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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – March 25, 2019

Spring is officially here and what better metaphor for talking about growth than one that focuses so much about the promise of things to come. Ironically for many Canadian online brokerages, what’s to come may not be so favourable unless they learn to develop a digital green-thumb.

In this edition of the roundup, we take a look at some fees sprouting up early in the spring that DIY investors will likely encounter more of as the year rolls on. Staying on the floral theme, we also take a look at a potpourri of client experience developments that form a very interesting arrangement of choices for the online brokerage industry to confront when it comes to delivering client experience in a digital world. As always, we’ve also got some chirpy comments from Twitter and the DIY investor forums to close things out.

Additional Fee-tures

As the Canadian online brokerage market continues to adjust to a new competitor and new ways of competing, we anticipated seeing changes to the structure, scope and size of fees being charged for online brokerage services. Earlier this month we noted a small change to the fees being charged by BMO InvestorLine that are set to take effect at the beginning of April, whereby they’re increasing the transfer out fee from $135 to $150.

Among most of the big bank owned brokerages, the transfer out fees are $135 (the exception being Scotia iTRADE at $150 already) whereas at most non-bank-owned brokerages the transfer out fees are $150. Curiously, Wealthsimple Trade’s transfer out fee is $125 (as is Desjardins Online Brokerage’s).

While it might not be high on the list of criteria DIY investors use to choose an online brokerage with, it is always prudent to understand what it costs to get money into and out of any account, including and perhaps especially investing accounts. The slight raise in fees here by BMO InvestorLine might also trigger other bigger peers to do the same.

On the other hand, from a strategy perspective of the online brokerages, transfer fees might become an increasingly important lever with which to challenge other online brokerages when it comes to poaching customers.

Case in point: a recent transfer-fee promotion launched by Questrade.

While transfer fee coverage promotions are fairly standard, what made this promotion stand out was that there was no minimum balance transfer required to be eligible for a commission-fee rebate. This fairly aggressive maneuver could offer a favourable window to investors with assets under the usual $25,000 threshold to switch over and have their fees covered. Of course, the decision to switch online brokerages can certainly be challenged/impacted by the cost of doing so and if transfer fees were to increase, investors may think twice before switching away from a brokerage.

At Qtrade Investor, for example, there is a cost of $100 to a client who closes an account within one year of opening it. That kind of fee is uncommon at most Canadian brokerages but it is easy to see how a DIY investor who was contemplating or who tried Qtrade Investor, would need a compelling reason to leave and incur a charge of a $100.

With competition between Canadian brokerages now ratcheting up, hanging onto clients – whether it is through improving the service experience, or through charging more to leave – will likely be a more popular topic of discussion. As these exit costs do rise, however, the incentive to research online brokerages a little more closely also increases. So, before Canadian online brokerages go too far down that road, they should revisit the clarity of their value proposition for DIY investors and their plans for delivering a great client experience as falling short on those will also be why DIY investors would look to leave in the first place.

Client Experience Potpourri

When it comes to client experience for online brokerages, there are a couple of important moving parts. One is the traditional idea of “customer service” that DIY investors would come to expect from any financial services provider. Things like being able to contact an actual person when an important situation arises and have that interaction be effective and enjoyable are, in today’s digital world, becoming increasingly rare.

Interestingly, this past week, Fido, the flanker brand to Rogers, announced that they would be charging clients $10 for client service requests on live chat or via telephone that could have been done by the clients themselves online or in some other automated fashion.

Why this is relevant for the Canadian online brokerage space is because the “hands off” approach to service is a bigger trend that shapes expectations of consumers, especially younger and tech-savvier ones, and changes what “service” really means.

In the financial services space, there are an increasing number of digital-only financial services providers (e.g. EQ Bank) and with the launch of Wealthsimple Trade, this very “hands off” digital service experience has now found its way into the DIY investing realm. One of the items that wasn’t discussed in our coverage last week of the launch of Wealthsimple Trade was the customer service experience.

As it stands now, the only way to reach Wealthsimple Trade’s support (or “Client Success”) team is via e-mail. The following note on their support page was particularly instructive: “Note: Wealthsimple Trade is a self-serve platform! As such, our team is unable to submit any transactions on behalf of clients. This includes buy & sell orders, deposits, and withdrawals.”

Against this important digital trend, earlier this month Questrade announced that they had earned the DALBAR Seal for Service Excellence. This seal can be obtained “after a company undergoes a thorough audit of their customer service, and in order to qualify it must exceed stringent benchmarks in criteria covering all aspects of its customer service interactions. Criteria include both the interpersonal aspects of the customer relationship, as well as addressing important transactional aspects of the customer request.”

The other Canadian online brokerage to whom the DALBAR Seal for Service Excellence was awarded to this year was HSBC InvestDirect. And, as part of the DALBAR blog post in which that was announced, DALBAR stated “While the lowest fees or slick new platform features grab the headlines, when complicated issues arise, having a competent and engaged human being to talk to goes a long way.”

A final observation with regards to client experience in this increasingly digital age actually comes from a forum post on

The forum post itself started off having nothing to do with client service directly – it was a thread about transfer fee coverage from Questrade (mentioned earlier). Quite interestingly the conversation between DIY investors in the forum shifted from being about the transfer fee and turned instead to another firm altogether (Qtrade Investor) and the observation of a slow-to-load web page that created some pan-worthy display about the quantity of expertise and assets under management by the parent firm Aviso. Why this matters is because even though the web page eventually displayed the correct number, one consumer was able to shift a conversation away from transfer fees and talk about digital experience in a way that reflects the holistic manner in which technical design impacts brand experience and perception. Things like a fast loading website actually matter and may have become the digital equivalent of customer wait times on the telephone.

For Canadian discount brokerages, this is clearly an interesting moment in their business model whereby “service experience” can mean something very different to different customer types.

Figuring out how to cater to those different customer needs is no easy feat but it’s clear that trying to shift too much of the service to “online only” means investing heavily in speed, reliability and ease of use. And, in that light, brokerages who offer a multichannel service (including being able to speak to someone on the phone) experience seem like they can then show DIY investors where their commission costs go to.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

From the Forums

Guaranteed Good?

Are some things too good to be true? One DIY investor wants to know more about portfolios that guarantee the value of their investment. See what other forum users on RedFlagDeals had to say here.

Drain the Swap?

While there were a number of changes in the most recent federal budget, there was one that rattled investors in swap-based ETFs. Find out what got DIY investors buzzing in this reddit post.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap on another eventful week. While spring officially rolled around this past week, the week coming up will undoubtedly be focused on someone who feels like they’ve just gotten sprung (aka the “Mueller Report”) by the “no collusion” report. Seems like there’ll be a whole lot more madness in the final stretch of March and almost certainly more uncertainty. Have a profitable week!

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – March 18, 2019

With spring around the corner and coming off St. Paddy’s Day weekend, green is definitely a theme colour for March. Of course, while investors are seeking a green of their own, Canadian online brokerages are also green with envy (perhaps even seeing red) with the official roll-out of a new competitor.

In this edition of the roundup, we cover THE story that has been waiting in the wings now for many months: the launch of Wealthsimple Trade. We’ll take a deep dive on the new platform and the early responses to see what DIY investors and online brokerages alike can expect with a zero-commission trading experience. For a little extra variety, we’ll also toss in some of the other things DIY investors were buzzing about on Twitter and in the forums.

Wealthsimple Trade Goes Live

The day that many of Canada’s discount brokerages were hoping would never come is finally here. Zero commission trading for Canadian DIY investors is now available thanks to the official roll out of Wealthsimple Trade.

Although it wasn’t clear exactly when this moment would come, it was just a matter of time, since Wealthsimple Trade was officially announced last year and beta testing has been taking place over the past few months. So, while it wasn’t necessarily a surprise, the official release brings with it the impetus for existing online brokerages to decide how (and how quickly) they want to compete with Canada’s newest online brokerage.

Now that Wealthsimple Trade is officially live, we can shine a spotlight on the new discount broker to see how it stacks up against existing online brokerages, and see what early reactions by consumers suggest are the strengths and limitations of the new provider.

Platform: Wealthsimple Trade is Mobile Focused

One of the first ‘features’ that is bound to be a source of contention with DIY investors and traders is that Wealthsimple Trade is only available (for now) on a mobile device – specifically those running either iOS 11+ or Android 7+.

Going mobile first with a launch is a radically different user experience for investors who are used to desktop (including laptop) environments to place their trades and manage their portfolios.

To be fair, the mobile-first approach does put a focus on making trading on the go or from other locations in one’s house, hotel or from wherever, a feature rich experience.  That said, the decision to go ‘mobile-first’ means that Wealthsimple Trade skews towards users who are generally younger and more comfortable interacting via smartphone instead of on a desktop/laptop, and who could conceivably spend hours on their phone researching and monitoring stock prices and news. So, in a nutshell, zero commission trading is probably great for your wallet but not so much for your posture.

Early responses from the respective app reviews show that there are mostly positive experiences, with iOS users rating it 4 out of 5 stars (based on 87 reviews) and Android users giving it 3.8 stars (out of 5) based on 34 reviews.

Security: Read the Fine Print

Another very interesting set of concerns raised by DIY investors out of the gate relate to security. While Wealthsimple Trade (like other online brokerages) is covered by the CIPF, it is actually funding the account where the trepidation lies.

To fund your trading account, Wealthsimple Trade requires that users provide their banking information to a third-party platform, Plaid, that is then able to authenticate and transfer funds into (and out of) a Wealthsimple Trade account.

Many initially curious users pointed out that by providing their bank details (i.e. their username and password) to this third party, their bank’s anti-fraud guarantee would no longer be valid.

This means that anyone who has provided Wealthsimple Trade their banking login information might be trading away their coverage in case of theft or fraud. For some, it is clearly a deal breaker – and seemingly unnecessary as other online brokerages (such as Questrade) do not require login information from a user’s funding source to deposit funds.

Of course, for others, the trade-off appears to be acceptable – perhaps a younger demographic is not as skeptical or cautious about third party vendors being part of Wealthsimple Trade’s process; the lure of commission-free trades is worth possibly waiving their agreement with their banking provider.

Interestingly, it is not possible at this time to be able to transfer funds in from either Wealthsimple or a Wealthsimple savings account, which means to get money into a Wealthsimple Trade account, it has to come from an external bank account.

Frequency: How Much is Too Much?

When it comes to commission-free trading, there is going to be one category of user that immediately perks up to take notice – the folks who typically generate a lot of commissions trading. That said, the idea of active trading or trying to outperform the market by trading securities rather than passively and over the long term appears a tad antithetical to the Wealthsimple approach. As a result, and perhaps to keep costs from spiralling out of control, Wealthsimple Trade imposes a somewhat ambiguous restriction on the frequency with which an individual can trade intraday.

Wealthsimple Trade’s official position on “day trading” (i.e. buying and selling a security on the same day) is that it is technically possible but the degree to which it is permissible is unclear. They state that “trading the same security in the same day can be flagged as inappropriate trading activity – as such Wealthsimple reserves the right to block transactions and accounts at our discretion.”

If there is one thing that spooks traders and markets it is uncertainty. With respect to traders, not knowing whether or not they will be able to execute certain trades makes it less likely that they will trust the platform as a ‘go-to’ for primary trading needs.

Yes, commission-free trades are nice but not being able to move on volatile stories – which are typically the most exciting for active investors – is a serious drawback. So, from a risk-management perspective, Wealthsimple Trade might not appeal to the active investor nor the day trader at this point until further clarification is delivered on exactly when the threshold of “inappropriate” is reached. Of course, there are some traders that just might try it out to see what happens but for many others, it will need to be clarified in writing first.

To truly appreciate the conundrum here it is important to understand that the most vocal advocates for Wealthsimple Trade would come from the active trading community online. After all, they are the ones who would stand to benefit the most from commission savings.

Active traders are typically on social media and reddit, and are the folks who would be influencing the demographic of interest that Wealthsimple Trade would be targeting. They (like most investors) would be interested in knowing where the ‘exciting’ trades are (e.g. in cannabis) and like most savvy traders or investors, they would be looking to minimize transaction costs in order to get the most bang for their buck. This hypothesis is supported, at least in part, by a recent post on Benzinga that revealed that during the beta testing phase, the three most traded securities on Wealthsimple Trade were all cannabis stocks (Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, and Aphria).

As an aside, another feature which would make it challenging (perhaps even inadvisable) for active investors to trade using Wealthsimple Trade at this time would be that data for quotes is supplied on a delayed basis.

This means investors looking to make quick moves are receiving outdated pricing information when looking at a particular security. Again, if the stock is having a volatile day – such as Boeing did last week – then the price difference for a market order could be very different from the time a quote was viewed to the time the purchase was made.

Selection: Your Mileage May Vary

Another important category for DIY investors to have to consider when trading with Wealthsimple Trade is the selection of securities available. This is perhaps the most challenging area of the user experience that DIY investors will encounter in contemplating this platform because of the different conditions attached to which markets investors have access to, as well as the eligibility requirements for securities to meet in order to be traded.

Specifically, here are the conditions that Wealthsimple Trade currently has to be able to purchase a security:

  1. That is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX); TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV); New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or NASDAQ
  2. It can only be a stock or ETF – so options, preferred shares, mutual funds and other products are not available to be traded through this platform
  3. Must be CDS eligible
  4. Have a 52-week high that exceeds $0.50 (stocks only)
  5. Have an average daily volume that exceeds 50,000 shares (stocks only)
  6. Be the Canadian-listed security if dual-listed

Unlike at most of Canada’s other online brokerages, there generally aren’t stipulations on whether or not you can purchase a particular security because of its trading price or its liquidity.

Ironically, the notion of ‘buy low’ is somewhat challenged by the watermark on price having to meet that minimum threshold. For example, on the TSX Venture Exchange, there were almost 500 securities out of 1649 that would not be eligible to be traded based on this price threshold requirement.

Another ambiguous requirement is the average daily volume – it is not stated clearly on the help section as to what time frame that daily volume is calculated over (e.g. 10d, 30d, 60d, 90d are all possible choices). We have reached out to Wealthsimple Trade for clarification and they have stated 30 days is the time frame over which the average is calculated. Nevertheless, that window of time means that it would be possible that a security someone would be watching could be eligible to be traded and then lose eligibility based on a lack of activity – something that Canadian securities are prone to doing based on the size of our market.

Finally, based on the interest and popularity of cannabis-related stocks, it is interesting that the Canadian Securities Exchange is not on the list of markets that users can trade. With almost 500 securities listed on the exchange, if individuals wish to trade this market directly, they are currently not able to do it using Wealthsimple Trade.

Another part of the selection conversation that is important to consider is the account types that DIY investors would have access to in Wealthsimple Trade.

Currently there are only non-registered, cash trading accounts available. Individual investors who aren’t active traders would be more interested in accounts such as a TFSA or RSP accounts – vehicles that seem like they’d be better aligned with the structure of Wealthsimple Trade. Conversely, for active traders (and possibly one way to generate more revenue that comparable services like Robinhood have explored) margin trading isn’t available yet and as such, the scale of trading activity is limited.

Innovations: Wealthsimple Trade Doing Things Differently

Up to this point it does seem that there are a lot of gaps in the Wealthsimple platform as currently offered. While it is likely that they will work to iterate and close these user experience gaps over time, there are also features about Wealthsimple Trade worth highlighting out of the gate that will undoubtedly influence the market as a whole beyond just forcing a review on commission price.

One of the biggest and most obvious features is that DIY investing has been ‘reimagined’ in a mobile-first and aesthetically pleasing manner. With Wealthsimple Trade, the interface looks and feels modern, and while its worth will ultimately depend on its reliability and ease of use, the design features alone set them apart from anything currently on the market. It is fast to set up, there are no account minimums, and it looks and feels nimble.

Another less obvious but very interesting feature is their system status reporting. Wealthsimple Trade is the first online brokerage to report the real time status of their trading and supporting systems, bringing to the DIY market a level of transparency that up until now hasn’t existed.

If for no other reason than cutting down on the confusion of a technical outage that in turn leads to lots of unnecessary Twitter posts (ahem Facebook and Instagram), there is actually a system status page that publicly details multiple moving parts of the Wealthsimple Trade experience such as trading or market data or login capability. If you’re at all concerned about technical stability of the platform, this would be an important touchpoint to verify what’s gone off the rails because they also report historical data too.

Finally, it is worth noting that with the roll-out of Wealthsimple Trade, there is a genuine buzz and excitement about online trading and investing that hasn’t really been generated by a Canadian online broker in quite some time. It seems that there are users who, for now, are genuinely interested in seeing the ‘zero commission’ model take flight and are willing to provide constructively critical feedback to help improve user experience.

In addition to grabbing the spotlight on commission-free trading, Wealthsimple Trade has also captured the imagination of DIY investors. The prospect of being interesting and innovative (even shiny and new) is now something that other online brokerages have to contend with. People are genuinely excited about what this platform will do next. Will it be registered accounts? Will it be connecting to new markets? Will it be margin trading?

Regardless of the development pathway, as long as Wealthsimple Trade continues to move forward and roll out improvements, they have an audience that online brokerages are fighting hard to connect with. For investors and online brokerages alike, it appears that right now everyone is watching to see where things go from here and for that reason, it seems like we’re on the cusp of a truly exciting chapter in the online trading story in Canada.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

From the Forums

Buzz on the launch of Wealthsimple Trade

We couldn’t do a spotlight edition the launch of Wealthsimple Trade without a snapshot of the forum chatter about them. Here are links to the various forum threads celebrating the launch of zero-commission trading in Canada:

  1. Wealthsimple Trade – Free stock/ETF trades – Now available to all
  2. Personal Finance Canada on reddit: Wealthsimple Trade is Now Available to Everyone
  3. Canadian Investor on reddit: Wealthsimple Trade is live for everyone

Taking Stock

One investor has questions about holding US stocks in a TFSA. Other forum users on RedFlagDeals chime in with answers, advice, and some hard numbers. Read more here.

Strong Start

A newcomer to the investing world turns to reddit for advice on the best place to start. Fellow redditors deliver and provide a crash course in DIY investing. See more here.

Into the Close

Last week was an utterly tragic one for the people of New Zealand compounded by the perverse nature in which this tragedy was perpetrated and shared with the world. That it happened there, and here in Canada, are signs that the decisions we make, the words we choose and the people we elect matter. Being a fiercely proud Kiwi and Canadian, I am certain that collectively the people of New Zealand will move forward stronger as Canada and Quebec have. Learning to live together, peacefully, is something we often take for granted but in tragedies like the one that struck New Zealand, it is a stark reminder that the price we pay for indifference towards bigotry, discrimination and hatred is far too high.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – March 11, 2019

There’s a Bob Dylan song about times changing, which seems fitting for the post-daylight savings edition of a roundup and also following the celebration of International Women’s Day last week. Fortunately, even if it is still taking time, more than just clocks are changing when it comes to the world of DIY investing and finance.

In this edition of the roundup we highlight an interesting new financial planning tool for DIY investors that one big online brokerage hopes will enable users to trade more confidently. Shifting gears, we also put a spotlight on PDAC 2019 and recap some of the interesting things seen (and not seen) at this year’s show. Finally, International Women’s Day is also in focus as one online brokerage went the extra mile to put together some inspiring content related to the day. As always, we’ve pulled together chatter from DIY investors on Twitter and in the forums so be sure to scroll all the way through to get caught up.

TD Direct Investing Rolls Out GoalAssist to Help Investors Make Better Plans

Last week, we spotted an interesting development coming from TD Direct Investing in the form of a rollout of a new financial planning tool called GoalAssist. This new feature is a part of the WebBroker platform and is intended to provide investors with a personalized financial road map to reach important financial goals such as retirement or purchasing a new vehicle.

There is little debate about the importance of financial planning. However in 2019, it is remarkably challenging for investors to find an easy to use (and reliable) set of tools with which to manage their personal financial picture. Interestingly, many DIY investors use a patchwork of spreadsheets, software, and often financial forums to get a handle on what they should be doing in order to prepare for a big financial milestone like retirement or purchasing a home.

So, it is against this backdrop that TD Direct Investing’s release of their financial tool GoalAssist within the trading platform is particularly interesting.

Sure, there are calculators that exist to forecast how much money an individual may need during retirement or what someone would need to save in order to reach a financial goal (like taking a big trip). However, pulling together an integrated financial picture within the ecosystem of where you bank/invest is a powerful combination. The ability to view in real-time the distance between your financial goals and your current financial picture means users can shift gears more quickly if needed, or map out a path to close big financial gaps.

The tool itself uses a familiar approach of establishing a risk profile as well as an investor profile to determine what kind of financial plan would match the person using the platform. As a part of this approach, the tool makes a number of assumptions that are based on data analysis of market performance (including simulations of performance).

Specifically, the tool sets a threshold of 70% “statistical confidence” of your goal being met by the plan parameters and user inputs. If the combination of parameters results in a less than 70% statistical confidence that the goal will be achieved, then the plan will be considered to “need attention,” whereas if it is above 70% then the goal status is considered “good.”

To their credit, TD has provided detailed documentation of the assumptions and parameters that power the GoalAssist platform. It is written clearly and even though it is quite long, it does provide a user with a clear set of guidelines as to what the plan can and cannot account for. Factors such as taxes or the impact of fees are not fully accounted for by the simulations so there is still some degree of planning for these factors that users have to do to get a fuller picture of their financial outcomes.

What is particularly valuable about the details is that each “investor profile” details the performance range of each approach and reports the average return, best return, worst return, and standard deviation. They also provide a snapshot over time of the return picture (as a plotted graph) and report the geometric average (very important!) that more accurately depicts the return over time, factoring in compounding and volatility.

As a follow up on TD’s announcement in September 2018 about their partnership with fintech provider Hydrogen, the launch of GoalAssist reflects a move towards tools and features that take a bigger-picture view of a person’s wealth. Even though there are still shortcomings or gaps that users will need to consider (e.g. taxes) this new platform offers its users a convenient way to do a lot of financial planning in a single interface that is also tied to their accounts.

Ultimately, how much of a selling point this feature becomes will be tied to what people are saying about it. Already in forums there is chatter, however it will be worth watching over time to see what benefit clients ultimately derive from managing their wealth using a tool like GoalAssist.

Beneficially, anything that gets people thinking about planning for their financial future is a way in which investors can better identify what kind of investor they are, what kind of assumptions they have about their own wealth, and what kind of behaviours they may (or may not) need to modify in order to achieve their financial goals. Those are powerful conversations to have and to spark with investors, so where TD Direct Investing takes things from here will be of keen interest to both investors and industry.

PDAC 2019 Roundup

The global mining community descended on Toronto last week for what is arguably the most prominent mining convention in the world, PDAC (which stands for Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada). With just under 500 companies exhibiting in the Investors Exchange, many of which are publicly traded mining & exploration companies, this event provides a unique cross section of what is taking place in the mining sector here in Canada as well as in countries all across the world.

As with most years, it was cold outside during the conference, but inside there was a lot of activity. This year, however, as we had mentioned in a previous roundup, conference organizers elected to charge attendees of the Investors Exchange $25 per day – which as we noted previously, is a bold decision when it comes to the structure of a conference.

While the official numbers state that the attendance at this year’s show, which landed at 25,843, topped last year by 240 more people, the anecdotal response from companies hoping to connect with investors was less than enthusiastic. Granted, this year anyone purchasing access to the Investors Exchange also received access to the trade show section of the convention, which was a section of PDAC geared towards service providers of the mining industry.

Nonetheless, even though mining has been out of the spotlight for DIY investors because of stories such as cannabis and cryptocurrency, there are interesting conversations brewing about what it would take to get retail (aka DIY) investors engaged in the mining sector.

Around the show floor, it was apparent that battery metals and the “electric car” story are one important theme that appears to resonate with investors – and younger investors in particular – as evidenced by the presence of a number of firms in this space.

Another interesting theme on the show floor was the emergence of technology – such as augmented & virtual reality – to help communicate in a much more immersive fashion the projects that companies are working on.

Finally, the Canadian Securities Exchange also organized an interesting panel discussion focusing on millennials in mining. This panel discussion highlighted what challenges and opportunities exist for getting a new generation of investors engaged (and invested) in mining stories. There were a few themes within that discussion worth noting, however one that stood out was the notion that millennials are more aware of the impact of mining on the environment and the communities in which projects take place.

As a result, indicators such as the ESG score may become something millennial investors would want to turn to when making a decision on the corporate practices of the companies they may choose to invest with (in addition to the economic fundamentals of the project).

One thing that was not spotted on the show floor was an online brokerage. Unlike the Moneyshow or even, historically, at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, there were no online brokerages present this year (or last year for that matter) – highlighting an interesting gap in the outreach efforts of Canadian online brokerages to connect with DIY investors.

With so many investors and industry professionals who understand the value of investing in mining stocks, it’s likely not going to be too long before Canadian online brokerages also venture onto the show floor.

RBC Direct Investing Celebrates International Women’s Day with Investing Portraits

Last week, International Women’s Day was celebrated in a big way by many financial services providers, including several online brokerages. Among the more visible efforts was a piece from RBC Direct Investing from their new-ish content section known as Inspired Investor.

This piece offered a collection of three stories of women investors at different life stages and from different backgrounds who shared their experience with investing. Although two of the videos are slightly older, the context in this article highlights the change in perceptions about investing being a ‘boys only’ activity – something which will hopefully encourage and inspire other women (and men) to take a different view on what a DIY investor looks like.

Importantly, RBC Direct Investing has disclosed that the stories feature individuals who either work for RBC or were compensated for sharing their stories. Suffice to say the stories themselves don’t paint DIY investing in a negative light, but they aren’t overly promotional either. When it comes to encouraging people to consider DIY investing, subtlety is important because it isn’t necessarily a good fit for everyone.

Although a few other online brokerages also recognized International Women’s Day, it would be great to see more participation and support for highlighting stories of women investors on a more regular basis. There are lots of great stories out there that can hopefully demonstrate that when it comes to capital markets or DIY investing, barriers to participation don’t make good business sense.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

From the Forums

Getting Benched

This DIY investor is looking to switch from US ETFs to Canadian ETFs. As they take a closer look at the benchmarks, they found some variances. See what other investors suggested in terms of whether to make the switch on this post from RedFlagDeals.

Testing the Waters

This DIY investor wants to enter the investing game but isn’t sure if what they have in mind will play out. Their hesitation was noted by fellow forum users. See what they had to say on Financial Wisdom Forum here.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap on another interesting week for DIY investors. It was the first time in 2019 that the TSX index closed at a loss but despite that, market sentiment still remains positive.  That is, of course, if you’re Jeremy Grantham. So, on that cheery note – here’s to having a profitable week ahead!

The full interview with Jeremy Grantham from CNBC.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – March 4, 2019

Welcome to March. With spring on the horizon (at least that’s what’s supposed to happen) and the RSP deadline now behind everyone, it’s time to start looking forward to bigger stories through the rest of the year. Fortunately for online brokerages (and DIY investors) once they recover from the mad dash that was the RSP contribution rush, there are some bullish signals that DIY investing continues to strengthen.

In this edition of the roundup, we highlight the latest activity in the deals and promotions section. With the arrival of a new month, and this month in particular, this month is going to be full of changes and surprises as the deals deck shuffles. Keeping on theme with spring, we’ve also spotted a few interesting developments sprouting up – one that mining investors may want to take note of and another that shows that IPO activity in 2019 extends even into the online brokerage segment. As always be sure to check out the latest tweets and forum posts from DIY investors.

Deals March On

Now that March has officially arrived, the mad dash to the RSP contribution deadline is finally over. Over the next few days, Canadian discount brokerages & investors alike will be tallying their respective wins.

For investors, there were definitely some big wins to celebrate. Historic high numbers of offers, participation from almost all online brokerages, as well as an increase (in certain segments) in the value of offers being put forward. The combination of these factors suggests a bullish sentiment for DIY investors through 2019.

That said, an adage of markets (and physics) applies equally to the online brokerage market and what has gone up will most certainly come down.

With a significant portion of deals timed to coincide with the RSP contribution deadline or shortly thereafter, March is scheduled to see quite a bit of turnover in the deals & promotions section. So, while market volatility may have taken a back seat for the first part of 2019, for online brokerages and DIY investors, the deals category is going to sail through choppy waters.

Case in point, the most popular categories of offers – cash back promotions and commission-free trade deals – is set to have 7 out of the 14 (50%) current offers expire in March.

Notably, the deal from TD Direct Investing expired at the RSP contribution deadline of March 1st. Offers from BMO InvestorLine (March 4th), Qtrade Investor (March 15th), CIBC Investor’s Edge (March 24th), RBC Direct Investing (March 29th) and both Virtual Brokers and Scotia iTRADE on March 31st.

Also on the chopping block in March is Questrade’s big transfer fee coverage offer (set to expire March 31st).

Of course, with so many deals set to expire, the landscape for DIY investors will be pretty interesting for those other deals still in play. Even though the big push of RSP contributions will have come and gone, income tax filing season is now here and personal finance questions will still be top of mind for many investors. In fact, what could be interesting to watch is whether there are any stumbles with regards to tax reporting across the tax-filing season as hiccups invariably lead to investors getting fed up and looking elsewhere for greener pastures. The result, for online brokerages with promotional offers still active during this time period, there will be less competition to contend with.

Interestingly, it will likely be challenger brokerages – such as National Bank Direct Brokerage, HSBC InvestDirect, Desjardins Online Brokerage and Questrade who will directly benefit from the deals action pull back. In all likelihood, however, we also expect BMO InvestorLine to post an offer to keep their long-time streak of offering a promotion intact. Additionally, given Questrade’s climbing prominence in rankings and growing awareness of this provider among online investors, it is unlikely that other, larger, online brokerages will sit by and cede market share to Questrade  – especially during this time of year.

So, even though we don’t know exactly what’s in store for DIY investors in March, the early data suggests a bullish sentiment for brokerages to introduce new deals and/or extend offers.

DIY Investing Potpourri

Despite the winter warnings, we can still look forward to March being the official start to spring. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a few interesting developments across the DIY investor space that are worth taking note of.

PDAC 2019 Now Charging Investors to Attend

When it comes to conferences for investors, there aren’t a lot to turn to. And, when it comes to major mining conferences in Toronto that would attract the global spectrum of the mining industry, there really is only one: PDAC 2019.

Taking place between March 3rd and 6th this globally renowned show brings in mining and exploration companies at a scale that is unrivaled in Canada and so it was particularly interesting to see the PDAC roll the dice when it came to attracting investors into this convention. Specifically, this year PDAC opted to charge $24.99 for admission to the Investors Exchange – the hub of about 500 mining & exploration companies.

So, either sentiment in the mining sector is about to take a significant uptick or PDAC carries enough weight with investors to warrant charging admission. Among the many selling points for investors is that this is arguably the best opportunity to meet with mining and exploration companies’ representatives as well as to discover other ones.

There are just shy of 500 companies listed to exhibit in the Investors Exchange so for anyone to try and cover that kind of ground, it will likely require a multi-day effort. To make matters more potentially costly, 65 exhibitors (13%) are there only for one day, either March 5th or March 6th.

While the final numbers will ultimately bear out whether attendance is impacted by charging for admission, given the state of the mining markets, giving investors one more hurdle to cross seems like a bold move. So, for investors serious and committed enough to fork over $25 per day to talk to companies, you can almost bet the questions will be coming from more engaged investors and there will be fewer ‘no shows’ (although the extreme cold may also challenge attendance).

It will be interesting to see what kind of experience DIY investors can expect from this year’s show – but one thing is for certain – PDAC has raised the bar for creating an outstanding investor experience now that investors are paying to be there.

IPO for Chinese Online Brokerages

While the spotlight on IPO’s was dominated this past week by the filing from Lyft, earlier last week Chinese online brokerage Tiger Brokers also announced they would be seeking an IPO on NASDAQ (TIGR). Interestingly, they are not the only Chinese online brokerage and trading firm seeking to raise capital from and list on the US markets. Direct competitor of Tiger Brokers, Futu Holdings (FHL) also filed to go public with a target of raising up to $300 million.

Futu Holdings is backed by Tencent while Tiger Brokers is backed by Xiaomi and Interactive Brokers also reportedly has a stake in Tiger Brokers. For Interactive Brokers, their presence in the Asian markets continues to strengthen ahead of their peers in the US online brokerage space.

What also crossed our radar from the disclosure data was the reporting that 71.5% of clients were under 35 – a massive difference in the demographic profile compared to online brokerages in North America. Also noteworthy: conversion rates of 15% and retention rates of 82% through the end of 2018. In spite of attracting customers, a look at the financials show that negative earnings and operating losses which reflect a number of challenges the online brokerage segment still faces in the Chinese market.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

From the Forums

Stop & Go

When it comes to investing, things don’t always finish on the upside.  At first glance, stop loss protection might be an option to mitigate the risks, but do fellow forum users on Canadian Money Forum agree? See what they have to say.

Expanding the Horizon

One investor takes to the forums to see what ETF options are available outside the energy and resource sector. Forum users take a closer look and share their thoughts on investing in mining and resources while offering up their suggestions on the Financial Wisdom Forum.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap on another set of noteworthy developments. There’ll be lots to see this week, including content coming out of PDAC. Metals are also in going to be in the news with the NAFTA trade deals now up in the air. For the numerologists, the 10th year of the bull market is coming up marking the week in which the S&P 500 hit its low of 666. Not creepy at all. Of course other numbers in focus will be the job growth and economic performance. Wherever the numbers land, here’s hoping you have a profitable week!

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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – March 2019

*Updated March 14* March is officially (or finally) here. Take note snow, your days are numbered. Of course, it’s not just the white fluffy stuff whose time is up this month as a number of discount brokerage deals for RSP season are also poised to melt away during over the next several weeks.

As last minute RSP contributions undoubtedly trickle in, there is a little bit of good news to share at the outset of a new month.  One minor extension from BMO InvestorLine is the first bullish sign that the promotional offer run is set to continue into the next season. Of course, the other good piece of news is that for DIY investors there are still lots of compelling promotions on the table through the spring.

February certainly saw its fair share of surprises as deals from Virtual Brokers and Questrade made late appearances, with the latter offer being something that hasn’t really been seen before in recent memory – a transfer fee coverage offer that doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement attached to it. Combined with an aggressive advertising campaign across major sporting and entertainment programming, it was hard not to notice this major push by Questrade heading into the RSP contribution deadline for 2018.

The start of a new season is just around the corner however with relative stability in markets, slow movement on interest rates and competitive forces continuing to heat up, there’s likely a few more offers set to sprout up soon.

Expired Deals

*Update March 14 – Deals from TD Direct Investing and BMO InvestorLine which had expired in early March have been officially moved into the expired category. The deal from BMO InvestorLine has been replaced with a slightly modified offer which is detailed in the new deals section below.*

Although technically still live at the time of publication, TD Direct Investing’s commission free trade offer is on the brink of expiration. Timed to conclude on March 1st alongside the RSP contribution deadline, the expiry of an offer from one of Canada’s most popular online brokerages going to be noticed and create an opportunity for other offers to grab the spotlight.

Another minor change taking effect at the start of March is the expiry of RBC Direct Investing targeted commission-free trade offer. Fear not, as they have launched another offer with the same number of commission-free trades (20) that isn’t set to expire until the end of May.

Extended Deals

*Update March 14 – Qtrade Investor has extended the deadline for their cash back offer from March 15th to March 29th. A couple of important details to take note of – first the terms and conditions currently state that any accounts that are being funded by transfer from another institution must be received by March 15th. Also the deadline for applying is specified as March 29th at 11:59 PM ET – which means anyone trying to apply using this offer west of the eastern timezone will have to factor this in when opening their account. See table below for more details.*

BMO InvestorLine’s winter offer has been extended from its previous expiry date of February 28th to now conclude on March 4th.  The slight change is an important one as it enabled individuals on the hunt for a deal on the RSP contribution deadline day to still technically qualify for one.

New Deals

*Update March 14 – BMO InvestorLine has technically rolled out a new cash back promo for spring 2019 that replaces their previous cash back offer (referenced above). This latest offer may look a bit familiar to their previous offer in that it has the same number of qualifying tiers (4) however the tiers themselves are slightly different as are the cash back amounts associated with each level. The new qualifying deposit tiers are: $50,000; $100,000; $500,000 and $1M+, while the associated cash back amounts are: $100, $300, $900 and $1,600 respectively. See table below for more information. *

There were no new deals to announce (yet).

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, 2019
Open and fund a new account with at least $5,000 at National Bank Direct Brokerage and you may be eligible to receive up to 50 commission free equity trades, which are good for up to one year. Use promo code: FREE50 when applying. Be sure to read offer terms and conditions for full details. $5,000 50 commission-free trades 12 months National Bank Direct Brokerage 50 Free Trade Offer April 30, 2019
Open a new qualifying account with RBC Direct Investing with at least $5,000 and you may be eligible to receive up to 20 commission-free equity trades, which are good for up to one year. Use promo code SPARX when signing up. See terms and conditions for full details. $5,000 20 commission-free trades 12 months RBC Direct Investing Free Trades Promotion March 29, 2019
Open a new account or fund an existing account at Virtual Brokers with at least $10,000, and you may be eligible to receive $50 cash back. Use code RRSP2019 when registering to claim this offer. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $10,000 $50 cash back Cash back will be deposited after July 1, 2019. Virtual Brokers RRSP 2019 Cash Back Promo March 31, 2019
Scotia iTrade Open a new account or fund an existing account with A) $10,000; B) $25,000; C) $50,000; D) $100,000 E) $250,000; F) $500,000 or G) $1M+ and you may be eligible to receive either A)20; B) 50; C) 100; D) 200; or E), F), G) 300 commission free trades; or B) $100; C) $200; D) $500; E) $800; F) $1100 or G) $1500. Use promo code 19CA for the cash back or 19FT for the free trades offers. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for full details. A) $10,000 B) $25,000 C) $50,000 D) $100,000 E) $250,000 F) $500,000 G) $1M+ For cash back: A) $0 B) $100 C) $200 D) $500 E) $800 F) $1100 G) $1500 For commission-free trades: A) 20 B) 50 C) 100 D) 200 E) 300 F) 300 G) 300 For cash back: Cash will be deposited by July, 2019. For commission free trades: 120 days to use trades from date of account funding. iTRADE commission-free trade + cash back offer March 31, 2019
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 none
Open and fund a new account with at least A) $25,000; B) $100,000; C) $250,000; D) $500,000 or E) $1M+ AND place at least three commission-generating trades and you may be eligible to receive a cash back promotion amount of at least A) $188; B) $388; C) $688; D) $988 or E) $1288. Be sure to read offer terms & conditions for full details. A) $25,000 B) $100,000 C) $250,000 D) $500,000 E) $1M+ A) $188 B) $388 C) $688 D) $988 E) $1288 Cash back will be deposited by November 29, 2019 HSBC InvestDirect 2019 Winter Offer April 30, 2019
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, 2019
BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account or fund an existing qualifying account at BMO InvestorLine with new assets worth at least A) $50,000; B) $100,000; C) $500,000 or D) $1M+ and you may be eligible to a cash back reward of up to A) $100; B) $300; C) $900 or D) $1600. Use promo code SPARXCASH when registering to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions. A) $50,000 B) $100,000 C) $500,000 D) $1M+ A) $100 B) $300 C) $900 D) $1,600 Cash back will be deposited the week of December 16, 2019. BMO InvestorLine Spring 2019 Campaign June 3, 2019
Open a new qualifying account or fund an existing qualifying account at Qtrade Investor with new assets worth at least A) $50,000; B) $100,000; C) $250,000 D) $500,000 or E) 1M+ and you may be eligible to a cash back reward of up to A) $50; B) $100; C) $250 or D) $750 or E) $1500. Use promo code CASH2019 when registering to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions. A) $50,000 B) $100,000 C) $250,000 D) $500,000 E) $1M+ A) $50 B) $100 C) $250 D) $750 E) $1500 Cash back will be deposited the week of September 25, 2019. Qtrade Investor Cashback Promo March 29, 2019

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Mar. 14, 2019 23:00 PT
Open a new qualifying TD Direct Investing account by March 1, 2019 with a minimum deposit of A) $15,000; B) $25,000; C) $50,000 or D) $100,000+ and you may be eligible to receive commission rebates for A) 25; B) 50; C) 100 or D) 200 trades. To qualify online, individuals must register here and open the account by March 1, 2019. See terms and conditions for full details. A) $15,000 B) $25,000 C) $50,000 D) $100,000+ A) 25 B) 50 C) 100 D) 200 Trades made prior to July 1, 2019 will be eligible for rebate. TD Direct Investing Winter Promotion March 1, 2019
BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account or fund an existing qualifying account at BMO InvestorLine with new assets worth at least A) $50,000; B) $250,000; C) $500,000 or D) $1M+ and you may be eligible to a cash back reward of up to A) $400; B) $900; C) $1200 or D) $1600. Use promo code SPARXCASH when registering to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions. A) $50,000 B) $250,000 C) $500,000 D) $1M+ A) $400 B) $900 C) $1200 D) $1600 Cash back will be deposited the week of September 16, 2019. BMO InvestorLine Winter 2018 Campaign March 4, 2019

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, 2020

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Mar. 1, 2019 19:00 PT

Transfer Fee Promotions

Company Brief Description Maximum Transfer Fee Coverage Amount Minimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee Eligibility Details Link Deadline
Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they’ll cover the transfer-out fee up to $150. $150 no minimum required Transfer Fee Promo March 31, 2019
Transfer $15,000 or more into a new HSBC InvestDirect account and you may be eligible to have up to $152.55 in transfer fees covered. $152.55 $15,000 Confirmed via email contact with HSBC InvestDirect Rep. Contact client service for more information. none
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
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 Desjardins Online Brokerage 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 Desjardins Online Brokerage 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 none
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: Mar. 1, 2019 19:00 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 Broker@ge 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
Open and fund a new qualifying account with at least $5,000 at RBC Direct Investing and you may be eligible to receive up to 20 commission-free trades, which are good for up to one year. Use promo code MDFT8 to qualify. This promotion is being marketed towards healthcare workers, so be sure to review terms and conditions or speak to an RBC Direct Investing representative for full details. $5,000 RBC Direct Investing 20 Free Trade Offer Mar. 4, 2019

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Mar. 1, 2019 19:00PT

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 January 2, 2020 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
Discounted Management Open a new account with RBC InvestEase and the standard management fee will be waived until October 31, 2019. See offer terms and conditions for full details. $1,000 No management fees until October 31, 2019 None March 31, 2019 RBC InvestEase Pricing Details
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: Mar. 1, 2019 19:00 PT