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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – August 2018

*Updated: Aug. 18* Welcome to the August edition of the discount brokerage deals and promotions section where, at least at the outset, the theme of the month appears to be ‘status quo’.

It is worth noting that unlike most months thus far, August is starting off on a relatively quiet note, with no deals expiring or launching at the outset of the month. And, although nothing new showed up, things weren’t entirely still, as Desjardins Online Brokerage quietly extended their commission-free trade offer forward another month.

For DIY investors, it’s important to note that despite the quiet start to the month, online brokerages are busy working behind the scenes through the summer for what will likely be a very eventful fall. At the end of August Scotia iTRADE’s offer is set to expire and shortly into September BMO InvestorLine’s current promotion is also set to turnover.

As such, we’ll be keeping an eye out for any movement in the deals space through the month, as this would be an ideal window for a brokerage not currently in the deals pool to ‘make a splash.

As always, if there are any offers that you think would be worth sharing for other DIY investors, please let us know in the comments section below.

Extended Deals

Desjardins Online Brokerage was the only online brokerage to officially (and quietly) extend their offer. The new expiry date for their commission-free trade offer is now October 31st, 2018.

Expired Deals

There are no expired deals to report at this time.

New Deals

*Updated: Aug. 18 – HSBC InvestDirect has rolled out a summer promotional offer consisting of 30 commission-free trades. The promo, which stated it officially started in mid-July, looks to have finally been published on the HSBC InvestDirect website, and will run until the end of September. For more information about this deal, be sure to check out the details below. *

*Updated: Aug. 10 – Every now and again, there is a deal or promotion that makes a big splash in the online brokerage space. After a quiet start to the month, Qtrade Investor has definitely kicked the summer deals action back up to sizzling hot as they launched a refer-a-friend program with a cash back bonus. The deal itself offers up $25 cash to both the referrer and referee and requires a minimum deposit of $1,000, however the bigger prize for DIY investors is that is a very popular online brokerage just stepped into the promotions pool with a compelling offer and one that other online brokerages will find hard to ignore. See table below for more details.*

There are no new deals to report at this time.

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 at HSBC InvestDirect and you may be eligible to receive up to 30 commission-free equity trades (North American equities only). See terms and conditions for full details. n/a 30 commission-free trades 60 days Click to access HSBC InvestDirect Summer Promotion September 28, 2018
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, 2018
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 October 31, 2018
Scotia iTrade Open and fund a new account with Scotia iTRADE (or fund an existing account) with at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000; C) $100,000; D) $250,000; E) $500,000 or F) $1M+ and you may be eligible to receive a pre-paid Visa card worth A) $100; B) $200; C) $500; D) $800; E) $1,100 or F) $1,500. Use promo code 18SUM when registering. Be sure to read terms and conditions for more details. NOTE: this offer is open to existing Scotia iTRADE clients only (who were clients prior to May 14, 2018). A) $25,000 B) $50,000 C) $100,000 D) $250,000 E) $500,000 F) $1M+ A) $100 B) $200 C) $500 D) $800 E) $1,100 F) $1,500 pre-paid Visa card will be awarded by Jan. 31, 2019. iTRADE Summer Promo August 31, 2018
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, 2018
BMO InvestorLine Open a new account or fund an existing account at BMO InvestorLine with new assets worth at least A) $50,000; B) $100,000; C) $300,000 or D) $500,000+ and you may be eligible to receive a cash back reward of up to A) $75; B) $200; C) $500 or D) $1000. Use promo code SPARXCASH when registering to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions. A) $50,000 B) $100,000 C) $300,000 D) $500,000+ A) $75 B) $200 C) $500 D) $1000 Cash back will be deposited the week of April 19, 2019. BMO InvestorLine Summer 2018 Campaign September 3, 2018

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Aug. 18, 2018 00:55 PT

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 $50,000 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. $50,000 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 October 31, 2018

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Aug. 10, 2018 21:30 PT

Transfer Fee Promotions

Company Brief Description Maximum Transfer Fee Coverage Amount Minimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee Eligibility Details Link Deadline
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 $25,000 or more from another brokerage and Credential Direct will cover up to $150 in transfer fees. Use promo code SWITCHME when signing up to qualify for the transfer promotion. $150 $25,000 Credential Direct Transfer Fee Rebate none
Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they’ll cover the transfer-out fee up to $150. $150 $25,000 Transfer Fee Promo 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
Scotia iTrade Transfer at least $25,000 in new assets to Scotia iTRADE and you may qualify to have transfer fees reimbursed up to $150. $150 $25,000 iTRADE Summer Promo August 31, 2018
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 Disnat 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 Disnat 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 October 31, 2018
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: August 1, 23:30 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 [email protected] 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

Expired Offers

Last Updated: Aug. 1, 2018 23:30 PT

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 $200. 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 $200. PROMO1000 September 4, 2018 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
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: Aug. 1, 2018 23:30 PT
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Questrade’s IPO Centre: What you need to know

If you haven’t heard much about IPOs this year, you’re not alone.

Globally, investment bankers have had a lot more time on their hands and deal flow has slowed to its lowest levels in a decade (see data on Global IPO proceeds below, courtesy of Renaissance Capital).

Global IPO Proceeds to June 2016 Source: Renaissance Capital

Just about 6 months ago, however, Questrade waded head first into IPO deal waters by launching a new feature on their website: an IPO Centre. Despite the challenging environment, Questrade’s vision for this area appears to be one of convenience for those investors looking for information about companies raising capital from initial or secondary offerings.

Here are some highlights for DIY investors:

First, it’s free to access, which is always nice for investors looking for interesting investment ideas. Deals are listed in a table format and after a deal link is clicked on, Questrade provides further details and a summary of the product in question, from the deal size to the use of proceeds. While due diligence is naturally required, fundamental investors will appreciate this essential overview format.  Questrade advises clients to read the company issued prospectus, as would any broker.

Second, there’s more than just companies coming to market. Despite the name, IPOs of company stocks aren’t the only types of offers featured.

Questrade’s IPO Centre also highlights fixed income deals, new structured products, and secondaries for equities. In fact, in the 6 months since its launch, Questrade has featured 106 deals (as per the “closed” section of the IPO Centre), and at the time of publication, there are currently two open offers. Interestingly, of the closed offers, the vast majority (about 88%) have been some kind of treasury or structured product offering, validating many observations that the Canadian IPO market for companies coming to market has been virtually non-existent for 2016. It should be noted that Questrade’s IPO centre covers Canadian IPOs only.

Number of closed offerings on Questrade’s IPO centre ytd (Source: Questrade IPO Centre website)

While the branding and layout are cool, this kind of feature is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. US brokerages such as TD Ameritrade, E-Trade Financial and Interactive Brokers provide similar platforms and in Canada, Scotia iTRADE offers a variation on this deal information. In this case, Questrade looking to differentiate itself from its Canadian discount brokerage competitors. In a highly competitive market, every little feature helps.

Despite the rough year in IPOs,  Twilio’s successful IPO in the US earlier this summer and  speculation that Real Matters may seek to go public in Canada this fall suggests that there still might be a headline or two left before the year is out. In the meantime, all that Questrade’s IPO Centre can do is continue to be prepared.

For additional information on Questrade’s IPO Centre, check out this blog post.

 

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – November 13, 2015

Source: giphy

Fans of Star Wars have probably already seen the trailer to the next episode, The Force Awakens, as the movie is set to be released before Christmas. Undoubtedly one of the most successful movie franchises ever, Disney shareholders are hoping the sci-fi series can also awaken their quarterly earnings well into the future. Interestingly, it seems that Canadian discount brokerages are also banking on robots helping to boost earnings.

In this week’s roundup we take a closer look at the latest move by one of Canada’s largest online brokerage into the ‘robo-advisor’ space and how it is quickly becoming a ‘battle of the bots’.  Next, we’ll highlight some end-of-year milestone dates DIY investors may want to consider to take advantage of some of their portfolio misses. From there we’ll jump into hyperspace through the discount brokerage tweets before easing into investor education events, investor forum chatter and land this ship safely on the close.

Invest Like a … Robot?

In popular culture, there have been positive depictions of robots and artificial intelligence, such as in Star Wars and Star Trek, and there have been the not-so-positive — even apocalyptic — machine scenarios of The Terminator, The Matrix, and the revised Battlestar Galactica saga. In our current world, we’re not on the verge of the machines taking over — yet — but robots, or programmed machinery, have had increasing roles in our society. The Canadian investor space is on the verge of bursting out with its own version of robot functionality.

As we reported earlier this year, the U.S. has already plunged head-first into the world of robo-advisors (portfolio suggestions offered by automated algorithms usually at lower cost than human advisors) with Charles Schwab having attracted billions of dollars in new business as a result of launching its robo-advisor service, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which adds to the existing mix of dozens of other robo-advisor services south of the border.

Here in Canada, the robo-advisor space is starting to get crowded, too.

As reported by numerous sources, BMO InvestorLine will be entering the space in 2016 with its new robo-advisor offering, which will add to a number of existing players, including Questrade’s Portfolio IQ, which has already been on the market for some time.

While Virtual Brokers has had an arrangement with independent robo-advisors WealthBar and Wealthsimple, it is signalling a more formal entry of its own into the space. Nest Wealth and ShareOwner are examples of other independent players in the field. According to Motley Fool, there are about 10 robo-advisor services currently in Canada, but BMO’s entry would mark the first foray by a major Canadian financial institution.

So, what does this all potentially mean for Canadian investors?

According to the Financial Post’s Jonathan Chevreau, BMO’s entry would lend a kind of credibility to robo-advisors that the banks gave mutual funds a few years back. Chevreau also reports that independent robo-advisors Wealthsimple and Nest Wealth are excited about the news of BMO’s entry into the field. In the end, robo-advisors provide more choice to investors, especially to a tech-savvy millennial generation looking for low-cost investing alternatives.

So, while the machines aren’t taking over Canadian investing, robotic advisors are set to become a formidable force in the market.

When Losses Are Gains

As the saying goes, there are two unavoidable facts of life: death, and taxes. Unfortunately, not even stocks can avoid that same fate. When a stock (or investment) tanks, however, the news isn’t all bad.

While governments tend not to provide investors with ways to minimize paying some taxes, they do recognize that there is a symmetrical relationship to risk and reward that keeps an economy healthy. Investors need to be compensated for taking a risk and one of the mechanisms the Canadian tax structure has in place to do that is to claim capital losses against capital gains. For DIY investors, that means its time to consider “tax loss selling” as a strategy to optimize their portfolio performance.

If there’s one thing to be said about 2015, it’s that there seems to be plenty of opportunity to use tax loss selling. On all Canadian indices, stocks that were lower after a 52-week period outnumbered those that were higher by 31 percent. For the same 52-week period, the S&P/TSX Composite Index fell by more than 10 percent.

As tempting as it might be to simply dump some of these poorer performing stocks at the last possible moment (while also waiting/hoping for a miraculous turnaround) in order to benefit from tax loss selling, as with all shrewd investing tactics, there needs to be a strategy, as well as a knowledge of the rules.

First, there’s the deadline. Investors who sell their losing stocks on December 31st (the last day of the calendar year) will be out of luck since it takes three business days for a trade to settle, and both Christmas and Boxing Day are statutory holidays. That makes Dec. 24th as the last day investors can actually sell a stock for 2015 tax purposes.

In addition, the government does not grant tax loss selling benefits when a sale results in what’s called a superficial loss. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, this essentially happens when the same asset is purchased, or there’s still a right to purchase, by you or an affiliate within 30 days before or after the sale, or you or an affiliate still own, or have a right to buy that asset, 30 days after its sale.

To still benefit from tax loss selling, and also maintain exposure within a certain sector, such as mining, there are a number of tips and strategies. One option, for example, is to sell one stock and buy another in the same sector: mining. Since it’s not the same asset, it’s not a superficial loss, and still allows you to maintain your desired portfolio diversification/exposure. Using different ETFs that have close compositions is also another way to do this. Whatever the case, be sure to get a head start on identifying which stocks will make it into your portfolio for the start of 2016.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

Scotia iTrade’s mobile app got an improvement, but it wasn’t all positive as one user was unable to access the new app through their Android device. By using Twitter the user was able to get a quick response and the bug was solved a few days later. This week’s discount brokerage tweets showcase customers using Twitter to provide feedback and complaints directly to brokerages for responses. Making the roundup this week are Scotia iTrade, Questrade, and TD Direct Investing.

Event Horizon

It’s an intriguing week ahead for discount brokerage-sponsored investor education events. Here are some upcoming sessions that may be of interest to both technical analysis and options enthusiasts alike. An introduction to tax-loss harvesting rounds out this week’s selection.

November 16

Scotia iTRADE – Tax Loss Harvesting with BMO Global Asset Management

November 17

TD Direct Investing – Advanced Options

Scotia iTRADE – How and When to Use the MACD with Pro Market Advisors

November 18

Scotia iTRADE – Options Strategies for Beginners with Montreal Exchange

NBDB – Tools and Technical Analysis with Michel Carignan – [Fr]

November 20

Scotia iTRADE – Charts & Patterns 101 with AJ Monte

From the Forums

From Index funds to ETFs

Every week it’s easy to find a discussion about low cost index funds or ETFs. In this post from the RedFlagDeals investing thread, a user asks for advice on when to switch from index funds to ETFs. The discussion touches on the optimal amount of money to invest in index funds followed by when and how to switch your investment to ETFs.

Index funds through Scotia iTrade?

Investors not investing with TD Direct Investing are looking for alternatives to the popular TD E-series index funds that are available at other Canadian discount brokerages. For those of you curious about what Scotia iTrade has to offer in terms of something similar, this thread on the RedFlagDeals investing thread asks the question.

Into the Close

Since today is Friday the 13th, we hope your superstitions don’t get the better of you. While it may seem like an unlucky day for the major US markets, savvy investors know that money is made on the way up AND on the way down. Whether you’re doing some portfolio pruning this weekend or content to leave it to the robots, we hope you have a great weekend! Of course, with Black Friday just around the corner, it may be more fun to look for places to spend your hard earned gains.

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – November 6, 2015

Source: allhabs.net

Some people don’t even refer to this month as November anymore. “Movember” – the trendy moustache-growing period of the year, has now overtaken the second last month of the year all with the aim at raising men’s health awareness, of course, and having a little fun.  As many traders and online brokerage providers know, however, the trend is your friend until it ends.

In this week’s roundup we take a look at the evolving trends in the deals and promotions circuit, with some interesting changes to the deals mix that took place at the start of the month. Next, even though many razors will be on hiatus for November, there is one that seems to apply to Canada’s largest brokerage in their bid to pull ahead of their brokerage peers. In keeping with the roundup tradition, we’ll close out with a look at the tweets from the past week as well as investor education events and some interesting chatter from the Canadian investor forums.

Let’s Make a Deal

It’s a new month and with it comes updates on the status of promotional deals being offered by Canadian discount brokerages, as well as a look at monthly trading activity stats from Interactive Brokers in the US.

Starting first with the deals, Questrade once again leads the online brokerage pack with almost half of the 15 current promotions or deals coming from the alone. Leading the news on the promotional front, Questrade is once again offering an iPad mini 2 for anyone opening an online account by Dec. 31 and funding it with a minimum of $100,000.

Questrade is also still offering contest entrants a chance to win $5,000 towards a professionally-managed RESP, offer ending Jan. 31, 2016, as well as a $50 Amazon.ca gift card for opening a new online account, with at least $5,000 in funding, between Nov. 9 and Dec. 31. Another new Questrade contest involves a chance to win a $5,000 portfolio with Portfolio IQ. This contest opened Oct. 31 and ends on Jan. 31.

BMO InvestorLine is looking to ring in the New Year resolutely with a promotional offer. Anyone opening an account by Jan. 6, with a minimum of $100,000 in assets, is eligible to receive $200 cash back, and 20 trades that are good for use for up to a year. This offer started on Nov. 2. Unfortunately, their youth-oriented offer didn’t fare as well. It expired at then end of October after a very long run through 2015.

Desjardins Online Brokerage is also busy on the promotional side of things with a unique offering of its own. Current and new clients are getting a combined $1,646 discount to enroll in the Power of Options Educational Course from Trade Global. The $995 course is available for $99 under the promotion, and enrollees also get three months access to optionsource.net, a stocks and options advisory service normally priced at $750 for the three months.

On the trade activity front, U.S.-based Interactive Brokers has released its monthly report for electronic brokerage activity. Of note, there were 655,000 daily average revenue trades (DARTs) in October, which is a one-percent drop from September, and a 4-percent drop from last October. Average commission per cleared client order was at $3.70 for the month, which includes exchange, clearing and regulatory fees.

On the Razor’s Edge

Everyone’s heard the expression: simplicity is a virtue, but not everyone’s heard of Occam’s razor, which is a philosophical principle dating back to the 12th century that selects alternatives based on simplicity. So, if you take Occam’s razor to a set of competing options, the simplest one wins.

Translating this principle into practice for online brokerages, however, has not been so simple. Trading platforms for DIY investors have been notoriously challenging to use – either with too many features, which makes them challenging to learn or too few, which inevitably limit the usability for many types of investors. This year, however, there has been a clear focus on improving usability and simplifying the interface investors use to manage their investments and trade online.

TD Direct Investing is the latest brokerage to upgrade their platform with their new TD WebBroker investor platform. The discount brokerage is touting the greater simplicity of the new online design. A primary feature of this new simplified layout is the navigation menu at the top left of the screen. It contains three links that are always readily available — Accounts, Research, and Trading — all with extensive sub-menus viewable with a click, as well as an easy-access Quick Links toolbar menu to the right.

The new WebBroker homepage layout can be personalized, and includes a summary of a client’s accounts, market and real-data updates — available before, during and after trading hours. If you’ve become accustomed to Microsoft Windows’ tile layout, WebBroker provides a similar nifty feature by placing a client’s accounts in tiles that can be scrolled horizontally and selected with a simple click.

In fact, if there’s one thing that stands out with the new homepage layout, it’s just how many features are available on the same page. Scroll down, and a big “Go to Balances” button takes a user to a detailed view of real-time balances for all accounts. Scroll down even further, and an impressive Top Movers section provides an easy-to-see layout of holdings that are experiencing the greatest market value change for the day.

So, if there are a couple of things that stand out with this new layout, it’s that it’s visually more appealing and accessible than the old format, with more features readily available in one location. The new WebBroker also appears to be simpler: streamline navigation, easier access and customizable features.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

This week’s discount brokerage tweets showcase customers using Twitter to look for answers from brokerages and receive relatively prompt responses. Making the roundup this week are BMO Investorline, Scotia iTrade, Questrade, and TD Direct Investing.

Event Horizon

It’s a busy week ahead for discount brokerage-sponsored investor education events. Here are some upcoming sessions that may be of interest to those who are new to investing, intrigued by technical analysis, and options enthusiasts. An ETF portfolio primer rounds out this week’s selection.

November 9

Scotia iTRADE – Active Investing Strategies with Independent Investor Institute

November 10

TD Direct Investing – Options Fundamentals

Scotia iTRADE – ETF Model Portfolios with Horizons ETF

November 12

TD Direct Investing – Introduction to Investing

Scotia iTRADE – Price Volume Divergence with AJ Monte

From the Forums

Make the switch

There are a growing number of reasons for individuals to move their money from one institution to another. It’s easier than ever to switch your discount brokerage due to the number of promotions for opening accounts and paying transfer fees, you can check them out here. In this post from the Canadian Money Forum, a user is looking to see what benefits or promotions they can get when they move their portfolio to RBC Direct Investing. Another individual asks for an exit strategy for their Tangerine TFSA invested funds in this thread from the RedFlagDeals investing forum.

ETFs coming to TD

For those of you interested in trading ETFs, TD Direct Investing has joined the party. In this post from the RedFlagDeals investing thread, a user informs the community about TD’s plans to offer ETFs in 2016. It’s going to be a great new year for ETF investors!

Into the Close

The theme of the week appears to be change with a new brokerage platform as well as new deals and promotions to accompany a news cycle that included a surprising change in Blue Jays management, a new World Series champion Kansas City Royals, and fresh faces in a federal cabinet yet to be tested with its new duties. It looks like 2015 may have a few more surprises after all.

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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – November 2015

*Updated November 6* November starts out quietly with only a couple of new deals from Questrade. Hopefully Canadian online brokers are waiting to launch new promotions sometime before the Holiday season.

At the start of this month there are 13 offers currently available from seven different brokerages. Of those nearly half (46%) come from Questrade, demonstrating once again that Questrade is the discount brokerage offering the most deals or incentives.

The most interesting promotion is one of the new promotions offered by Questrade. It targets active traders that can get the most bang for their buck if they plan to trade a high volume during their first 30 days.

Expired Deals

The biggest changes with this month’s deals are the departure of BMO InvestorLine from our monthly deals & promotions page. All three of their promotions have expired and they did not introduce any new promotions for now. At the time of this publication BMO InvestorLine still have their offers posted on their website. The end of October saw six deals officially expire from three discount brokerages. Here’s a quick list of the deals that expired at the end of October:

  • BMO InvestorLine – Youth Promotion Phase
  • BMO InvestorLine – Refer a Friend
  • BMO InvestorLine – 20 Free Trades + $200 Cash Back
  • Questrade – $250 Cash Back
  • Questrade – Prepaid Visa Promo
  • Virtual Brokers – $50 Cash Back

Extended Deals

*Update: Nov.6 – BMO InvestorLine extended one of their promotional deals on Monday of this week. Individuals depositing at least $100,000 of new assets into a new BMO Investorline account can receive 20 commission-free trades which are good for for use for one full year and $200 cash back. BMO Investorline maintains it’s place among discount brokerages offering promotions to their current and potential clients.

Heading into November, no deals or promotions were extended. It seems that Canadian online brokers are winding things down for the year end.

New Deals

*Update: Nov.6 – Questrade added their own promotion directed at individuals investing at least $100,000. After depositing a minimum of $100,000 in net new assets individuals can receive an iPad Mini 2.

There are two new deals being offered this month and both are from Questrade.

Questrade replaced their Prepaid Visa Promo with a new Amazon.ca gift certificate promotion, the conditions and value of the promotion ($50) are strikingly similar. The other promotion being introduced by Questrade is aimed at active traders, individuals that deposit $25,000 will receive 30 days of commission free trading and free advanced data. Both of these new offers expire at the end of this year. Happy trading!

As always, if there are any new deals or promotions that you’d like to share with us, please drop us a note or comment below.

Discount Brokerage Deals

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 a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) and receive $50 commission credit . Use promo code: kdkfnbbc $1,000 $50 commission credit none none none
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 – $9,999 B) $10,000 – $24,999 C) $25,000 – $49,999 D) $50,000 -$99,999 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
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, 2016
Open and fund a new online trading account with Questrade with at least A)$1,000 or B)$10,000 and you could be eligible to receive either A)10 or B) 100 commission-free trades. Use promo code 100LOWCOM2015 when applying to be eligible for this offer. Be sure to read the full terms and conditions for this promotion. A)$1,000 B)$10,000 A) 10 commission-free trades B) 100 commission-free trades 60 days Commission-free Trade Promotion December 31, 2015
Open a new online trading account (registered, margin or FX and CFD) with Questrade and deposit at least $5,000 in order to be eligible to qualify for a $50 Amazon.ca gift certificate. Clients must also place at least one commission-generating trade within 60 days. Use promo code AMAZON50 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $5,000 $50 Amazon.ca gift certificate The Amazon.ca gift certificate will be awarded in CAD and emailed to the client within 30 business days of the account reaching the minimum funding requirement of $5,000 and execution of one commissionable trade in the eligible account. Amazon.ca Gift Certificate Promotion December 31, 2015
Open and fund a new account at Virtual Brokers with at least $5,000 and you could be eligible to receive up to 25 commission-free stock or ETF trades good for use for up to one year. Use promo code “TRADEFREE2015” when signing up to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions carefully. $5,000 25 commission-free trades 365 days 25 commission-free trades December 31, 2015
Open a new online trading account with National Bank Direct Brokerage and deposit either A) $5000 – $24,999; B) $25,000 – $49,999 or C) $50,000 and you may be eligible to receive either A) 25; B) 50 or C) 100 commission-free trades. Use promo code “Trade” when applying to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions carefully. A) $5,000 – $24,999 B) $25,000 – $49,999 C) $50,000+ A) 25 commission-free trades B) 50 commission-free trades C) 100 commission-free trades 90 days Commission-free Trades Offer November 30, 2015
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 December 31, 2015
Scotia iTrade Open and fund a new Scotia iTRADE account with at least A) $15,000 – $49,999; B) $50,000 -$99,999; C)$100,000 – $249,999; or D)$250,000+ and you may be eligible to receive a corresponding cash back or commission rebate. For commission-free trades use code: FTN-F15 or for cash rebates use code: NC-F15. Be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully for rebate and cash back eligibility. Contact Scotia iTrade for full details on this offer. A) $15,000 – $49,999 B) $50,000 -$99,999 C) $100,000 – $249,999 D) $250,000+ A) 75 commission-free trades OR $75 cash back B) 125 commission-free trades OR $125 cash back C) 250 commission free trades OR $250 cash back D) 500 commission-free trades OR $500 cash back 120 days for commission-free trades; Cash for the cash back offer will be deposited directly by September 30, 2016. 500 free trade or $500 cash back promo December 31, 2015
Open and fund an eligible TD Direct Investing account with at least a) $25,000 b) $50,000 or c) $100,000 in new (to TD) assets and you could be eligible to receive a) 50 b) 100 or c) 200 commission-free trades. Be sure to read the full terms and conditions for this offer. A) $25,000 – $49,999 B) $50,000 – $99,999 C) $100,000+ A) 50 commission-free trades B) 100 commission-free trades C) 200 commission-free trades 45 days; commission-rebates will be paid by June 3, 2016 200 Free Trades Promo November 30, 2015
Open a new online trading account (registered, margin or TFSA) with Questrade and deposit at least $25,000 in order to be eligible to qualify for free advanced data and 30 days of unlimited commission-free trades. Use promo code ADVANTAGE14 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $25,000 30 days unlimited commission-free trades and free advanced data 30 days 30 days unlimited commission-free trades and free advanced data December 31, 2015
Disnat Disnat is offering new & existing clients $500 in commission credits which can be used for up to 6 months. To be eligible, new/existing clients need to deposit $50,000 into a Disnat account. You’ll have to call 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code Disnat500. See details link for more info. $50,000 $500 commission credit 6 months Disnat $500 Commission Credit Promo December 31, 2015
Open or fund an account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) with at least $100,000 and you may be eligible to receive an iPad Mini 2. Use promo code IPADMINI15Q4 when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions carefully. $100,000 iPad Mini 2 60 days IPad Mini 2 Promotion December 31, 2015
BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine, and fund it with at least $100,000 in net new assets and you may be eligible to receive either A)$200 cash back plus 20 commission-free equity trades. Use promo code FALL2015 when signing up to be eligible. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer. $100,000 $200 + 20 commission-free equity trades Cash award will be paid the week of January 16, 2017. Trades are good for 1 year from signing up for promotional offer. Fall 2015 Promotion January 3, 2016

Expired Offers

Last Updated: November 20, 11:55 PST

Transfer Fee Deals

Company Brief Description Maximum Transfer Fee Coverage Amount Minimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee Eligibility Details Link Deadline
Scotia iTrade Transfer $15,000 or more to Scotia iTrade from another Canadian brokerage, and iTrade may pay up to $150 in transfer fees. $150 $15,000 500 Free Trade or $500 Cash Back Offer December 31, 2015
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 $25,000 or more from another brokerage and Credential Direct will cover up to $150 in transfer fees. Use promo code SWITCHME when signing up to qualify for the transfer promotion. $150 $25,000 Credential Direct Transfer Fee Rebate none
Qtrade Investor will reimburse your transfer fee up to $150 when transferring a balance of $10,000 or more. For reimbursement, please mail or fax a copy of your statement from the transferring institution that shows the transfer charge to Qtrade Investor at 604.484.2627 and indicate your Qtrade Investor account number. $150 $25,000 Transfer Fee Rebate none
Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they’ll cover the transfer-out fee up to $150. $150 $25,000 Transfer Fee Promo none
Transfer $25,000 or more from another brokerage and TD Direct Investing will cover up to $150 in transfer fees. $150 $25,000 200 commission-free trades November 30, 2015
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 info (1-800-567-3343) none
Transfer $25,000 or more to a National Bank Direct Brokerage account and they will pay up to $135 plus taxes in transfer fees $135 $25,000 Transfer Fee Rebate none
Disnat Disnat 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 Disnat account. You’ll have to call 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code Disnat500. See details link for more info. $150 $50,000 Disnat $500 Commission Credit Promo December 31, 2015
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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – October 30, 2015

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Much of Canada is currently experiencing the effects of fall weather: falling leaves, lowering temperatures, and Toronto Maple Leaf’s fans thinking about a Stanley Cup run. As many of Canada’s discount brokerages know, however, while hope may be a good thing, hedging your bets is a necessity.

In this week’s roundup, we’ll take a look at how some of Canada’s largest online brokerages are hedging their bets when it comes providing more features to DIY investors. Of course, deals and promotions are a great way to hedge against the falling commission prices which is what we look at, followed by an eventful week on Twitter. We cap off the roundup with some exciting investor education events and interesting investor forum chatter.

Lending an Invisible Hand

If nothing else, DIY traders believe in capitalism: a market-based system in which companies are rewarded for being more competitive. At this point, the market for DIY investors reads somewhat like a textbook case in competition. With pricing now less of a differentiating factor, the real fun begins with discount brokerages having to get creative to figure out (or finally listen to) what investors want. This week, we take a look at what two bank-owned discount brokerages in particular are doing right now to capture your attention, and ultimately your business.

First, earlier this month, BMO InvestorLine announced a new feature that can benefit the DIY trader, especially during tax season. Specifically, the brokerage has replaced its Activity Report with an enhanced Realized Gain and Loss Report that provides a detailed and customized transaction history and portfolio performance report. Among other things, this new feature will allow InvestorLine clients to export transactions to CSV spreadsheet format, resulting in a much simpler calculation of capital gains and losses when filing returns to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Our second look this week at new features from a discount brokerage also involves simpler calculations from trading activity. That’s what Scotia iTrade aims to achieve for its clients with its added ‘Income Details’ tab on the brokerage’s online platform. With this feature, users can instantaneously access and calculate historical and projected income from equities, ETFs and fixed income securities. Details of any interest paid on cash in an account is also accessible in this new platform.

The competition to provide DIY traders with increasingly enhanced features appears to be proceeding quite nicely, thank you very much, and the beneficiary should be prospective brokerage clients looking for value, and a competitive edge. After all, that’s what capitalism should be all about, isn’t it?

All Good Things Come to …

The fall season represents a transition from the fullness of summer, when life and energy are often at their peak, to the uncompromising cold of winter, where both animal and plant life often slumber until the rise of spring. Of course, for online brokerages, it’s a catch-22. When the weather is good, investors typically don’t want to hunker down and watch the markets – they’d rather be on vacation. With the return of activity of the markets, there’s a scramble to keep up with interest and to get the attention of DIY investors.

While some brokerages are able to selectively put on promotions during the year, others have to (or choose to) offer incentives year-round.

Not surprisingly, old habits are hard to die for Questrade as it leads October with a whopping six promotional offers active during the month. Only two are set to expire at the end of October: the prepaid Visa promo, and the $250 cash back program. BMO InvestorLine is next in line, forgive the pun, with three promotional offers for the month. Sadly, all three are set to expire with the leaves of autumn: youth promotion phase 2, refer a friend, and the 20 free trades with $200 cash back deal. Virtual Brokers is also slated to have one of their student promotions expire.

Of course, there’s nothing to prevent these offers from being extended. In total, and by our count, Canada’s discount brokerages had 17 active advertised promotional deals during October, with only six set to expire by the end of the month.

Luckily for DIY investors, we here at Sparx Trading keep a pulse on who’s doing what with respect to promotions at the discount brokerages, and what’s exactly falling by the wayside as we head into a new month. Be on the lookout as next week as the deals roster is set to change, perhaps quite substantially, as we head into the final stretch of 2015.

Discount Brokerage Tweets of the Week

Technology strikes again. This week’s tweets showcase the hiccups and the completely unexpected events that make DIY investing online a wild ride. Making the roundup this week are CIBC Investor’s Edge, Scotia iTrade, Questrade, Virtual Brokers and TD Direct Investing.

Event Horizon

Fear not, there’s no tricks, just treats in the week ahead for discount brokerage-sponsored investor education events. Here are some upcoming sessions that may be of interest to those who are new to investing, curious about trading strategies, and options enthusiasts. Margin accounts, and a national investment conference rounds out this week’s spooktacular selection.

October 31

Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – The World Money Show (participating)

November 3

Scotia iTRADE – Stocks Search Selection Strategy with Pro Market Advisors

NBDB – Trading Plan and Investment Strategy for Mid and Short Term Traders – [Fr]

November 4

TD Direct Investing – Understanding Margin & Short Selling

Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – Protect Your Portfolio Using Options – Preview

From the Forums

It’s not only about price

Competitive forces have leveled the playing field among discount brokerages. In this post from the RedFlagDeals investing thread, people compare the pros and cons between Scotia iTrade and Questrade. We’ve seen big banks decrease their commission rates which results in clients comparing more than just price.

For the passive investor

For those of you that aren’t looking to become active traders and still want to be involved with DIY investing, a great option is passive trading. In this post from the Financial Wisdom Forum a user posts about their lack of interest with active investing. The thread discusses the options for DIY investors that would like to take a more passive approach to investing.

Into the Close

So that’s it for this week’s roundup. Regardless of whether you’re looking for treats from the market, your discount brokerage or simply the candy bar variety, have a happy Halloween!

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Discount Brokerage Weekly Roundup – October 23, 2015

Source: Facebook

Landslide elections, time machines, and Drake’s infamous victory dances (we think) – this has been a marathon week for peering into the future. While they may not have legendary locks of hair, a hoverboard or some rather original dance moves, Canadian discount brokerages are constantly thinking about and trying to keep up with the future of DIY investing.

In this edition of the roundup we take a look at the interesting moves by one online brokerage South of the border that tip their hand at what’s around the corner for the active traders/investors. Next, a short lesson in volatility that all DIY investors who trade on margin should keep in mind. On the topic of lessons we 1000 tweets deep into personal finance tips from this past weekend from some of Canada’s leading voices on personal finance to see what emerged from the ether. We cap off the roundup with some exciting upcoming investor education events, insightful tweets of the week, forum posts and some dance moves you probably won’t be able to unsee but might be able to relate to after this week.

Earnings Hotline Bling

Earnings season is back once again and this go around there was an interesting reveal made by the US-based Interactive Brokers on their Q3 2015 earnings conference call. As we mentioned in last week’s roundup, Interactive Brokers published a communique highlighting their investor marketplace’s progress but also the launch of their newest practice account feature.

This past week, the founder and CEO of Interactive Brokers, Thomas Peterffy, provided more context around this feature and what it means for his company. There were several interesting tidbits of information within that call.

First, the practice accounts. Peterffy revealed that “about 35% of new account applicants actually completed their applications and funded their accounts” however now that applicants will get immediate access to all of Interactive Brokers’ trading tools, Peterffy believes that a greater percentage of individuals will actually want to follow through on signing up. What was particularly interesting is that users can sign up for a practice account with full access to all the trading tools that they can keep using with delayed data indefinitely.

Second, their target clients are. Interactive Brokers’ platform, marketing and product experience are not geared towards every kind of investor. By their own admission they are more interested in and cater to the active traders – individuals who trade on average “about 500 times a year”. In contrast, the larger bank-owned brokerages who are typically the choice of less active investors often struggle to provide a robust platform and competitive pricing for active traders. In short, IB is a product being built for and marketed to active traders. This was particularly important in the context of platform stability in which Interactive Brokers was able to weather the storm of market outages that hit other bigger platforms, such as Ameritrade and Schwab in August. The reason, according to Peterffy was a lack of bandwidth.

Finally, it’s hard to make money, even as a market maker. This was particularly fascinating as an investor to see that major exchanges reserve the right to cancel trades. For market makers, a business arm of IB, having no visibility or certainty in times of heightened volatility means that they and others like them are not eager to jump into a position because of the risk a trade they take may get cancelled.

There were more interesting nuggets in the call especially for those interested in learning about how Interactive Brokers’ business model and approach.

A Short Lesson

One of the biggest news stories for investors and traders alike this week has been the volatility hitting Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

While volatility is a double edged sword in terms of risk and reward, for those looking to chase the storm for some short term gain, there was a very instructive lesson dealt by Questrade in terms of margin requirements being raised.

Covering their own assets by changing margin requirements is not unique to Questrade. In fact, in the conference call with Interactive Brokers referenced above, one question appeared to focus on an investor who noticed margin requirements were suddenly raised across the board – much to the surprise of the company CEO. This past week, however, clients of Questrade took notice of the drastic change from 30% to 50% margin requirement.

For individuals who run afoul of margin requirements, brokerages typically reserve the right to ‘derisk’ the position either by liquidating the offside position or requiring the account holder to bring the margin requirement up to the minimum acceptable threshold.

Interestingly, by raising margin requirements, it makes it more likely that individuals will have to sell/liquidate in order to satisfy their lenders risk comfort level. As a result, more traders are selling into the falling price and create a lower price forcing more investors to either shore up margin or liquidate. And so the death spiral goes until the buyers step in or the short sellers start to cover (of course if an exchange can cancel trades, market makers are not going to want to step in and start buying).

Another interesting consequence of ending up in a margin call is that certain deals and promotions, especially the cash-back promotions, may get invalidated. In the fine print of many of these offers, accounts must be kept in “good standing” which can mean that an account not be subject to a margin call during the promotional qualification period.

Storm chasing always attracts those with a penchant for danger, however there are risks that can creep up all through the transaction pathway that DIY traders should be aware of.

1000 Tweets on Canadian Personal Finance

The 2015 edition of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference or #CPFC15 was held last weekend in Toronto. Organized by CPFC co-founder Krystal Yee and RateHub.ca’s Kerri-Lynn McAllister, this two day event featured lots of great personal finance tips and gems passed along by many of Canada’s most influential and passionate personal finance writers.

One of the great side benefits of having so many social media savvy writers in one room is the sheer volume of information they can collectively generate. While yours truly did not attend in person, there were a large number of like-minded Twitter stalkers watchers also in attendance.

Naturally the question arose as to what could be gleaned from a room full of personal finance writers and speakers by reading their Twitter posts.

The answer is: lots.

After sorting through and removing the spammy messages that appeared because the hashtag #CPFC15 managed to get itself trending across Canada (apparently thanks in large part to Jonathan Chevreau and Capital One Financial), what remained was an interesting cross section of personal finance topics covered from borrowing to investing.

Below are 1000 tweets collected from this year’s #CPFC15 (minus the spam) that show a bit of the ramp up, the conference itself as well as some of the reactions post conference.

While it is nearly impossible to sum up that many tweets and topics into a “Top 10” list, here are 3 interesting observations related to the DIY investing and discount brokerage space:

First, Questrade was the only Canadian discount brokerage who was actively tweeting from that conference. Keep in mind that this event brought together some of the most influential voices in the Canadian social media and personal finance blogger/writer community – including those who comment on investing. Questrade also took that opportunity to promote their affiliate program (full disclosure SparxTrading is also a participant of that program) to the community of personal finance writers which also raised a few eyebrows in the room, most notably from Jonathan Chevreau.

Second, Robo-advisors are gaining in popularity and resonate with younger investors. The real nugget was that apparently BMO is finally moving into this space after many months of trying to understand the landscape and opportunity.

More broadly, the impact of financial technology or fintech is starting to become a real challenge to the traditional model of banking and wealth management. Now there are robot money managers, branchless banks and peer to peer lending platforms encroaching on the traditional financial services sectors. That’s not news per se but the storm is real and it’s coming.

Finally, DIY investing isn’t so easy according the Canadian Couch Potato Dan Bortolotti. While the ‘discount’ in discount brokerage is appealing, there is a lot that investors take on by trying to sort through the news and noise of the markets, let alone the emotional ups and downs that accompany investing.

Overall, it was great to see the cross section of professional journalists and personal finance bloggers sharing ideas and inspiration on how best to bring the message of better financial literacy and practice to a wider audience. Happy reading!

 

Event Horizon

Time to bundle up and hunker down, it’s a busy week ahead for discount brokerage-sponsored investor education events. Below are some upcoming sessions that may be of interest to those who are new to investing, options enthusiasts, and those interested in technical analysis. Risk management, trading strategies, a networking opportunity, and a national investment conference round out this week’s selection. Also on the docket, the Tastytrade special event in Toronto this Monday. Here is a recap of the co-founders on a previous edition of Money Talk on BNN.

October 24

TD Direct Investing – Introduction to Investing in Options

October 26

TD Direct Investing – Stock Talk

October 27

NBDB – Introduction to Technical Analysis – Moving Averages – [Fr]

Scotia iTRADE – Concepts in Technical Analysis with Recognia

NBDB – Portfolio Management Using Momentum Strategies – [Fr]

October 28

Credential Direct – Understanding Economic and Market Trends with Fidelity

Scotia iTRADE – Options as an Income Strategy Using Puts with Montreal Exchange

October 29

NBDB – Introduction to Technical Analysis – Oscillators – [Fr]

TD Direct Investing – Introduction to Investing in Options

October 30

Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) – The World Money Show

Tweets of the Week

There was lots of interest in Questrade this week as they were the only online brokerage at this year’s CPFC. It was a surprisingly quiet week for certain brokerages. TD Direct Investing continue to make waves on social media. Also surfacing this week was Credential Direct in the promo for their upcoming webinar.

From the Forums

DIY another day?

Investors are becoming more informed about how to invest their money but does this knowledge justify going it alone?   In this post from the RedFlagDeals investing thread, a user asks the question about whether to manage investment funds themselves or to use a financial adviser and pay higher fees. The debate continues.

Saving commissions on ETFs

The ability to save on commission fees while purchasing ETFs is influencing some DIY investors to switch from their current discount brokerage to others. For users who want to make frequent purchases of ETFs, paying a commission each time they buy isn’t cutting it. In this post from the reddit Personal Finance Canada subreddit, one user pitches the idea of switching from TD to Questrade to avoid paying commissions on purchasing ETFs. Also check out another thread from Reddit’s personal finance Canada section where an individual with $20,000 recently opened a Questrade account and is asking for advice on how to invest in ETFs.

Into the Close

Congratulations on making it through a marathon edition of the roundup. Whether you’re celebrating or commiserating the marathon season for the Blue Jays, or portfolio hits and misses from the week, here are some fun, but headscratching, dance moves to inspire DIY investors in those squirmy market moments. Have a great weekend!

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