One of the most interesting qualities about markets is that they behave like voting machines. Despite the inflammatory rhetoric coming out of Washington, stock markets in the US and Canada have, for the most part, been voting for optimism in the economy. The lesson: trade the chart not the news.
Speaking of lessons, the starting point of this week’s discount brokerage roundup shines the spotlight on one Canadian discount brokerage that seems to be testing the waters of the investor education pool. Next, there’s some exciting news about a bank-owned online brokerage that is setting up to unveil its new public facing website very soon. From there, we’ll take a look the latest developments in the deals & promotions space and report on the chatter from DIY investors on Twitter and the investor forums.
Virtual Brokers Launches DIY Investing Education Seminar
For DIY investors looking to get oriented to the world of investing and online brokerages looking to boost client confidence in taking the investing plunge, there’s no bigger win-win than investor education content. This past week, Virtual Brokers, waded slightly further into the DIY investor education pool by sponsoring an investor education day featuring speakers from 5i Research and the Independent Investor Institute.
The event itself, is scheduled to take place in Markham, on Saturday February 25th and runs from 1pm to 4:30pm. Presenting at the event will be Ryan Modesto, Managing Partner at 5i Research and Ziad Jasani, Founder of the Independent Investor Institute.
This won’t be the first time Virtual Brokers has worked with these two firms. 5i Research currently has a promotional offer with Virtual Brokers that provides VB clients with access to 5i Research’s newsletter service for a year. In the Independent Investor Institute’s case, Virtual Brokers has run webinars with them in the past as well. What is interesting, however, is that both of these firms will be providing investor education content jointly in a live session – a move that Virtual Brokers has not typically undertaken to grow their client base.
With the addition of a live seminar, it is clear that Virtual Brokers is continuing with their strategy to build on providing investor education as part of their value proposition to DIY investors. Late last year, Virtual Brokers launched a new investor education focused section to their website that included additional primers on investing topics – something that should be appealing to beginner investors looking for some pointers on the basics of investing.
As mentioned at the outset, educational support for investors is typically a win-win for online brokerages. That said, discount brokerages definitely have a strong incentive to build confidence and enable DIY investors to make their own trading decisions. As individuals trade more, brokerages reap the benefits in the form of commission revenue.
Investor ‘education’ is a mixture of information about investing as well as orientation on how to use features, tools on a particular brokerage’s platform, then there is a hybrid that shows DIY investors how to conduct research on particular brokerages’ platforms.
Currently, investor education seminars and webinars are still provided by TD Direct Investing, Scotia iTRADE, National Bank Direct Brokerage and Desjardins Online Brokerage although there has been a noticeable pullback in the quantity of educational sessions delivered. That said, Virtual Brokers has clearly signaled an intent to add investor education into what they bring to the table – which is something that will help to differentiate their offering from those competitors who do not. Moreover, Virtual Brokers has selected two engaging investor education content providers who will undoubtedly encourage interested investors to spend a Saturday afternoon in the company of fellow investors and learn about how to navigate the current investment terrain.
All told, it looks like Virtual Brokers’ latest move might prompt others in the space to up their game which is always good news for DIY investors. Stay tuned.
Canadian Discount Brokerage to Launch New Website
As much as we love to get the scoop on a new story, we’ve got some exciting news about the launch of a new website by one of Canada’s popular online brokerages.
We can’t reveal which online broker it is at the moment but we’ve had a chance to take a sneak peek at their new website and will share an exclusive early look on the SparxTrading.com blog over the next few days.
Be sure to check back or follow us on Twitter where we’ll announce the story when it goes live.
With the RRSP contribution deadline (March 1st) just around the corner, there are plenty of deals and promotions for individuals looking to open an online trading account. In what is a sign of the competitive landscape, there are now over 30 promotional offers in play for DIY investors to take advantage of, with almost all Canadian online brokerages offering some kind of incentive to attract new clients or assets.
While there haven’t been any new deals announced, this past week RBC Direct Investing’s bonus points offer, which was originally set to expire on February 15th has now been extended to March 1st. DIY investors were eager to see what, if any, possible other deals RBC Direct Investing would offer however, those interested in a commission-free trade or cash-back offer from RBC Direct Investing will have to continue waiting or look elsewhere for this kind of offer.
Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week
Exciting times around the discount brokerage world as many investors are kicking the tires on a new brokerage account. Mentioned this week were the most popular brokerages on social media – Questrade, Scotia iTRADE & TD Direct Investing.
From the Forums
Comparing Canadian Online Brokerages
With so many choices for DIY investors to choose from, making a decision ultimately comes down to what people feel is most important to them. This post, from reddit’s personal finance Canada forum, highlights which online brokerages forum users think might be best suited to the poster’s particular needs.
Learning the investing ropes
Everyone has to start somewhere. For one aspiring DIY investor the familiar question of where to begin was raised along with a few eyebrows as to the possible motives for posting on the forum. Nonetheless, this post from the Canadian Money Forum is an interesting look at the community of DIY investors and how many have been helped to get started by the wisdom of the crowd.
Into the Close
Happy family day to everyone outside of BC celebrating this holiday. With markets closed in Canada and the US, this will be a rare opportunity to step back, relax and recharge for the predictably unpredictable week ahead.