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    Key points

    The newest online brokerage promotions are live for 2022! Check out the cash back offers from popular bank-owned brokerages like TD Direct Investing and BMO InvestorLine, as well as commission-free trading offers. Learn about the important trends taking place, especially for beginner investors.

    *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 RSP 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.