Special Series: Review of Globe and Mail’s Discount Brokerage Rankings – Part I

Introduction

As part of our continued look at Canadian discount brokerage rankings, we review the longest running comparison and ranking of Canadian discount brokerages: The Globe and Mail’s annual ranking of online brokers, which had its start back in 1999. In part one of this series, we go through how we conducted the review, who the rankings are aimed at, the discount brokerages covered in the rankings and how the rankings are structured.

Our Methods

The scope of this review covers the 11 Globe and Mail discount brokerage rankings published from 2002 to 2012.  Even though the rankings started in 1999, we felt the window we used to be sufficient to explore the recent history of discount brokerages within Canada, and more importantly to illustrate the nature of how the rankings have changed over time.  The data was retrieved by searching for each years’ results via Google, The Globe and Mail website as well as from several websites that contained archived copies of articles. In addition to researching online, we also had the chance to speak to Rob Carrick of The Globe and Mail directly about his experiences in putting together the reviews.

Once gathered, the data was compiled into tables for sorting and analysis. Initially we thought it would be possible to compare scores and how they changed from year to year, however given that the ranking criteria changed so frequently, such a comparison would offer limited value.  Instead, we have included a figure (see next page) that details the criteria for each year and how the criteria have changed over time.  Although it is also of limited reliability, we nonetheless took the historical average rank of each discount brokerage currently referenced in the 2012 rankings which can be seen in the table to be included in part two of this series.

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