top billing in the annual Globe and Mail Online Broker Rankings. In a statement, Qtrade’s Board Co-Chair and Director, John Sibley, thanked Gibner and Perrin for their “vision, inspiration and dedication to Qtrade.”

Packham brings along several years of executive experience having served as the Co-Chair of Qtrade’s Board of Directors since the completion of the arrangement transaction between Qtrade and Desjardins Group in April 2013. He is also Executive Managing Director, Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance with the Desjardins Group.

National Bank Direct Brokerage launches new deal

December continues to be a big month for news. In the deals & promotions department, National Bank Direct Brokerage boldly launched a rather sizeable commission-rebate offer going into the holiday season – perhaps as an early Christmas gift to potential new clients. The offer provides up to $500 in commission fee rebates for deposits of $20,000 or more and rebates of up to $1,000 for deposits of $100,000 or more. Click here to read more about this promotion.

A technical win for Recognia

The maker of the most popular technical analysis platforms among Canadian brokerages, Recognia, was acquired this week by Paris-based investment research firm Trading Central. Headquartered in Ottawa, Recognia actually services over 45 brokerages in 12 countries with their various software platforms. Most DIY investors would recognize Recognia’s flagship ‘Technical Insight’ tool as part of the suite of research/tools for technical analysis provided by their online broker.

Event Horizon

Things have quieted down significantly on the events front going into the Christmas holidays. Here is the lone event featured for next week:

Dec. 23 (Tues) Scotia iTRADE – ETFs 101 with Horizons ETFs (Online)

From the Forums

 Chatter on Interactive Brokers

Last week we wrote about Interactive Brokers starting to offer registered accounts. Slowly news has filtered through to Canadian investor forums so we thought we’d provide a couple of threads that discuss Interactive Brokers’ latest move:

Battle of the Banks

In this post from the reddit Personal Finance Canada thread, one user is considering going with CIBC Investor’s Edge, TD Direct Investing or RBC Direct Investing. Find out what redditors (who normally champion the smaller brokerages) had to say about dealing with the bigger bank-owned brokerages.

That’s a wrap for this week’s roundup. We’re right around the corner from Christmas so hopefully everyone makes it onto the nice list this year – although for the not so nice, getting some coal may not be the worst thing at this point. On another note – it’s also a milestone week for the ending of a great show – the Colbert report. In case you missed it, here is a much bigger and more awesome send off than anyone on TV could really pull together.

Happy Holidays and Season’s greetings to all from the crew at We’ll see you again (soon)!

 Editor’s Note: The list of participating brokerages in the year in review has been updated to include a submission from CIBC Investor’s Edge which was received after the original publication date.

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Exclusive: A Year in Review and Look Ahead from Canada’s Online Brokerages

Pic_Blog_201412_YearInReview_LeadImage_B*Edited Dec. 22/14* What an exciting year to be a DIY investor. As an active observer and commentator on the landscape of Canada’s online brokerages, we’ve seen some dramatic changes this past year. Whether it was reduction in commission pricing, changes in account types or enhancements to platforms, user experience or investor education, 2014 presented no shortage of exciting developments.

With so many online brokerages, DIY investors now enjoy more choice in terms of who they want to end up doing business with and how they want to trade online. The flip side to the benefit of having so much choice, however, is actually keeping up with all of the innovation that’s taking place amongst online brokerages.  Every time a new feature, like a platform or a new order type, comes out, there is a lot of information that goes with it.

In their own words

So, in keeping with our continued efforts to track and structure the information coming from Canadian online brokerages, we thought it would be great if we gave Canada’s online brokerages the opportunity to give investors their own take on 2014 and also to provide everyone with a preview of where 2015 is heading.

We reached out to all the brokerages and were more than pleased with the response we received to participate. Our request was simple. We asked that brokerages provide readers with a recap of 2014, perhaps with milestones or achievements as well as to provide some direction as to what’s around the corner for next year.

What follows is a really interesting (in our opinion) compilation of voices of 8 9 of Canada’s most influential and visible online brokerages – from bank-owned online brokerages to independent brokerages. It is clear from reading these submissions that 2014 was a busy year everywhere. Nobody was standing still. Even more interesting, however, are the hints and previews online brokerages have shared for 2015.

Table 1: Canadian Online Brokerages Participating in the Year in Review

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Click on a logo to read the review of that particular brokerage. #colspan# #colspan#

Getting up to speed

Heading into RRSP deadline season and the first half of 2015, we know that there will be many individuals who are either considering online investing or who are already with a provider and would just like to better understand the landscape of choices that are out there.

This compilation is a great starting point to learn more about each of the providers listed. They are certainly a diverse group of providers which is reflected in the different ways in which each has written their submission. In our opinion, this diversity will become one of the biggest themes for 2015.

With standard commission pricing having dropped significantly across several brokerages, the focal point will turn to standing out. Our view on this is that ‘standing out’ will be achieved by being ‘outstanding’. That means improved service, pricing (yes, we still think there’s room to go lower for some), features and user experience.

We believe that in 2015, Canada’s online brokerages will work even harder to differentiate themselves from one another. And, as was the case in 2014, we are looking forward to tracking these developments and helping our readers make sense of them all as they unfold.

Click the logos above or the page numbers below to read this year’s submissions.

Editor’s Note: We received a submission from CIBC Investor’s Edge after our original publication date and so we have included their submission as part of this series. For functionality purposes, however, we have placed their submission at the end of the series rather than in alphabetical sequence.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – December 12, 2014

If you thought the past week in the markets was big, wait until you hear about what happened with online brokerages.  Yes, news of oil prices dropping and markets with them dominated the headlines. Against that backdrop, however, there was a lot of great news for DIY investors on both sides of the border.

In this week’s roundup, we take a look at an exciting new content feature we released on followed by a huge announcement from one of Canada’s most popular online brokerages with active traders. Next we’ll take a look at the dawn of a new commission-free trading era in the US, cruise through the upcoming investor education events and finally end off with tour of the investor forums.

Sparx Launches the first interview of our Executive Video Series

This past week, SparxTrading launched the first installment of the Executive Video Series in which we sat down with the President of National Bank Direct Brokerage, Nancy Paquet.

By all accounts we were thrilled to be able to have a fascinating interview with a fascinating individual.  We had a great time working with the National Bank Direct Brokerage team in putting this together and we’re pleased to be able to share this exclusively on

Here’s some context behind why we sought to put this series together.

One of the first reasons involves communicating important context about Canadian online brokerages. With the drastic reduction of standard commission pricing in 2014, we believe attention will shift towards figuring out what makes particular brokerages ‘special’.  For consumers (i.e. DIY investors) we think that will mean doing more research and trying to figure out if a particular discount brokerage is a ‘good fit’.

Our Executive Video Series is meant to capture a candid conversation with a senior decision maker at the brokerage in which we ask them to provide information about what they’ve worked on, where they’re headed and what sets them apart.  In addition, as the interview with Paquet shows, we also have the chance to learn about how the firm is run from the person responsible for running it.

For our visitors and viewers, we think this approach offers a unique insight into the online brokerage world and provides them with context directly from the source.  For brokerages, there’s also the chance to articulate what makes them unique to an audience interested in finding that out.

Check out the interview on the NBDB profile page here.

Interactive Brokers Canada to Offer Registered Accounts

Yes, that’s correct.  Interactive Brokers Canada quietly rolled out one of the most sought after features this past week by offering RRSP and TFSA accounts, and in doing so, tipped the discount brokerage landscape on its side once again this year.

The move to provide registered accounts in Canada was widely speculated about ever since Interactive Brokers officially formed a separate Canadian entity (Interactive Brokers Canada).  For self-directed investors, however, this is a huge development as the cost structure and trading platform associated with Interactive Brokers can now be used for trading inside of an RRSP or TFSA.

Before the party gets started too fast, there are some important limitations on the registered accounts.

For starters, both of these account types will only be offered in Canadian dollars. Second, there are limits to the RRSP account that are a bit different than at other institutions.  For example, at Interactive Brokers Canada, there is no support for Home Buyers Plan withdrawals, Lifelong Learning Plan withdrawals or investments in a home mortgage. Third, RRSP accounts will be subject to a quarterly maintenance fee of $12.50 which is prorated from the time the account opens (e.g. if the account is opened halfway through the quarter the fee is $6.25 for the quarter in which the account was opened and $12.50 per quarter thereafter).

Full details are available on their information page here.

We will most certainly be tracking this development as it becomes more widely known.  Once there is greater awareness that Interactive Brokers now offers registered accounts, however, other brokerages are going to be scrambling to compete on a whole new field.

Investors Sher-Wood Like to Trade for Free

This past week, investors in the US took another step into the surreal new world of ‘no commission’ trading when discount brokerage Robinhood launched their mobile trading app.

Even though Robinhood offering up commission-free trading is not a new story, the ramp up of their roll-out means that the nightmare scenario for other online brokerages in the US is slowly coming true.  Not only is a firm offering up zero commission trading, they are doing it on mobile and they have struck a chord amongst the highly prized ‘millenial’ segment.  Whether or not Robinhood can do so sustainably also seems to be less of a concern as they have some famous (as well as deep pocketed) financial backers.

For Canadian investors, the lesson is that there is still substantial room for commission prices to fall. In addition to pricing, however, there is an attention to user experience (especially on mobile) that is relevant.

Before banks and brokerages obliterate commissions (if they ever do), they will most likely start to overhaul and improve their website usability across more ‘modern’ devices like smartphones and tablets (which a handful already have started to do).

The paradox, of course, is that innovation in financial services means that small providers might have an edge with new technology but they are not as experienced in providing great (or passable) service at scale.

For DIY investors, this means while the bells and whistles may be cool, when things don’t quite work as they should, or when you need something extra or have a special request, the service element may not be able to keep up.  For Robinhood, and 20-somethings, those are ‘future problems’ which they are content to confront if or when they come up.

Event Horizon

Dec. 13 (Sat) TD Direct Investing – Technical Analysis – Advanced Indicators (Edmonton)

Dec. 16 (Tues) TD Direct Investing – Building Wealth Through Registered Accounts (Toronto)

NBDB -Stop Orders: A winning solution worth knowing- [Fr] (Montreal)

TD Direct Investing – Building Wealth Through Registered Accounts (Vancouver)

Dec. 17 (Wed) Scotia iTRADE – Taking A Minimum Volatility Approach with iShares (Online)

Dec. 18 (Thur) Scotia iTRADE – The Role Reversal Pattern with AJ Monte (Online)

From the Forums

With the markets in sell mode this past week, investors came off the sidelines to commiserate as well as speculate about potential entry points into the energy sector. Being the end of the calendar year, there were also a higher number of tax and registered account questions.

Barrels of Fun

In this post from the PersonalFinanceCanada subreddit, one reader was interested in finding out how to purchase oil via their online broker Qtrade.  After providing some cautionary words, the answers provided were quite interesting.

Remember that Glitch?

In last week’s roundup we reported a trading outage that hit Questrade’s platform.  As a follow up to that incident, Questrade posted the following message on their community forum to help explain what happened. While it doesn’t name the software provider specifically, apparently they are in for a sternly worded conversation.

That’s it for this week’s roundup.  There are 12 more shopping days left until Christmas (13 for the real procrastinators).  Good luck out there in the parking lots, malls and stalls for those brave enough to venture through them!

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – December 5, 2014

It’s hard to believe that December is already here. People tend to get a bit happier, office work tends to become a little bit more lax, fantasy football more competitive and holiday movies a little more epic.  For many of Canada’s discount brokerages, however, before the December slowdown hits, there’s lots of planning and positioning for the year ahead.

In this week’s roundup we take a look at the deals that kicked off the launch into December, review some interesting brokerage trading stats (for the numbers fans), highlight an online bump in the road for one brokerage and finally,we end with a special treat of an announcement for readers of the roundup.

Nice Save

With the start of a new month comes the chance to revisit the activity in the deals and promotions being offered by Canadian online brokerages.

In terms of deals and offers the month started against the backdrop of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We were curious to see if any brokerage would pitch an offer given the tidal wave of excitement these shopping days generate for bargain hunters. And, in fact, one discount brokerage did step forward into the mix.

Questrade, which ventured into the deals day territory on Boxing Day of last year jumped into Black Friday and Cyber Monday with their discount on trading fees for silver and gold (and what a week to time that around given the volatility in those to precious metals). That promotion runs until the end of December.

The deals and promotions that are currently running for December are largely carried forward from November.  Questrade did launch a promotion at the outset of the month which is running for the duration of December. New offerings aside, this month has a number of deals set to expire by the end of the month. It should be interesting to see which offers get extended or replaced as brokerages move into their busiest season after the holidays.

A quick highlight of the current month’s deals shows 16 offers from 7 different brokerages.  As with previous periods, Questrade, BMO InvestorLine and Scotia iTrade have several offers in play and this month these three brokerages account for 75% of the deals currently on the table.

Interestingly, an offer from RBC Direct Investing which crossed our radar late last month is positioned to compete with many other offers on the market but specifically weighs in close to the BMO InvestorLine Youth Promotion. Both of these offers require no minimum deposit and the length of time to use the commission-free trades is 90 days.

Interactive Brokers’ Trading Cools Down

For those that want to learn more about how the discount brokerage business works, one of the best sources of information is actually the brokerages themselves.  Although none of the Canadian discount brokerages are publicly traded, several major US brokerages are and as such there’s lots of information in their quarterly or annual reports.

In particular, Interactive Brokers (which also operates a subsidiary in Canada) tends to do a great job of laying out its customer trading activity metrics (in aggregate).  For those that are interested in tracking IB’s progress, this link summarizes their latest performance metrics.  There’s some pretty detailed data in there, especially on the number of buys and sells of equities by month as well as the average commission paid by clients for trades.

On their business end of things, while they seem to be growing their account base at a steady clip, the number of trades dipped month over month.  With the recent string of market volatility however, what was interesting to note about their latest earnings figures was the fact that their market making business segment didn’t do as well as many had hoped (yet again), demonstrating even pros can have a rough go at beating the market they’re helping to make.

Outage = Ouchage

For anyone who’s spent a significant time behind a trading window or terminal, there are few things more unnerving than market connection problems.  With so many technology touch points between buyer and seller, it’s remarkable that more doesn’t go wrong than already does.

Unfortunately for Questrade and their clients, this past week saw their online trading platforms go offline just as the markets were whipsawing into an open on Monday. Some months back we reported on TD Direct Investing’s network outage which took down WebBroker for a while.

While Jimmy Kimmel could probably have Questrade on his show to read some of the ‘mean tweets’ that came their way as a result of the outage, the reality for anyone trading online is to be prepared for if/when it happens.

The predictable jammed phone lines, boiling tempers and (at times) helpless feelings of watching the market turn against a position you just can’t get out of (and yes, those that you could have gotten into) characterize these scenarios.

For their part, Questrade handled the crush of Twitter, forum and other online traffic fairly responsively.  They tried, it appears, to keep people updated on Twitter as to the status of the outage.  That said, it leaves a bitter taste to have to be stuck in or locked out of trading but big firms or small are susceptible.

Ultimately, the lesson that many learn is that it’s up to individual investors to identify and control position risks and, have a plan to be ready for when things go haywire, especially when actively trading.  It doesn’t make for a great sales pitch but probably does help account for the fact that disclaimer text on all of the brokerage platforms, data feeds and account opening documentation being as long as it is.

A Sneak Peak

December is shaping up to be a really exciting month here at  Throughout this month (starting next week) we have some amazing content presents lined up for release.  Stay tuned next week and through December as we share some really interesting pieces on 2014 from some special guests.

Event Horizon

Dec. 9 (Tue) Scotia iTRADE – Alternative Investing Using ETFs with Horizons

Dec. 10 (Wed) Scotia iTRADE – Understanding The Greeks with Montreal Exchange

Dec. 11 (Thur) NBDB – Technical Analysis: Oscillators – [Fr]

Dec. 11 (Thur) NBDB – Introduction to Options – [Fr]


From the Forums

Do you have that in stock?

It’s not typically a question you would think to ask your online brokerage, however this post from’s investing forum does raise an interesting point.  While typically not an issue on the long side, those thinking of picking a brokerage because they like to short should consider asking it.

That does it for this week’s roundup.  With holiday music and general Christmas merriment (and mall traffic) in full swing here’s a little intergalactic cheer.  Good luck on your adventures this weekend wherever they may boldly take you!

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Discount Brokerage Deals and Promotions – December 2014

*Updated Dec. 17, 2014*

With the start of December coming on the heels of two of the biggest deals days of the year, the Canadian discount brokerage deals & promotions section is filled to the brim with offers from online brokerages. Unlike the pictures on television or Twitter, however, there was no crush of people attempting to get in on a sale on a brokerage account – although that didn’t stop at least one brokerage from trying to catch the deal-frenzy wave.

Heading into the last month of the year, the deals activity did pick up slightly through November with three updates to the deals pool. Most notably, an offer from RBC Direct Investing was spotted that signals their re-entry into the promotions space until the end of this year.

At the outset of December, it appears that Questrade has continued with its strategy of offering up promotions/incentives that are timely, as they launched a holiday-themed offer alongside several of their existing offers.

Of course, the news wasn’t all cheerful for deals, as a pair of offers from TD Direct Investing and Questrade ended by the time December rolled around as well as the iPad Mini offer from Questrade.

The last month of the year is also a bit of a milestone month for many active offers. There are at least 7 offers that are set to expire by year’s end signaling a potentially exciting start to 2015. That said, there’s still lots of time left for some interesting announcements to be made. So even though we’ve made this list, we’ll be checking it twice, and, hopefully we’ll find something nice.

Expired Deals

The deals that expired coming into December were the monster offer by TD Direct Investing for 200 commission-free trades and Questrade’s 100 commission-free trade offer. Also on the way out (for now) was the iPad Mini deal from Questrade.

Extended Deals

While it was left off the deals section for some time, the Scotia iTrade refer-a-friend deal finds its way back onto the list as the expiration date has been updated/extended until the end of December.

New Deals

*Update: Dec. 17, 2014 – National Bank Direct Brokerage has just announced a huge commission rebate offer of up to $1,000 for deposits of $100,000 or more or $500 for deposits of $20,000 or more.  NBDB has been quiet in terms of deals for several months, however this newly launched promotion is a significant one compared to other offers in the same deposit range.  The offer is open to new and existing clients however according to the terms and conditions, individuals who have participated in any other promotions with NBDB since January 2014 are not eligible.   Also worth noting, the total amount of the rebate includes any transfer rebates (of up to $135) that individuals may take advantage of if switching providers. This means that the amounts remaining (if using the transfer fee rebate) would be at least $365 or $865 (depending on the deposit size). The window for rebates to be applied are subject to a schedule outlined in their terms and conditions, however essentially qualified clients can have trade commissions (stocks, options & ETFs) made within 90 days of opening the account refunded. The terms and conditions are remarkably brief so be sure to read them through if considering this offer. Additional details are in the table below.*

The newest promotion at the outset of the month comes from Questrade in the form of a ‘holiday’ themed offer. Questrade is offering new and existing clients up to 30 commission free trades for a deposit of at least $1,000. The commission-free trades are good for 30 days – just in time for that other season trader’s know comes this time of year – tax loss selling season.

The deals that joined the list of offers mid-month last month included offers from BMO InvestorLine for 5 commission-free trades for using their new mobile app; RBC Direct Investing’s offer (mentioned above) of 20 commission-free trades for a new account opening and finally a cash-back offer by Questrade to compete at the higher deposit levels.

Discount Brokerage Deals

Company Brief Description Minimum Deposit Amount Commission/Cash Offer Type Time Limit to Use Commission/Cash Offer Details Link Deadline
Jitney Trade A Sparx Trading exclusive offer! Use the promo code “Sparx Trading” when signing up for a new account with Jitney and receive access to their preferred pricing package and a massive 45% discount on the Real Tick trading platform. n/a Discounted Commission Rates none For more details click here none
BMO InvestorLine For individuals between 18 and 35 who open a new qualifying account with BMO Investorline, they may be eligible to receive 35 commission-free trades, an eBook on investing and potentially waived account minimum fees. Use promo code “New” when signing up. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer. n/a 35 commission-free trades 90 days Youth Promotion January 5, 2015
Individuals opening a new account with RBC Direct Investing by December 31st may be eligible to receive a commission-rebate on their first 20 trades. Use promo code QC20 or visit the info page link for a valid code. Be sure to read the terms and conditions on this offer. n/a 20 commission-free trades 90 days Full offer information can be found here . For terms and conditions information click here. December 31, 2014
BMO InvestorLine Download the BMO InvestorLine iPad app and you could qualify for up to 5 commission-free trades. This offer is open to new and existing clients and can be combined with other offers. Clients must have a qualifying account in order to be eligible. Read full terms and conditions for details. n/a 5 commission-free trades ($50 max value) 30 days Tablet Trades Promotion January 5, 2015
Open a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) and receive $50 commission credit . Use promo code: kdkfnbbc $1,000 $50 commission credit none none none
Refer a friend to Questrade and when they open an account you receive $100 and they receive $50. To receive this deal you must be an existing client with an equity account and refer a person that does not reside with you and who has not previously opened a Questrade account. $1,000 $50 commission credit (friend) $100 commission credit (referrer bonus) 60 days Refer a friend none
Open a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) by December 30 2014 with a deposit of at least 1,000 and you could be eligible to receive up to 30 commission-free trades with 30 days of opening/funding your account. Use promo code 30trades2014 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $1,000 30 commission-free trades 30 days 30 commission-free trades December 30, 2014
Open a new account (TFSA, Margin, RRSP or FX/CFD) and place at least one trade within 60 days of opening and you may be eligible to receive a $50 prepaid Visa card from Questrade. Use promo code VISA50. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details on this offer $5000 $50 Visa gift card Cards will be mailed within 40 business days of reaching account funding requirement. $50 Prepaid Visa Card Offer December 31, 2014
Scotia iTrade If you refer a friend/family member who is not already a Scotia iTrade account holder to them, both you and your friend get a bonus of either cash or free trades. You have to use the referral form to pass along your info as well as your friend/family members’ contact info in order to qualify. There are lots of details/conditions to this deal so be sure to read the details link. A)$10,000 B)$50,000+ A) You(referrer): $50 or 10 free trades; Your “Friend”: $50 or 10 free trades (max total value:$99.90) B) You(referrer): $100 cash or 50 free trades; Your “Friend”: $100 cash or 50 free trades (max total value: $499.50) 60 days Refer A Friend to Scotia iTrade December 31, 2014
Scotia iTrade Open and fund a new Scotia iTRADE account with at least $15,000 before December 31, 2014 and the commissions associated with your first 100 trades placed within 60 days of the date the account is activated and funded are free. Also, the new FlightDesk platform is being offered for free for 60 days. Use promo code HUN-SP. See details link for further terms and conditions. $15,000 100 commission-free trades ($999 value @ $9.99 commission rate) 60 days Scotia iTrade 100 free trades + FlightDesk December 31, 2014
Scotia iTrade Open a new account with Scotia iTrade with either A) $15,000 – $99,999 B) $100,000 – $499,999 or C) $500,000+ and you may be eligible to receive either A)100 free trades or $50 cash B)250 free trades or $250 or C)500 free trades or $500 cash. Accounts must be opened prior to December 31st, 2014. New clients use code: FATD14E for free trades and code: MONF14 for cash back. Existing clients must call client service (1-888-769-3723) to qualify. Be sure to read terms and conditions regarding minimum balance requirements and other details. A)$15,000 – $99,999 B)$100,000 – $499,999 C)$500,000+ A) 100 commission-free trades or $50 cash B) 250 commission-free trades or $250 cash C) 500 commission-free trades or $500 cash For commission-free trades: 180 day limit For cash back: payout occurs by August 31, 2015 Cash back + Free trade offer December 31, 2014
Open a new account and fund it with at least (A) $20,000 or (B)$100,000 and NBDB may provide up to (A) $500 or (B) $1,000 in commission rebates for qualifying accounts. Use promo code “CashBack2015” when signing up. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for eligibility and refund dates. A)$20,000 – $99,999 B)$100,000+ A)$500 commission rebate B)$1,000 commission rebate 90 days (rebate of commissions depends on sign up date and is outlined on terms/conditions) Cash Back Offer March 31, 2015
Open a new account or fund an existing account at CIBC Investor’s Edge with at least A)$25,000-$49,999 B)$50,000 – $99,999 or C)$100,000+ and you may be eligible to receive A)$100 cash back and 25 free trades; B)$200 cash back and 50 trades or C)$300 cash back and 100 free trades. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for full details on this offer. A) $25,000 – $49,999 B) $50,000 – $99,999 C) $100,00+ A) $100 cash back + 25 commission-free trades B) $200 cash back + 50 commission-free trades C) $300 cash back + 100 commission-free trades Cash back payout occurs within 30 days of account funding; Time limit to use commission free trades is 60 days Investors Edge Cash Back and Free Equity Trades Offer February 28, 2015
Disnat Disnat is offering new & existing clients $300 in commission credits which can be used for up to 6 months. To be eligible, new/existing clients need to deposit $50,000 into a Disnat account. You’ll have to call 1 800 268-8471 and mention promo code Disnat300. See details link for more info. $50,000 $300 commission credit 6 months Disnat $300 Commission Credit Promo December 31, 2014
Open and fund a new account at Questrade with at least A)$50,000 or B)$100,000 by December 30, 2014 and you may be eligible to receive either A)$100 cash back or B)$250 cash back. Use promo code: CASHBACK250W when opening the account. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for full details. A)$50,000 B)$100,000 A)$100 cash back B)$250 cash back Cash back payout occurs after 60 days. Questrade Cash Back Offer December 30, 2014
BMO InvestorLine If you refer a new client to BMO InvestorLine and they open an account with a)$50,000 – $249,999 or b)$250,000+ the referrer and the referee will both receive cash. The new account must be opened with the referral code specific to the referrer. A) $50,000 – $249,000 B) $250,000+ A) You(referrer): $200; Your Friend(referee): $50 B) You(referrer): $300; Your Friend: $100 Payout occurs after 60 days (subject to conditions). Contact InvestorLine for full terms and conditions. October 30, 2015
BMO InvestorLine Open and fund a new qualifying account at BMO InvestorLine with at least $100,000 in net new assets and you may be eligible to receive $250 cash back and a rebate of commissions on up to 25 trades made within 50 days of opening the account. Use the promo code SMILE when signing up for the account. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for eligibility and further details. $100,000 $250 cash back + 50 commission-free trades (rebated) 50 days (payout for cash back and commission rebate occurs after 6 months) Smile Promotion January 18, 2015

Transfer Fee Deals

Company Brief Description Maximum Transfer Fee Coverage Amount Minimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee Eligibility Details Link Deadline
Transfer $15,000 or more to Credential Direct and they will pay the transfer-out fees up to $150. If you wish to switch out of Credential Direct after 90 days they will waive their transfer out fee. See link for more details. $150 $15,000 Transfer Free Promo December 15, 2014
Transfer $15,000 or more to RBC Direct Investing and they will pay up to $135 in transfer fees $135 $15,000 Transfer Fee Rebate Details none
Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they’ll cover the transfer-out fee up to $150. $150 $25,000 Transfer Fee Promo none
Transfer $25,000 or more to a National Bank Direct Brokerage account and they will pay up to $135 plus taxes in transfer fees $135 $25,000 Transfer Fee Rebate none
Qtrade Investor Qtrade Investor will reimburse your transfer fee up to $125 when transferring a balance of $25,000 or more. For reimbursement, please mail or fax a copy of your statement from the transferring institution that shows the transfer charge to Qtrade Investor at 604.484.2627 and indicate your Qtrade Investor account number. $125 $25,000 Transfer Fee Promo none
Disnat Disnat is offering up to $150 to cover the cost of transfer fees from another institution. To be eligible, new/existing clients need to deposit $50,000 into a Disnat account. You’ll have to call 1 800 268-8471 and mention promo code Disnat300. See details link for more info. $150 $50,000 Disnat $300 Commission Credit Promo December 31, 2014