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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – November 27, 2015

This past week, many DIY investors have been turning their attention to ways to spend their money rather than to grow it. Although online traders have typically avoided coming to blows with each other over discounted vegetable steamers, online trading is most definitely a fierce battle to get a deal that can be monetized by selling to someone further down the line. Undoubtedly there have been and will forever be expletives hurled at screens of all sizes when orders or trades don’t go as planned. Luckily those screens don’t talk (at least not for the moment).

For Canada’s discount brokerages, this past week they’ve done their best to score some time in the news cycle for much more positive reasons. In this edition of the roundup we take a look at one bank-owned brokerage’s three-peat in the winner’s circle for an online brokerage award. Next we take a look at what a survey from Canada’s largest online brokerage has to say about the future of DIY investing in Canada. We then focus on the latest tweets of the week and gather some interesting investor commentary from the forums.

BMO InvestorLine Crowned Best Online Brokerage by Morningstar

As one of Canada’s most visible bank-owned brokerages, BMO InvestorLine continues to find the awards spotlight. For the third consecutive year, this Canadian discount brokerage was recognized by the Morningstar Canada awards as being Canada’s best discount brokerage.

The ceremony took place on November 25th in Toronto and was an evening that recognized many within the Canadian financial services sector. For DIY investors, the best discount brokerage selection was performed by a committee of members

Morningstar’s Best Online Brokerage award is a submission based award which requires brokerages interested in participating to pay a $1,000 submission fee. According to their selection criteria, the Morningstar award for best online brokerage jurors are particularly interested in knowing the following from participating brokerages:

  1. In what areas have you differentiated your business from that of your peers?
  2. Emphasis should be placed on developments and upgrades introduced within the past 1-2 years.
  3. Your submission should discuss any particular segments of the market targeted by your firm and how these are being reached.

Additionally, the three major categories that the panel of jurors considered were:

  • Online Presence
  • Customer Service
  • Costs

Of note, the Morningstar awards for best online brokerage are structured around several of the criteria used in the Surviscor discount brokerage rankings. Surviscor also helps to provide research and contributes to the MoneySense brokerage rankings. These also happen to be the rankings in which BMO InvestorLine has finished at or near the top of, and so it seems that BMO InvestorLine has maintained their strong showing throughout the year.

For BMO InvestorLine, the third consecutive victory also falls at the third anniversary mark of their advice-direct platform – something that hasn’t garnered nearly the same recognition or attention as their DIY investing arm has.

As we head into the end of the year, there is still one more major brokerage ranking (the Globe and Mail 2015 discount brokerage ranking) to go.

For DIY investors, it will be interesting to compare the results from the Globe’s rankings as they represent a very different approach than the Surviscor/MoneySense/Morningstar rankings. Historically, BMO InvestorLine has also performed well in those rankings however unlike the Morningstar awards, there is no submission fee to be evaluated. With free admission, the field is bound to be more crowded and therefore tougher to outshine.

DIY Investing Gathers Momentum

In spite of all the talk of competition between brokerages, it seems that a recent study commissioned by TD Direct Investing suggests the pool of Canadian DIY investors will continue to expand.

Results of recent survey of 1750 Canadian DIY investors this past September provided a number of compelling insights, many of which are summarized in the infographic below.

Aside from the finding that that the number of investors who are managing at least part of their investments could double within the next 10 years, it was what investors reported was still lacking on the part of the online brokerage providers that might touch off a wave of features in the near future.

One of those items DIY investors reported was that websites are ‘too complex’ to navigate. This is particularly timely given the number of new website releases that have taken place this year, with a handful more in the pipeline. TD Direct Investing also recently revamped their website with a decidedly simpler front end.

Another item that stood out was that only 7% of users polled preferred to use their smartphone for DIY investing. While stats were not provided for tablet users, this number is expected to grow now that the technology, internet connections and user interfaces/apps have matured. There are still features, such as charting and research, which are going to be challenging to do efficiently on a small screen, however the mobile trading experience today is drastically different than it was even just 2 years ago. That said, a quick look at the discount brokerage tweets for the past several weeks would show that that there is a divergence between theory and reality when it comes to mobile trading sites and apps.

For Canadian DIY investors, there is clearly an interest in taking a more hands on approach to managing their financial futures. With the upcoming fee disclosure changes coming to the advisor world and a tough year for Canadian equities, there might be additional momentum towards considering the benefits of DIY investing as investors take a closer look at what their fees are earning them. And, although several brokerages have already undertaken major redesigns of their website in anticipation of the new ways investors are hoping to interact with their products, the biggest challenge confronting brokerages will be to provide experiences to investors that truly meet their diverse needs.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

This week’s tweets feature a mixture of highs and lows. For DIY investors, the word of the week was ‘frozen’ (trading apps that is) and unlike Elsa and Anna, they did not let it go. Mentioned this week are BMO InvestorLine, CIBC Investor’s Edge, Questrade, Scotia iTrade, TD Direct Investing and Virtual Brokers.

From the Forums

Trading out of the money

As any investor knows, it takes money to make money. Of course, nobody specified exactly whose money it has to take in order to make that next return. In this post from RedFlagDeals’ investing forum, it was interesting to note one DIY investor’s experience trying to trade an RBC Direct Investing account without funds in the source account.

Staying in-formed

Paperwork (and lots of it) is usually synonymous with DIY investing. Of course for anyone trading with US securities this only becomes even more of a challenge. In this post, one user with multiple brokerage accounts at several big brokerages has the onerous task of keeping the regulatory powers that be apprised of their financial and citizenship status.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap for this week’s roundup. Best of luck hunting great deals as cyber Monday promises another day of marketing madness and some great bargains. Of course, one savvy retail experiment shows that even if you promise nothing, people are still willing to pay.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – November 20, 2015

November is quickly drawing to a close. For many that means its Grey Cup season, and for those south of the border, Thanksgiving and yes, deals galore for Black Friday. While all three may be full contact endeavours, they all seem somewhat tame compared to the upcoming jockeying for title of best Canadian discount brokerage which is soon to be released by the Globe and Mail.

In this week’s roundup we take a look Canadian brokerages pulling out all the stops heading into the release of the brokerage rankings. Starting first with the latest promotion being offered by one brokerage who seems to have a reason to smile come November. Next, we take a deep dive into the latest round of website upgrades by two very different Canadian brokerages and look at what insights judging a book by its cover can actually provide. As usual we’ll take a look at the discount brokerage tweets of the week and cap-off the roundup with a look at the upcoming investor education events and interesting chatter from DIY investors in the forums.

Globe Trotting

November has typically been a good month for Qtrade Investor. For the better part of the past 8 years, Rob Carrick’s rankings of Canadian online brokerages has featured Qtrade Investor as the top or among the top of the Canadian online brokerage providers.

This November, Qtrade Investor seems to be giving new clients a chance to smile, courtesy of the Globe and Mail, as the two have teamed up for a promotion. Launched earlier this month, Qtrade Investor is offering new clients 6 months of free access to Globe Investor (valued at $23.99 per month or $143.94 for the duration of the promotional period).

There are, naturally, a few terms and conditions. Of note is that this offer is available to the first 350 individuals who sign up for a new Qtrade Investor account or until the deadline of November 30th. For full details on this offer, check out their terms and conditions here.

Needless to say, with the next round of discount brokerage rankings expected out shortly, there might be a few more readers of the Globe and Mail seeing familiar names near the top.

Out with the old

As we’ve mentioned several times already this year, 2015 is definitely the year of the website upgrade for Canadian discount brokerages. With November being an award heavy month (most notably the Globe and Mail’s discount brokerage rankings) it seems no coincidence that there was a bit of a sprint on the part of two brokerages to also launch their newest websites before the month was over.

Both Virtual Brokers and TD Direct Investing launched upgrades to their websites, and, even though they are two very different brokerages, they are competing fiercely for clients and to be seen as relevant to the DIY investors of today and tomorrow.

While the changes associated with each new website could fill an article unto themselves, the visual choices each firm has elected to go with provide an interesting angle on the battle to look (and therefore to be judged as being) relevant.

Form follows function

Interestingly, the lesson from the slew of design changes in 2015 has shown that while cosmetic changes are needed, functionality and authenticity are components that clients use to judge the value of a particular brand. Things still have to work otherwise DIY investors will go elsewhere and complain very publicly on their way out– any reading of the weekly roundup of discount brokerage Twitter feeds has made that abundantly clear (especially this week).

Now that commission pricing has become less of a distinguishing factor for most brokerages, DIY investors are naturally going to be left which asking more about other features brokerages have to offer. Of course, with so many brokerages having such similar offerings, ultimately the decisions about which brokerage is best are likely to be swayed by emotion rather than bells and whistles. The question when it comes to these sites and brokerages as brands is who you would feel comfortable having a conversation with; who can you relate to? who would you trust?

In that light, it is entirely understandable that brokerages who want to relate their clients would start to sound and look like their clients. That shift is clearly seen in the images on financial websites. Gone is the stock imagery of people in offices with desks filled with scattered paper and calculators. Replacing them are the button down collars, plaid shirts and the new stock imagery of more everyday looking people in their homes or in a coffee shop on their smart devices.

Net worth vs. a picture’s worth

Looking at the imagery of TD Direct Investing’s website, for example, while they do rely on the familiar images of people with their technology, they have the image of the young woman with the tattoo and the baby that seems to be uncharacteristic for a “big bank”. In fact there is an interesting and diverse mix of people on the TD Direct Investing website page that subtly seems contemporary. There are no big animations, sliders or moving parts. Just clear and simple messaging.

In contrast, is the new Virtual Brokers website. It’s bold, it’s animated and the new site is responsive meaning that it should play nicely with devices from desktops to tablets to smartphones. There’s a lot going on and while it’s definitely a more contemporary website, the usability of the menu and navigation have taken a hit.

What really stands out as different on the new Virtual Brokers site, however, is the imagery on the homepage compared to that of TD Direct Investing. VB’s homepage imagery seem somewhat less reflective of the new ‘normal’ and thus less authentic. To add to their challenges, there still a number of bugs in the new website which will require ironing out (such as the language of the site changing as one navigates via the sitemap).

Fortunately for VB, these are easily remedied and the inner pages of the website look and feel new, improved and much more like the contemporary design VB was intending to put forward. That said, leaving those small but significant details unattended for too long erodes the trust and confidence they need to compete in the financial services space.

Robots are better at being human

Ironically, it is the robo-advisor websites who have put on a more authentic, creative and even human presentation. Wealthsimple’s website, for example, has pictures of people living everyday life and stories of young people coming of age while trying to figure out their financial future. Unlike many of the brokerage websites, the robo-advisors have stuck with the “less is more” philosophy which is in line with having a product that is supposed to be simpler than DIY investing. It’s undoubtedly authentic.

In the end, Canadian online brokerages of all sizes are recognizing that the people reading and interacting with their websites and platforms are also consuming digital information in much more interesting ways. It’s only a matter of time before the brokerage website change cycle has to increase to keep pace with contemporary designs that consumers use as the benchmark of what it means to be innovative. What the online brokerages may not be realizing as quickly as their robo-advisor competitors are is that DIY investors are people first and investors second and the best way to appeal to people is by being authentic and interesting.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

While ‘Spectre’ is still in theatres and making the James Bond franchise money weekend after weekend, the very real specter of technological glitches are wreaking havoc on online brokerages. This week’s tweets show that the writing’s on the digital wall for brokerages who can’t keep ahead of new technology.

Event Horizon

It’s an exciting week ahead for discount brokerage-sponsored investor education events. Here are some upcoming sessions that may be of interest to options enthusiasts. An estate planning primer rounds out this week’s selection.

November 24

TD Direct Investing – Introduction to Investing in Options

November 25

TD Direct Investing – Estate Planning

Scotia iTRADE – Trading Options Actively with Sarah Potter

From the Forums

Makeover Madness

In this post from RedFlagDeals’ investing forum, users react to the rollout of the new Virtual Brokers website. While mostly positive and in favour of the update, there’s still work that seems like it needs to be done.

Time flies when you’re having funds

For active traders and even occasional investors, having timely information about market pricing of particular equities or options is essential to make wise trading decisions. In this post also from RedFlagDeals, a user asks which brokerages offer real-time quotes to clients as a standard feature.

Into the Close

That’s it for this week’s roundup. While most people are dreading the frost this weekend, here’s one company that is quite happy they found this chunk of ice.  Congrats to those who were fortunate enough to share in the diamond windfall!

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – November 13, 2015

Source: giphy

Fans of Star Wars have probably already seen the trailer to the next episode, The Force Awakens, as the movie is set to be released before Christmas. Undoubtedly one of the most successful movie franchises ever, Disney shareholders are hoping the sci-fi series can also awaken their quarterly earnings well into the future. Interestingly, it seems that Canadian discount brokerages are also banking on robots helping to boost earnings.

In this week’s roundup we take a closer look at the latest move by one of Canada’s largest online brokerage into the ‘robo-advisor’ space and how it is quickly becoming a ‘battle of the bots’.  Next, we’ll highlight some end-of-year milestone dates DIY investors may want to consider to take advantage of some of their portfolio misses. From there we’ll jump into hyperspace through the discount brokerage tweets before easing into investor education events, investor forum chatter and land this ship safely on the close.

Invest Like a … Robot?

In popular culture, there have been positive depictions of robots and artificial intelligence, such as in Star Wars and Star Trek, and there have been the not-so-positive — even apocalyptic — machine scenarios of The Terminator, The Matrix, and the revised Battlestar Galactica saga. In our current world, we’re not on the verge of the machines taking over — yet — but robots, or programmed machinery, have had increasing roles in our society. The Canadian investor space is on the verge of bursting out with its own version of robot functionality.

As we reported earlier this year, the U.S. has already plunged head-first into the world of robo-advisors (portfolio suggestions offered by automated algorithms usually at lower cost than human advisors) with Charles Schwab having attracted billions of dollars in new business as a result of launching its robo-advisor service, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which adds to the existing mix of dozens of other robo-advisor services south of the border.

Here in Canada, the robo-advisor space is starting to get crowded, too.

As reported by numerous sources, BMO InvestorLine will be entering the space in 2016 with its new robo-advisor offering, which will add to a number of existing players, including Questrade’s Portfolio IQ, which has already been on the market for some time.

While Virtual Brokers has had an arrangement with independent robo-advisors WealthBar and Wealthsimple, it is signalling a more formal entry of its own into the space. Nest Wealth and ShareOwner are examples of other independent players in the field. According to Motley Fool, there are about 10 robo-advisor services currently in Canada, but BMO’s entry would mark the first foray by a major Canadian financial institution.

So, what does this all potentially mean for Canadian investors?

According to the Financial Post’s Jonathan Chevreau, BMO’s entry would lend a kind of credibility to robo-advisors that the banks gave mutual funds a few years back. Chevreau also reports that independent robo-advisors Wealthsimple and Nest Wealth are excited about the news of BMO’s entry into the field. In the end, robo-advisors provide more choice to investors, especially to a tech-savvy millennial generation looking for low-cost investing alternatives.

So, while the machines aren’t taking over Canadian investing, robotic advisors are set to become a formidable force in the market.

When Losses Are Gains

As the saying goes, there are two unavoidable facts of life: death, and taxes. Unfortunately, not even stocks can avoid that same fate. When a stock (or investment) tanks, however, the news isn’t all bad.

While governments tend not to provide investors with ways to minimize paying some taxes, they do recognize that there is a symmetrical relationship to risk and reward that keeps an economy healthy. Investors need to be compensated for taking a risk and one of the mechanisms the Canadian tax structure has in place to do that is to claim capital losses against capital gains. For DIY investors, that means its time to consider “tax loss selling” as a strategy to optimize their portfolio performance.

If there’s one thing to be said about 2015, it’s that there seems to be plenty of opportunity to use tax loss selling. On all Canadian indices, stocks that were lower after a 52-week period outnumbered those that were higher by 31 percent. For the same 52-week period, the S&P/TSX Composite Index fell by more than 10 percent.

As tempting as it might be to simply dump some of these poorer performing stocks at the last possible moment (while also waiting/hoping for a miraculous turnaround) in order to benefit from tax loss selling, as with all shrewd investing tactics, there needs to be a strategy, as well as a knowledge of the rules.

First, there’s the deadline. Investors who sell their losing stocks on December 31st (the last day of the calendar year) will be out of luck since it takes three business days for a trade to settle, and both Christmas and Boxing Day are statutory holidays. That makes Dec. 24th as the last day investors can actually sell a stock for 2015 tax purposes.

In addition, the government does not grant tax loss selling benefits when a sale results in what’s called a superficial loss. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, this essentially happens when the same asset is purchased, or there’s still a right to purchase, by you or an affiliate within 30 days before or after the sale, or you or an affiliate still own, or have a right to buy that asset, 30 days after its sale.

To still benefit from tax loss selling, and also maintain exposure within a certain sector, such as mining, there are a number of tips and strategies. One option, for example, is to sell one stock and buy another in the same sector: mining. Since it’s not the same asset, it’s not a superficial loss, and still allows you to maintain your desired portfolio diversification/exposure. Using different ETFs that have close compositions is also another way to do this. Whatever the case, be sure to get a head start on identifying which stocks will make it into your portfolio for the start of 2016.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

Scotia iTrade’s mobile app got an improvement, but it wasn’t all positive as one user was unable to access the new app through their Android device. By using Twitter the user was able to get a quick response and the bug was solved a few days later. This week’s discount brokerage tweets showcase customers using Twitter to provide feedback and complaints directly to brokerages for responses. Making the roundup this week are Scotia iTrade, Questrade, and TD Direct Investing.

Event Horizon

It’s an intriguing week ahead for discount brokerage-sponsored investor education events. Here are some upcoming sessions that may be of interest to both technical analysis and options enthusiasts alike. An introduction to tax-loss harvesting rounds out this week’s selection.

November 16

Scotia iTRADE – Tax Loss Harvesting with BMO Global Asset Management

November 17

TD Direct Investing – Advanced Options

Scotia iTRADE – How and When to Use the MACD with Pro Market Advisors

November 18

Scotia iTRADE – Options Strategies for Beginners with Montreal Exchange

NBDB – Tools and Technical Analysis with Michel Carignan – [Fr]

November 20

Scotia iTRADE – Charts & Patterns 101 with AJ Monte

From the Forums

From Index funds to ETFs

Every week it’s easy to find a discussion about low cost index funds or ETFs. In this post from the RedFlagDeals investing thread, a user asks for advice on when to switch from index funds to ETFs. The discussion touches on the optimal amount of money to invest in index funds followed by when and how to switch your investment to ETFs.

Index funds through Scotia iTrade?

Investors not investing with TD Direct Investing are looking for alternatives to the popular TD E-series index funds that are available at other Canadian discount brokerages. For those of you curious about what Scotia iTrade has to offer in terms of something similar, this thread on the RedFlagDeals investing thread asks the question.

Into the Close

Since today is Friday the 13th, we hope your superstitions don’t get the better of you. While it may seem like an unlucky day for the major US markets, savvy investors know that money is made on the way up AND on the way down. Whether you’re doing some portfolio pruning this weekend or content to leave it to the robots, we hope you have a great weekend! Of course, with Black Friday just around the corner, it may be more fun to look for places to spend your hard earned gains.

Source: giphy
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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – November 6, 2015


Some people don’t even refer to this month as November anymore. “Movember” – the trendy moustache-growing period of the year, has now overtaken the second last month of the year all with the aim at raising men’s health awareness, of course, and having a little fun.  As many traders and online brokerage providers know, however, the trend is your friend until it ends.

In this week’s roundup we take a look at the evolving trends in the deals and promotions circuit, with some interesting changes to the deals mix that took place at the start of the month. Next, even though many razors will be on hiatus for November, there is one that seems to apply to Canada’s largest brokerage in their bid to pull ahead of their brokerage peers. In keeping with the roundup tradition, we’ll close out with a look at the tweets from the past week as well as investor education events and some interesting chatter from the Canadian investor forums.

Let’s Make a Deal

It’s a new month and with it comes updates on the status of promotional deals being offered by Canadian discount brokerages, as well as a look at monthly trading activity stats from Interactive Brokers in the US.

Starting first with the deals, Questrade once again leads the online brokerage pack with almost half of the 15 current promotions or deals coming from the alone. Leading the news on the promotional front, Questrade is once again offering an iPad mini 2 for anyone opening an online account by Dec. 31 and funding it with a minimum of $100,000.

Questrade is also still offering contest entrants a chance to win $5,000 towards a professionally-managed RESP, offer ending Jan. 31, 2016, as well as a $50 gift card for opening a new online account, with at least $5,000 in funding, between Nov. 9 and Dec. 31. Another new Questrade contest involves a chance to win a $5,000 portfolio with Portfolio IQ. This contest opened Oct. 31 and ends on Jan. 31.

BMO InvestorLine is looking to ring in the New Year resolutely with a promotional offer. Anyone opening an account by Jan. 6, with a minimum of $100,000 in assets, is eligible to receive $200 cash back, and 20 trades that are good for use for up to a year. This offer started on Nov. 2. Unfortunately, their youth-oriented offer didn’t fare as well. It expired at then end of October after a very long run through 2015.

Desjardins Online Brokerage is also busy on the promotional side of things with a unique offering of its own. Current and new clients are getting a combined $1,646 discount to enroll in the Power of Options Educational Course from Trade Global. The $995 course is available for $99 under the promotion, and enrollees also get three months access to, a stocks and options advisory service normally priced at $750 for the three months.

On the trade activity front, U.S.-based Interactive Brokers has released its monthly report for electronic brokerage activity. Of note, there were 655,000 daily average revenue trades (DARTs) in October, which is a one-percent drop from September, and a 4-percent drop from last October. Average commission per cleared client order was at $3.70 for the month, which includes exchange, clearing and regulatory fees.

On the Razor’s Edge

Everyone’s heard the expression: simplicity is a virtue, but not everyone’s heard of Occam’s razor, which is a philosophical principle dating back to the 12th century that selects alternatives based on simplicity. So, if you take Occam’s razor to a set of competing options, the simplest one wins.

Translating this principle into practice for online brokerages, however, has not been so simple. Trading platforms for DIY investors have been notoriously challenging to use – either with too many features, which makes them challenging to learn or too few, which inevitably limit the usability for many types of investors. This year, however, there has been a clear focus on improving usability and simplifying the interface investors use to manage their investments and trade online.

TD Direct Investing is the latest brokerage to upgrade their platform with their new TD WebBroker investor platform. The discount brokerage is touting the greater simplicity of the new online design. A primary feature of this new simplified layout is the navigation menu at the top left of the screen. It contains three links that are always readily available — Accounts, Research, and Trading — all with extensive sub-menus viewable with a click, as well as an easy-access Quick Links toolbar menu to the right.

The new WebBroker homepage layout can be personalized, and includes a summary of a client’s accounts, market and real-data updates — available before, during and after trading hours. If you’ve become accustomed to Microsoft Windows’ tile layout, WebBroker provides a similar nifty feature by placing a client’s accounts in tiles that can be scrolled horizontally and selected with a simple click.

In fact, if there’s one thing that stands out with the new homepage layout, it’s just how many features are available on the same page. Scroll down, and a big “Go to Balances” button takes a user to a detailed view of real-time balances for all accounts. Scroll down even further, and an impressive Top Movers section provides an easy-to-see layout of holdings that are experiencing the greatest market value change for the day.

So, if there are a couple of things that stand out with this new layout, it’s that it’s visually more appealing and accessible than the old format, with more features readily available in one location. The new WebBroker also appears to be simpler: streamline navigation, easier access and customizable features.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

This week’s discount brokerage tweets showcase customers using Twitter to look for answers from brokerages and receive relatively prompt responses. Making the roundup this week are BMO Investorline, Scotia iTrade, Questrade, and TD Direct Investing.

Event Horizon

It’s a busy week ahead for discount brokerage-sponsored investor education events. Here are some upcoming sessions that may be of interest to those who are new to investing, intrigued by technical analysis, and options enthusiasts. An ETF portfolio primer rounds out this week’s selection.

November 9

Scotia iTRADE – Active Investing Strategies with Independent Investor Institute

November 10

TD Direct Investing – Options Fundamentals

Scotia iTRADE – ETF Model Portfolios with Horizons ETF

November 12

TD Direct Investing – Introduction to Investing

Scotia iTRADE – Price Volume Divergence with AJ Monte

From the Forums

Make the switch

There are a growing number of reasons for individuals to move their money from one institution to another. It’s easier than ever to switch your discount brokerage due to the number of promotions for opening accounts and paying transfer fees, you can check them out here. In this post from the Canadian Money Forum, a user is looking to see what benefits or promotions they can get when they move their portfolio to RBC Direct Investing. Another individual asks for an exit strategy for their Tangerine TFSA invested funds in this thread from the RedFlagDeals investing forum.

ETFs coming to TD

For those of you interested in trading ETFs, TD Direct Investing has joined the party. In this post from the RedFlagDeals investing thread, a user informs the community about TD’s plans to offer ETFs in 2016. It’s going to be a great new year for ETF investors!

Into the Close

The theme of the week appears to be change with a new brokerage platform as well as new deals and promotions to accompany a news cycle that included a surprising change in Blue Jays management, a new World Series champion Kansas City Royals, and fresh faces in a federal cabinet yet to be tested with its new duties. It looks like 2015 may have a few more surprises after all.

Source: giphy
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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – November 2015

*Updated November 6* November starts out quietly with only a couple of new deals from Questrade. Hopefully Canadian online brokers are waiting to launch new promotions sometime before the Holiday season.

At the start of this month there are 13 offers currently available from seven different brokerages. Of those nearly half (46%) come from Questrade, demonstrating once again that Questrade is the discount brokerage offering the most deals or incentives.

The most interesting promotion is one of the new promotions offered by Questrade. It targets active traders that can get the most bang for their buck if they plan to trade a high volume during their first 30 days.

Expired Deals

The biggest changes with this month’s deals are the departure of BMO InvestorLine from our monthly deals & promotions page. All three of their promotions have expired and they did not introduce any new promotions for now. At the time of this publication BMO InvestorLine still have their offers posted on their website. The end of October saw six deals officially expire from three discount brokerages. Here’s a quick list of the deals that expired at the end of October:

  • BMO InvestorLine – Youth Promotion Phase
  • BMO InvestorLine – Refer a Friend
  • BMO InvestorLine – 20 Free Trades + $200 Cash Back
  • Questrade – $250 Cash Back
  • Questrade – Prepaid Visa Promo
  • Virtual Brokers – $50 Cash Back

Extended Deals

*Update: Nov.6 – BMO InvestorLine extended one of their promotional deals on Monday of this week. Individuals depositing at least $100,000 of new assets into a new BMO Investorline account can receive 20 commission-free trades which are good for for use for one full year and $200 cash back. BMO Investorline maintains it’s place among discount brokerages offering promotions to their current and potential clients.

Heading into November, no deals or promotions were extended. It seems that Canadian online brokers are winding things down for the year end.

New Deals

*Update: Nov.6 – Questrade added their own promotion directed at individuals investing at least $100,000. After depositing a minimum of $100,000 in net new assets individuals can receive an iPad Mini 2.

There are two new deals being offered this month and both are from Questrade.

Questrade replaced their Prepaid Visa Promo with a new gift certificate promotion, the conditions and value of the promotion ($50) are strikingly similar. The other promotion being introduced by Questrade is aimed at active traders, individuals that deposit $25,000 will receive 30 days of commission free trading and free advanced data. Both of these new offers expire at the end of this year. Happy trading!

As always, if there are any new deals or promotions that you’d like to share with us, please drop us a note or comment below.

Discount Brokerage Deals

Company Brief Description Minimum Deposit Amount Commission/Cash Offer/Promotion 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 Jitneytrade and receive access to their preferred pricing package. n/a Discounted Commission Rates none For more details click here none
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 $25 cash back and they receive either A) $25; B) $50; C) $75; D) $100; or E) $250 depending on the amount deposited amount. Enter code: 476104302388759 during account sign up to qualify. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for eligibility and additional bonus payment structure and minimum balance requirements. A) $1,000 – $9,999 B) $10,000 – $24,999 C) $25,000 – $49,999 D) $50,000 -$99,999 E) $100,000+ $25 cash back (for referrer per referral; $50 bonus cash back for every 3rd referral) For referred individuals: A) $25 cash back B) $50 cash back C) $75 cash back D) $100 cash back E) $250 cash back Cash deposited into Questrade billing account within 7 days after funding period ends (90 days) Refer a friend terms and conditions; Code Number: 476104302388759 none
Open and fund a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) with at least $1,000 and you may be eligible to receive 5 commission-free trades. Use promo code 5FREETRADES when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions carefully. $1,000 5 commission-free trades 60 days 5 commission-free trade offer December 31, 2016
Open and fund a new online trading account with Questrade with at least A)$1,000 or B)$10,000 and you could be eligible to receive either A)10 or B) 100 commission-free trades. Use promo code 100LOWCOM2015 when applying to be eligible for this offer. Be sure to read the full terms and conditions for this promotion. A)$1,000 B)$10,000 A) 10 commission-free trades B) 100 commission-free trades 60 days Commission-free Trade Promotion December 31, 2015
Open a new online trading account (registered, margin or FX and CFD) with Questrade and deposit at least $5,000 in order to be eligible to qualify for a $50 gift certificate. Clients must also place at least one commission-generating trade within 60 days. Use promo code AMAZON50 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $5,000 $50 gift certificate The gift certificate will be awarded in CAD and emailed to the client within 30 business days of the account reaching the minimum funding requirement of $5,000 and execution of one commissionable trade in the eligible account. Gift Certificate Promotion December 31, 2015
Open and fund a new account at Virtual Brokers with at least $5,000 and you could be eligible to receive up to 25 commission-free stock or ETF trades good for use for up to one year. Use promo code “TRADEFREE2015” when signing up to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions carefully. $5,000 25 commission-free trades 365 days 25 commission-free trades December 31, 2015
Open a new online trading account with National Bank Direct Brokerage and deposit either A) $5000 – $24,999; B) $25,000 – $49,999 or C) $50,000 and you may be eligible to receive either A) 25; B) 50 or C) 100 commission-free trades. Use promo code “Trade” when applying to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions carefully. A) $5,000 – $24,999 B) $25,000 – $49,999 C) $50,000+ A) 25 commission-free trades B) 50 commission-free trades C) 100 commission-free trades 90 days Commission-free Trades Offer November 30, 2015
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, 2015
Scotia iTrade Open and fund a new Scotia iTRADE account with at least A) $15,000 – $49,999; B) $50,000 -$99,999; C)$100,000 – $249,999; or D)$250,000+ and you may be eligible to receive a corresponding cash back or commission rebate. For commission-free trades use code: FTN-F15 or for cash rebates use code: NC-F15. Be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully for rebate and cash back eligibility. Contact Scotia iTrade for full details on this offer. A) $15,000 – $49,999 B) $50,000 -$99,999 C) $100,000 – $249,999 D) $250,000+ A) 75 commission-free trades OR $75 cash back B) 125 commission-free trades OR $125 cash back C) 250 commission free trades OR $250 cash back D) 500 commission-free trades OR $500 cash back 120 days for commission-free trades; Cash for the cash back offer will be deposited directly by September 30, 2016. 500 free trade or $500 cash back promo December 31, 2015
Open and fund an eligible TD Direct Investing account with at least a) $25,000 b) $50,000 or c) $100,000 in new (to TD) assets and you could be eligible to receive a) 50 b) 100 or c) 200 commission-free trades. Be sure to read the full terms and conditions for this offer. A) $25,000 – $49,999 B) $50,000 – $99,999 C) $100,000+ A) 50 commission-free trades B) 100 commission-free trades C) 200 commission-free trades 45 days; commission-rebates will be paid by June 3, 2016 200 Free Trades Promo November 30, 2015
Open a new online trading account (registered, margin or TFSA) with Questrade and deposit at least $25,000 in order to be eligible to qualify for free advanced data and 30 days of unlimited commission-free trades. Use promo code ADVANTAGE14 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $25,000 30 days unlimited commission-free trades and free advanced data 30 days 30 days unlimited commission-free trades and free advanced data December 31, 2015
Disnat Disnat is offering new & existing clients $500 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 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code Disnat500. See details link for more info. $50,000 $500 commission credit 6 months Disnat $500 Commission Credit Promo December 31, 2015
Open or fund an account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) with at least $100,000 and you may be eligible to receive an iPad Mini 2. Use promo code IPADMINI15Q4 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions carefully. $100,000 iPad Mini 2 60 days IPad Mini 2 Promotion December 31, 2015
BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine, and fund it with at least $100,000 in net new assets and you may be eligible to receive either A)$200 cash back plus 20 commission-free equity trades. Use promo code FALL2015 when signing up to be eligible. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer. $100,000 $200 + 20 commission-free equity trades Cash award will be paid the week of January 16, 2017. Trades are good for 1 year from signing up for promotional offer. Fall 2015 Promotion January 3, 2016

Expired Offers

Last Updated: November 20, 11:55 PST

Transfer Fee Deals

Company Brief Description Maximum Transfer Fee Coverage Amount Minimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee Eligibility Details Link Deadline
Scotia iTrade Transfer $15,000 or more to Scotia iTrade from another Canadian brokerage, and iTrade may pay up to $150 in transfer fees. $150 $15,000 500 Free Trade or $500 Cash Back Offer December 31, 2015
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
Transfer $25,000 or more from another brokerage and Credential Direct will cover up to $150 in transfer fees. Use promo code SWITCHME when signing up to qualify for the transfer promotion. $150 $25,000 Credential Direct Transfer Fee Rebate none
Qtrade Investor will reimburse your transfer fee up to $150 when transferring a balance of $10,000 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. $150 $25,000 Transfer Fee Rebate 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 from another brokerage and TD Direct Investing will cover up to $150 in transfer fees. $150 $25,000 200 commission-free trades November 30, 2015
Transfer $25,000 or more into a CIBC Investor’s Edge account and they will reimburse up to $135 in brokerage transfer fees. Clients must call customer service to request rebate after transfer made. $135 $25,000 confirmed with reps. Contact client service for more info (1-800-567-3343) 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
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 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code Disnat500. See details link for more info. $150 $50,000 Disnat $500 Commission Credit Promo December 31, 2015