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Online Brokerage Promotions – July 2022

July is a great time for vacations, and it seems like online brokerage promotions are already enjoying theirs. This month, promotions activity among Canadian online brokerages has slowed down considerably as self-directed investors and markets recalibrate around new economic realities (aka rising interest rates).

On the promotions side, we began the month with the official expiry of a big commission-free trade offer from RBC Direct Investing. This promotion represented a step change for the large bank-owned online brokerage since the number of commission-free trades (100) and the timeframe for using those trades (two years) were greater than previous versions of this deal, a sign that RBC Direct Investing is prepared to up the ante to compete for new clients.

Another interesting development in the promotional space came from Wealthsimple Trade, in particular, their affiliate plan offering. The news related to cost-cutting measures and layoffs at Wealthsimple was widely publicized in June. What didn’t get telegraphed, however, were some major adjustments to the Wealthsimple Trade affiliate program to significantly reduce payout bonuses (which were as high as $150).

Online brokerages typically use affiliate programs or referral programs to limit the cost of acquiring a client, and in this case, self-directed investors are likely to see reduced amounts of incentive offers being actively promoted online by different influencers.

Just because online brokerages have taken a pause, however, doesn’t mean that we at Sparx Trading have. Activity on the front end has been quieter than usual during the recent market volatility, but it’s because we’ve been busy working on a new product called Sparx Trading Pro, which enables us to derive really interesting information and insights on how self-directed investors are approaching the world of online investing.

As part of our reporting this month, we’re including some insights we learned about deals and promotions activity in June (and May for context). Keep reading for highlights from Sparx Trading Pro analytics insights.

Expired Deals

One of the biggest names in the Canadian online brokerage space, RBC Direct Investing, officially closed out the 100 commission-free trading promotion that had been running from RRSP season and through the spring.

Extended Deals

No new deal extensions to report at the moment.

New Deals

No new deals to report at the moment.

Sparx Trading Pro Insights

Welcome to the new section and content being offered on Sparx Trading courtesy of Sparx Trading Pro, our new analytics and insights engine.

So, how has online brokerage deals and promotions activity from self-directed investors been heading into July?

According to the data on deals and promotions on Sparx Trading, we’ve noted that there has been a sharp decline in the number of searches being performed for deals compared to the activity during RRSP season and even into April.

The real drop off started in May and revived in June – especially towards the tail end of the month. It’s fair to say that sentiment in the broader stock market and a lack of compelling offers to draw investors into opening a new account were underlying factors for the slowdown.

Are you interested in more Sparx Trading Pro insights? If so drop us a note to learn more.

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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. 

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Online Brokerage Promotions – May 2022

*Updated May 17* No Jedi mind tricks here; there is literally not much to see in the deals and promotions category for May. Deals have gone dark for the moment with most offers that were launched for RRSP season formally closing out or receding into “YMMV” territory, where they’re offered on a case-by-case basis to select individuals.

While the pullback in deals and promotions is not uncommon at the start of May, what is unusual this time is that stock markets are tanking, interest rates are rising, and many first-time investors that made up a huge portion of the momentum in online account openings are going to be returning back to the office, and, thus, not able to pay attention to market fluctuations the same way they did at the beginning of the pandemic.

Adding to the mix of challenges, more options for DIY investors to choose from are coming to market (including more commission-free online brokerages) and a prevailing narrative among online brokerage rankings that the industry seems to have stagnated in terms of innovation.

In short, Canadian online brokerages are going to be facing exceptionally challenging terrain when it comes to new client acquisition and growth.

If only there was a way that they could attract the attention of online investors without having to lower their fees to zero or compromise their service experience. *Ahem* deals.

As we approach summer, there is only one Canadian online brokerage (so far) that is getting in front of the “rising interest rates” environment by leaning into an interest-themed promotion: National Bank Direct Brokerage (NBDB). If there’s one online broker that other Canadian brokerages probably don’t want to have grabbing more spotlight right now, it is NBDB – a bank-owned online brokerage offering zero-commission trading.

If only there was a way that online brokerages could also play defense without having to resort to an all-out price war. *Ahem* deals.

With the uncertainty around markets likely steering older online investors away from jumping into the market and competing priorities for younger investors interfering with getting started in the market despite declining prices, this is likely to set the stage for Canadian online brokerages to consider using more promotional activity (or bigger offers) to attract attention while simultaneously offering up some measure of defense against new entrants and ambitious existing players.

Although the deals activity is dark at the moment, there’s definitely a disturbance in the Force that could provide some very compelling deals in the near future. Stay tuned.

Expired Deals

Two important offers formally expired at the end of April.

The first was Qtrade Direct Investing’s cash back promotion. This Qtrade promo was historic in several respects, as it marked one of the rare times that an online brokerage actually revised an existing promotional offer upwards during RRSP season. Another important first was that this tiered promotion was one in which Qtrade matched or led some of the highest offers that were available, making Qtrade’s offer one of the most competitive across the board (not something we typically see).

Also sunset (for now?), the RBC Direct Investing 100 commission-free trade promo. This was one of the most ambitious commission-free trade offers yet from RBC Direct Investing, as it gave clients up to two years to use 100 commission-free trades.

Extended Deals

*Updated May 6 – Like a good comeback plot from the Star Wars franchise, it looks like there’s a new episode to celebrate for the RBC Direct Investing commission-free trade promotion. The same 100 commission-free trade offer is now available until the end of June (albeit with an updated promo code). As reported earlier, RBC Direct Investing’s commission-free promotion provides clients with 100 commission-free trades which can be used for up to two years.*

No deal extensions to report on just yet.

New Deals

*And just like that, it looks like deals action is heating up faster than Ontario weather. Hope you have AC for this deals update. Two big online brokerage names, CIBC Investor’s Edge and Qtrade Direct Investing have dropped new commission-free trading offers – and at least one of these is a game changer.

Commission-free trading just took a big step forward with CIBC announcing they’re going to offer commission-free trading for younger investors (aged 18-24) – a move from a bank-owned brokerage that will undoubtedly challenge other Canadian online brokerages to act decisively on commission-free trading (of some kind). The offer is linked to having a CIBC Smart Account (for banking) and it offers free trading for Canadian and US stock and ETF trades. To boot, they’ve also waived annual account fees for registered accounts. Oh, to be young in 2022.

For those over the age of 24 (and those younger than that too), there’s another promotion to be excited about. Qtrade Direct Investing has launched a new commission-free trading promotion that offers 50 commission-free trades which are good for up to a year. This offer is live until the end of August.*

No new online brokerage promotions to start the month; however, we’re monitoring chatter on possible commission-free trade offers that are in the works. Check back soon or follow along on Twitter for more updates when they happen.  

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Online Brokerage Promotions – April 2022

For the past two years, adapting to drastic changes has been part of a “new normal.” So, perhaps it shouldn’t be a total surprise at this point that something unusual (dare we say unprecedented?) is taking place with online brokerage deals and promotions in the month of April.

Although in more “normal” times we would expect to see a drop off in the number and size of promotions for online investors after the RRSP contribution deadline (at the beginning of March), last month we noted that there actually offers being extended – or so we thought.

April, however, brought with it not just rain, but reining in of promotion deadlines or of offers altogether.

Starting first with what was supposed to happen. Scotia iTRADE’s big RSP-season push closed out with their cash back / commission-free trade promotion wrapping up at the beginning of April, as intended. As of the time of publication, there has been no new offer to replace the outgoing one; however, Scotia iTRADE still offers a welcome bonus of 10 commission-free equity trades in the first year (and 5 commission-free trades each year) to holders of a Scotiabank Ultimate banking package. Curiously, this is not advertised in the promotions section of the Scotia iTRADE website, but rather only on the banking side.

On the other side of the deals ledger, March saw the launch of a new deal from National Bank Direct Brokerage that was unlike any other offer that is currently available. National Bank Direct Brokerage is offering a discount on margin interest rates for four months, a clever way to attract active traders with larger balances into the firm.

So, while things seemed to even out, there were a couple of noteworthy moves by bank-owned online brokerages RBC Direct Investing and BMO InvestorLine that suggest some important changes across the summer.

The first important update is that RBC Direct Investing officially extended their 100 commission-free trade offer for another month, with the new expiry date set for the end of April. While that would normally be a positive, last month we noted a published deal page by RBC Direct Investing that showed that same promotion expiring in November, not April.

Finally, the biggest question mark to arise during the deals and promotions scan starting the month is the disappearance of the BMO InvestorLine cash back offer. This is an important development on a number of levels because it marks a significant departure from the historical activity of BMO InvestorLine in terms of having an “always on” offer for self-directed investors interested in opening an online trading account.

At the time of publication, the cash back offer, which launched only in the beginning of March and was scheduled to expire at the end of May, is no longer visible on the BMO InvestorLine page. That said, the offer may be available to certain clients in branch which means the offer is a “YMMV” (your mileage may vary) situation.

With the elimination of the public BMO InvestorLine cash back offer and Scotia iTRADE’s cash back promotion officially concluded, Qtrade Direct Investing is the lone online brokerage with a mass market cash back promotion. Historically speaking, it’s unusual territory for Qtrade to be the last deal standing. However, earlier this year Qtrade also signaled a shift in posture towards promotional offers by upping the dollar amounts available for their cash back deal despite the deal already being live.

Clearly this year has become the year of quick pivots when it comes to deals and promotions. Given the backdrop of competition for new clients as well as the pressure to lower cost of services, online brokerages are exploring different ways to drive new business without engaging in an arms race for customers longer than needed. That said, it seems online brokerages are starting to get more agile and responsive to market conditions, so it will be interesting to see how things unfold from May to September. If there’s a pullback from bigger players, it might just be the window of opportunity for smaller brokerages to gain a foothold ahead of next year’s RRSP season.

Expired Deals

Scotia iTRADE’s combined cash back or commission-free trade promotion officially ended on April 1st. This offer gave customers the choice between cash back or commission-free trades, and deposit tiers ranged from $5,000 to $1M+.

Also expired (sort of) – the BMO InvestorLine cash back promotion. Though technically it may be accessible by contacting customer service or in branch it is no longer being advertised. This was a hasty exit for the deal which launched in March and was scheduled to expire at the end of May. No word yet on whether there will be a replacement.

Extended Deals

RBC Direct Investing is back in this category, clarifying an earlier reported extension. So technically this extension is more of a revision, but, nonetheless, the official word is RBC Direct Investing’s RRSP season promotion has been extended for one more month and now expires at the end of April. This promotion offers 100 commission-free trades which clients can use over two years.

New Deals

There are no new deals to report at the start of the month. Last month we saw the addition of a new offer by National Bank Direct Brokerage join the deals pool. That new promotion lasts until the end of May.

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Online Brokerage Promotions – March 2022

Unusual times are upon us. In the world of online brokerages, the beginning of March has historically been a turning point where RSP promotional offers expire, and the industry collectively takes a breath after their busiest stretch in the year. But this year, things are a bit different.

What unusual things that we’ve witness take place are an increase in cash back amounts from Qtrade Direct Investing coupled with extensions, again from Qtrade as well as RBC Direct Investing. And perhaps it is a sign of exactly how intense competition has become, but the RBC Direct Investing and Qtrade Direct Investing promos are at historic high levels. Another, for good measure, are longer deadlines for offers.

So, while we don’t have any new offers (yet) to report on, the extensions of offers from big names, like RBC Direct Investing and Qtrade Direct Investing, and longer durations of offers from Scotia iTRADE, would (or should) compel brokerages without an active promotion to consider launching an offer for the spring or through the summer.

In part, incumbent online brokerages – and especially bank-owned online brokerages – now need to factor into their promotional mix a world in which zero-commission trading from firms like National Bank Direct Brokerage (as well as Desjardins Online Brokerage) are gaining ground, and TD Easy Trade now exists. The new self-directed investor service from TD offers 50 commission-free trades per year to clients, and our recent in-depth analysis of TD Easy Trade shows why it is of immediate concern to competing brokerages.

Again, typically this would be a quieter time for all but a handful of perpetually active online brokers, but there’s a clear signal that in many ways these are not usual times, especially in the realm of self-directed investing. One possible reason: younger investors.

This new and materially relevant group of investors has started to drive all manner of change among online brokerages in Canada, which could mean that there are a few more interesting touchpoints in the calendar year where we see promotional campaigns surface.

For the time being, we’ll keep an eye out for new deals and promotions, but if you don’t see one on our list of online brokerage deals, let us know!

Expired Online Brokerage Deals

Two big names are on the expired list: CIBC Investor’s Edge and TD Direct Investing.

CIBC Investor’s Edge cash back promotion officially wrapped up on March 1st, as did the ultra-competitive cash back offer from TD Direct Investing. For reference, check out February’s deals and promotions post for a comparison of cash back promotions from the 2022 RRSP season.

Extended Online Brokerage Deals

RBC Direct Investing made a huge move this RRSP season by offering 100 commission-free trades which are good for up to two years. Originally slated to expire at the end of March, this RBC Direct Investing free trade promotion has now been extended to the end of November.

Another important extension was from Qtrade Direct Investing. In addition to revising the cash back bonus amounts upwards (and applying rewards retroactively to people who signed up under the original bonus), they also extended this offer until the end of April.

New Online Brokerage Deals

No new offers to report on at this time.

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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – February 2022

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.

Expired Deals

No expired deals to report at this time.

Extended Deals

No new extensions to report at this time.

New Deals

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.

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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – January 2022

*Updated* Welcome to the first online brokerage deals and promotions update for 2022! January is an exciting month for DIY investors in Canada, as it signals the start of a new contribution window for TFSAs as well as the final sprint to the 2022 RRSP contribution deadline in March.

This year in particular there’s lots for self-directed investors to celebrate. As we covered in our latest Look Back / Look Ahead series, Canadian online brokerages are working on exciting new features for DIY investors. Also worth celebrating is a new class of zero-commission online brokerages readying to launch in Canada.

In addition to celebrating the end of 2021, Canadian self-directed investors can celebrate the fact that all big bank-owned brokerages are well represented in the online broker deals and promotions department. And, despite the several deals that expired at the end of 2021, there is still a lot of choice – especially around cash back promotions. The big story, however, isn’t for individuals with million-dollar portfolios – quite the opposite in fact.

This year, it appears that the battle to attract new clients and assets is heating up for new investors.

Comparing the minimum deposit amounts required to qualify for an offer last year versus this year reveals some dramatic drops. TD Direct Investing, for example, lowered their minimum deposit requirement by 90% compared to last year, and BMO InvestorLine’s latest promotion (see below) lowered the requirement by 70% compared to last year at this time. Finally, Qtrade Direct Investing lowered their minimum threshold by 40% from $25,000 to $15,000. Decreasing deposit minimums aren’t the only signs of heated competition. We’ve also spotted increased bonus amounts surfacing relative to last year. In particular, the latest BMO InvestorLine promo bonus of $150 at the entry point deposit tier is up 50% compared to last year.

With commission-free trading now a reality at multiple Canadian online brokerages, online brokerages are going to have to rethink how they approach deals and promotions. In December, we saw this start to happen with the latest RBC Direct Investing promotion. Their current commission-free trading promotion comes with 100 commission-free trades which are good for up to two years – a record high offer and extremely long period of time to take advantage of it for this online broker.

On balance, the news is great for anyone looking to open an online trading account and get a promotion while doing so. Even existing clients of select Canadian online brokerages will be happier knowing there are promotional offers for depositing additional funds into their account.

With the 2022 RSP contribution deadline coming up quickly, there might be one or two online brokerages willing to launch a new very limited time offer. But realistically, the slate of offers currently available is going to be very difficult to compete against. With a new online brokerage (MogoTrade) in the wings and even more zero-commission online brokerages in the works, the current group of online brokerages is using deals and promotions to go on the offense heading into RSP season.

Expired Deals

This is a busy section this month, potentially busier than needed depending on whether some legacy promotions are actually expired or simply just not updated by the time of publication of this deals update.

First up, HSBC InvestDirect’s commission-free trade offer officially expired into the end of the year. It’s unclear if a new promotion will be launched ahead of the RSP deadline, however, historically HSBC InvestDirect does launch offers throughout the year. It will be interesting to see how they navigate the larger and more aggressive offers from competing online brokerages.

Next, another commission-free trade offer expired at the stroke of midnight on December 31st. Qtrade Direct Investing’s 50 free trade offer officially retired, which isn’t too bad since there is a cash back promotion from Qtrade already in motion.

For those keeping score at home, BMO InvestorLine officially retired their fall cash back promotion and replaced it with an even more competitive one (see below). It’s listed here for tracking purposes.

Questrade is on the list for expired promotions, which is interesting considering that both (technically expired) deals are visible on their website at the time of publication (this also happened last year as well). The two offers are their standing 5 commission-free trade offer (which pales in comparison to other Questrade promotions for commission-free trades) and their Questrade advantage promo (one month of commission-free trading). We’ll monitor their promotions section for updates on these two long-standing offers.

Extended Deals

*Updated January 9: It may have taken a few days to shake off 2021, but the expiry dates of two Questrade promotions have been updated. The two promotions in question: the five commission-free trades offer and Questrade Advantage. The new expiry dates for these promotions are the end of 2022.*

No extensions to promotional offers to report at the moment.

New Deals

It was great to welcome the new year with a BMO InvestorLine promo launch. The latest offer is a tiered cash back offer with incredibly competitive cash bonus in deposit tiers ranging from $15,000 to $499,999. The cash back amounts range from $150 to $2,000, with BMO’s offer leading that of their peers at the $15,000; $50,000 and $250,000 deposit levels specifically.

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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – November 1, 2021

November is upon us, and if you’ve stepped foot in a Canadian Costco lately, you’ll know that Christmas is just around the corner. For Canadian self-directed investors, however, the beginning of November signals the “unofficial” start to a very different season: RRSP season.

As if on cue, November kicked off with a new online brokerage promotion, a cash back deal from CIBC Investor’s Edge. Though it is still early in the month, there’s a very good chance that other Canadian online brokerages will follow suit in short order, in particular the bigger bank-owned brokerages. BMO InvestorLine’s current cash-back promotion was officially live at the time of publication of this update, however, they too will likely have something new on offer at the start of the month.  

Of course, the big story this year among online brokerages in Canada is zero-commission trading fees gaining mainstream acceptance. Starting first with National Bank Direct Brokerage and followed shortly thereafter by Desjardins Online Brokerage, the fact that two large financial institutions have already rolled this out makes for interesting times ahead during the most competitive season among Canadian online brokerages. To overcome the natural pull of these ultra-low price points, competing firms who insist on charging trading commissions will have to demonstrate extraordinary value for their clients. And one of the fastest ways to do that is through incentives.

The news isn’t entirely great for online investors, however.

Large bank-owned online broker RBC Direct Investing retired their short-lived 50 commission-free trading promotion at the end of October. Recall that this promotion enabled users to have access to 50 commission-free trades over two years.

We will be keeping our eyes and ears peeled for new updates. However, if you find out about an offer you’d like to see shared on, drop us a comment to let us know.

Expired Online Brokerage Deals

The RBC Direct Investing 50 commission-free trade promotion officially wrapped up at the end of October. This promotion, which we first spotted in the late summer, was something new from the popular bank-owned brokerage. In particular, the duration over which investors could use the trades (two years) was longer than what we have seen being offered previously, or at competitor brokerages. Interestingly, the promotion was only available for a brief time, however, it is clear that RBC Direct Investing has found a way to go even bigger with promotions than they’ve done in the past, a trend we’re likely to see play out among Canada’s most competitive online brokers.

Extended Online Brokerage Deals

No deal extensions to report at this time.

New Online Brokerage Deals

The latest cash back promotion from CIBC Investor’s Edge is a tiered offer that provides between $50 and $2,000 cash back for deposits ranging between $10,000 and $1M+. This promotion runs from November 1 to March 1 inclusive, with payouts of the cash bonus taking place in June 2022 or August 2022, depending on when accounts are opened. Check out our online brokerage deals index page for deposit tiers and more information about this offer.

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Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – October 2021

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.

Expired Deals

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.

Extended Deals

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.

New Deals

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.

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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.