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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – September 28, 2018

While most traders would agree that the stock market is volatile, the news cycle makes it seem like the stock market is as level as a prairie highway. From Teslas to testimony to tariffs, this past week has given traders a lot to ponder, however when it comes to markets, fundamentals continue to drive the bus.

This edition of the roundup shines a spotlight on action here in the Canadian discount brokerage space, starting first with the latest cash-back offering to come from an online brokerage. From there, and in sharp contrast to the news, we highlight one online brokerage who is successfully using Twitter as a force for good with a recent investor education session. As always, we’ll serve up the latest (and unhappy yet again) tweets from DIY investors as well as a pair of interesting forum posts.

CIBC Investor’s Edge Launches New Deal

This week saw the launch of a new cash-back promotional offer for DIY investors by CIBC Investor’s Edge. There are a couple of important reasons why this offer is noteworthy, one of which is that it comes with a customized SparxTrading.com promo code, Sparx18. More on that in just a moment.

In terms of the offer itself, this deal is a tiered cash-back promotion consisting of three deposit/reward levels which are structured as follows:

  • Deposits of between $25,000 and $49,999 are eligible for $100 cash back
  • Deposits of between $50,000 and $99,999 are eligible for $200 cash back; and
  • Deposits of $100,000+ can receive up to $400 cash back.

This offer is available through March 24th, 2019, however cash back payments are timed around when accounts are funded.

According to the deal terms and conditions, the cash back reward will be deposited on the week of March 24, 2019, for transfers received by December 31, 2018; transfers received after December 31, 2018, but before May 1, 2019, will receive cash back on the week of July 1, 2019.

Another important feature of this offer is that it is available to new and existing clients who use the exclusive promo code: Sparx18. For new clients, the promo code can be used for this deal when opening an account online. Existing clients can get in touch directly with Investor’s Edge by requesting a call and be eligible for this offer by mentioning the Sparx offer.

As the leading source for Canadian online brokerage offers in Canada, we’re thrilled SparxTrading.com was tapped as the go-to source for the launch of this new cash-back promotion. Of course, the real win is for Canadian DIY investors who can now access another cash-back offer – a promo type that is especially popular. This brings the number of cash-back promotions from a bank-owned brokerage to two (the other being from BMO InvestorLine).

With so few other Canadian brokerages currently offering cash back promotions, CIBC Investor’s Edge will undoubtedly stand out on the deals and promotions list, more so because of the dollar amounts that are part of the offer itself. And, while a lot can still happen between now and the closing date of this deal after the RSP contribution deadline, this latest move by CIBC Investor’s Edge shows they’re ramping up for a very active fall and winter.

BMO Wealth Back on Social Media

While Twitter might be the first place folks go for breaking news or weighing in on celebrities, entertainment or pop culture, BMO InvestorLine and SmartFolio are starting to demonstrate just how effective a platform Twitter can be for boosting awareness of and engagement with personal finance conversations.

This past week, BMO ran another one of its popular Twitter chats with media personality, Lena Almeida (@Listen2Lena) to discuss topics related to personal finance and investing.

Like the Twitter chats done with BMO in the past, this most recent session followed a familiar format. For starters, the session was about an hour long and members from BMO’s wealth management team were on hand to help answer questions that audience members had. Also making a reappearance, cash prizes. There was $600 to be won which was comprised of two $50 gift cards and one grand prize of $500 at the end of the session.

As for the questions themselves, there were five questions that were asked and answered during the session:

  1. Emergency Fund, Major Purchase (i.e. dream vacation, home etc.) or Retirement… what are you saving for?
  2. To those who have identified what their saving goals are, are you investing your savings?
  3. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the options when it comes to investing your savings?
    1. Fact or fiction? A TFSA is just a fancy name for a plain old savings account
    2. Fact or fiction? Savings can wait when “life” happens
  4. What is your biggest takeaway from tonight’s chat?

There was clearly a theme of talking about savings, what those savings can be used for and naturally, how to grow those savings with different investment products. It was especially interesting and useful to see how Lena answered the questions as well, something that added a definite sense of authenticity to the conversation and offered examples of someone sharing their experiences but also a genuine manner in which encourage others to participate by sharing their stories and questions.

What is especially interesting about these Twitter chats is that BMO and their team have managed to create a content experience online that is both educational and engaging, which is especially tough to do with most personal finance content (let alone on Twitter). By turning this into an hour-long conversation about financial goals, throwing in some cash prizes, interesting personal finance facts, copious amounts of GIFs and working with some Twitter influencers, BMO’s wealth management team has found a creative way to reach the right audience.

For other online brokerages, there is clearly a challenge to rival firms like BMO (InvestorLine) by doing something similar. For BMO’s competitors, getting it right will likely not be quick nor painless. That BMO has enjoyed a considerable head start means that the other online brokerages will be playing catchup for some time. Even more significant though is that even though it was for a brief window, these chats show that Twitter isn’t only for breaking news or controversy, it can be used to create opportunities to connect and learn.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

From the Forums

Newbie Investor

One new investor asked a simple yet useful question in this thread from Reddit’s Personal Finance Canada. Interested in growth funds, the forum user was wondering how to choose the best performing ETFs for investing, including market cap and fees. Click here to read what advice was offered.

Step to the Beat

Timing the market is no easy feat, however with a TFSA timing does matter. Read what DIY investors on reddit had to say with regards to timing, influence of outside parties and what the consequences could look like when it comes to cashing out a TFSA mutual funds.

Into the Close

If there’s one thing this week had plenty of, it was controversy. Fortunately, in the midst of the controversy, there were also moments of extraordinary courage.

As the eyes of the national media in the US – and Canada – turned to unfolding drama in the US Supreme Court nominations, the bravery displayed by multiple victims of abuse to tell their stories to the world has been inspiring. If anything, the events of the past few days have shown that individuals can effect change and that heroes come in all stripes. More than anything, however, as we head into another weekend, the week’s events underscore the importance of being compassionate and courageous.

Finally, on a personal note, one year ago, almost to the day, I found myself confronting my own personal tragedy of the loss of my daughter. I have witnessed and been moved by the good that exists in a sometimes crazy world. I wanted to dedicate this roundup in particular to the memory of my daughter, and also to those who have been so kind and compassionate in my darkest hours. There is goodness in this world, and I am hopeful that we can all find it within ourselves to help spread that sentiment to those who need it the most. Have a wonderful weekend!

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – September 21, 2018

Fall is officially here but for investors, leaves are green and weed stocks are doing quite the opposite of falling. Ironically, the lead up to legalization of recreational marijuana is also having a ripple effect in the online brokerage space. Once again, the fervor of investing in a hot story is causing all kinds of excitement and mayhem for online investors. Of course, big stories start out as small ones, and in the case of online brokerages north and south of the border, there are some very interesting stories brewing that could create a very different kind of story around legalities of online trading activities.

In this dark and stormy night edition of the roundup, we take an appropriately themed X-Files approach to piecing together a number of interesting signals from the US marketplace that hint of some unusual forces at work in the online investing space. Closer to home, we’ll look at the controversial wave of lawsuits hitting online brokerages for real fees charged for phantom advice. Finally, we’ll round out the week with some rather unhappy tweets and interesting forum questions from DIY investors.

Hustle & Flow

Whether it’s NAFTA, President Trump or any number of other headlines coming out of the US, there’s no denying the influence that the US is having on Canadian news recently. For DIY investors, however, the US is an especially interesting space to watch when it comes to online brokerages and what the real cost is to commission-free trading.

Although this story is a tad convoluted, one of the important starting points that has emerged over the past two weeks has been related to order routing, specifically within the context of ‘fair play’ for retail investors.

While order routing and trade execution may seem esoteric to many investors content with just hitting buy and sell, the vast machinery of order execution that became the plot to Flash Boys is much more important than most retail investors know.

Depending on who you talk to, the presence of high frequency traders in the market could be a story about investors not getting the best price when executing a trade or about ensuring markets are liquid and bid/ask spreads are as narrow as possible. Over the past two weeks, however, we’ve noted several ‘blips’ in what has been a quiet story, which could be laying the groundwork for something more substantial to surface in the not too distant future. What does all that mean exactly?

Consider that last week, one of the most popular (especially with active traders) publicly traded online brokerages in the US, Interactive Brokers, decided to pull up stakes on where it was listed.

Interactive Brokers officially announced that, as of October 5th, they will no longer be listed on Nasdaq but have instead chosen to be the first to list on the two-year-old stock exchange, IEX. If the name doesn’t ring a bell (pun intended) they are best known as the trading exchange that was founded in 2012 by Brad Katsuyama, and profiled in the 2014 book Flash Boys.

Ordinarily, a company choosing to change where it’s listing resides is not particularly noteworthy. In this case, however, Interactive Brokers choosing to list on IEX is potentially relevant for online brokerages for a number of reasons.

First, it puts Interactive Brokers in a tactical spotlight. As the first – and only (for now) – listing on the IEX, Interactive Brokers has given itself a tactical marketing advantage. Instead of being a small fish in a big pond on either the NYSE or NASDAQ, they are a big (and the only) fish in a small pond.

Secondarily, Interactive Brokers is aligning themselves with the notion of ‘fairness’, specifically, treating their customers fairly. From the fact they pay out high interest on cash balances over $100,000 to the fact that they have aggressively low commission rates, Interactive Brokers isn’t just about offering value, they’re also flashing that they believe in something – fair and orderly markets. Perhaps the biggest point of ‘fairness’ is that Interactive Brokers does not sell its customers’ order flow.

That last point is particularly relevant in maneuvering around competitors like Robinhood, and now, JP Morgan, who are offering retail investors zero commission stock trading. Recently Robinhood telegraphed to the markets that they are contemplating a run at going public. In doing so, the level of disclosure about how and where they make their money has been put under greater scrutiny, and, as it turns out, they have some explaining to do when it comes to client order flow.

The specific issue about Robinhood was recently laid out in detail in an interesting Seeking Alpha article that described how Robinhood has been selling client order flow to high-frequency trading firms and doing so at a much higher price than others who do so. All of a sudden the altruistic and democratizing notion of ‘free trading’ that Robinhood espouses comes back down to the physics of their business and the reality that they have to figure out how to make money (not from commissions).

While peers of Interactive Brokers in the US benefit handsomely from the revenue generated from selling order flow, there is something that doesn’t feel entirely right about online brokerages directing trading volumes to exchanges based on payment for order flow. The lingering question is whether or not a routed order is getting the “best price” and anyone who’s read Flash Boys will know, the answer is probably not.

There was another important development this month coming out of the US online brokerage space in which a class action status for a lawsuit against TD Ameritrade was granted claiming that selling the order flow impaired the ability of getting clients to get the best trade execution. While the scope of the class action covers clients of TD Ameritrade between September 2011 and September 2014, it nonetheless establishes a precedent that selling order flow can be characterized as harming clients. The major implication of this lawsuit, should it be successful, is that selling of order flow could cease altogether in which case the “zero commission” trading model would have to find some other way to replace the revenue. For TD Ameritrade that might not be difficult to do, but for zero-commission firms like Robinhood, it could be a real setback to growth.

Taken together, Interactive Brokers listing publicly on the nascent stock exchange IEX seems like some well-calculated chess. Their presence on IEX will be difficult to ignore for the foreseeable future (so bonus marketing points) and they will also have the title of the first listing on this new exchange, whose mandate is to build a fair market for all. Furthermore, with possible regulatory consequences for selling order flow to HFTs creating headwinds for their competitors, Interactive Brokers is well positioned to not be negatively impacted by either the fines or the bad publicity that would accompany such a lawsuit.

Finally, it also sets up an interesting scenario for zero-commission stock trading from firms such as Robinhood who would be walking a dangerous tight-rope by selling order flow. Interactive Brokers does have low costs and so now the pressure to drop commission costs appears to have abated.

The sustainability of online trading and how low prices can go for commissions is still a moving target. In order for online brokerages to be around for any appreciable amount of time, they have to find a way to be profitable. Interactive Brokers has gotten creative and demonstrated that you can’t stand still for very long in the online brokerage space. It’s now up to their peers to respond decisively and in a way that can keep their book of business healthy. And as for the new zero-commission players, they may have to take the very uncool step of ‘unbundling’ and charging for other services or features related to having an online brokerage account.

Full Court Press

If there’s one place where you’ll find most of Canada’s online brokerages mentioned in one breath, it’s usually in a comparison website. This week, however, there was one more place in which a significant number of online brokerages were referenced, a class-action lawsuit.

Canada’s online brokerages were in the crosshairs of regulators, investors and the media in a firestorm story that continues to gather steam and focuses on online brokerages charging trailing commissions on certain mutual funds even though these commissions are technically compensation for advisors – something that can’t really happen at an order-execution-only online brokerage.

Although this is not a new story, this week it found new life with wide coverage in the Canadian media, including and especially CBC News’ consumer advocacy show, Go Public as the scope of legal action by Ontario law firm Siskinds LLP and Bates Barristers PC widened to include CIBC and their family of mutual funds.

This brings the total number of big banks hit with a class action lawsuit to three: TD, Scotiabank and CIBC. But, the scope doesn’t seem to stop there.

According to the Insurance & Investment Journal, the lawyers leading the action “would like to speak with individuals who held or hold Renaissance mutual funds (which are part of the CIBC mutual fund family) or Series A mutual funds of other mutual fund families through a discount broker.” This is perhaps a signal that other online brokerages could find themselves included in this legal action.

The stakes in this legal battle are already incredibly high – with regulators already weighing in, media picking up the story and consumers who are genuinely incensed. The financial cost is also material – with each of the three class action lawsuits thus far valued at $200M a piece.

Not everyone is on side with piling on the online brokerages or their big bank parents, however. Rob Carrick, a personal finance columnist at the Globe and Mail and one of the most influential voices for DIY investors in Canadian media, took the position (back in April when the first lawsuit was proposed) that when it comes to investing online, it’s buyer beware. His perspective appears to be that if you are signing up for a DIY investor account, you should at least know or understand the basic differences between mutual funds. That said, with more than $25B of the reported $30B (i.e. 83%) in assets at online brokerages in mutual funds that bundle an advice fee within them, it’s safe to say that many of the consumers purchasing mutual funds through their online brokerage don’t know what they’re paying for.

While the actual courts will determine the direction of this legal case, the court of public opinion is already in session. The CBC article alone received 500 comments at the time of publishing the Roundup, which is a phenomenal number of comments on a personal finance issue. Suffice it to say, this story is only going to get bigger before it gets better.

Spotted on Social Media

Shifting gears to something lighter, celebrations continued at BMO InvestorLine this past week as [employees at all levels] marked the milestone of 30 years as a Canadian online brokerage. The BMO InvestorLine crew were spotted on social media at an event at the Rec Room in downtown Toronto.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

From the Forums

Safety in Numbers

Trading on a newly opened TFSA account can naturally raise concerns about whether or not you’re doing it right. Read what advice others gave one reddit user here  with regards to net value, and timing trades.

Way to Grow

This thread in Reddit’s Personal Finance Canada generated an interesting conversation about VGRO, its benchmark and the ways in which a DIY investor can choose to invest.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap for yet another unbe-leaf-able trading week. It’s been a literal whirlwind day for many folks in Ontario and Quebec and we hope all our readers are staying safe and dry this weekend. Enjoy what you can of the break, next week may be even wilder.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – September 14, 2018

There’s no doubt that when big weather events happen, people pay attention. With announcements of feature releases and new offers at Canadian and US online brokerages happening at a greater frequency and intensity, it appears as if a significant storm of activity is brewing into the tail end of 2018.

In this edition of the roundup we take a look at some very big moves being telegraphed by one of Canada’s largest online brokerages and what that means for all the players on the online brokerage field heading into 2019. Next, we review the latest Canadian online brokerage rankings from a popular rating agency and unpack a surprising turn of events in the industry this past year. As always, we’ll close out the roundup with a healthy dose of tweets and forum posts from Canadian DIY investors.

Let’s get digital: TD Direct Investing continues to invest in digitization of wealth management

This past week, one of Canada’s largest online brokerages, TD Direct Investing, announced that they are planning to launch some bold digital initiatives in 2019.  In doing so, TD’s online brokerage arm has doled out a healthy dose of market moving news that is bound to get the attention of DIY investors and competitors across the online trading spectrum. In a space where most of the moves are incremental, TD Direct Investing’s latest announcement feels more like a step change in the industry rather than just another small step forward.

In a week peppered with interesting stories and developments about discount brokerages, there are a number of reasons why TD Direct Investing’s announcement, which was published on September 12th, was exceptionally interesting and relevant to the online brokerage space in Canada.

The first and undeniably the most important was what the news release said.

The content of the release laid out a vision for the digital wealth management experience that TD Direct Investing clients can expect to see unfold in 2019. Included in that digital experience is the mention of digital wealth planning tools in the early part of the year as well as TD’s own robo-advisor platform that will also include TD’s own ETFs which is set to launch in the latter portion of next year.

While we don’t want to gloss over the enormity of what it means to the online brokerage space in Canada to have robo-advice hit this kind of scale, there are so many angles to this move that for this roundup, we’ll focus on some of the important details that are also worth mentioning.  As this story continues to unfold, we’ll be exploring more of what the details of the services will include, especially what a “complete, end-to-end digital investing experience” refers to.

Aside from the release of new features, another very important angle to the news release this week is that TD Direct Investing is announcing what their intentions are for some very ambitious projects. The story here is that like most other online brokerages, TD Direct Investing has historically played their cards very close to their vest. That they would not only announce multiple technology features but also put even a general timeline on those features going live signals their confidence in those programs hitting the launch windows and it signals that TD might be taking a different approach on sharing what’s in the TDDI workshop.

As technology companies are well aware of, a little bit of prelaunch buzz is what gets people curious and excited to see what actually rolls out. Historically, however, services or features in development at Canada’s discount brokerages tended not to get much of a spotlight, let alone a news release and a coordinated social media publication. So, it is clear that something has shifted with regards to ‘sharing’ information relating to development of new features.

On that note, it was particularly interesting to see a senior executive at BMO Wealth Management ‘like’ a post made by the President of TD Direct Investing (Paul Clark) about the launch of these new services on LinkedIn.

Perhaps this move by TD Direct Investing is signaling a shift in identity from being a “financial services” firm towards more of a technology firm, thus fitting more naturally into a ‘fintech’ way of operating.

A third important implication of this news release is the fact that the technology stack TD Direct Investing is choosing to integrate into their own technology stack appears to be future-proofing to some degree.

The technology provider TD Direct Investing announced they’d be working with, Hydrogen Technology Corporation, a platform that enables APIs to be developed as well as blockchain connectivity/support and uses AI/machine learning to garner insights on client behaviour. That very potent combination of technologies means TD Direct Investing can learn more about their clients’ financial services needs and, with the breadth of services under the TD umbrella, find a way to connect the right product to the right people at the right time – at least that appears to be the plan.

For clients, it means a feature-rich platform with analytics and a user experience suited for younger investors who are particular about the look, feel and function of technology platforms.

Of course, then there’s the option in the future to readily connect to blockchain-powered financial instruments, something that might come to market sooner than anyone can really predict. As such, TD Direct Investing appears to have an edge in equipping themselves with a technology layer geared towards ensuring they can connect to the technologies of tomorrow with the WebBroker interface.

Aside from the abovementioned key points, there are still numerous implications and interesting angles to this announcement.

Without question, TD Direct Investing’s latest move is a big deal and will command the attention of the rest of the Canadian online brokerage market. And, it seems like TD Direct Investing’s competitors will have their work cut out for them.

According to an article published in the Globe and Mail this week, TD has invested $125 million into its WebBroker trading platform in preparation for new trading features and capabilities. By comparison, the acquisition of the entirety of BBS Securities (including subsidiary Virtual Brokers) last year by CI Financial (coincidentally another client of Hydrogen Technology Corp) cost about $38 million. Simply put, smaller online brokerages or those without deep technology budgets or talented tech teams are up against a formidable competitor in TD Direct Investing.

Prudently, TD Direct Investing has mentioned that these changes will take place in phases and, since approximate timetables have been given, there is enough slack and wiggle room to accommodate the surprise delays that inevitably accompany any technology project. Even so, there is little doubt that this move by TD Direct Investing, regardless of what the final products looks or functions like, will have competitors scrambling to mobilize and DIY investors (clients especially) eager to take TD Direct Investing’s new digital platforms for a test drive.

BMO InvestorLine Ranked #1 by J.D. Power for 2018

With 2018 heading into its final stretch, the annual discount brokerage “rankings season” starts to kick things up a notch. This past week, J.D. Power released the results of their latest rankings of Canadian discount brokers (based on investor satisfaction) with BMO InvestorLine coming out on top of the field in terms of investor satisfaction.

While the Investor Satisfaction study provides a snapshot in the current year of how the field of online brokerages compare to one another, we’ve been tracking results from this survey data since 2013 and as such, this year’s results present a very interesting picture both in terms of 2018 as well as how 2018 compares to previous years.

Included in this year’s rankings are 8 of Canada’s most popular online brokerages:

Curiously, neither Qtrade Investor nor HSBC InvestDirect made it into the published rankings for this year, something that has not happened since 2014. Also not present were Virtual Brokers or Interactive Brokers, neither of whom have made it into the published results.

The big story for the 2018 online brokerage rankings from J.D. Power is the relative underperformance of Canada’s online brokerages compared to previous years. In fact, this year’s average score of 723 is the lowest since we’ve measured, beating out 2013’s score of 724 and clearly snaps an uptrend that was in place since 2015.

To unpack why that might be the case, there are also some additional observations worth noting.

First, two firms that have consistently battled for podium finishes over the past five years, National Bank Direct Brokerage and Desjardins Online Brokerage, finished uncharacteristically lower than “usual”.  Granted, Desjardins Online did tie for second place this year, however, when looking at both of these firms’ average scores since 2013, Desjardins Online Brokerage and National Bank Direct Brokerage are virtually tied at 752 and 753 points respectively. Most years one or both of these firms have handily beat their competitors and their average scores far outpace just about everyone else except BMO InvestorLine, whose 6-year average score ranks third overall at 746.

Data sourced from J.D. Power Website

Digging a little deeper into the numbers, the standard deviation of those scores, a measure of how variable those scores have been over that time period, reveals that BMO InvestorLine is actually one of the most consistent firms in terms of investor satisfaction scores with a standard deviation of 13 points. TD Direct Investing, who was ranked second last in 2018, was also tied with BMO InvestorLine in terms of volatility of investor satisfaction scores over that same timeframe. The firm with the highest variation in satisfaction scores over the same period was Qtrade Investor (28 points) because of their strong uptick in 2017 followed by Desjardins Online Brokerage (24 points).

As such, even though BMO InvestorLine’s investor satisfaction scores decreased compared to last year, they were, on a relative basis, higher than their peers in 2018. Finishing behind BMO InvestorLine this year were CIBC Investor’s Edge and Desjardins Online Brokerage. And, at the other end of the list, Scotia iTRADE finished last in terms of investor satisfaction with a score of 717.

Another interesting trend with regards to the performance of online brokerages in terms of investor satisfaction is that the range between the highest and lowest scores continues to narrow. In 2013 and 2014, for example, the range between the top and bottom scores was 64 points however in 2018 that range has compressed to just 22 points.

As was referenced in the roundup a couple of weeks ago for the Kiplinger rankings of US online brokerages, for Canadian online brokerages it appears that on the whole, the differences between online brokerages is diminishing – in this case when it comes to investors being satisfied with the full set of attributes measured.

For Canada’s online brokerages, the message is pretty clear: there needs to be strong differentiators in place to prevent them from becoming viewed as a ‘commoditized’ service. In other words, there needs to be greater emphasis on what makes being a client of one online brokerage feel more ‘special’ (read: valuable) than another.

To BMO InvestorLine’s credit, their consistency has paid off. With relatively strong investor satisfaction scores in the past, in a year when the competition stumbled, and investor satisfaction waned, their current mix of services still holds currency with their clients. At least for 2018, slow and steady has won the race.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

From the Forums

Function Over Form

With so many online brokerages out there these days, it can be tricky to keep up with who offers which feature and who doesn’t. In the end, getting a user from A to B reliably appears to be the driving force. This forum thread from reddit’s Personal Finance Canada section highlighted the mobile experiences between CIBC Investor’s Edge and TD Direct Investing. See what interesting feedback others had to offer.

A Head Start

From robo-advisors, to couch potatoes to plain old mutual funds, choices for ‘passive’ investing are easier than ever, which, ironically might make choosing more challenging. One young investor looking to grow their TFSA asked about these options in this post in reddit’s Personal Finance Canada forum. The questions were met with a wealth of knowledge and advice on navigating student loan repayments, interest fees as well as useful information on robo-advisors and ETF fees. Worth a read.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap on another wild week inside and outside of the markets. Optimistically, there’s lots to look forward to heading into the weekend, including news that there will be the first ever Space tourist and, of course, that NFL football is back. Wherever your adventures boldly take you, we hope you have a great weekend.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – September 7, 2018

Even though it was technically a short week, it most certainly didn’t feel that way for anyone watching or reporting the news. While none of the online brokerages have pulled many of the stunts on Twitter that this past week has provided, they are doing their fair share of generating headlines, buzz and making a splash online.

In this edition of the roundup, we ring in September with an overview of some very interesting deals and promotions activity from Canadian discount brokerages as well as a look at new areas where brokerages are battling for DIY investors. From there we’ll take a deep dive into a major overhaul of a popular online brokerage’s website, including some interesting design and content strategy choices. As always, we’ll take a tour of what DIY investors and online brokers were up to on Twitter and close out with chatter from the investor forums.

Deals and Promotions Heat Up September

After a quiet start last month, deals and promotions activity at Canada’s discount brokerages has picked up considerably as we enter September. While this month usually signals a return to the markets and heightened trading activity, this year there’s something different brewing, and it’s not a pumpkin spice latté.

Instead, through the month of August and coming out of the gate in September, there’s been a noticeable uptick in discount brokerage deals activity. We’ve seen a new battle ground emerge in the area of referral promotions (more on that in a moment) as well as an online brokerage which typically sits on the sidelines jump back into the deals pool. In addition, there have been references to additional offers which may be coming this month. For DIY investors, it seems to suggest interesting opportunities might be available when shopping around for an online brokerage account.

This heightened level of promotions activity points to what will likely be a fierce contest for DIY investor assets over the coming months. Historically, deals and promotions activity tends to ramp up through October and November in anticipation of “RSP season” – a point in the calendar year in which many DIY investors turn intention into action by opening new accounts. The fact that such drastic moves are being made by online brokerages so early suggests competitive forces at play.

One of the biggest stories in the discount brokerage deals and promotions space this September is BMO InvestorLine’s reduction in the threshold to qualify for their refer-a-friend promo. Specifically, InvestorLine has lowered the threshold to qualify for the referral promotion from $50,000 down to $5,000 while still retaining the $50 cash back for both referrer and referee. This move makes their offer now more accessible than Scotia iTRADE, the only other bank-owned online brokerage to offer a referral promotion.

While it is not clear exactly why BMO InvestorLine chose this point in time to lower their qualifying threshold so substantially, the combination of Wealthsimple Trade launching for Canadian DIY investors and the entry of Qtrade Investor into the referral promotion sandbox are both very recent developments that would, understandably, prompt BMO InvestorLine to shift tactics to account for these competitive forces. Of course, frequent observers of the deals and promotions space would also have noticed that BMO InvestorLine also chose to extend their cash back offer through to the end of September, a sign that perhaps something a bit bigger and bolder is on the drawing board for the fall season.

In terms of strategy, referral promotions for discount brokerages are an interesting battleground.

On the surface, that more online brokerages don’t have them in place is a head scratcher. After all, one of the most influential and least expensive sources of new clients are the family and friends of existing, delighted clients. That said, getting a referral program off the ground and functioning properly, is easier said than done. Competing demands for limited technology resources means that even if the technology exists to manage this initiative, it still requires oversight, management and maintenance – something that invariably requires resources. So, one natural limitation to other online brokerages simply rolling out a referral program is that ‘buy in’ has to be there and business case made, which is why Qtrade Investor jumping into the referral promotion segment is such a big deal and why BMO InvestorLine’s latest move creates even more of a challenge to other brokerages to either match this promotion or leave BMO InvestorLine unchallenged.

With two big announcements in the referral promotions category within a month, however, this appears to be fertile ground for competition. These actions will not go unnoticed by other brokerages and will likely be a catalyst for those discount brokerages on the fence about deploying a referral program of their own to find an effective counter offer.

It is also worth mentioning that time is of the essence for Canadian discount brokerages looking to launch any kind of splashy promotion. Wealthsimple Trade is still not yet widely available which means that nimble online brokerages have a window with which to retain existing and/or attract new customers via some kind of big promotion.

After Wealthsimple Trade does step onto the field, however, it will be interesting to see whether they tackle referral bonuses or promotions altogether. While we’ll just have to wait and see, there’s already evidence they’re willing to leverage referrals.

As one of Canada’s leading fintech firms, Wealthsimple (parent to Wealthsimple Trade) is using a clever strategy of referrals to boost awareness of and interest in Wealthsimple Trade via it’s “waiting list” structure. Anyone wanting early access to their new platform can jump ahead in the line by simply referring more people to sign up. Not only is Wealthsimple Trade (and the parent brand) already active with affiliate programming but they are showing they’re already leveraging it in creative ways.

In the battle for Canadian DIY investors’ attention and share of wallet, the lineup of fall deals is sure to bring a few more twists and turns and some very interesting marketing campaigns. The bottom line for DIY investors, though, is that online trading is about to get much cheaper, more accessible and much more interesting to shop for an account.

Questrade’s New Website is Seriously Chill

This past week, Questrade unveiled a new and improved version of their website. While new website refreshes don’t typically make the kind of splashy headline they once did, the launch is nonetheless an important milestone for the company and reflects a sensitivity to their target demographic as well as a clear shift in the notion of what “investors” look like.

Overall the new website looks and feels more contemporary and built for an Instagram generation. The imagery is more prominent and features a very millennial trope of people ‘living their best lives’ which stands in stark contrast to the extreme emotion that characterized previous versions of the website or the “tough questions” campaign that featured bold text statements.

While there is no avocado toast, there is a notable colour palette of green and white that would make for an insta-worthy post. Ironically, Instagram isn’t really part of the Questrade Wealth Management brand directly (it is part of their careers section though) which is in stark contrast to Wealthsimple which has embraced that channel as part of their social media ecosystem to connect with investors.

To Questrade’s credit, and perhaps picking up on themes from the release of other online investing websites launched not too long ago (such as Credential Direct and Qtrade Investor) Questrade chose to have visually appealing imagery, minimal text and much more room for visitors to focus on something interesting visually as well as important key message. While it is not ‘outstanding’ the important point is that it doesn’t stand out for the wrong reasons.

Another very interesting feature of the imagery choices on the new website is that many of the individuals in the photos skew young. There are almost no images of “seniors” nor of traditional corporate settings but rather young people or young families “living” life. It’s generally difficult to create an emotional experience (especially a positive one) with regards to financial services and it is especially difficult to do so while looking original and authentic. We’ve all seen far too many stock photos of what “finance” looks like, so kudos to the people choosing images for Questrade’s new website.

It is also worth mentioning that “who” an investor looks like has also been given careful consideration. Questrade has made sure to include a more balanced view of women as investors, a welcome evolution from finance/investing websites that, for many years, defined investing in a visual sense, as ‘men only’. Again, Questrade is not unique in this regard and even on their new site there is some room to improve, but they are trending in the right direction when it comes to inclusivity and broadening the definition of what an investor could or should look like.

While website changes are increasingly now the norm, Questrade’s recent website overhaul is a significant visual and design departure from their previous websites, a likely reflection of their own evolution as a wealth management firm and not just an online brokerage.

The changes to the new website haven’t just been visual, however. Structurally, the new website also includes testimonials from (presumably) Questrade clients who’ve said nice things about the brand which also takes its cues from other online brokerages doing something similar.

A curious feature of the new website is that the big ‘content’ sections of the previous website have been moved or removed entirely.

For example, the Questrade community is no longer available (at least on the public facing site) which means that previous content such as newsletters and forum posts are not visible. Also no longer accessible is the Questrade blog as the message below indicated when clicking on a Google link for it. Instead of these sections, users are directed to the ‘resources & support’ section of the new website.

It appears Questrade has moved their educational content into a “support” section and while there are articles about investing topics, navigating this content requires users to click on ‘related’ articles or use the search field rather than being able to access the topics in a more categorical format. For users who browse by topic or who don’t know what they don’t know (and thus don’t know what to search), this structure actually makes it more challenging to consume information and ‘learn’ about investing.

Speaking of content, it also looks like Questrade has started to push out content on social media channels related to investing. Recent posts on Questrade’s Facebook and Twitter feature an informative graphic containing an investment term, something that other online brokerages have also successfully used as part of their social media content mix (such as Interactive Brokers, and once upon a time, Scotia iTRADE).

Admittedly, this was supposed to be a much shorter piece on Questrade’s new website. Responsive websites that render well across multiple screens are now the standard rather than an exception; clean minimalist design that uses generous whitespace and bold imagery is a design choice clearly aimed at reaching and resonating with younger, more visually-inclined users. These are no longer big, innovative leaps.

That said, the fact that many of the changes to the online brokerage space (zero-commission trading notwithstanding) we have observed are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, speaks to a new trend of sorts: zeroing in on the details. In much the same way that the highly competitive world of Formula One racing separates success from failure by minutia of design, so too will changes to the digital experience of online brokerages – including their websites. Going forward, the details will matter more than they have before.

Even with the ingredients of what goes into a contemporary website well telegraphed, how well those elements come together ultimately determines the end user’s experience and Questrade’s new website is the product of a lot of thought and design savvy.

While there are some very intriguing changes around the removal of a blog, forums section and other content items, the ultimate result of Questrade’s redesigned website is that it reflects their ability to be contemporary from a design point of view. This new website has helped to visually reshape the narrative of Questrade from just a ‘direct investing’ firm towards being a holistic wealth management firm that is along for the ride as their clients ‘lead their best life.’

BMO InvestorLine Turns 30

While the parent to BMO InvestorLine is clipping along at a healthy 200 years old, BMO InvestorLine itself is still a spry 30 year-old. We spotted this great image on Twitter that was a great throwback to when ‘mobile trading’ made its debut at InvestorLine. Congratulations to BMO InvestorLine on hitting this milestone. As with any great milestone birthday, there will hopefully be lots of reasons to celebrate (especially for DIY investors)!

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

From the Forums

No Room with Some Views

TFSAs can be tricky business, especially so when you overcontribute. A user in this reddit thread ran into some issues with overcontributing to their TFSA while also experiencing a large loss. Read what options others offered in the shape of damage control including factoring in fees and transfer of funds.

Slow Your Roll

Of the many reasons why Wealthsimple Trade could siphon away business from online brokerages, this reddit post provides a compelling view of consumer sentiment on the new service (especially since it hasn’t even launched yet). In this post, one user thinks that taking the DIY route required going to a popular online brokerage however other readers were quick to weigh in on other options, including staying put with Wealthsimple.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap on another week. Just because it’s Friday, doesn’t necessarily equate to relaxation ahead. Political firestorms seem to be ever present – including in the launch to the new NFL football season. If you haven’t already seen it or heard of it, Nike and Colin Kaepernick are making all kinds of waves. There was a very interesting stat shared by Robinhood (the online brokerage) about the impact of Nike’s move – as well as on their stock. In case you haven’t seen the video, it’s worth a watch below. And, on that note, whatever you find yourself dreaming about this weekend, hopefully it’s bold and exciting!

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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – September 2018

*Updated Sept. 24.* September is officially here. And, along with pumpkin spice everything, the Canadian discount brokerage deals and promotions section is also going to get bold, rich and flavourful. Ok, maybe not that last one, but nonetheless this month is going to shape up to be a very busy one as far as promotions go.

The good news is that we know from a number of different sources, that promotions are on their way this month. The not-so-good news is that we’re not sure exactly when. But sit tight, because as in the stock market where higher prices beget higher prices; when it comes to promotions – more deals lead to more deals.

Kicking off the month, there is nothing crossing the wires as of September 1st. In fact, technically speaking, the expiry of Scotia iTRADE’s promotion (and accompanying transfer offer) at the end of August puts the deals count down by two heading into the new month. Not to worry though. Since it is a long weekend and there is a promotion timed to expire on September 3rd from BMO InvestorLine, there’s a good chance that the return to work and school will bring with it at least one new offering announcement.

Throughout last month, however, there were two very noteworthy deals and promotions developments that are worth highlighting here.

First, Qtrade Investor launched a refer-a-friend promotional offer. This was big news as this program now enables Qtrade to take advantage of their stellar service reputation (which is very helpful when it comes to referral programs) and it positions them to compete directly against the very small group of online brokerages who also have referral bonuses.

The second important deals development last month came from HSBC InvestDirect, which launched a commission-free trading promotion that lasts until the end of September. Of course, no sooner did the HSBC InvestDirect deal make it to their public facing website than Wealthsimple Trade rattle the Canadian discount brokerage space by offering up commission-free trading – period.

In fact, the latest move by Wealthsimple Trade means that a once popular category of “commission-free” trade deals could itself see some important changes.

It’s too soon to tell however Wealthsimple Trade could result in commission-free trade offers evaporating altogether or if some hybrid/better solution comes along. After all, the optics of 30 trades which are good for only 60 days doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as free trades, forever.

What may be a more likely development is that the value or flexibility of commission-free trades might expand or, hopefully, we’ll start to see online brokerages compete more often with cash-back offerings in which case, larger online brokerages have a golden opportunity to outspend their competitors.

The bottom line, September is going to be very interesting for deal-seeking DIY investors, and if the markets continue their push upwards, a rewarding time to be an online brokerage too. That certainly puts a little extra spice on already bold selection of offers.

As always, if there are offers that we haven’t spotted that would be good for other DIY Investors to know about, let us know in the comments section below.

Expired Deals

Scotia iTRADE’s cash back offer for existing clients expired at the end of August. This promotion offered a prepaid Visa card ranging in value from $100 to $1,500 for deposits between $25,000 and $1M+.

Extended Deals

*Update Sept. 5 – BMO InvestorLine has extended the deadline for their current cash back offer to September 30th.*

There are no extensions to report at this time.

New Deals

*Update Sept. 24 – The first new deals of the official fall season have arrived. CIBC Investor’s Edge has launched a cash-back offer exclusively for SparxTrading.com readers. This promotional offer, which runs until March of 2019, consists of a $100, $200 or $400 cash back for opening a new CIBC Investor’s Edge account. Both new clients and existing clients may be eligible for this offer. See table below for more information*

*Update Sept. 5 – This is an exciting development, BMO InvestorLine has lowered the minimum deposit requirement substantially to qualify for their referral offer. The new minimum deposit requirement is $5,000 (reduced from $50,000), which makes it much easier to qualify for a referral bonus. See table below for more information.*

There are no new deals to report at the start of the month. As mentioned above, both Qtrade Investor and HSBC InvestDirect joined the deals roster through the middle of August. Stay tuned, though, as there are several offers in the works scheduled to arrive this September.

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 at HSBC InvestDirect and you may be eligible to receive up to 30 commission-free equity trades (North American equities only). See terms and conditions for full details. n/a 30 commission-free trades 60 days Click to access HSBC InvestDirect Summer Promotion September 28, 2018
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
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 October 31, 2018
Open and fund a new qualifying account with CIBC Investor’s Edge with a deposit of at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000 or C) $100,00+ and you may be eligible to receive a cash back bonus of A) $100; B) $200 or C) $400. This offer is open to both new and existing clients. Use offer code SPARX18 when opening the account to obtain this offer. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for complete details. A) $25,000 B) $50,000 C) $100,000 A) $100 B) $200 C) $400 Cash back will be deposited on the week of March 24, 2019 for transfers received by December 31, 2018; transfers received after December 31, 2018 but before May 1, 2019 will receive cash back on the week of July 1, 2019. CIBC Investor’s Edge Cash Back Promo March 24, 2019
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
BMO InvestorLine Open a new account or fund an existing account at BMO InvestorLine with new assets worth at least A) $50,000; B) $100,000; C) $300,000 or D) $500,000+ and you may be eligible to receive a cash back reward of up to A) $75; B) $200; C) $500 or D) $1000. Use promo code SPARXCASH when registering to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions. A) $50,000 B) $100,000 C) $300,000 D) $500,000+ A) $75 B) $200 C) $500 D) $1000 Cash back will be deposited the week of April 15, 2019. BMO InvestorLine Summer 2018 Campaign September 30, 2018

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Sep. 24, 2018 22:00 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
If you (an existing Qtrade Investor client) refer a new client to Qtrade Investor and they open an account with at least $1,000 the referrer and the referee may both be eligible to receive $25 cash. See terms and conditions for full details. $1,000 $25 cash back (for both referrer and referee) Cash deposited at the end of the month in which referee’s account funded Refer A Friend to Qtrade Investor 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 $5,000 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. $5,000 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 January 2, 2019

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Sep. 5, 2018 09:30 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 Qtrade Investor from another brokerage and Qtrade Investor may cover up to $150 in transfer fees. See terms and conditions for more details. $150 $15,000 Transfer Fee Rebate none
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
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 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 October 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. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer. $200 $200,000 BMO InvestorLine Summer 2018 Campaign September 3, 2018

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Sep. 21, 2018 1:15 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: Sep. 1, 2018 12:15 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. $1,000 1st month no management fees KDKFNBBC None Questrade Portfolio IQ Promo Offer
Cash Back Open and fund a new or existing SmartFolio account with at least $1,000 and you could receive 0.5% cash back up to $1000. Use promo code PROMO1000 when opening a new account. See terms and conditions for full details. This offer can be combined with the refer-a-friend promotion. $1,000 0.5% cash back to a maximum of $1000. PROMO1000 September 30, 2018 SmartFolio Cash Back Promo
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 April 30, 2019 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: Sep. 11, 2018 09:05 PT