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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – July 24, 2015

(source: giphy)

From spiking share prices of tech giants such as Google and Amazon to gold losing its luster with investors, this week showed that expectations about the future are what drive the rapid moves up and down in share pricing. Arguably, reputation is its own kind of currency and this week we saw examples of how Canadian discount brokerages are having to learn to navigate expectations of online investors via social media.

In this edition of the roundup, we continue with the lighter summer format by taking a look at some sneak peeks at what a couple of discount brokerages are up to over the summer. Next we look at who is facing the heat and why in the discount brokerage tweets of the week. From there we’ll take a look at the upcoming investor education opportunities on the horizon and cap the roundup off with some interesting forum chatter from the past week.

Trading Places

This past week, spent some time with several Canadian online brokerages in Toronto discussing what’s coming around the corner for this fall. Here’s a hint: there’s going to be more than a few big announcements that will get the attention of DIY investors.

Some of what can be shared comes a result of doing a walkthrough of the offices of two close competitors in the low-commission cost segment: Questrade and Virtual Brokers.

What was interesting about being able to go behind the scenes was the level of activity at each of the brokerages and the fact that they are both growing and planning for continued growth. Offices of both brokerages continue to expand and improve which is a testament to the interest these two firms have been receiving from commission-sensitive DIY investors.

As any good summer teaser would do, stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for more interesting content related to these latest adventures.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

The summer heat was definitely bearing down on social media this week as a couple of discount brokerages found themselves having to cool the nerves of some frustrated investors. In particular it was the bank-owned brokerages that seemed to end up in detailed back-and-forth conversations for issues such as delayed account openings and platform glitches.

This week’s tweets offer a unique and instructive read for anyone interested in what challenges online trading can present and how online brokerages (including the big bank-owned brokerages) respond on Twitter.

Mentioned in this week’s tweets were Questrade, RBC Direct Investing, Scotia iTrade and TD Direct Investing.

Event Horizon

Despite it being near the end of July, there is a lot of activity for those interested in learning about investing. Check out some of the interesting sessions below:

July 27

TD Direct Investing – Planning Your Retirement | Tips for Winding Down Your RSP

July 29

TD Direct Investing – Introduction to Investing in Options

TD Direct Investing – Advanced Options

TD Direct Investing – Options as an Income Strategy

Scotia iTRADE – Concepts in Technical Analysis with Recognia

July 30

NBDB – Learn About Investment Basics – [Fr]

From the Forums

Wading Poll

Discount brokerages were on the minds of a few DIY investors this past week in the investing forum. An informal poll of users of the site asking them which discount brokerage they used provided the following results (based on 78 respondents). Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, TD Direct Investing was the dominant online brokerage that voters mentioned (29.49% or 23 of 78 visitors) followed by Questrade (17.95% or 14 out of 78 visitors) and then BMO InvestorLine in third place (12.82% or 10 out of 78).

With small numbers of respondents, there are obvious limits to the kinds of conclusions that can be drawn. It was, however, noteworthy that Questrade was the second most popular answer and that other fairly well-known brokerages, such as Interactive Brokers, were not mentioned. User comments below the survey results also pointed out some of the gaps and interesting observations.


Upside vs Downside

The decision to become an independent or self-directed investor is definitely an important one. Aside from the usual conversations regarding how much effort is involved, or even which online brokerage is best, the following post from the Financial Wisdom Forum on the downsides of using discount brokerages was a really interesting look at some perspectives of DIY investors on the downsides of the discount brokerages.

Into the Close

That does it for this edition of the roundup. Have a great weekend wherever you happen to be and congrats to the Canadian athletes for the strong Canadian showing at this year’s Pan Am games.

(source: giphy)
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