Posted on Leave a comment

Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – February 23, 2018

It’s hard to believe but time flies when you’re winning medals. Team Canada has had a great run at these Olympic games and not too long after the games are over so too will some online brokerage deals and promos as well as the chance to contribute to RSPs for the 2017 tax year.

With the RSP contribution deadline looming, this week’s roundup is a blend of news centred around the RSP deadline and what that means for Canadian discount brokerages and DIY investors. First, we take a look at how the clear winner in the rankings race this past year has made some championship moves in promoting their win. Next break down the math on some online brokerage offers to show how savvy investors can get creative with deals and save/receive even more. As usual, we’ll also check in on Twitter to recap the latest chatter from investors and showcase a pair of posts highlighting what folks were talking about in the forums.

Making A Splash

The ripple effect of the online brokerage rankings continued to permeate the news with online investors this week. For those who missed last week’s roundup, Qtrade Investor took top spot in the Globe and Mail online brokerage rankings and in doing so ranked at the top of or near the top of all the major online brokerage rankings for 2017.

This week, Qtrade Investor officially published a news release announcing their win but, in an even more interesting maneuver, also published the full online brokerage rankings article on a cleverly crafted page with the url: join.qtrade.ca. This year’s online brokerage rankings were made available only to subscribers of the Globe and Mail, so on a number of levels, Qtrade Investor publishing the article in its entirety (with permission from the Globe and Mail) means that curious readers can find the full text of the rankings without having to pay for a Globe and Mail subscription. Well played Qtrade.

With just a week to go until the RRSP contribution deadline, there will likely be many last-minute DIY investors who will be looking to get their contributions in for the 2017 tax year. So, it’s game on for Canada’s online brokerages to do their best to land new assets before the RSP buzzer hits.

As we noted last week and yet again, online brokerages like Interactive Brokers and Scotia iTRADE are pushing the advertising button with some unmissable campaigns on BNN.

And, speaking of BNN, this week there was also a segment on choosing an online brokerage in which Glenn LaCoste of Surviscor offered up some perspective on Canadian online brokers as well as provided some tips on choosing an online brokerage.

Tips from Surviscor’s Glenn LaCoste on Choosing an Online Brokerage.

This interview provided an interesting perspective about how online investors could approach shopping for a new online brokerage provider, namely that rather than just stick to one online brokerage, that DIY investors try going to several brokerages to see what might work. Ultimately, LaCoste recommends the ‘try before you buy’ approach with the value proposition for each particular online brokerage really coming down to the convenience and relevance of features that investors use.

Clearly, choosing an online brokerage is on the minds of many investors heading into the RSP deadline. And, as luck would have it, this year there is also a bumper crop of deals and promotions to choose from for either switching online brokerages or for choosing an online brokerage for the first time.  Keep reading for highlights of the offers set to expire at the RSP contribution deadline.

An I-deal Combination

This year’s RSP contribution deadline offers more than just stress to some procrastinators – it also offers the prospect of a deal or promotion for opening up an online investing account. There are lots of great deals and promotions to choose from however time is running out on a few promotions timed to expire at or just ahead of the March 1st deadline. When we reviewed the offers that were set to expire by March 1st, an interesting pattern jumped out – namely that they were all cash back bonuses and that most of these were being offered by big bank-owned brokerages. So, in typical fashion, we thought it might be interesting to compare these offers and to also see how DIY investors can get the best return on their business with some creative shopping.

First, a quick recap of all the open cash-back offers at Canadian discount brokerages shows that there are numerous offers for investors to choose from. To help make shopping a little easier, we’ve colour coded the highest cash back offer in each deposit range with green being the highest and red being the lowest.

Now, as with all things, the details are important to pay attention to when looking at these offers. Specifically, for two online brokerages, HSBC InvestDirect and TD Direct Investing, in order to qualify for the offers, a certain number of trades must be placed. Also, the offer by BMO InvestorLine does not include TFSA accounts while the offer by CIBC Investor’s Edge is only for registered accounts (TFSA and RRSP accounts). Still, for anyone shopping for an RRSP online investing account, there is a lot of choice.

Of the offers mentioned above, the following four offers are set to expire at or just before the contribution deadline of March 1st.

 Online Brokerage Expiry Date Cash Back Range Deposit Range Special Conditions
CIBC Investor’s Edge 3/1/18 $100 – $400 $25,000 – $100K+ TFSA, RRSP only
Qtrade Investor 2/28/18 $50 – $1,000 $50,000 – $1M+ None
TD Direct Investing 3/1/18 $100 – $1000 $10,000 – $500K+ Need to make 5 trades to receive bonus
Scotia iTRADE 3/1/18 $50 – $1200 $25,000 – $1M+ Pre-paid Visa gift card

For some investors, the decision about which online brokerage to choose won’t necessarily be dictated by what promotions are being offered, however savvy and experienced investors do pay attention to, and occasionally are swayed by, the offers being advertised.

Of course, for DIY investors that are looking to maximize the return on the opening of a new account, they may use the deal amount to be the deciding factor when trying to pick between two closely related online brokerages.  For example, an investor with $100K to invest in an RRSP could land $400 from CIBC Investor’s Edge instead of $188 for going with HSBC InvestDirect.

In most instances, DIY investors will only want to open one account and doing so would net the best offer anyway, however in a handful of instances, investors with higher portfolio amounts and a real desire to maximize their returns could also consider opening up multiple accounts.

Consider the following. With a $400K portfolio the best offer at a single institution is $750 (at BMO InvestorLine). If, however, that same $400K is divided up across four offers at the $100K deposit level at four different brokerages, the reward jumps to $1,150 (and it goes to $1200 if taking advantage of stackable refer-a-friend offers).

This is really interesting when one considers that the maximum cash bonus being offered for deposits is $1200 which requires $1M+ at Scotia iTRADE. In fact, it “only” takes $400K to get more cash back than with a deposit of $1M+ at all of the other brokerages (except iTRADE).

Yes, it is more work (some might argue more work than it’s worth) however for higher portfolio amounts, this strategy can yield some intriguing results. The savvy investor with a $1M portfolio can actually land $2050 in cash bonus back rather than $1200 by opening up five online brokerage accounts instead of just one.

Aside from just trying to chase bonuses, there are other advantages to diversifying between brokerage accounts, namely that investors can get access to features that are unique to each (e.g. research).

This year there are a lot of offers and choices for DIY investors to consider and ultimately benefit from when opening an online trading account. For the extreme deal seekers, this also creates some interesting opportunities to sample several brokerages and get paid a little more for the effort of doing so.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

Lots of chatter about registered accounts, new account openings and some garden variety technical difficulties. Mentioned by Canadian DIY investors were BMO InvestorLine, CIBC Investor’s Edge, Questrade, RBC Direct Investing, Scotia iTRADE, and TD Direct Investing.

From the Forums

Comparing Questrade and BMO InvestorLine

Fine tuning a passive investing portfolio is always interesting for DIY investors. In this post from reddit’s Personal Finance Canada section, one user is looking to get some commentary on Questrade and BMO InvestorLine for maintaining a couch potato approach.

Better Terms

One of the goals of SparxTrading.com is to provide DIY investors with better information and better value when hunting for and opening online investing accounts. It was an interesting observation on referral offers in this post from reddit’s Personal Finance Canada that calls out some important details about the way in which referral offers work. Good to read for individuals interested in the Questrade referral code offer which is widely published.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap for this week. While our closing won’t be as elaborate as the closing ceremonies for the Winter Olympics we can toss in some appropriately themed music to take DIY investors into the week before the RSP deadline. Stay warm (especially the Vancouverites!) and enjoy the festivities – team Canada has lots to celebrate this year!

Posted on Leave a comment

Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – February 16, 2018

The Olympics are here and in full swing. As the world’s attention turns to the winter games, closer to home there is a fierce competition going on between Canadian online brokerages. The big prize: winning the share of wallet of Canadian investors. Interestingly, like the Olympics, there is also a fair bit of judging and controversy this week.

This week’s roundup takes a deep dive on the widely anticipated 2018 Globe and Mail Canadian online brokerage rankings and several of the noteworthy observations about this year’s rankings and the state of the industry. Next, a quick but possibly groundbreaking move by one of Canada’s junior stock exchanges that could bring blockchain into DIY investing (legitimately). As always, we’ll take a look at what DIY investors were talking about on Twitter and in the investor forums.

2018 Globe and Mail Online Brokerage Rankings Released

It’s hard to believe but the 19th edition of the Canadian online brokerage rankings were released this week. The journey here has certainly been one of endurance as technology has evolved considerably since 1999 and pricing, for the most part, has come down dramatically.

Interestingly, the bank-owned online brokerages continue to dominate the landscape however when it comes to performance on the Globe and Mail’s online brokerage rankings, it’s the non-bank-owned online brokerages that continue to shine.

Before diving into the results, it is interesting to note a few observations about the study and presentation of the latest ranking data.

The first thing that stands out is that this year’s ratings showed up much later than they usually do. Instead of a typical publish date of November or December, the ratings showed up this year with just two weeks to go before the RSP deadline. Perhaps this is timed for those last-minute shoppers, however, given the sharp spike in interest in DIY investing that hit in December and January, these rankings would likely have grabbed considerable attention in the wake of the interest and online brokerage outages that took place to kick off the year.

As with previous editions, this year’s rankings use the letter grade system to evaluate the brokerages overall performance, with key measurements of the discount brokerage field consisting of parameters such as:

  1. Who has paperless accounting?
  2. How do stock trading commissions compare?
  3. Is commission-free ETF trading available?
  4. Foreign exchange charges
  5. Are U.S.-dollar registered accounts available?
  6. What can broker smartphone and tablet apps do?
  7. Can clients send secure e-mails to get questions answered?
  8. Is there a wide choice of places to park cash?
  9. Can clients compare their portfolio returns with benchmark stock and bond indexes?
  10. How does the client website experience rank on a scale of 1 to 5?

Another tradition of the online brokerage rankings is that they added some newer features to the way the information was presented. This year’s comparisons are a bit more dynamic than year’s past, with the ability to compare specific brokerages using the factors listed above. Gone is the large table view which provides a bird’s eye look at the field across all features and instead a more focused look is possible. Based on the design, it appears a bit easier to navigate the comparison on a mobile screen than having to scroll left or right on a table, so the mobile user was clearly considered when putting this review feature in place.

This year’s rankings are also behind a pay-wall, which means that only subscribers to the Globe and Mail can review in detail the results of this year’s study. Fortunately, we’ve summarized and reported the results below and this year’s scores will be added to each broker profile so readers can compare the historical performance of a particular online brokerage in a variety of ratings. Because the Globe and Mail has disabled commenting on articles as of December 2017, this year, it was unfortunate we were not able to review the reactions of readers to the results as the responses also offer some insight as to whether the online brokerage rankings resonated with general sentiment.

With the stage set for the results themselves, let’s dive in to see what stood out from the online brokerage field this year.

There were a number of very interesting observations about this year’s rankings however to keep things digestible, we’ve selected three of the most interesting (to us) factors to hone in on.

First, Qtrade Investor taking top spot in this year’s rankings means that they have cleaned up in 2017. Specifically, they have ranked first or almost first in all of the major Canadian online brokerage rankings in 2017. Despite the very different methodologies used to evaluate online brokerages that each of these rankings present, three very different studies found Qtrade Investor stood out from their peers. For that reason, expect to see Qtrade Investor be a part of the DIY investor dialogue in 2018 for recommendations or to be short listed as an online brokerage worth considering.

In an interesting marketing quirk, the fact that Questrade – the only other Canadian online brokerage that starts with Q and has ‘trade’ in its branding, also finished on the podium (in a three-way tie with Interactive Brokers and Scotia iTRADE) means that there is sure to be some confusion as to which brokerage is which. Given how much more advertising Questrade does than Qtrade, however, this may actually tilt in Qtrade Investor’s favour.

The second very interesting observation about this year’s results is that Interactive Brokers finally made it into the list of Canadian discount brokerages considered. For many years they were left off the list, not meeting the criteria of being a typical choice for the everyday investor. With the addition of registered accounts, notably the RSP and TFSA accounts by Interactive Brokers Canada, the full spectrum of very active and less active investors appeared to be able to access this online brokerage for more than just day trading. Even more significant than being included this year is the position that Interactive Brokers Canada ranked in. Finishing in a tie for second place alongside “mainstream” brands such as Questrade and Scotia iTRADE means that Interactive Brokers came out ahead of most of the other Canadian online brokerage service providers.

Regular readers of the weekly roundup will note that we often report the (relatively low) average commission paid by IB clients and the unbroken streak of constant quarterly growth in accounts observed for the better part of a decade. This kind of attention on a brand many Canadian investors might not have considered is likely to pose a challenge to the incumbent online brokerages. Further, it also appears that Interactive Brokers is aggressively stepping up their marketing efforts in Canada.

The image below was snapped on BNN’s homepage, a very bold move by IB Canada to be front and centre with Canadian DIY investors. Look for Interactive Brokers to continue to make their presence felt in Canada with a broader market of DIY investors than the “active trader” segment.

Finally, and somewhat related to the first two observations, was that most of the top rated online brokerages in Canada were not bank-owned online brokerages at all. It appears that despite the scale and convenience factor that bank-owned online brokerages bring, when it comes to appeal to the average DIY investor, Rob Carrick’s view is that the non-bank-owned online brokerages are simply doing a better job – for the most part. A key data point in favour of that is seen in the cost of converting to US funds which showed just how much clients of Interactive Brokers and Questrade could save relative to other online brokerages when purchasing stocks in USD by converting CAD dollars.

There was one curious ranking which seems somewhat controversial – and that is awarding Scotia iTRADE, the only bank-owned online brokerage to finish tied for second place, with a B+.

One of the biggest points of debate is the fact that Scotia iTRADE is the only Canadian online brokerage to charge a standard commission pricing of at least $24.99 for accounts with less than $50,000. By presenting the rate that Scotia iTRADE charges as 9.99 per trade alongside other Canadian brokerages that charge $9.99 or less to all clients regardless of account balance creates a perception of parity in pricing when it doesn’t exist.

To be fair, there was a footnote about the commission pricing being higher for individuals with less than $50,000 however the spirit of the Globe and Mail’s rankings have usually leaned towards features that save consumers – in particular younger or more modest portfolio holders – from paying very high fees. To be in the same rank as either Questrade or Interactive Brokers, both of whom have sharply lower pricing by comparison, doesn’t quite stack up. Pricing aside, there was also a versatility gap when it came to US dollar registered accounts that is highlighted in the table above. Specifically, Scotia iTRADE did not offer any (at the time of publication) whereas brokerages such as Virtual Brokers offered a higher number.

The justification that was provided (which acknowledged looking past both the pricing and lack of USD registered accounts) was that the user experience, in particular the website, was more than helpful enough to make up for the value difference. To be fair, for clients with more than $50,000 at Scotia iTRADE, the value equation certainly appears compelling, however that is a rather sizeable hurdle to overcome for many beginner DIY investors.

One of the important takeaways about the Globe and Mail rankings is that there is a high degree of subjectivity that goes into awarding the final grade. The ranking breakdowns were not provided at the time of publishing so it is difficult to see the weights that each factor played in determining the grades, however the apparent importance of website experience coupled with the subjective nature of that rating means that DIY investors relying on the rankings should understand that their experience may vary from the assessments put forward by Rob Carrick.

Nevertheless, this year’s online brokerage rankings do contain interesting nuggets worth reading and considering when choosing a possible online brokerage. The new dynamic features add an interesting user experience to the comparison process and with additional coverage of Interactive Brokers, this year’s results seem to reaffirm Carrick’s view that bank-owned online brokerages aren’t necessarily the gold standard, rather, the independent and non-bank-owned options are stronger competitors than they’ve ever been.

Blockchain on the Horizon

The Canadian Securities Exchange announced this week that they are seeking regulatory clearance to launch a clearing and settlement platform powered by blockchain that will enable trades to settle instantly. Moreover, this platform will also enable the CSE to allow companies to issue Security Token Offerings (STOs) that will utilize smart contracts as a mechanism to bring regulated securities to public markets.

On the settlement front, this is a potential game changer for investors who would no longer have to wait days for trades to settle and as such wait to access funds from the sale of a stock position. More than the time factor, this could be the next catalyst for trading commission prices to go lower as the cost for clearing and settling trades would likely also be lower with fewer intermediary steps and a lower cost for the online brokerages to plug into this clearing system.

Right now, there’s still a regulatory process that will dictate the launch of this platform however the announcement in and of itself should be enough to spur the current (and only) clearing house in Canada to explore means to innovate.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

Another week of technical difficulties and interesting client service issues aired in the public view. Mentioned by Canadian DIY investors were BMO InvestorLine, CIBC Investor’s Edge, Questrade, RBC Direct Investing, Scotia iTRADE, TD Direct Investing, and Virtual Brokers.

From the Forums

Win, Lose or Withdraw

TFSAs can be powerful vehicles for DIY investors to build wealth, but there are finer points to understanding how they work. This post, from the Canadian Money Forum, provides a valuable look at how the ins and outs of the TFSA work for DIY investors.

Digging for Info

The first time in the markets can be an intimidating moment. This post from reddit’s Canadian Investor forum thread highlights one user’s experience and also contains a very interesting (albeit brief) comparison of Interactive Brokers and Questrade – two names that made news this week.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap on another volatile week in the markets. Thankfully it’s a long weekend for Canadian investors which also happens to coincide with the lunar New Year. Have a safe, happy and relaxing long weekend and best wishes for a prosperous year of the dog!

Posted on Leave a comment

Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – February 9, 2018

What a week of extremes. The Eagles won the Super Bowl, the Dow Jones cratered, Elon Musk’s rocket took off, XIV blew up and Omarosa is on Big Brother. But those weren’t the only headlines this week. Unfortunately for many DIY investors, also in the headlines again were online brokerage outages.

In this week’s roundup, we take a deep dive into the trading outage issues plaguing the online brokerage space and analyze where the scales are tipping for bank-owned online brokerages. From there we’ll venture south of the border to see the latest developments from one online brokerage and the launch of a new breed on discount brokerages. As always we’ll wrap up with what DIY investors are chatting about on Twiter and in the DIY investor forums.

Coverage on outages

Something has got to give. Yet another week where investors at a Canadian online brokerage were shut out of the market at one of the most volatile markets in the past two years. And, once again, the outage was covered in news outlets like the Globe and Mail and on BNN. Also, let’s not forget the firestorm on Twitter.

This past week it was RBC Direct Investing who suffered an outage that was attributed to a ‘fibre optic cable’. No further details were reported by the Globe and Mail other than to say that a fix had been deployed although that came as cold comfort to the investors caught in the vortex of turbulent market selloff.

Canadian online brokerages weren’t the only brokerages to go down, however, as major US online brokerages Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab also reported technical issues related to overwhelming trading volume. In the case of Fidelity clients, the last major service interruption was in November. For Canadian DIY investors, however, the long wait times on the phones or platform outages (which then trigger long wait times on the phones) seem like a much more frequent occurrence.

Suffice to say, it’s safe to assume that many DIY investors are not pleased. But has the issue reached a boiling point with investors? Should the online brokerages be concerned?

It was interesting to view the coverage of RBC Direct Investing’s outage on BNN this past week, specifically the segment featuring Dale Jackson which reported on the service interruption, the fall out with DIY investors and the response by independent online brokerages. While the first half of the segment covered the outage, it was the latter portion of the discussion which stood out, in particular because of the perspective given on investor dissatisfaction over the outages and the suggestion that DIY investors are abandoning bank-owned brokerages in favour of independent brokerages.

Jackson cited a 2017 Surviscor study on overall online brokerage experience that measures a number of different factors about an online brokerage. In that study, Qtrade Investor and Questrade performed first and second respectively. And, the inference drawn suggested that DIY investors are dissatisfied with bank-owned online brokerage service and fleeing to non-bank owned brokerages.

At issue with that inference is whether “online brokerage experience” equates to or is a reliable proxy for “investor satisfaction” especially in the context of a conversation on service levels shortcomings.

Fortunately, there is the JD Power Investor Satisfaction study which is conducted every year as well as specific reporting by Surviscor that measures the customer service responsiveness. We compared these very different measures of online brokerage experience and found that, in 2017, Qtrade Investor scored the highest in both Surviscor assessments and second highest in the J.D. Power study. From a broader perspective, in comparing bank-owned and non-bank-owned brokerages, however it was very interesting to note that non-bank-owned brokerages scored higher as a group than did bank-owned brokerages.

As the table above shows, however, there is considerable variation within the bank-owned brokerage and the non-bank-owned group, but the broader point is that just because an online brokerage is affiliated with or owned by a bank, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be “better” at service, overall online experience or investor satisfaction.

As a matter of fact, when it came to service assessment, if the world of online brokerages is divided up into only bank-owned and non-bank-owned, the average for non-bank-owned brokerages is 53% compared to bank-owned brokerages at 37%.

It’s certainly fair to infer that online investor sentiment appears to be negative as a result of recent outages, but the hard data on account migration or turnover away from bank-owned brokerages as a result of investor “dissatisfaction” is not actually cited and, as a result, cannot be verified. It might be fair to suggest that there is already a trend or shift in consumer preferences for non-bank-owned brokerages, but more data would be needed.

The fact that this data – along with incidences of outages – cannot be verified publicly raises the question of whether or not Canadian online brokerages need a regulatory requirement to report some operating metrics publicly so that DIY investors can make unbiased, data-driven decisions about who they should trust with their investments – and who will provide reliable access to those investments. In the absence of that data, consumers are left to turn to other 3rd party ratings and evaluations, each with different approaches to measuring components of the online brokerage experience.

As highlighted in several roundups already in 2018, online brokerages are under a microscope. It seems like only a matter of time before consumer sentiment starts to drive political attention, especially if outages on busy market days continue. If they’re not at a boiling point already, DIY investors are certainly on the path there.

In terms of whether there is cause for concern for the online brokerages – and especially the bank owned online brokerages, there was an interesting poll conducted by BNN which asked: “How do you react when your bank provides disappointing service?”

As of the writing of this post the results below paint a fairly grim picture for a bank that provides “disappointing service” with 54% of respondents stating that they would take their business elsewhere. And, we’ve got an inkling as to where that business may be headed.

Interactive Brokers trading metrics

If there’s one group of folks who are welcoming the volatility it’s not traders, it’s their online brokerages. The meltdown of the XIV proved that traders can get things spectacularly wrong, however with trading volumes at levels not seen in years, online brokerages must be smiling – at least those that didn’t suffer interruptions during trading hours.

With all of the other news that coincided with the regular release of trading metrics from Interactive Brokers, we thought it would be interesting to cycle back to those stats to see what traders and investors at the typically active end of the market were up to in January in the US.

By all measures, it appears that Interactive Brokers crushed their numbers right out of the gate in 2018. Not only were Daily Average Revenue Trades 40% higher than a year ago (and 29% higher than in December), client accounts grew 27% in a year, margin loan balances grew 61% in a year and client equity grew 50% higher in a year. Again, for DIY investors to take note of, the average commission per cleared client order was $2.59 for stocks and $6.03 for options.

It’s still noteworthy that commissions for trades at Interactive Brokers are substantially lower than those of their American counterparts and demonstrate the case that commission costs in Canada are almost certainly going to continue to drift lower.

While Interactive Brokers is a known competitor in the online brokerage space even here in Canada, another interesting development this week in the US could also broaden who will possibly challenge existing Canadian brokerages (and it’s not Robinhood). Earlier this week, Overstock.com launched a partnership with Siebert Financial Corp to offer a discount online trading platform via FinanceHub (owned by Overstock.com).

The online discount trading platform, Muriel Siebert & Co, offers $1.99 trades for Club O Gold Members (an Overstock membership program). This is the second big announcement by Overstock.com this year, with an earlier move to offer a robo-advisor. The reason this is such a noteworthy development is because it demonstrates that large online retailers who have an installed client base and a savviness with technology, can move into the financial services space.

For an online brokerage, such as Interactive Brokerage, the commission fees are already generally fairly low and as such, they are likely not going to have to lower prices to match or compete. Conversely, larger online brokerages will be watching to see if Overstock’s model is successful and if so, they’ll have to budget for a world in which a larger online retail brand – such as Amazon – may try to sweeten the deal on a prime membership by getting a discount on trading commissions.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

Mentioned by Canadian DIY investors were BMO InvestorLine, CIBC Investor’s Edge, Questrade, RBC Direct Investing, Scotia iTRADE, TD Direct Investing, and Virtual Brokers.

From the Forums

Let’s talk about tax

It’s that time of year again when tax talk is all the rage. Here are a couple of interesting posts of issues that DIY investors encountered in trying to get their tax documentation in order.

http://www.financialwisdomforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=104539&p=609074&sid=341165a8624d094c47ee6a5554a016bc#p609074

http://forums.redflagdeals.com/interactive-brokers-activity-report-errors-2169464/

Referral code

Experience is sometimes a tough teacher. For one DIY investor, they missed out on a promo code offer because they didn’t input their code in the right place. Find out what this post offers other investors as a cautionary tale when opening an account to get the deal.

Into the Close

T.G.I.F. Late as it is, thankfully the weekend is here. The good news is there’s no shortage of screen time to get in (other than staring at charts) and likely no shortage of drama either. Especially now that volatility is blowing through the markets. Hang on to your hats, next week should be fun.

Posted on Leave a comment

Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – February 2, 2018

Welcome to February. Instead of V for Valentine’s it appears that the first V is for volatility. Gravity kicked in very quickly for stock markets this week, as it often does, when supply suddenly outstrips demand. Curiously, for online brokerages, demand continues to be strong, and investor demands continue to increase.

In this Groundhog Day edition of the roundup we recap the week’s developments starting first with the continuing saga of DIY investors trying to navigate outages and client service delays. From there, we shift to happier news, namely the latest deals and promotions to cross the wire from Canadian discount brokerages. Also, we’ll take a look at the latest investor education initiative from a bank-owned online brokerage that may breathe some life into this subdued sector. As always, we’ll scan what DIY investors were talking about on Twitter and in the investor forums.

Deja Queue

It’s somewhat ironic that on Groundhog Day that we’re once again revisiting the news that online brokerages are fumbling in early 2018. As coincidental as the timing is, the movie Groundhog Day has become a popular example of history repeating itself unless things change, and for many DIY investors in Canada, this feels like deja-vu all over again.

For several of Canada’s large bank-owned online brokerages, wait times for phone agents and technical difficulties for trading platforms continue to be high. It has now reached a level that brokerages have taken to posting messages on the front end or the welcome screens on the backend that issues persist.

In monitoring the recent struggles of DIY investors to connect with Canadian online brokerages, one very interesting trend is emerging. Specifically, because online brokerages are either slow to address clients on phone lines or are experiencing multiple platform or feature outages, DIY investors are taking to Twitter to notify members of the media to intervene.

While it’s not without precedent, the pace and magnitude of media personality participation in 2018 is something the Canadian online brokerage industry should be incredibly concerned about. Not only are DIY investors learning to tweet at members of the media about the issues that are occurring, but members of the media are responding.

Last month, the Globe and Mail’s Clare O’Hara published an article that shone a spotlight on the tribulations of DIY investors’ trading platforms going down. Even more intriguing are examples such as an exchange this past week on Twitter between a Scotia iTRADE client and the personal finance writer at the Toronto Star, Ellen Roseman.

From an outsider’s perspective, it appears that escalating client service issues to members of the personal finance media expedited a response.

And this is not an isolated incident. Notifications to anyone and everyone who may listen – including the media, is now something Canadian discount brokerages need to be prepared to handle. If the teams at online brokerages were already overwhelmed, this extra strain certainly doesn’t make things easier.

Of course, the longer it takes the Canadian discount brokerage industry to address response times and stability issues, the louder the complaints will get and inevitably DIY investors will go beyond tagging media and begin approaching regulators to comment or address what’s going on. And, at that point, for online brokerages it may start to feel like a bad dream come true.

Deals and Promotions update

As we profiled last week and in the deals and promotions section, there is a lot of choice when it comes to cash back offers from Canadian discount brokerages. In total, there are eight online brokerages offering a cash back deal and of those, five different online brokerages have the ‘best’ deal (i.e. offer the most cash back) depending on the amount deposited.

For commission-credit offers, however, the field is much smaller and there is a clear difference between the highest offer and everyone else.

Before diving into this month’s top offers, it’s useful to point out that commission credit offers are those for which an online brokerage provides a refund/rebate or credit for the entire trade commission. There are offers from Jitneytrade and Virtual Brokers which do offer discounted commission rates, but those have not been included here.

Another interesting quirk about commission credit offers is that they are generally time-limited. As such, it is important to be clear on how long you have to use the commission credit and when you may receive the rebate/refund for the commissions on those trades if that is the structure of the offer.

Currently there are four online brokerages that offer commission credit promotions. Specifically, BMO InvestorLine, Desjardins Online Brokerage, National Bank Direct Brokerage and Questrade each have offers.

As shown in the table above, when it comes to commission-free trade offers, Desjardins Online Brokerage currently has the most competitive offer for deposits over $10,000.  Although qualifying for Desjardins’ offer begins at deposits of $10,000 (which offers 10 trades), National Bank Direct Brokerage’s offer of 10 commission-free trades is slightly better than Desjardins’ offer of the same amount of trades because the time frame to use the trades is 1 year with NBDB versus 6 months for Desjardins Online Brokerage’s offer.

For deposits of between $1,000 and $10,000, the exclusive Sparx88 offer with Questrade offers up at least 9 commission free trades. Because Questrade has variable pricing, we used the most expensive commission price of 9.95 per trade when estimating the number of commission-free trades available. In the best case of all trades costing $4.95 per trade, however, investors can receive up to 17 commission free trades. Another perk about this specific promotion is that there is a 60-day window to use these trades rather than the standard 30 days.

Whether it is commission-free trades or cold hard cash, the great news for DIY investors is that February 2018 seems to be a fantastic month for promotions when opening up a new online trading account. With close to 30 offers to choose from and a very strong selection, DIY investors are almost certain to get a little something extra for joining a new online brokerage or transferring assets into an existing account.

National Bank Direct Brokerage Offers Options Education

Although investor education has been largely on the backburner for many Canadian online brokerages over the past year, National Bank Direct Brokerage and the Montreal Exchange are putting options education back into the spotlight with a new webinar series.

Starting in mid-February and running through to early June, this six-webinar course will run through the basics of options trading. Topics for this series include:

  • Options fundamentals (Feb. 13th)
  • Option strategies for RRSP & TFSA (Mar. 14th)
  • Options trading: Myths and reality (Apr. 4)
  • Options trading mistakes to avoid (Apr. 25)
  • Options as a hedging strategy (May 16)
  • Options as an income strategy (June 6)

Montreal Exchange also has run options education days in cities across the country for the past few years, as well as provided considerable options education resources so they are seasoned providers of investor education in this space.

For individuals who can’t attend the webinar live, there will be recordings of the session posted to the webpage here.

Even More Passive Investing

This week, Vanguard Investments Canada launched a series of three ETFs that are sure to get the attention of DIY investors interested in simple passive investing strategies. In fact, they already have.

Earlier in the week the Globe and Mail’s Rob Carrick published an article describing the three funds: Vanguard Conservative ETF Portfolio (TSX:VCNS); Vanguard Balanced ETF Portfolio (TSX:VBAL) and Vanguard Growth ETF Portfolio (TSX:VGRO).

With asset allocations baked into a single ETF and with low management costs, the most striking observation made by Carrick was that these products are “simple enough to steal some business away from robo-advisers.”

And, that business, could be stolen by online brokerages. Specifically, online brokerages that offer commission-free ETF trading, such as National Bank Direct Brokerage, or those that offer commission-free ETF buying (Questrade and Virtual Brokers), could stand to benefit the most. The combination of low/no commission fees and simplicity of management mean that online brokerages can market to passive investors with messaging that doesn’t promote someone having to make numerous trades; instead the goal can be asset gathering, which is another way in which online brokerages can generate revenue.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

Mentioned by Canadian DIY investors were BMO InvestorLine, CIBC Investor’s Edge, Questrade, RBC Direct Investing, Scotia iTRADE, and TD Direct Investing.

From the Forums

Gimme a reason

It’s not often that we see a post from a DIY investor who wants to switch but just needs to be sold on why. Interestingly, in this post from reddit’s Personal Finance Canada thread, one investor did just that by asking for a reason to switch away from Credential Direct. Even more interesting, however, were the responses on just how to structure an exit to incur the fewest fees.

Quick start

It’s no secret that DIY investors hoping to open an online trading account have encountered delays in the application process that can last for days. According to this post on reddit’s Personal Finance Canada thread, however, there is one online brokerage that happens to be able to speed up the process considerably. Find out who’s getting ahead of their peers in the race to bring new clients on board digitally.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap for another eventful week. This weekend will also likely be just as eventful (especially for sports fans).  After such a rough week in the markets, probably the best chance for cryptocurrency ‘traders’ and cannabis investors to see green is by tuning into the Super Bowl on Sunday or by reaching for the guacamole. Have a great weekend!

Posted on Leave a comment

Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – February 2018

*Update: Feb. 2/18* The deals and promotions activity at Canadian discount brokerages is almost at full throttle this month.With over 30 advertised deals for DIY investors to choose from, there is no shortage of incentives from brokerages big and small, each trying to sweeten the deal for DIY investors.

And, while there were no new deals out of the gate in February, January did welcome to the deals stage offers from Credential Direct, HSBC InvestDirect, National Bank Direct Brokerage and Qtrade Investor. Of particular interest for DIY investors, the cash back, commission-free trade and discounted commission deals are the most popular category of deal being put forward.

With so many offers now available, we summarized which online brokerages were offering the most cash back for registered (TFSA or RRSP) accounts at all Canadian online brokerages. It bears repeating however that most of Canada’s largest bank-owned brokerages are offering more, in dollar terms, than the non-bank owned brokerages are.

Also, interesting from looking at the above breakdown, is that although there is considerable overlap, different Canadian bank-owned online brokerages are clearly targeting specific deposit segments of the DIY investor market.

The bottom line, however, is that this month may be the best time for any DIY investor looking to open an online investing account. While a promotion may not be the primary reason for choosing an online brokerage, the good news is that there is likely to be a bit of a bonus no matter where you choose (almost).

As always, if there are offers that we’ve missed that might be of benefit to Canadian DIY investors, please share in the comments section below.

Expired Offers

*Update: Feb. 2/18: Desjardins Online Brokerage’s 1% commission credit offer has been extended to March 31st, 2018.*

There was only one promotional offer that technically did expire at the end of January and for which the terms and conditions page on the website was not updated at the time of publishing of this post. Desjardins Online Brokerage’s long standing 1% commission credit offer technically expired at the beginning of February. We’ll continue to monitor to see if the official terms of this offer are updated or if a new offer appears in its place. Stay tuned.

Extended Offers

*Update: Feb. 2/18: Desjardins Online Brokerage’s 1% commission credit offer has been extended to March 31st, 2018.*

There were no extensions to report at the outset of the month.

New Deals

There were no new promotions at the outset of February, however there were several offers that came to market through the month of January. Credential Direct and Qtrade Investor both launched cash bonus offers for new and existing clients. Also launching a cash back offer was HSBC InvestDirect. National Bank Direct Brokerage joined the promotional race later in the month with an interesting commission-free trade offer, notable because the timeframe to use the free trades is a lengthy one year.

Discount Brokerage Deals

  1. Cash Back/Free Trade/Product Offer Promotions
  2. Referral Promotions
  3. Transfer Fee Promotions
  4. Contests & Other Offers
  5. Digital Advice + Roboadvisor Promotions 

Cash Back/Free Trade/Product Offer Promotions

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 and fund a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) with at least $1,000 and you may be eligible to receive $88 in commission credits (up to 17 commission-free trades). Use promo code SPARX88 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions carefully. $1,000 $88 commission credit 60 days Access this offer by clicking here: $88 commission-credit offer . For full terms and conditions, click here. 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, 2018
Open and fund a new account with Virtual Brokers with at least $5,000 and you may be eligible to receive up to two months of trading at $4.99 per trade (maximum of 15 trades per month). Use promo code 499COM2017 when signing up to qualify. See terms and conditions for full details. $5,000 Up to 2 months of trading at $4.99 per trade (max 15 trades per month) Commissions will be reimbursed after June 30, 2018. For more details, click here March 31, 2018
Open and fund a qualifying account with TD Direct Investing with at least A) $10,000; B) $50,000; C) $100,000; D) $250,000 or E) $500,000+ and place at least 5 commissionable trades within 90 days of account opening and you may be eligible to receive either A) $100; B) $200; C) $300; D) $500 or E) $1,000 in cash back. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for eligibility for this offer. A) $10,000 B) $50,000 C) $100,000 D) $250,000 E) $500,000+ A) $100 B) $200 C) $300 D) $500 E) $1,000 Cash award will be paid to the client before the last day of the month following the conclusion of the qualification period (90 days). #RetireReady Promotion March 1, 2018
Disnat Desjardins Online Brokerage is offering new clients 1% of assets transferred into the new account in the form of commission credits (to a maximum value of $1,000). Minimum qualifying deposit is $10,000. To qualify, individuals will have to call 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code DisnatTransfer or email: [email protected] See details link for more info. $10,000 1% of assets transferred in the form of commission-credits (max credits: $1,000) 6 months Disnat 1% Commission Credit Promo March 31, 2018
Open a new account at National Bank Direct Brokerage with at least a) $10,000 or B) $20,000+, and you may be eligible to receive up to A) 10 or B) 25 commission-free trades. For the 10 free trades offer, enter promo code FREE10 and for the 25 free trades offer enter promo code FREE25. This offer is also available to existing clients. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. A) $10,000 B) $20,000+ A) 10 commission-free trades B) 25 commission-free trades 12 months Free Trades Campaign April 30, 2018
Open a new account or fund an existing account at Credential Direct with at least A) $15,000; B) $50,000; C) $150,000; D) $500,000 or E) $1M+ and you may be eligible to receive a cash bonus of A) $75; B) $125; C) $200; D) $500 or E) $1,000. For new clients, use promo code CASH2018RSP when applying. Existing clients can access this promotion from the promotions page available on the account backend. A donation equivalent to 10% of the bonus payout will also be made by Credential Direct to Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. A) $15,000 B) $50,000 C) $150,000 D) $500,000 E) $1M+ A) $75 B) $125 C) $200 D) $500 E) $1000 Cash will be credited to qualifying investor accounts the week of August 20, 2018 Winter Offer 2018 March 16, 2018
Transfer at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000; or C) $100,000 into a new or existing RRSP, spousal RRSP or TFSA at CIBC Investor’s Edge before March 1, 2018 and you may be eligible for a cash back offer of A) $100; B) $200 or C) $400. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. A) $25,000 B) $50,000 C) $100,000 A) $100 B) $200 C) $400 Cash back will be deposited the week of May 4, 2018 (for transfers received by Dec. 31, 2017) or July 3, 2018 (for transfers received after Dec. 31, 2017). CIBC Investor’s Edge Cash Back Promo March 1, 2018
Open a new account with HSBC InvestDirect by transferring in at least A) $25,000; B) $100,000; C) $250,000; D) $500,000 or E) $1,000,000 or more from another Canadian financial institution and execute at least three commission-generating trades by April 30th, 2018, and you may be eligible to receive a cash bonus of up to A) $88; B) $188; C) $288; D) $688 or E) $988. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. A) $25,000 B) $100,000 C) $250,000 D) $500,000 E) $1M+ A) $88 B) $188 C) $288 D) $688 E) $988 Transfer-in bonus will be deposited by November 30, 2018. Winter Offer – Transfer-In Bonus March 30, 2018
Scotia iTrade Open and fund a new account with Scotia iTRADE with at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000; C) $100,000; D) $250,000; E) $500,000 or F) $1M+ and you may be eligible to receive a pre-paid Visa gift card worth A) $50; B) $100, C) $200; D) $300; E) $600 or F) $1200. Use code VISA18 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. A) $25,000 B) $50,000 C) $100,000 D) $250,000 E) $500,000 F) $1M+ A) $50 B) $100 C) $200 D) $300 E) $600 F) $1200 pre-paid card should arrive by July 31st 2018 Scotia iTRADE offer March 1, 2018
Open and fund a new qualifying account with at least $25,000 and you may qualify for one month of unlimited commission-free trades and up to one month free of an advanced data package. Use promo code ADVANTAGE14 when opening a new account. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $25,000 commission-free trades for 1 month + 1 month of advanced data. 1 month Active Trader Program December 31, 2018
Open a new account or fund an existing account with Qtrade Investor with at least A) $50,000; B) $100,000; C) $250,000; D) $500,000 or E) $1M+ and you may be eligible to receive A) $50; B) $100; C) $250; D) $500 or E) $1,000. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. A) $50,000 B) $100,000 C) $250,000 D) $500,000 E) $1M+ A) $50 B) $100 C) $250 D) $500 E) $1,000 Cash back will be credited by July 31, 2018. Cash back offer February 28, 2018
BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine or fund a qualifying existing account, with at least A) $100,000; B) $200,000 or C) $300,000+ in net new assets and you may be eligible to receive up to A) $200 or 20 commission-free equity trades; B) $400 or 40 commission-free equity trades; or C) $750 cash back or 75 commission-free equity trades. Commission-free trades are good for up to two months. In addition, eligible individuals can receive an extra $50 as part of the refer a friend program. Use promo code SPARXCASH when signing up for the cash back offer or SPARXTRADES when signing up for the commission-free equity trade bonus. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer. A) $100,000 B) $200,000 C) $300,000 A) $200 or 20 commission-free equity trades. B) $400 or 40 commission-free equity trades. C) $750 or 75 commission-free equity trades. Cash back will be deposited the week of Nov. 12, 2018. Commission-free equity trades are good for up to two months. BMO InvestorLine Winter 2018 Campaign April 1, 2018

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Feb. 2, 2018 08:30 PT

Referral Promotions

Company Brief Description Minimum Deposit Amount Incentive Structure Time Limit to Use Commission/Cash Offer Deposit Details Link Deadline
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 B) $10,000 C) $25,000 D) $50,000 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
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 tbd
BMO InvestorLine If you (an existing BMO InvestorLine client) refer a new client to BMO InvestorLine and they open an account with at least $50,000 the referrer and the referee may both be eligible to receive $50 cash. To qualify the referee must use the email of the referrer that is linked to their BMO InvestorLine account. See terms and conditions for full details. $50,000 You(referrer): $50; Your Friend(referee): $50 Payout occurs 45 days after minimum 90 day holding period(subject to conditions). BMO InvestorLine Refer-a-Friend October 31, 2018

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Feb. 17, 2018 18:30 PT

Transfer Fee Promotions

Company Brief Description Maximum Transfer Fee Coverage Amount Minimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee Eligibility Details Link Deadline
Transfer $15,000 or more to HSBC InvestDirect, and they will pay up to $150 in transfer fees. $150 $15,000 2018 Winter Offer – Transfer-In Bonus March 30, 2018
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 $20,000 or more to a National Bank Direct Brokerage account and they will pay up to $135 plus taxes in transfer fees. $135 $20,000 Transfer Fee Rebate 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
Transfer $25,000 or more to Qtrade Investor from another brokerage and Qtrade Investor may cover up to $150 in transfer fees. See terms and conditions for more details. $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 at least $25,000 or more in new assets to TD Direct Investing when opening a new account and you may qualify to have transfer fees reimbursed up to $150. Be sure to contact TD Direct Investing for further details. $150 $25,000 Contact client service for more information (1-800-465-5463). none
Transfer $25,000 or more to Virtual Brokers and they may cover up to $150 in transfer fees. $150 $25,000 Transfer Fee promo April 30, 2018
Transfer $25,0000 or more to Scotia iTRADE and they cover up to $150 in transfer fees. $150 $25,000 Transfer Fee promo March 1, 2018
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 information (1-800-567-3343). 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 DisnatTransfer. See details link for more info. $150 $50,000 Disnat 1% Commission Credit Promo March 31, 2018
BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine or fund a qualifying existing account, by transferring in at least $200,000+ in net new assets and you may be eligible to have transfer fees covered up to $200. Use promo code SPARXCASH when signing up to also be eligible for cash back offer or SPARXTRADES to be eligible for the commission-free trade offer. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer. $200 $200,000 BMO InvestorLine Winter 2018 Campaign April 1, 2018

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Feb. 17, 18:40 PT

Other Promotions

Company Brief Description Minimum Deposit Amount Required Details Link Deadline
Disnat Desjardins Online Brokerage, in conjunction with MoneyTalks, is offering 3 months of the “Inside Edge” investor information service to Desjardins Online Brokerage clients. Use promo code DESJ2016 during checkout to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for more information. n/a MoneyTalks Inside Edge Discount none
Disnat Desjardins Online Brokerage is offering $50 in commission credits for new Disnat Classic clients depositing at least $1,000. See terms and conditions for full details. $1,000 [email protected] 18-30 Promotion none
Scotia iTrade Scotiabank StartRight customers can receive 10 commission-free trades when investing $1,000 or more in a new Scotia iTrade account. Trades are good for use for up to 1 year from the date the account is funded. Use promo code SRPE15 when applying (in English) or SRPF15 when applying in French. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for full details. $1,000 StartRight Free Trade offer none

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Feb. 1, 2018 22:00 PT

Digital Advice + Roboadvisor Promotions

Robo-advisor / Digital advisor Offer Type Offer Description Min. Deposit Reward / Promotion Promo Code Expiry Date Link
Discounted Management Open and fund a new Questrade Portfolio IQ account with a deposit of at least $1,000 and the first month of management will be free. For more information on Portfolio IQ, click the product link. $1000 1st month no management fees KDKFNBBC None Questrade Portfolio IQ Promo Offer
Discounted Management Open a new account with BMO SmartFolio and receive one year of management of up to $15,000 free. See offer terms and conditions for more details. $1,000 1 year no management fees STSF February 28, 2018 SmartFolio New Account Promotion
Cash Back – Referral BMO SmartFolio clients will receive $50 cash back for every friend or family member who opens and funds a new SmartFolio account. Friends and family referred to SmartFolio will receive $50 cash back for opening and funding an account, plus automatic enrollment into SmartFolio’s mass offer in market at the time. See offer terms and conditions for more details. $1,000 $50 cash back (referrer) $50 cash back (referee) Unique link generated from SmartFolio required. None SmartFolio Website
Transfer Fee Coverage Transfer at least $25,000 into Virtual Wealth when opening a new account and you may be eligible to have up to $150 in transfer fees covered by Virtual Wealth. $25,000 up to $150 in transfer fees covered None None Contact customer service directly for more information.
Last Updated: Feb. 1, 2018 22:00 PT