Discount Brokerage Deals & Promotions – January 1, 2016

*Updated Jan. 29/16* For DIY investors, nothing says welcome to 2016 quite like a review of the latest deals and promotions from Canadian discount brokerages. With markets and Canadian online brokerages closed for New Years, the deals and promotions engine looks like it’ll need some time to warm up before it kicks back into gear on the first Monday of 2016. Nonetheless there are some interesting observations out of the gate.

The first and most obvious observation for the beginning of 2016 is that deals section has thinned out considerably.

2016 starts off with 11 promotions currently on the table for DIY investors to choose from however that could drop to a low of 9 if a pair of offers from BMO InvestorLine set to expire on January 3rd aren’t extended. That said, if history and market forces are any indicator, these numbers could shift dramatically over the next few weeks.

For some context, the average number of discount brokerage promotional offers in any given month over the past year has been just over 17. At the crossover from 2014 to 2015, however, there were also 16 open offers, half of which were ‘technically’ scheduled to expire at the end of year. When the dust settled in early January though, there were only three offers that actually expired and by the end of January there were at least 22 offers from Canadian online brokerages to choose from.

The wildcard, it seems, will come from the 7 offers that technically expired December 31st. With the beginning of a new month and year falling on a Friday, there’s a good chance that websites of several brokerages are simply not updated. Which and how many of these promotions are extended for 2016 remains to be seen however with the ramp up to the RSP contribution deadline looming, there’s a good chance brokerages will be anteing up to the table with some interesting offers for DIY investors.

There are also some other factors for DIY investors looking for an online brokerage account to consider.

Four discount brokerages, for example, each have competitive promotions that extend out to the end of March 2016 – a signal that there are definitely offers on the table for DIY investors to take advantage of between now and the RSP contribution deadline.

In addition, that Questrade’s latest offer of 25 commission-free trades for a year is identical to the recent offer from Virtual Brokers is another indicator that Questrade (the most active brokerage when it comes to promotions) is not likely to shy away from going head-to-head with other offers being put forward.

We’ll be keeping a close watch on the deals and promotions section when markets restart on Monday however here is a snapshot of the landscape heading into January.

Expired deals

At the time of publication there are 7 offers that expired on Dec. 31st 2015 with four of those coming from Questrade.

The expired offers are:

*Update Jan. 8/16: BMO Investorline had one deal expire in the first week of January. Their $200 cash back + 20 free trade offer is now over.*

  • 10 free trades or 100 free trades Promo (Questrade)
  • 1 month unlimited trades (Questrade)
  • $50 amazon.ca gift card (Questrade)
  • iPad Mini 2 (Questrade)
  • 500 Free Trades or $500 Cash Back (Scotia iTRADE)
  • Refer a Friend (Scotia iTRADE) Now extended
  • 25 Commission Free Trades (Virtual Brokers)

As stated above, it is likely that several of these offers will find their way into the extended deals column this month and are perhaps also likely to show up again later in 2016.

Extended deals

*Update Jan. 8/16: Scotia iTrade has officially renewed and extended their refer-a-friend offering. The referral offer now expires at the end of March 2016. BMO InvestorLine also renewed their refer-a-friend out to June 30th 2016.*

Only one brokerage has officially extended out an offer well into 2016 at the outset of the month. Desjardins Online Brokerage’s flagship $500 commission-credit promotion has been extended until the end of March.

New deals

*Updated Jan. 29/16: TD Direct Investing officially joined the deals & promotions race this week by relaunching their popular commission-free trade offer. Individuals opening a new account and depositing at least $25,000 may be eligible to receive 50 commission-free trades, which are good for use for up to 60 days. This promotion is a tiered offer so individuals depositing more can get a greater number of commission-free trades. See the table below for more information.*

*Updated Jan. 15/16: Two more deals were added this past week. Credential Direct officially jumped into the deals pool with a cash back offer based on multiple deposit tiers. The minimum deposit level to qualify for a cash back incentive is $15,000. Interestingly, Credential Direct will also contribute an amount equal to 10% of the bonus received to Kids Life Line. See table below for more details on deposit levels.

Scotia iTrade also stepped back into the deals race with a free trade offer aimed at new clients. The minimum deposit to qualify for the Scotia iTrade promotion is $25,000 with free trades ranging from 75 trades through to 500. See table belwo for more details.*

*Updated Jan. 8/16: Questrade’s promotional momentum continued with two new offers launched in the first week of January. While it is not the first time these offers have been seen, they’re here to stay through the RSP contribution deadline date at the end of February. Both the new offers from Questrade offer up unlimited/free trading for either 1, 2 or 3 months depending on the deposit. What is interesting about these latest deals is that Questrade has positioned one of its offers to require a higher minimum deposit ($2000 vs $1000) than other offers on the table.

Not to be left behind, BMO InvestorLine has also upped the ante on a free trades and cash back promotion.  The good news for investors is that BMO InvestorLine is offering $200 cash back and 100 commission-free equity trades (which are good for two months). See table below for more details.*

While 2016 is officially launching without any new offers from Canadian discount brokerages, there was one offer from Questrade that arrived late in December.
Questrade is offering up 25 commission-free trades which are good for up to 1 year for individuals depositing at least $5,000. See the table below for additional details.

Discount Brokerage Deals

CompanyBrief DescriptionMinimum Deposit AmountCommission/Cash Offer/Promotion TypeTime Limit to Use Commission/Cash OfferDetails LinkDeadline
Jitney TradeA Sparx Trading exclusive offer! Use the promo code "Sparx Trading" when signing up for a new account with Jitneytrade and receive access to their preferred pricing package.n/aDiscounted Commission RatesnoneFor more details click here none
Open a new qualifying account with HSBC InvestDirect and you could be eligible to receive up to 30 commission-free North American equity trades. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details.n/a30 commission-free trades.60 daysWinter free trade promotion March 15, 2016
Open a new account (TFSA, Margin or RRSP) and receive $50 commission credit . Use promo code: kdkfnbbc$1,000$50 commission credit
nonenonenone
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 - $9,999
B) $10,000 - $24,999
C) $25,000 - $49,999
D) $50,000 -$99,999
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: 476104302388759none
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.$1,0005 commission-free trades60 days 5 commission-free trade offer December 31, 2016
Open and fund a new qualifying account (registered or margin) with at least A) $1,000; B) $25,000 or C) $50,000 and receive either A) 1 month; B) 2 months or C) 3 months of commission-free trading. Use promo code UNLIMITEDW16 when registering. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details.A) $1,000
B) $25,000
C) $50,000
Commission-free tradesA) 1 month
B) 2 months
C) 3 months
3 months unlimited trading March 4, 2016
Open and fund a new qualifying account (registered or margin) with at least A) $2,000; B) $25,000 or C) $50,000 and receive either A) 1 month; B) 2 months or C) 3 months of commission-free trading. Use promo code RSP2016 when registering. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details.A) $2,000
B) $25,000
C) $50,000
Commission-free tradesA) 1 month
B) 2 months
C) 3 months
RSP 2016 Promotion March 1, 2016
Open and fund a new online trading account with Questrade with at least $5,000 and you could be eligible to receive 25 commission-free trades good for use for up to 1 year. Use promo code NEWYEAR2016 when applying to be eligible for this offer. Be sure to read the full terms and conditions for this promotion. $5,00025 commission-free tradesJan. 1, 2017 25 Commission-free Trade for 1 Year Promotion February 29, 2016
Scotia iTradeIf 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 daysRefer A Friend to Scotia iTrade March 31, 2016
Open and fund a new account (or existing clients can transfer in new assets) at Credential Direct with at least A) $15,000; B) $50,000; C) $150,000; D) $500,000 or E) $1,000,000 and you may be eligible to receive at least A) $75; B) $125; C) $200; D) $500 or E) $1,000. Applicants need to use code CASH2016RSP and fund account in order to qualify for cash back offer. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details.A) $15,000 - $49,999
B) $50,000 - $149,999
C) $150,000 - $499,999
D) $500,000 - $999,999
E) $1,000,000+
A) $75
B) $125
C) $200
D) $500
E) $1,000
Cash credited to account on Oct. 15, 2016.Cash Back Offer March 15, 2016
Open and fund a new National Bank Direct Brokerage account with at least A) $20,000 or B) $100,00 and you may be eligible to receive up to either A) $500 or B) $1,000 in commission credits. Use promo code CashBack2016 when registering for an account to qualify. Be sure to read full terms and conditions for additional details.A) $20,000 - $99,999
B) $100,000+
A) $500 in commission credit
B) $1,000 in commission credit
90 daysCash back promo March 31, 2016
Scotia iTradeOpen and fund a new account at Scotia iTrade with at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000; C) $100,000 or $250,000+ and you may be eligible to receive up to A) 75; B) 150; C) 300 or D) 500 commission-free trades. Use promo code TRADES-RSP16 when opening account to be eligible. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details.A) $25,000 - $49,999
B) $50,000 - $99,999
C) $100,000 - $249,999
D) $250,000+
A) 75 commission-free trades
B) 150 commission-free trades
C) 300 commission-free trades
D) 500 commission-free trades
90 days Free Trade Offer March 31, 2016
Open and fund a new account at TD Direct Investing with at least A) $25,000; B) $50,000 or C) $100,000+ and you may be eligible to receive up to A) 50; B) 100 or C) 200 commission-free trades. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details.A) $25,000 - $49,999
B) $50,000 - $99,999
C) $100,000
A) 50 commission-free trades
B) 100 commission-free trades
C) 200 commission-free trades
60 days Commission-free Trading Offer April 15, 2015
DisnatDisnat is offering new & existing clients $500 in commission credits which can be used for up to 6 months. To be eligible, new/existing clients need to deposit $50,000 into a Disnat account. You'll have to call 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code Disnat500. See details link for more info.$50,000$500 commission credit6 monthsDisnat $500 Commission Credit PromoMarch 31, 2016
BMO InvestorLineIf you (an existing BMO InvestorLine client) refer a new client to BMO InvestorLine and they open an account with at least $50,000 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. $50,000You(referrer): $50; Your Friend(referee): $50
Payout occurs after 45 days (subject to conditions). BMO InvestorLine Refer-a-Friend June 30, 2016
Open or fund an eligible account with at least $100,000 and make at least one commission generating trade and you may be eligible to receive a $500 gift card for the Apple Store. Use promo code APPLEWATCH when signing up. Be sure to read terms and conditions carefully.$100,000$500 Apple Store gift cardGift card will be sent within 30 days of client meeting eligibility requirements. Apple Watch PromoMarch 31, 2016
BMO InvestorLineOpen a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine, and fund it with at least A) $100,000 or B) $250,000 in net new assets and you may be eligible to receive either A) $200 cash back and 100 commission-free equity trades or B) $600 cash back and 100 commission-free equity trades. Use promo code WinterSD600 when signing up to be eligible. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer.A) $100,000 - $249,999
B) $250,000+
A) $200 cash back + 100 commission-free equity trades.
B) $600 cash back + 100 commission-free equity trades.
60 days for equity trades.
Cash back will be deposited the week of Oct. 10, 2016. Commission rebates will be paid week of Oct. 10, 2016.
Winter 2016 PromotionMarch 1, 2016

Expired Offers

BMO InvestorLineOpen a new qualifying account with BMO InvestorLine, and fund it with at least $100,000 in net new assets and you may be eligible to receive either A)$200 cash back plus 20 commission-free equity trades. Use promo code FALL2015 when signing up to be eligible. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for more details on the offer.$100,000$200 + 20 commission-free equity trades
Cash award will be paid the week of January 16, 2017. Trades are good for 1 year from signing up for promotional offer. Fall 2015 PromotionJanuary 3, 2016
Last Updated: Jan. 29, 2016 23:55 PT

Transfer Fee Deals

CompanyBrief DescriptionMaximum Transfer Fee Coverage AmountMinimum Deposit Amount for Transfer Fee EligibilityDetails LinkDeadline
Transfer $15,000 or more to RBC Direct Investing and they will pay up to $135 in transfer fees$135 $15,000 Transfer Fee Rebate Details none
Transfer $25,000 or more from another brokerage and Credential Direct will cover up to $150 in transfer fees. Use promo code SWITCHME when signing up to qualify for the transfer promotion. $150$25,000 Credential Direct Transfer Fee Rebate none
Qtrade Investor will reimburse your transfer fee up to $150 when transferring a balance of $10,000 or more. For reimbursement, please mail or fax a copy of your statement from the transferring institution that shows the transfer charge to Qtrade Investor at 604.484.2627 and indicate your Qtrade Investor account number. $150$25,000 Transfer Fee Rebatenone
Move your brokerage account to Questrade and they'll cover the transfer-out fee up to $150.$150$25,000 Transfer Fee Promo none
Scotia iTradeTransfer at least $25,000 or more in new assets to Scotia iTrade when opening a new account and Scotia iTrade may reimburse transfer fees up to $150. Be sure to read terms and conditions for full details. $150$25,000 Free trade offer March 31, 2016
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$25,000confirmed with reps. Contact client service for more info (1-800-567-3343)none
Transfer $25,000 or more to a National Bank Direct Brokerage account and they will pay up to $135 plus taxes in transfer fees$135$25,000 Transfer Fee Rebate none
DisnatDisnat is offering up to $150 to cover the cost of transfer fees from another institution. To be eligible, new/existing clients need to deposit $50,000 into a Disnat account. You'll have to call 1-866-873-7103 and mention promo code Disnat500. See details link for more info.$150$50,000Disnat $500 Commission Credit PromoMarch 31, 2016

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