When searching for the right discount brokerage, a lot of information can be obtained online about the pricing of discount brokerage accounts, commissions and services. Some features, such as customer service, require more work to learn about.
After knowing what it costs to be a client of a discount brokerage many self-directed investors value knowing what they can expect by being a customer. Finding out this information often requires asking friends, relatives, or other clients about their experiences. Some individuals even go as far as searching through forum comments about the experiences of others with particular brokerages.
Unfortunately, the only sure-fire way for an individual to know which discount brokerage best suits their needs is to be a client. Given the time, expense and risk associated with “sampling” a brokerage, however, it is neither a popular nor pragmatic choice for many. Instead, self-directed investors turn to third-party ratings to help them approximate who the right discount brokerage may be.
As part of our continued look at the rankings and evaluations of Canadian discount brokerages, this two part series looks at Dalbar Canada and in particular their Direct Brokerage Service Award as a tool investors can use as part of their research.
A Quick Background on Dalbar Canada and the Direct Brokerage Service Award
Dalbar Canada is a financial services research company that has been in Canada since 1997. They are a subsidiary of the US headquartered Dalbar Incorporated which has been around for 37 years.
Since 1998, Dalbar Canada has been conducting evaluations of discount brokerages, with a particular focus on the client service experience. Their Direct Brokerage Service Evaluation (DBSE) program takes a structured and methodical approach to understanding how discount brokerages interact with clients on the phone.
Dalbar Canada is probably most well-known among self-directed investors for their Direct Brokerage Service Award (DBSA) which has often been a part of the marketing materials of RBC Direct Investing for many years, and more recently on HSBC Invest Direct’s advertisements. In addition to the recognition, the recipient of the award receives permission to display the official seal (pictured below) of the award on their marketing materials to let consumers know of their accomplishment.