With the 2022 RRSP contribution deadline just around the corner, retirement planning seems to be on everyone’s mind this February, including Tom Brady’s.
For most Canadian DIY investors, however, retiring in your early forties after a storied career in the NFL isn’t the typical route to old age. Instead, we’re tasked with figuring out how to choose an online brokerage so that we can manage our own wealth online.
Fortunately, competition among Canadian online brokerages in 2022 is higher than it’s ever been. For self-directed investors, this means more value, either with better pricing or more features (or both!) starting to show up.
One of the interesting places we’ve seen this competition turn into tangible benefits for self-directed investors has been with online brokerage deals and promotions. While there are no new deals to report at the beginning of February per se, there was plenty of action in January to set up a really exciting sprint to the finish of RRSP season at the end of the month.
Case in point: Qtrade’s latest promotion. While it is not unheard of, an online broker adjusting the reward of an already live promotion is exceptionally rare. Qtrade’s decision to revise their offer so substantially (in some cases more than double the previous cash back amounts) and to apply these changes retroactively to anyone who had signed up under the original terms is likely unprecedented.
To see just how drastic the changes are, it is worth putting these changes into perspective with some tables.
The upper table shows the cash back promotions from Canadian online brokerages heading into late January (just prior to the revised Qtrade promotion). In that table it is clear that Qtrade Direct Investing did not stand out with a leading offer across any of the deposit tiers attached to current brokerage promotions.
In contrast, the revised offer table shows that Qtrade Direct Investing is now tied for the top cash back promotion amount at nearly all of the deposit tiers (except for deposits of $25,000 to $49,999), and has the distinct lead of offering $5,000 cash back for deposits of $2M+, an amount more than double any other cash back offer and certainly worthy of the headlines it is sure to grab.
In short, Qtrade Direct Investing’s latest cash back promotion amounts are historically higher than they’ve ever been for Qtrade (at least in recent memory) and they are now competing shoulder to shoulder with the biggest online brokerages in the market.
To help put things into further perspective for readers, looking at the year-over-year change between deals launched in 2020 compared to those launched in 2021 (including the revised Qtrade deal here in 2021 for convenience), it’s clear that minimum deposit requirements have cratered (including at Qtrade with this latest revision) and minimum bonus amounts have surged at three of the five firms compared here, with Scotia iTRADE increasing their bonus amount fourfold at their minimum deposit tier.
The takeaway for Canadian self-directed investors is that this month (February) offers one of the best opportunities to land a significant cash back promotion from an online brokerage for opening a new online trading account.
With zero-commission trading now more likely to become the new normal in the near future (thanks to TD Direct Investing rolling out a zero-commission trading option in January), this might be one of the last times Canadian online brokerages turn to sizeable cash back promotions to win new customers.
As always, be sure to check out the full list of current online trading account deals and promotions in our deals index. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open for new offers that could surface in the coming weeks. If there’s a new deal or promotion you’d like to share for other DIY investors to know about, let us know.
No expired deals to report at this time.
No new extensions to report at this time.
The Qtrade Direct Investing promotion revision technically falls into this category because it offers up new cash back bonus amounts. (Kudos to Qtrade for applying the bonus retroactively to people who signed up for the offer already.)
Deposit requirements for the Qtrade promotion now range from a low of $5,000 (for which there is now a $100 bonus) to $2M+ (which nets a $5,000 bonus). Timing of the promotion is still the same, with expiry dates and holding periods remaining identical to the terms when the deal was first launched. Click for more information on the latest Qtrade promo.