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Sparx Trading Featured on ETF Market Insights to Discuss Online Brokerage Account Considerations

Sparx Trading Co-Founder Hamish Khamisa was recently a guest on ETF Market Insights, a weekly webinar for Canadian self-directed investors hosted by Danielle Neziol from BMO ETFs. 

In this special edition of ETF Market Insights, “Spring Into ETF Investing,” Hamish joined guest host, Saijal Patel from Strictly Money, and fellow guest, Ellen Roseman from Canadian Money Saver, to discuss what to consider before opening an online brokerage account, the differences between robo advisors and DIY investing, and more! 

Here’s an overview of this episode of ETF Market Insights, “Getting Started with ETF Investing – Opening an Account and Making your First Trade”:

42:25 – Yes You Can!

43:25 – Introductions

44:00 – Choosing a Direct Broker

47:30 – Fees

50:25 – Educational Resources

53:40 – Robo Advisors

55:45 – Changing your Direct Broker

59:40 – Comparing Direct Brokers

1:03:09 – RRSPs & TFSAs

1:07:50 – Using ETFs

1:10:50 – ETF Key Information

1:12:41 – Outro

Watch the episode here.

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Sparx Trading Featured on Strictly Money to Discuss Self-Directed Investing

Strictly Money host Saijal Patel and Sparx Trading Co-Founder Hamish Khamisa.

Sparx Trading Co-Founder Hamish Khamisa was recently a guest on Strictly Money, a segment of The News Forum that discusses the financial issues affecting Canadians today. In this episode, host Saijal Patel interviewed Hamish about his thoughts on various topics related to self-directed investing, including online brokerage fees, current trends, and more!

Here’s an overview of what Saijal and Hamish discuss in this episode of Strictly Money:

00:00 – Introduction

00:35 – What self-directed investors should consider before opening an account

01:15 – Thoughts on platforms moving away from charging commissions

02:20 – Minimum balance fees and how big they are

03:05 – How foreign exchange fees work

03:50 – What inactive charge fees are and accounts they affect

04:45 – What is a transfer fee, and how it works

05:50 – Screener tools and their value

06:50 – Are self-directed platforms for everyone?

07:20 – Evaluating value of robo-advisors

08:10 – How self-directed investment platforms may evolve and stay competitive

09:05 – Trading on mobile and potential trends 

09:40 – Security and online brokerages

About Hamish Khamisa:

Hamish Khamisa is the Co-Founder of, a website built to provide transparent and trustworthy information about the world of self-directed investing. Since 2011, Sparx Trading has helped investors in the industry stay up to date on the latest features, services, and trends offered by online brokerages. In addition to leading Sparx Trading, Hamish is the President and Chief Digital Officer of Sparx Publishing Group, a BC-based digital marketing agency with a mission to create and amplify content that helps make the world better

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Online Brokerage Promotions – June 2022

With summer just around the corner, it looks like stock markets won’t be the only ones seeing red. Weeks of volatility and sell-offs have been difficult for all but the most seasoned self-directed investors to stomach.

For DIY investors, the news isn’t all bad though. The pullback in stock markets typically means that online brokerages will need to work harder to encourage online investors to open an online trading account, and that means potentially bigger or more attractive incentives. 

Although there aren’t any new deals that have launched at the start of the month, leading into June there have been several noteworthy developments in the online brokerage deals and promotions section

By far, the biggest development last month was the launch of commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs at CIBC Investor’s Edge. This is huge news for younger investors, as well as for competing online brokerages across the board. As the first of the big five bank-owned online brokerages to offer full commission-free trading, it seems like CIBC’s peers will have to consider adjusting their commission rates or young investor offerings. 

Fortunately for RBC Direct Investing, their 100 commission-free trade offer is both large enough and long enough in duration to weather this price move by CIBC Investor’s Edge. Perhaps it was fortuitous timing that RBC chose to extend their offer at the beginning of last month, and with this move from CIBC Investor’s Edge, they may consider extending it even further. 

There’s no question that the list of commission-free online trading options is growing. TD Direct Investing, via their Easy Trade app, offers 50 commission-free stock trades per year, and National Bank Direct Brokerage and Desjardins Online Brokerage each offer full commission-free trading to investors of all ages. Of course, there’s still Wealthsimple Trade in the mix too.  

Against that backdrop, the launch last month by Qtrade Direct Investing of a 50 commission-free trade offer does provide something to online investors looking for a deal when opening an online account, but clearly, the stakes have been raised. 

The reality for Canadian online brokerages is that there are only a few months left to make plans for the next RRSP season, and with all the action happening in markets right now, for better or worse, online investors are checking their accounts and wondering if they’re getting great value. It’s one thing to sell a stock into a storm and another to incur a commission charge on a loss. 

Expired Deals

Wealthsimple Trade’s “free stock” promotion expired on May 31st. This popular promotion has been a windfall for the zero-commission broker, mirroring the performance of US online brokerage, Robinhood, who has a similar (but actually a free stock) program in place. 

Another important expired deal was from National Bank Direct Brokerage. Their recent promotional discount on margin rates seemed especially well-timed given the discussion on rising interest rates that is dominating the news cycle right now. It was the first “discount” on margin interest rates we’ve seen in some time, so given the current interest rate environment and volatility in markets, it could make this offer especially attractive to very active or sophisticated investors. 

Extended Deals

Nothing new to report on this month as far as deal extensions are concerned. The RBC Direct Investing commission-free trade offer is worth watching as it was extended into this month.

New Deals

No new deals activity to report at the start of the month.