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    Key points

    *Update: August 18* With everything that’s happened over the last few months, 2020 has simultaneously felt like the longest and the shortest year ever.  Time isn’t the only thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has distorted. Despite the biggest economic shock in memory (and on record), stock markets and retail investor behaviour have also distorted how […]

    *Update: August 18* With everything that’s happened over the last few months, 2020 has simultaneously felt like the longest and the shortest year ever. 

    Time isn’t the only thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has distorted. Despite the biggest economic shock in memory (and on record), stock markets and retail investor behaviour have also distorted how discount brokerages are viewing promotions at this time. Specifically, the retail investor trading frenzy in stock markets may be directly behind why Canadian online brokerages haven’t felt the need to boost business by adding any new promotions for August. 

    In fact, as we head into the latter stretch of the summer, we’ve taken note of further erosion of deals activity. Qtrade Investor, for example, withdrew their referral promotion – a point of particular significance when considering how effective these deal types are when trying to control the cost of acquisition of new clients. 

    So, for DIY investors looking for a promotion this August, the current slate of offers represents the “new normal” – at least to start the month. Most of the deals are for transfer fee coverage promotions, and for those looking for commission-free trading offers, Questrade appears to have the spotlight to themselves. 

    Scroll down to learn about the current offerings from Canadian discount brokerages. And wherever you happen to be this month, try to stay cool.

    As always, we will keep monitoring for new discount brokerage deals and add updates as they appear, so make sure to check back throughout the month.

    Expired Deals

    Qtrade Investor’s referral promotion expired in July.

    Extended Deals

    No extended deals to report at this time.

    New Deals

    *Update: Aug. 18 – For a limited time, HSBC InvestDirect is offering 60 days of free North American online equity and ETF trading, up to a maximum of 60 trades, when you open a new account with them. The offer is set to expire on October 30th, 2020. See the table below for more details regarding the promotion and eligibility. *

    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
    6. Offers for Young Investors

    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
    HSBC InvestDirect is offering 60 days of free online equity and ETF trading (up to 60 transactions) for new accounts opened during the promotional period. There is no minimum funding requirement for the accounts; however, the fund must be from outside HSBC InvestDirect. Trading commissions will initally be charged but will then be credited back to the customer’s account within 120 days after the free trading period ends. $0 60 days of free trading 60 days Please refer to the full Terms and Conditions October 30, 2020
    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, 2020
    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, 2020
    BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account at BMO InvestorLine with new assets worth at least A) $50,000; B) $100,000; C) $250,000; D) $500,000 or E) $1M+, and you may be eligible to receive a cash back reward of up to A) $250; B) $450; C) $800; D) $1,000 or E) $2,000. Use promo code SPARXCASH when registering to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions. A) $50,000 B) $100,000 C) $250,000 D) $500,000 E) $1M+ A) $250 B) $450 C) $800 D) $1,000 E) $2,000 Cash back will be deposited week of December 14, 2020 BMO InvestorLine Cash Back Offer Details June 1, 2020

    Expired Offers

    Last Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 13:20PT

    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
    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
    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
    BMO InvestorLine If you (an existing BMO InvestorLine client) refer a new client to BMO InvestorLine and they open an account with at least $5,000 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. $5,000 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 January 5, 2021

    Expired Offers

    Last Updated: Jul 31, 2020 14:35PT

    Transfer Fee Promotions

    Company Brief Description Maximum Transfer Fee Coverage Amount Minimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee Eligibility Details Link Deadline
    Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they’ll cover the transfer-out fee up to $150. $150 n/a Transfer Fee Promo none
    Transfer $15,000 or more to RBC Direct Investing and they will pay up to $200 in transfer fees. $200 $15,000 Transfer Fee Rebate Details none
    Transfer $15,000 or more into a new HSBC InvestDirect account and you may be eligible to have up to $152.55 in transfer fees covered. $152.55 $15,000 Confirmed via email contact with HSBC InvestDirect Rep. Contact client service for more information. none
    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 $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 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 Transfer Fee Promo Contact client service for more information (1-800-465-5463). none
    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
    BMO InvestorLine Open a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine or fund a qualifying existing account and you may be eligible to have transfer fees covered up to $200. Contact client service for more details. $200 Contact client service for more information Contact client service for more information (1-888-776-6886) none

    Expired Offers

    Disnat Desjardins Online Brokerage is offering up to $150 to cover the cost of transfer fees from another institution. To be eligible, new/existing clients need to deposit $10,000 into a Desjardins Online Brokerage account. You’ll have to call 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code DisnatTransfer. See details link for more info. $150 $10,000 Disnat 1% Commission Credit Promo January 8, 2020
    Last Updated: Jul 31, 2020 14:25PT

    Other Promotions

    Company Brief Description Minimum Deposit Amount Required Details Link Deadline
    Submit your information via the Hardbacon website to be referred to National Bank Direct Brokerage. Open and fund a qualifying account and you may receive up to 20 commission-free trades and discounted trading commissions. Be sure to read full terms and conditions. n/a Hardbacon Free Trade Promo 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: Jul 31, 2020 14:29PT

    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 $1000. 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 $1000. PROMO1000 January 2, 2020 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: Jul. 31, 2020 14:30PT

    Offers for Young Investors

    Brokerage Offer Type Eligible Age Range / Client Segment Offer Description Min. Deposit Expiry Date Link
    Student Pricing Clients with CIBC Smart™ Account for students $5.95 per trade and zero annual account fees not required None CIBC Student Pricing
    [email protected] 18-30 18-30 years old investors Benefits: * 5 free transactions (Minimum deposit of $1,000 required) * No inactivity fees * No asset minimum to maintain for free registered accounts * Exclusive events * Disnat Mobile App $1,000 None [email protected] 18-30
    Offers for professionals & Students Students in selected fields of study Professionals and students in the below fields can benefit from a reduced pricing structure: * Engineering students * Legal, accounting and business students * Healthcare students * Health sciences students * Nursing students Benefits: * $5.95 commission on equities * $0 commission on ETFs * $0 annual administration fee not required None NBDB Student Pricing
    Young investor pricing 18-30 years old investors Benefits: * $7.75 commissions for stock and ETF trades * No account minimums * No quarterly admin fees min. $50 a month through pre-authorized contributions. None Young Investor Pricing
    Waiver of account maintenance fee Clients who have RBC Student account, currently or in the past 5 years. The Maintenance Fee ($25 per quarter) is waived, regardless of the account balance. not required None Zero Account Management Fee
    Young Investors Offer Clients below 26 years old Low activity account administration fee and the RSP account administration fee are waived. not required None Young Investors Offer
    Zero Account Administration Fee Clients below 26 years old The account administration fee ($24.95 per quarter) is waived. not required None $0 Account Administration Fee
    Last Updated: Jul. 31, 2020 14:45PT