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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – August 30, 2021

Truth be told, it was supposed to be a vacation edition of the Weekly Roundup. However, National Bank Direct Brokerage’s big news this week managed to make a lot of folks in the online brokerage industry in Canada put any plans for taking time off on hold (including mine).

It’s fitting that this special edition of the Roundup focuses on just one big story: the move to zero commission trading by National Bank Direct Brokerage. We’ll return with more stories next week (there were actually other things that happened too!) as well as more investor forum chatter.

Caveat: We were going to keep this initial coverage of the price movement short (well at least as short as we could). After poring over 1,000 user comments, as well as different news reports, articles, and forum posts, there’s lots to say here, but in the interest of keeping things manageable, we’ll focus on some of the initial developments and implications. Not to worry though, there’s lots more to unpack, so stay tuned.

National Bank Direct Brokerage Eliminates Trading Commissions

In case you missed it on the news, social media, and in the investor forums, National Bank Direct Brokerage made history this past week by dropping standard commissions for equity and ETF trading to zero. That’s right, the first big bank-owned online brokerage in Canada chose the “nuclear” option on pricing by eliminating trading commissions.

While it is still early days, saying this is a game changer would be an understatement.

Change, however, is unlikely to come as swift as it did in the US during their zero-commission wave in 2019, but the latest move by National Bank Direct Brokerage is sure to put pressure on all Canadian online brokers to seriously consider taking drastic measures to respond.

A History of Making Pricing Moves

Commission price drops have been a part of the trends at National Bank Direct Brokerage over the past several years, and even earlier this year. And yet, in looking at the roll-out of the new commission reality, one gets the sense that this decision was both a long time coming and pushed forward quickly to come to market this year.

For a bit of a history lesson, the zero-commission trading conversation at National Bank Direct Brokerage has been happening for longer than most online investors would think. In a bit of a personal anecdote, I recollect having a meeting with a senior executive at National Bank Direct Brokerage (NBDB) back in the spring of 2017 in which commission-free trading at Robinhood came up. At that time, it wasn’t seen as something that would gain traction with the industry, however, later that summer, NBDB launched zero-commission ETF trading on all Canadian and US ETFs. Prior to that, there were only short stints at NBDB where commission-free trading of ETFs were offered as a promotion, probably as a means to analyze the impact and popularity of this feature.

In October 2019, they dropped the pricing from $9.95 to $6.95 for National Bank clients, offered young investors (aged 18 to 30) commission rates at $4.95, and gave active investors an even lower rate of $0.95 per trade for 100+ trades per quarter. Earlier this year, in March, we also reported on a commission fee drop from National Bank Direct Brokerage in which the regular commission fee was lowered to $6.95 per trade for everyone. Incidentally, October 2019 was also the point in time when US online brokerages also embraced zero-commission online trading more broadly.

If there is a pattern emerging, it is that National Bank Direct Brokerage has been quietly gathering data on the zero-commission thesis over the past few years. It is a bold move to be “the first” one to make the move to zero, however, they clearly had a lot of information on which to place this bet.

While the timing is a bit of a mystery, the reality is that it was going to be a matter of when, rather than if, online brokerages moved to zero-commission in Canada. And, as a brand that wanted to expand its footprint across Canada, as well as its position in the hierarchy of online brokerages in Canada, going to zero commissions provided much more upside to NBDB relative to the downside.

Being the first one to do it, gave NBDB the spotlight and enabled them to set the pace of change. Case in point, everyone in the online investing community weighed in on the move.

Having covered this space for almost a decade, there are few moments in the Canadian online brokerage industry that have garnered as much interest from news outlets, social media, and investor forums alike. In fact, the news also made it to several bank earnings calls which happened to fall in the same week as the announcement. It’s safe to say that has never happened before here in Canada.

Not Everything is Free

Despite eliminating the commission charges for stocks and ETFs, National Bank Direct Brokerage did not entirely eliminate commission fees on trading options or inactivity fees.

In terms of options commission, the fixed commission cost component to the options trading commission trade has been eliminated, however, there is still a minimum charge of $6.95 per options trade and pricing per contract remains at $1.25.

That said, it is worth reviewing the revenue segmentation for Robinhood’s earnings which we covered last week, where it clearly shows that when it comes to commission-free trading, the product mix tends to favour options trading over purely stock trading. Options trading is also a lot more profitable for online brokerages than stock trading is, so there is some economic utility to keeping charges for that product intact. Although NBDB does not have all the bells and whistles or order types available on options trading that other brokerages support, the reality is that for simple strategies the functionality is there.

There are also still account maintenance fees. The annual fee of $100 for balances that are less than $20,000 still applies, as does the conditions in place to have them waived. Users can have the inactivity fee waived if they make five stock, ETF, or options trades in a year (between June 1 and May 31 of each calendar year). One source of confusion online initially was when the term “commissionable” was left in one of the conditions (it has since been updated).

Getting used to the realities of zero commission trading also means changes to the old way of doing things. One casualty is promotional offers. The 100 commission-free trade deal is no longer relevant (it was set to expire at the end of September anyway), and while it can’t be ruled out altogether, there is a low probability that cash back offers at NBDB are showing up anytime soon given the surge in interest from self-directed investors curious and relieved at this new option.

What Does This Mean for Self-Directed Investors?

Speaking of self-directed investors, the launch of a full commission-free trading experience with no limits or special conditions on US stocks or specific trading requirements is huge. The chatter online exploded as the news broke early last week, offering a rare glimpse at the various attitudes of many different types of investors all at once.

It is of little surprise to see how much interest there was online, especially in forums on reddit and that a bank-owned brokerage is offering zero-commission trading. What was surprising, even seasoned veterans, like Glenn LaCoste of Surviscor, was that a bank-owned brokerage that led with this change rather than a smaller competitor.

In fact, it is almost hard to put into words just how explosive the reaction was from retail investors to the news. While it is difficult to summarize all of the fascinating points raised by self-directed investors online, it is incredible to see that even with zero commissions, there are other features that Canadian investors value, something that could turn out to be an Achilles’ heel for broader adoption of commission-free trading at other online brokerages.

Nonetheless, in the weeks ahead, NBDB will likely be tested with a crush of new account opens. From transfers to new accounts outright, the wave of interest is more like a tsunami that will only continue to gather strength as news ripples through investor forums. It is especially attractive to younger investors (under 30) who are not subject to the minimum account balance requirements, and, thus, have almost no downside of opening an account to try out NBDB.

For very active investors and traders, the economics of this make far too much sense to pass up as well.

Granted, options traders and those using margin will still put Interactive Brokers high on their list, however, no other online brokerage in Canada is offering the competitive offer that National Bank Direct Brokerage currently is. Again, this is a major coup for NBDB across almost all segments of investors, including those fed up with paying lots of commissions for what they consider to be an “average” digital experience.

The two most fascinating angles (it is hard to narrow this down to only two), however, have been online investor reactions and the real-time test of how important mobile apps are to investors.

With well over one thousand investor comments and counting, the conversation around NBDB’s price drop contains many themes. High up on that list is the reaction that many online investors had were they contacted their existing online brokerage to ask whether those brokerages had any plans whatsoever to offer similar pricing.

That so many online investors did this was interesting for two reasons.

First, it revealed the different answers from online brokerages around this issue, ranging from “we’re thinking about it” to “nope” (paraphrasing a bit here). In some instances, online brokerages that offer lower commission prices were willing to lower the commission rates generally reserved for active traders to non-active users. In other words, online investors at certain online brokerages are apparently able to request a discount and get one.

The second reason it was so fascinating is because it revealed a nuance about the Canadian online investor which is that here (perhaps unlike in the US), investors are willing to ask questions first then make a move, rather than move quickly based on price alone. Underpinning the “ask first” approach is likely the hassle of having to move accounts, which online investors are apparently willing to endure depending on what they hear back. It was really interesting to see online investors publicly offer up “ultimatum” dates to their online broker to get zero commission trading announced by a certain date otherwise they would move altogether.

Another big point of interest is whether or not a mobile app matters more than low cost to the online investing experience. National Bank Direct Brokerage has web-based trading interface that works on mobile but does not have a dedicated mobile trading app, something that younger investors have – up until this point – been insistent is the marker of a great online investing experience.

It also important to note that the most active (and vocal and influential) online investors use their desktops or laptops when trading online. Users need or want multiple monitors when trading, especially for charting and scanning lots of news. Phones don’t do that nearly as well, so the traders that influence opinions for investors online are going to be driven by the web or desktop experience rather than the mobile one.

As the old adage says, money talks. And while NBDB is not in the same league as Wealthsimple Trade for mobile trading app user experience, the reality is that the mobile experience for NBDB (especially for the price) is “good enough.”

Again, for the sake of brevity, there is a lot to the investor reaction we aren’t reporting here, but suffice to say that all bank-owned online brokerages have likely seen a flood of questions from their clients asking about matching, as well as online brokerages in general receiving account transfer requests from clients looking to move their business to National Bank Direct Brokerage. Online investors are no longer caught between having to choose either low prices or bank-owned brokerage convenience; they can now have both.

What Does This Mean for the Canadian Online Brokerage Industry?

We’ve said it a few times, but it is worth underscoring that the commission price drop by NBDB is a game changer. Who it impacts and how immediately, however, is something we’ll be watching with intense interest.

The first online broker that lots of users have mentioned as being impacted by this decision from National Bank Direct Brokerage is Wealthsimple Trade.

Wealthsimple Trade

Though Wealthsimple Trade has tried to build its brand as the zero-commission online brokerage, the reality for their model is that trading in the US comes with some punishing forex transaction fees. This latest move by NBDB has earned accolades for being able to offer the full list of securities on the major US exchanges as well as the Canadian ones rather than have them subject to restrictions set by the broker. Already, however, sentiment among self-directed investors has put NBDB ahead of Wealthsimple Trade in a number of cost-sensitive categories.

Big Bank-owned Online Brokerages

If there’s any group that could defy gravity on commission pricing just a bit longer in Canada, it is the big five bank-owned online brokerages.

Arguably, the two biggest players, TD Direct Investing and RBC Direct Investing are in the best position to not have to go zero commissions right away given their strong set of features and platforms. Responses from frontline reps, as well as from senior TD and RBC executives on earnings calls, seem to support this view.

Remarks from Teri Currie, TD’s Group Head of Canadian Personal Banking, reveal a rough estimate of what the cost might be if TD went the route of full commission-free trading, as well as what the current sentiment is on them moving price.

It is worth pointing out that the last time that the Canadian online brokerage industry saw a major repricing was in 2014, however, Scotia iTRADE managed to hold onto its 19.99+ and higher commission structure until 2019, which is a long five years for many investors.

After just launching commission-free ETFs, BMO InvestorLine might also take a wait and see approach to the commission drop rather than be the next to dive into the pool, or it might, like National Bank Direct Brokerage did, elect to start dropping prices gradually or with a really compelling promotion to buy some time heading into RSP season.

Of the big five bank-owned brokerages, CIBC Investor’s Edge, already a low-cost option, could arguably have to concede to a lower price point per trade first because it does not have the same depth of features or platforms that are currently being offered by its competitors.


Speaking of low-cost leaders, Questrade has emerged as a popular option for value-conscious online investors, so the latest move by National Bank Direct Brokerage to eliminate trading commissions is definitely a blow to the title for Questrade.

There are scenarios in which Questrade might be able to delay dropping commission pricing, however, in all likelihood, despite having a compelling brand, Questrade has sought to be a low-cost option and doing nothing doesn’t seem like an option nor does trying to reposition itself as a technology or platform leader. It has invested substantial resources in marketing themselves as a low-cost provider – if not THE lowest cost provider – so for fee-conscious online investors, they will likely be looking to Questrade to move quickly otherwise it will be investors who will do the moving.

Everyone Else

With the exception of Interactive Brokers, all other online brokerages in Canada will have to seriously reevaluate their pricing heading into the fall and 2022. There aren’t that many other online brokerages in this category, but the strength of brand, convenience, or features just isn’t there the same way it is for other online brokers.

What’s Next?

Where things go from here is somewhat safe to say; when, however, is a different story. The story is still unfolding but anyone who’s made it this far can attest to, there’s lots to unpack here.

The likely scenario we see playing out for now is that online investors will be adding National Bank Direct Brokerage to their short list of online brokerages to consider. There is quite the uphill battle NBDB faces in terms of building awareness of its platform, so it would be safe to assume there’s some big marketing pushes coming in the next few months. Even with the huge surge in online investor interest, National Bank Direct Brokerage is just not well known enough to have online investors immediately jump ship from their existing providers.

The early adopters of NBDB will serve as important points of influence to the curious, however, the good news for NBDB is that there is likely a high enough surge in new account openings that some portion of those individuals will be writing about their experiences.

As for the rest of the online brokerage industry, given where we are in the calendar year, the existing marketing plans that have been devised heading into the end of the year are going to have to be rewritten. While several online brokerages have probably got a “playbook” on how to respond to a zero-commission offering, the next few weeks and months will reveal how extensive that playbook is.

Although it has come as a surprise that National Bank Direct Brokerage was the first big bank-owned online broker to reduce equity and ETF trading commissions to zero, the reality is they’re well-rehearsed in making pricing moves while continuing to improve their service offering. By going first, they have certainly earned the attention they are now getting, however, they are also fighting the pull off some powerful forces among consumer behaviour to stay with their existing online brokerage firm.

Despite the forecast for other brokerages to adopt zero-commission pricing, one thing is clear: the longer other brokerages wait to go to zero, the more impatient online investors will get. Unlike the world before last week, Canadians have now woken up to a new option for trading online and no longer have to wait to take advantage of it.

Into the Close

Thanks for tuning in all the way! There’s still more to this story so be sure to tune into what is likely going to be a wild ride through the end of the year and into next. For now, try and recharge as quickly as you can; it seems the forecast is for activity at Canadian online brokerages to surge, thanks to the move by NBDB.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – August 23, 2021

With only a few weeks left of summer, it seems that online brokerages are already gearing up to hit ground running for fall. If there’s one theme emerging, it’s that online brokers on both sides of the border are going compete even harder than they ever have before.

In this week’s Roundup, we dig deep into the first earnings report from Robinhood and analyze the interesting things that were said (and not said) on the earnings call. From there, it’s yet another new feature fiesta, as BMO InvestorLine drops some new enhancements ahead of the fall rush. As always, we highlight some intriguing investor chatter, including some pretty big rumours of new pricing, as well as tackling tough subjects.

Robinhood’s First Earnings Report Sets a High Bar

Summer is a great time for catching up on leisurely reads. That said, the latest thriller isn’t something most folks would put high on their reading list, and yet it is filled with (almost) more legal drama than a Free Britney post.

This past week, Robinhood issued their first quarterly earnings release as a publicly traded company (ticker: HOOD), and while their brand is typically associated with keeping things simple, it turns out that their financial reporting is anything but.

At a whopping 274 pages long, the full filing of their quarterly result is great reading for those with the time and stamina to parse through legalese and financial metrics. Of course, coming on the heels of their IPO, this first earnings report is also filled with a lot of reference to the go-public moment, so it is likely that their next report will be shorter.

With so much ground to cover, it is impossible to dive into all of the interesting details inside of the Robinhood earnings report in this Roundup. But what is abundantly clear from the report and the investor earnings call is that Robinhood intends to live its best life as a public company. Somewhat differently, however, it is unclear if that experiment will truly pay off. Before going down that rabbit hole, a quick look at the performance numbers is in order.

Robinhood Cashes in on Crypto

By many measures, the year over year performance at Robinhood is stunning.

Total revenues increased 131% to USD $565 million, the number of net cumulative funded accounts (NCFA) increased 130% from 9.5 million to 22.5 million, and assets under custody (AUC) shot up 205% to USD $102 billion from USD $33 billion. Those numbers pale in comparison, however, to the transaction-based revenue increase from cryptocurrencies, which increased 46-fold from USD $5 million in the second quarter of 2020 to USD $233 million in Q2 of 2021.

In other words, on a top line basis, thanks to crypto trading, dogecoin, and meme stocks they crushed it.

Of course, nobody, including the founders of Robinhood, expects these kinds of numbers to be repeated anytime soon. The convergence of meme stock– fuelled trading frenzies and Elon Musk– fuelled crypto bumps are part of a new reality for investors and markets to contend with, but the timing and nature of these market influences is tough to build a business around.

As can be seen from the chart above, what was incredibly fascinating about first set of public financial results from Robinhood was the degree to which their fortunes were made by fast-money or YOLO trading customers. Options, a highly leveraged approach to stock trading, as well as cryptocurrencies, made up 88% of Robinhood’s transaction-based revenues. Revenues from equity trading, which actually decreased 26% year-over-year, came in at $52 million.

In addition, in the earnings call, Jason Warnick, Chief Financial Officer at Robinhood, revealed that over 60% of Robinhood customers traded cryptocurrency during the quarter.

These figures paint a portrait of Robinhood and a huge portion of their client base as interested in trading in highly speculative financial instruments rather than image of the “democratized” access to trading stocks that the online brokerage was founded upon.

Surge in New Accounts Likely a Sign of Peak HOOD

Another metric in the earnings release that was off the charts was new account growth in the quarter. According to Warnick, almost 4.5 million net funded accounts came into Robinhood during the quarter, a staggering number by any measure. Charles Schwab, the largest online brokerage on the planet (for now) added 1.45 million new accounts and Interactive Brokers barely registers by comparison at 91.5 thousand over the same period.

There is definitely credit where were credit is due for Robinhood being able to massively scale its client base over such a short period of time.

In fact, it is likely that the Robinhood surge in client activity is the envy of online brokerages everywhere, especially because acquiring these new clients was absurdly cheap thanks to a combination of industry-leading digital UX, huge investor demand, and clever marketing with their stock referral bonus.

As mentioned above, however, the forces that converged to pull investors in is likely not going to reoccur anytime soon, nor can the executives at Robinhood plan their business growth strategy around WallStreetBets and Elon Musk’s views on Dogecoin.

Traditional metrics for valuing online brokerages typically look at trading activity as well as the level of assets that clients of online brokerages have, which is why analysts view Robinhood with some skepticism when it comes to the value and loyalty of their client base.

In fact, one of the analysts on the earnings call, Steven Chubak of Wolfe Research, pointed out the “graduation risk” problem of Robinhood clients. Clients that are leaving Robinhood take with them an account size that is 4x the average than the typical Robinhood account. What was particularly interesting in the exchange was that Warnick stated:

“In terms of the part of your question about graduation risk, what I would tell you is that we fully intend to grow with our customers. You see that in our product road map, as we talked about wanting new investors become long-term investors, that’s really going to inspire the products that we’ve allowed and the account features that we roll out so that we don’t see that. And then what I would tell you is when we look at churn, we’re not seeing any kind of customer demographic concentrations as a big concern.”

The big unknown seems to be whether the rush of options and crypto traders will be interested in “long term” investing and will choose to do so with Robinhood, especially considering the lack of account types and features offered by their peers in this space. Robinhood will have to work both hard and smart to be able to earn business from Millennial and Gen Z investors who want to invest (not just speculatively trade).

Courting Disaster

Although this wasn’t highlighted in the investor presentation or press release, the sheer number and magnitude of lawsuits overhanging Robinhood present significant headwinds to investors and potentially to consumers. In Robinhood’s quarterly filing, there are so many lawsuits it is hard to imagine these activities not just being costly to Robinhood to contend with but also a major distraction to management to have to attend to.

Many of those lawsuits have risen from stories that have made major headlines, including trading restrictions on meme stocks, trading outages (in 2020), gamification, account takeovers, and more. The recent settlement with FINRA (approximately USD $70 million), which also happened to be the largest-ever financial penalty ordered by FINRA, is just one of several unknowns that could severely hamper Robinhood.

Also, if there’s one thing that might make any investor (or potential investor) pause, it’s the 74-page section on risk factors associated with Robinhood.

The reality of investing online is that very few self-directed investors see the level of technical and regulatory complexity associated with being an online brokerage, and this complexity only increases when dealing with tightly interconnected technology and cryptocurrencies.


Separating the rhetoric from the numbers is going to be an ongoing reality with Robinhood. On the one hand, they are clearly trying to position themselves as the champions of personal financial well-being by pursuing a vision of becoming the “most trusted and most culturally relevant money app worldwide.” On the other hand, being able to grow going forward at the speed and scale they have to date will be costly. Regulatory issues go beyond just a slap on the wrist financially, they also erode confidence of investors and clients. The reputation of being a “rule breaker” does not bode well in the world of finance, even if the ultimate vision is supposedly a noble one.

The most recent quarterly numbers, indeed the numbers over the past year too, indicate that Robinhood has reached an inflection point in their business.

Thanks to much hard work to get them ready to grow, they were handed a generational opportunity to grow their business when COVID-19 struck. It seems, however, that for the moment, markets have returned to calmer tendencies. Robinhood managed to thrive in chaos, however, now that it is a public company answerable to so many more stakeholders, it must successfully avoid creating chaos for itself.

New Feature-palooza: BMO InvestorLine Rolls Out More New Features

Another summer week and another string of new feature releases from Canadian online brokerages.

This past week, popular bank-owned online broker BMO InvestorLine published an announcement of some recent feature enhancements to the InvestorLine and Advice Direct platforms. Late last year, BMO InvestorLine debuted the rollout of InvestorLine 2.0 which represented a significant overhaul of their web-based online investing platform.

In the latest iteration of their platform, there have been some noteworthy feature enhancements, such as faster order entry (hooray!) and visibility on distributions (such as dividends) paid by certain securities.

To their credit, BMO InvestorLine has maintained a cleaner user experience in their new 2.0 platform so that understanding information and analytics about companies “feels” easier and more intuitive. As subjective as those measures are, the new site is objectively less cluttered with fewer menus to navigate around and more prominence given to the core features used by most online investors. That said, it is still clearly a work in progress with certain features only available on the previous version of the site.

Another interesting feature mentioned in the same press release is a partnership with Canadian personal finance expert Preet Banerjee to launch an investor education series. Earlier this month, the first 18 episode video series launched and another intermediate level course (32 videos long) is slated to come mid-September.

Finally, although it wasn’t mentioned directly in their press release, BMO InvestorLine is working hard in the background to improve response times to customer service and enhance the online experience for investors trying to connect with representatives on the phone. In the press release, there was a mention of being able to connect with InvestorLine representatives by video, however, the more compelling note is actually displayed on the login page for the online brokerage.

As seen in the image below, the announcement of the average wait time is still a unique feature that other online brokerages, especially big bank-owned brokerages, aren’t doing. This small but important number offers some level of transparency on what it’s like to connect with InvestorLine reps via telephone. What caught our eye, however, was the mention of call back features and the accelerated ramp up in hiring of client service agents.

With just under a month left in the summer (gasp!), the pace of activity among Canadian online brokerages is already starting to show signs of accelerating. While that might not seem unusual considering September is when individuals are back from vacation, the fact is that this entire summer has been a roller-coaster ride of activity.

Unlike some other Canadian online brokerages who have announced new feature drops almost weekly, BMO InvestorLine has rolled out several big improvements at once, and when combined with their announcement earlier this summer of commission-free ETFs, it seems like there is something big planned for the upcoming RSP season at BMO InvestorLine. That said, it’s hard to envision BMO InvestorLine’s big-bank peers standing still.

Though things have been quiet at other firms, if BMO InvestorLine is any indicator of things to come, it seems like we’re in for some more big news this fall.

From the Forums

Death in the Family

It’s never an easy subject to bring up but talking about death and what happens to an online brokerage account is something all online investors should be aware of. In this instructive post from the Financial Wisdom Forum, one user’s experience dealing with a deceased spouse’s brokerage account offers some valuable lessons to seasoned investors.

What’s in a Name?

In the decade or so that we’ve been covering the world of online investing, it’s been fascinating to witness the evolution of what the industry brands itself to be. From discount brokerage to online brokerage to direct investing, this post was interesting because it shows that online investors are starting to pick up on the industry term “self-directed” in how they view themselves. Also, there’s a bonus rumour revealed in the post, which if true, is a heck of a bombshell.

Into the Close

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a round of applause! With just a few weeks left to enjoy the summer, we highly recommend taking any kind of break to soak up the sunshine or just take a breather. Of course, if rollercoasters are your thing and you don’t have a chance to actually ride them, sit tight (and keep your hands in the car), the online brokerage news is going to have some very wild times ahead!  

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – August 16, 2021

The dog days of summer are here, but rather than find some shade to curl up and relax in, it appears that those Canadian online brokerages who want to get a head start on the busy upcoming fall season have been working themselves to the bone.

In this edition of the Roundup, we look at one Canadian online brokerage that has been busy dropping new features like they’re hot (bonus points for the Dogg reference) in the lead up to September. Feature dropping is also the focus of a quick update at another popular brokerage, and we report on an elusive new promotion that was spotted briefly in the wild. As always, we peek at what DIY investors were bantering about in the online investor forums.

Qtrade Direct Investing Ramps Up New Feature Activity

With fall just around the corner (check Costco if you’re skeptical), Qtrade Direct Investing has been busy preparing by launching a flurry of updates and enhancements to various features and offerings. This month, we’ve spotted a new commission-free promotion, updates to their commission-free ETF program, and new faster account opening options. And it’s only halfway through August.

Following their big rebrand to Qtrade Direct Investing earlier this year, it appears that this popular online brokerage has accelerated the pace of new features heading into the second half of 2021. Across the online brokerage space in Canada, we’ve noted several online brokerages start to launch new features in what is gearing up to be an intense stretch this RRSP season.

Qtrade’s Commission-free ETFs Get Upgraded

For almost 10 years, Qtrade has been one of a small number of Canadian online brokerages to offer completely commission-free trading on a select number of ETFs.

We dug into the archives and found a profile comparing commission-free ETFs at four Canadian discount brokerages in 2013, and at that time, Qtrade had a selection of 60 ETFs available to investors.

Over the years, Qtrade Direct Investing eventually expanded the list to over 100 ETFs (105 as of publication of this article), so the current offering shuffles the deck on the names of ETFs included on the commission-free list. Among the popular Canadian listed offerings for online investors: iShares Core Equity ETF Portfolio (XEQT), iShares Core Growth ETF Portfolio (XGRO), and iShares Core Balanced ETF Portfolio (XBAL) to name a few.

The most important change to come to this program, however, is that Qtrade Direct Investing no longer requires a minimum purchase value amount of $1,000 to qualify for commission-free status. Although investors will have to be signed up for eDocuments and hold their purchases for at least one business day to qualify for commission-free status, for non- day traders, the Qtrade selection of commission-free ETFs offers a competitive list for investors to consider.

The combination of new, highly sought-after ETFs and the lower threshold to be able to trade them is a potent one and has already caught the attention of self-directed investor chatter (see forum post below). Interestingly, what stood out in the conversation among online investors is that a number of comments included references to online investors having multiple brokerage accounts for different purposes. In many cases, online investors are building a portfolio of online brokerages to keep their trading costs for certain types of accounts or styles of investing under control.

Now that there are more Canadian online brokerages, such as BMO InvestorLine or TD Direct Investing through their GoalAssist, offering some kind of commission-free ETF, self-directed investors have a lot more choice and can decide whether or not this is a feature to switch brokerages for or simply open up a new account.

Account Opening Gets a Facelift

Speaking of opening up a new account, one of the biggest pain points for online investors during the huge volatility of stock markets in 2020 and the meme-stock action in 2021 was quickly opening up an online investing account.

Strange as it may seem in 2021 to be talking about innovation in opening up online accounts, the reality for Canadian self-directed investors is that there are still lots of hurdles to opening and funding an online trading account quickly.

At Qtrade Direct Investing, however, at least one of these hurdles has been cleared with their new account opening feature that enables users to open accounts online and use face verification to confirm identity during the process. The consequence: faster account opening.

Although market volatility has markedly decreased compared to earlier this year, there is clearly something different about the way in which stocks are trading. The first week of trading at Robinhood is evidence enough of that.

If there was one great lesson across the past 18 months of investing online, it was that Canadian online brokerages need to be ready to scale up the responsiveness of all of their systems to meet investor demand. When a major event happens – be it an IPO, market crash, or meme-stock frenzy – online investors will seek out whichever online brokerage enables them to trade the fastest and most cost effectively (generally in that order).

The latest move by Qtrade Direct Investing to improve their online account opening experience is an important one, especially when trying to connect to younger investors. Being able to complete the account open process end-to-end on with a smartphone rather than have to fuss over printing anything is going to inevitably be something investors talk to one another about. And with several notable online brokerages already enabled to open accounts digitally, the race is on for other online brokerages to catch up before the next big thing comes to market.

Online Brokerage Quick Scan

Wealthsimple Trade Auto Deposits

Hardly a week goes by (or so it seems) that Wealthsimple Trade isn’t making waves by launching new features. If part of the culture to look and feel like a tech company is to constantly be launching new functionality, then Wealthsimple certainly fits the part.

Earlier this month, Wealthsimple quietly rolled out auto-deposits to enable users to automatically schedule contributing money into their accounts. While it may not seem revolutionary or even a feature that many investors are clamouring for, it nonetheless is strategically an important one for Wealthsimple Trade to reduce the friction on getting assets to flow towards them instead of to somewhere else.

What was interesting, however, was not the feature itself but that the rollout was done quietly then ramped up quite significantly to appear in ads across various digital channels. This is a signal that Wealthsimple wants users to be aware of this feature. Also curious was the extent of discussion of this feature among self-directed investors.

Again, it warrants stating that scheduled deposits aren’t high on the shiny features that online investors (especially the vocal ones on social media channels) are trying to push for, which is what makes the response and conversation about the feature seem disproportionate.

Buried in the investor commentary, however, is a fascinating insight: there are a number of platform users that were able to take small amounts to get started investing with, and through disciplined behaviour, accumulate something they felt was substantial enough to want to continue to grow.

If there are any financial planners or online brokerages reading this, there should be a few bells ringing. The notion that all millennials are fiscally irresponsible and blowing their discretionary money on avocado toast or longshot “investments” is simply untrue. There are clearly segments of this demographic (at least that take to reddit forums) that are keen to put themselves on track financially and want the barriers to participating in that financial growth removed.  

Though the math might be challenging to do, the positive impact of users recommending an online brokerage to their friends/family or anyone who’ll listen is clearly important. Wealthsimple Trade’s latest feature drop shows that they are winning the PR battle with other online brokerages, and by reducing barriers to participating in markets, actually enabling online investors to become established enough financially to want to invest more.

While incumbent Canadian online brokerages may choose to look past the “start small” segment, as it turns out, there are a lot of younger investors who are prepared to pace themselves when it comes to getting wealthier, and they will remember who helped get them there.

RBC Direct Investing’s Elusive New Promotion  

Another interesting highlight for regular readers of the Weekly Roundup is a new offer from RBC Direct Investing that was spotted in the wild. Unfortunately, it has not resurfaced from the first time it crossed our radar, but we did manage to snag a couple of screenshots of the new commission-free promotion.

This elusive deal, which runs until September 30, featured 50 commission-free trades from RBC Direct Investing, something more than what we’ve seen them offer in the past. Also, and this was particularly important, the commission-free trades were good for up to two years. The longest we have seen to date has been commission-free trades be good for one year.

Commission-free anything is all the rage as new online brokerages encircle the Canadian space and are awaiting their turn to bring zero-commission trading to the mainstream self-directed investor. For the moment, Canadian online brokerages who do not want to take commission rates to zero can offer alternatives, like commission-free trade promotions or commission-free ETFs.

Whether or not this deal resurfaces, it is clearly a signal that online brokerages – especially bigger players in the space – are pushing the envelope on competing promotional incentives. This bodes well for online investors heading into the end of the year when the ramp up to RSP season begins.

As we’ve seen this year, there have been lots of new features launched and it is likely that trend will continue. In order to get attention from online investors about these new features and enhancements, however, the likely scenario we’ll see unfold is a lot of effort spent on marketing, promotion, and new incentives.

From the Forums

Asking for a Friend

When it comes to order execution and routing, the vast majority of Canadian online investors don’t pay much attention. There are, however, a vocal and influential minority of investors on social media channels that do care, and in this post from reddit, it is fascinating to see the number and intensity of responses from online investors who want their trades to be able to be routed to famous “speed bump” exchange, IEX.

Qtrade Adding ETFs

If there’s one thing that investors in online forums enjoy, it’s a good ETF discussion. In this post from reddit, investors were smiling at the recent update to Qtrade Direct Investing’s commission-free ETF offer. Tune in to read more about their reaction to the launch and for some revealing habits of online investors wanting to keep their trading costs under control.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap on another week. If you think you’ve had a wild week, it’s worth having a read about the largest hack of cryptocurrency ever and then the subsequent return of almost all of it. Didn’t see that coming. Of course, as this (and last) year have shown, anything can happen when it comes to trading online. Here’s hoping for another interesting week ahead!

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – August 9, 2021

Just when we thought it was going to be an easy, breezy summer stretch, it seems that the online brokerage industry has other plans. With more plot twists than a Canadian women’s Olympic soccer match, online brokerages near and far are keeping us on the edge of our seats.

In this edition of the Roundup, we kick things off with a look at the latest activity metrics from a popular US online brokerage and the surprising strength of new account openings. Next, we preview yet another new zero commission online brokerage eyeing a move into Canada. As always, we dish up a couple of interesting conversations from the DIY investor forums

Interactive Brokers July Metrics Reveal Surprising Strength

Earlier this month, Interactive Brokers published their activity metrics data for July 2021, which revealed some interesting stats on the condition of their business, as well as some insights into the active trader segment.

As has been the case at online brokerages across the board, despite 2020 being a record year for growth, 2021 has also seen a surge in interest to trade online, thanks in large part to the meme stock wave. A pullback from the record highs in activity and new account openings earlier this year was to be expected; however, figures from the latest activity metrics report point to an interesting (yet underreported) growth in net new accounts.

The numbers in the release paint an intriguing picture. On the one hand, when compared to last month, almost all key categories of metrics reported declined except for one: net new accounts.

Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTs) were 32% higher than last year and 4% lower than in June, client equity was 61% higher year over year but 3% lower month over month, client margin loan balances were 69% higher than last year but 2% lower than in June, and credit balances were 14% higher than last year and about flat compared to June. The only category that showed monthly growth was the number of accounts, which at 1.45 million, was 3% higher than in June.

What was particularly interesting about this latest performance report, however, was not reported in the press release. In addition to new accounts, Interactive Brokers also publishes the number of net new accounts it gains (or loses) each month, and this number was 32% higher than in June. It is also the second consecutive month of net new account growth this year after seeing five straight months of declines. This can be seen from the chart tracking net new account growth at Interactive Brokers this year.

While it is difficult to pin down the cause in the surge of net new accounts despite pullbacks in trading metrics, there are a few recent developments at Interactive Brokers which could be contributing factors to the lift in net new account opens.

One of the first that jumps to mind is the recent decision of Interactive Brokers to discontinue charging inactivity fees.

In early July, Interactive Brokers clients were notified that they would no longer be subject to inactivity fees if their account did not meet the required asset or activity minimums. Although it was a small amount to pay per month ($10), avoiding unnecessary fees is something that likely is near and dear to the hearts of Interactive Brokers clients. Since that inactivity fee applied on a per account basis, individuals with multiple accounts could conceivably face hefty fees for accounts left idle.

The primary benefactor of this move was existing Interactive Brokers clients (rather than new clients); however, it is important to highlight that the metric “net new accounts” is the result of new accounts that came in minus those accounts that left. Thus, if existing clients could be encouraged to stay, that would decrease the number leaving and make it easier to have the number of net new accounts be positive. Further, it would also encourage Interactive Brokers clients who have less active accounts at other institutions or providers (who don’t charge inactivity fees), to transfer their accounts to Interactive Brokers, also helping to boost the number of net new accounts.

According to Interactive Brokers Founder Thomas Peterffy, it was the existing client that was the target for the decision to remove inactivity fees. Rather than let active traders close accounts when they went through an idle period and risk losing them to competitors when those traders inevitably wanted to trade again, they enable these investors to essentially park their accounts with Interactive Brokers. This represented a zero-risk option to keep the account and then restart trading quickly when the timing was right.

While Canada is a small contributor to the global footprint of Interactive Brokers, the use case for boosting new accounts is clearly illustrated. By removing inactivity fees, Interactive Brokers provided the right kind of incentive for Canadian self-directed investors to bring over their registered accounts (such as TFSAs), where activity levels cannot be as high as in non-registered accounts.

Another important feature that may be luring online investors to Interactive Brokers is the anticipated launch of cryptocurrency trading. Earlier this summer, Interactive Brokers mentioned that they would be launching some kind of support for cryptocurrency trading on their platform, representing an about face on the digital asset. While it may not have triggered a flood of new accounts, it is a net positive driver for account openings, especially among the active trading community that would have had to access this feature at other exchanges or providers.

Finally, Interactive Brokers may be benefitting from the rise in popularity of options trading among retail investors. One of the data points revealed ahead of the Robinhood IPO was the popularity of options trading among investors on its platform. Similarly, data from Schwab’s most recent summer update in July also confirmed an increase in interest of options trading among retail investors.

At Interactive Brokers, the ability and, more importantly, the cost of trading options, is hard for its peers to compete against, and despite the pullback in trading, according to Peterffy, one of the principal sources of new accounts at Interactive Brokers is clients from other brokerages (such as Robinhood) seeking a better trading experience.

Against a backdrop of declining DARTs and other trading metrics, Interactive Brokers has managed to keep its impressive streak of positive account growth intact.

Data on net new accounts reveals that Interactive Brokers has had two consecutive months of positive growth, and while it is unclear exactly what is at play, it certainly looks like they have bounced off a near term bottom in investor demand. With July metrics data coming up this week (or in the very near future) from Schwab, it should be clearer as to whether this bounce is specific to Interactive Brokers or if it is part of a broader trend. Regardless, it is evident that Interactive Brokers is aggressively innovating on features that matter to its ideal clients, and those clients are clearly interested in sticking around to see what comes next.

Freetrade: Another New Online Brokerage Coming to Canada

As many Canadians know all too well this summer, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. As it happens, this past week, there was a small but important smoke signal that yet another zero-commission online brokerage, Freetrade, is positioning itself to enter the Canadian market some time in 2022.

We spotted two key positions, based out of Vancouver, being advertised on the Freetrade website, looking for individuals to help with building out their Canadian business.  

This is big news for Canadian self-directed investors anxious to benefit from commission-free trading, and while Wealthsimple Trade currently holds the crown for this feature, the reality is there are already other possible new online brokerage entrants looking to enter the zero-commission fray. Earlier this year we reported that Mogo announced its intent to launch a commission-free stock trading application and tastyworks has also been working to launch in Canada.

While most Canadian online investors are familiar with the zero-commission online brokerage Robinhood, many Canadians are not familiar with the UK-based Freetrade. One quick scan through the Freetrade website, however, and it is immediately clear that the look, feel, tone, and offering is on par with what Robinhood offers.

What the job postings reveal is that Freetrade has just closed a £65 million ($113 million CAD) series B investment and is anxious to expand globally. They are already planning expansions into Australia, Ireland, Germany, France, Netherlands, and Sweden. And, if the Australian example is any approximation of what we can expect to see in Canada, the entry will take place first with a waitlist. It appears that fractional share trading as well as referrals could also be important components of their go-to-market strategy here in Canada.

As word of this planned expansion continues to spread, we will undoubtedly get a chance to dive into the (fascinating) origins of this online brokerage which was started in 2016 by Canadian Adam Dodds in trying to find an online broker in the UK that was close to what was available in North America.

Getting up and running in Canada as an online brokerage is no small feat (tastyworks can attest to this), so despite the ambitious timeline of 2022, there are a number of regulatory and operational hurdles to overcome. That said, Freetrade is not starting from zero when it comes to the business of online investing, nor are they unaware of the conditions in the market.

For incumbent online brokerages in Canada, the writing is on the wall when it comes to stepping up their user experience game, especially on mobile, and with features that investors on both sides of the pond are clearly interested in, like fractional share trading, zero trading commissions and stocks as sign-up bonuses.

Despite the uncertainty about the timing of new online brokerages, such as Freetrade coming to Canada, it is absolutely certain that a new chapter of self-directed investing in Canada is about to be written.

From the Forums

Smooth Transitions

When it comes to new features, self-directed investors are not shy about letting online brokerages know what they want, especially on reddit. In this post on the Wealthsimple Trade subreddit, making it easy to transfer from non-registered accounts into TFSAs is something a surprisingly high number of investors chimed in about. Read more about why this feature matters to investors here.

Holding the Bag

Regrets happen. For many DIY investors, the stock market offers a tough love approach when it comes to learning how to invest. In this reddit post, self-directed investors share their stories of what stocks taught them expensive lessons and offers up an interesting window into online investor psychology.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap on a wild week for online investors, especially those trying to HODL on HOOD. Now that the Olympics have wrapped up and Canada came out strong, the spotlight will shift back to jittery markets and the next big race for online investors here to figure out: an election.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – August 2, 2021

While Canada being on fire at the Olympics is a definite plus, Canada is literally on fire (at least in this neck of the woods in BC) this long weekend. Despite the hazy skies, ambitions at Canadian (and American) online brokers are pushing faster and higher.

In this long (and smoky) weekend edition of the Roundup, we jump into the latest updates from the deals and promotions section, highlighting a new offer from a popular online brokerage. Next, we do a quick sweep of some interesting developments, including new stocks available for trading at Wealthsimple and the brave new world for Robinhood now that they’ve IPO’d. Finally, there is some fascinating fodder in the forums to cap your summer reading list off.

Deals Activity Update – August

It’s the start of a new month, and as such, time to check in on the latest deals and promotions from Canadian online brokerages. This summer (and year) has been filled with surprises, and this month, there’s a positive surprise in the form of a new offer from Qtrade Direct Investing to kick things off in August.

Before diving into the details of the promotions active this month, it’s important to highlight that August is the start of the final quarter of the fiscal year at many Canadian online brokerages. Why that matters is because this final stretch of the year offers brokerages a chance to bring their full year numbers up. While trading volume isn’t something that brokerages can directly impact, attracting assets and new accounts are. And, one of the fastest ways to do that is with promotional activity.

Looking first at the newest offer in play, Qtrade Direct Investing has an interesting promo aimed at the FOMO crowd: 50 commission-free trades. One of the reasons this promotion is interesting is because it lives up to its FOMO name, with the deal only lasting until the end of September. Another FOMO angle is that only the first 100 people to sign up for this account are eligible to receive it.

While limited time offers are not unusual, short term (one to two month) offers are fairly rare and combining these offers with a limited quantity feature is virtually unheard of at other brokerages. This is not the first time Qtrade Direct Investing has tried the limited quantity approach, but the titling of this offer as a “FOMO” promotion is targeting this deal to millennial investors who would have likely also seen this labelled applied to GameStop and AMC trading earlier this year. The fact that the deposit requirement is a minimum of $10,000 also significantly lowers the hurdle for younger investors to be able to take advantage of it.

Promotions generally take time and effort on the part of online brokerages to configure and manage, so there have to be additional benefits to the exercise that go beyond just the new accounts. One of those additional advantages would likely be understanding what kind of demand for online brokerage accounts currently exist.

Earlier this year there was an unmistakable tsunami of interest in opening new accounts; however, as the year has progressed, there has been a definite pullback in the number of new accounts opened. The launch of a new promotion at a typically quiet time in the calendar year might be a way to gauge whether DIY investors – especially younger ones – are still keen on trading.

Two other online brokerages on the deals radar this month are BMO InvestorLine and Scotia iTRADE.  Both of these bank-owned brokerages have promotions that are currently scheduled to conclude at the end of August. In the case of BMO InvestorLine, there is a strong likelihood that a new offer will appear to replace the outgoing promotion; however, for Scotia iTRADE, it is not entirely clear whether there will be another special offer coming.

The good news for DIY investors is that the quiet period for promotional activity is almost over. In all likelihood, the combination of the end of the fiscal year and a surge in new feature releases means that online brokerages are going to be more inclined to either test some creative offers or launch some campaigns that will last into the mid-fall when the ramp up to RRSP season kicks off.

Online Brokerage Quick Updates

Wealthsimple Trade Enables Hundreds of Canadian Securities Exchange Listed Stocks

When it comes to online brokerages in Canada, Wealthsimple Trade represents an interesting case. On the one hand, there is a clear value proposition with zero-fee trading commissions for Canadian-listed securities, on the other, there is a limited availability of those shares for trading because stocks have to meet certain price and volume criteria.

This past week, Wealthsimple Trade took a significant step forward in increasing access to a big chunk of a Canadian-listed stocks by enabling access to just over 200 stocks listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE). The CSE is home to Canada’s largest contingent of publicly-traded cannabis companies and also has stocks in blockchain and esports, all areas in which the core audience of Wealthsimple Trade are interested in trading.

For the CSE and Wealthsimple, this is clearly a win-win. Wealthsimple Trade has achieved a unique position in the online trading landscape in Canada, having reaching a critical mass of importance that enables it to challenge larger and older online brokerages despite not having all of the features of those other brokerages. By closing that gap between themselves and the existing competition, Wealthsimple Trade is well-positioned to benefit from any big movements in the cannabis space that could reignite investor interest in the industry (e.g. any movement on legalization in the US). On the CSE side, more access to retail investors also means more possible trading to take place on their market, ultimately translating into greater potential revenue.

Memes in the HOOD

If there’s one name in the US online brokerage market that’s been in the news practically all year, it’s been Robinhood. Earlier in the year, it was a rollercoaster ride of emotion from hero to villain, as Robinhood found itself in the middle of a public firestorm from DIY investors who wanted to ride on the “meme stock” train only to find themselves shut out of trading those stocks by Robinhood.

The fallout from the meme stock controversy has still not subsided, and despite what would ordinarily been considered a blowout year of performance, there is a clear overhang on the Robinhood story that clearly had an impact on what should have been an exceptionally big deal of Robinhood going public via IPO.

The Robinhood IPO and the journey to this incredible milestone will almost certainly be the focus of business case studies, more so as a question of what went wrong. The fact that the stock was priced at the lower end of its range and that it still fell on opening day (and for a few sessions afterwards) point to clear pessimism on the part of the investing public. Until the market can accurately discount the risks for activities such as payment for order flow (and where regulators may elect to clamp down) as well as some of the liabilities, there will be a constant uncertainty to what Robinhood should be worth. The bigger challenge, however, is how Robinhood will fare as a public company in order to grow its revenue to make it an attractive investment over the long term. They have a massive account base (22 million at last count) so there is room to monetize that, and it’s not just any account holder, it’s the prized millennial segment that so many online brokerages and wealth managers are only now ramping up to try and win over. Robinhood has a six-year head start on this group. The question, ultimately, is how Robinhood intends to grow its earnings.

One interesting feature about Robinhood is that because of its line of business, it can be a better proxy for ordinary online investors than Interactive Brokers can. In the case of Interactive Brokers, their target is more active investors, including day traders, so there is some limitation as to what can be interpreted when Interactive Brokers releases its trading figures. Another interesting feature we can expect as well is that in order to grow earnings in what might be a declining level of interest in markets (compared to 2020 and early 2021), Robinhood will have to innovate and that could open up a slew of new features and components that Canadian online brokerages can look to for inspiration as they too wrestle with how to attract and win market share with millennial investors.

There is much more on the new chapter in the Robinhood story, so be prepared for this name to become cemented into the psyche of retail investors and wealth management everywhere.

From the Forums

Fractional Shade

Some stories you find in the spotlight, others you find in the shade. And in the case of this forum post on reddit, there was clearly a lot of shade being thrown by Interactive Brokers Canada at the whole Canadian fractional share trading story.

The shots fired by Interactive Brokers Canada management at Wealthsimple Trade and the latest innovative launch of Canadian Depository Receipts at Neo Exchange are unlike anything we’ve seen from the normally spotlight-shy brokerage. Ironically, despite having access to fractional shares for years, Interactive Brokers Canada has not heavily marketed this feature and as a result, Wealthsimple Trade and now the new CDR feature have stolen the innovation thunder away from Interactive Brokers. See what sparks were flying among online investors here.

Help with Homework

DIY investing requires doing some degree of homework, especially when picking an online brokerage to start trading with. In this post from, it is fascinating to see the degree to which some online investors would prefer to seek out answers to questions from fellow DIY investors rather than addressing questions directly to online brokerages or digging around on a website for answers. While at first glance it may seem like trying to take the easy route out, long customer service wait times and website navigation are some of the unseen reasons why sometimes even simple questions get raised in forums instead of addressed by online brokers themselves.

Into the Close

That’s a wrap on this short-week edition of the Roundup. Here’s hoping you’re managing to stay safe and squeezing in relaxation before what is shaping up to be a very busy September.

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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – August 2021

August is here and even though we’re still in the midst of summer, for many online brokerages in Canada, they’re kicking off the final stretch of their fiscal year. When it comes to deals and promotions, this is the final stretch to get any important performance boosts in or any budgets submitted for next fiscal year.

The good news for investors is that there is already a new offer to kick off in August courtesy of Qtrade Direct Investing. Also, this month will be important for two bank-owned brokerages: BMO InvestorLine and Scotia iTRADE. In the case of the former, there is a seasonal shift in deals, with their current cash back promotions set to conclude at the end of this month. For Scotia iTRADE, the investor-education-oriented offer for attending their bootcamp expires at month’s end.

With September just around the corner, there’s no question online brokerages are collectively strategizing on what they should be doing for this fall. For online brokers keen to get a jump on the extremely busy few months ahead, be on the lookout for more headline-worthy offers.

Expired Offers

No offers expired to begin the month

Extended Offers

No extended offers to begin the month

New Offers

Qtrade Direct Investing launched a new commission-free trade deal aimed at millennial investors. To qualify, new clients need to deposit at least $10,000 and be one of the first 100 individuals to open an account. This promo runs from the beginning of August just until the end of September. See the online brokerage deal comparison tool for more details.