The spookiest month for online brokerage deals and promotions is finally here. October is famous for tricks and treats, and this year in particular, it seems like investors are in for a few treats in the deals section (and some sneaky tricks too). Sadly, it also signals the end of the wildly popular Sparx88 custom offer from Questrade.
In the “treats” column, there is a mix of new and extended offers for self-directed investors to choose from. To kick things off this month, HSBC InvestDirect has launched a commission-free trading offer, and both Qtrade Direct Investing and RBC Direct Investing have extended their offers as well.
Like all Halloween treats, if there’s one thing for self-directed investors to pay attention to with these new and extended offers, it’s the expiry dates. In particular, there are two sets of dates: the actual expiry date to be eligible for the offer, and the expiry date on the commission-free trades as well.
As the commission-free trading battle escalates among Canadian online brokerages, we are starting to see the number of commission-free trades being given out increase, as well as the timeframe over which to use these trades – to a degree. The exception, for now, seems to be the latest offer by HSBC InvestDirect which gives clients up to 60 days to use up to 60 commission-free trades. By comparison, Qtrade Direct Investing is offering 50 commission-free trades that are good for use until just about the end of April 2022 – which is almost seven months from the time of this posting. And, RBC Direct Investing is giving out 50 commission-free trades that last up to two years.
Somewhere in the treats may be a trick or two.
Expiry dates, especially those that are scheduled in the not-too-distant future, may be one way Canadian online brokerages might encourage users to sign up sooner rather than later. As we have seen in several cases this year, including in the Qtrade Direct Investing and RBC Direct Investing offers that were extended, the “flexibility” on the expiry dates is something that online brokerages can use as an option to lean into offers that are working, or pivot away from in case they see conditions change.
With so much change expected across the Canadian online brokerage industry over the coming months, we believe deals and promotions will be an exciting place to monitor. Nothing buys time on lowering commission rates like a commission-free trading deal, so for those online brokerages looking to explore the appetite for commission-free trading interest, there’s never been a better time to run an offer like this.
There was only one noteworthy deal expiration heading into October: the end of the Sparx88 Questrade promotion. After a four-plus year run, this deal wound down as some behind-the-scenes changes to how Questrade manages custom offers required that this be phased out. On the plus side, there will be a new Sparx/Questrade offer coming soon, so stay tuned.
Two big names in the Canadian online brokerage space elected to extend their current commission-free trade offers. The first, RBC Direct Investing, moved the expiry date from their 50 commission-free trade offer from the end of September to the end of October. Qtrade Direct Investing also extended their 50 commission-free trade offer until the end of December, a bold move considering the anticipated ramp up of offers slated to come online in the next two months.
HSBC InvestDirect is bringing back a familiar face – the 60 commission-free trade offer. Starting in October and running through to the end of December, HSBC InvestDirect is offering up to 60 commission-free trades (North American equities and ETFs only) good for up to 60 days.
To stay on top of all of the latest discount brokerage deals and promotions, including quick access to promo codes, be sure to check out our online brokerage deals section.