The online discount brokerages know that the beginning of the year is when many people finally decide to open a brokerage account. They are either opening a RESP, TFSA or RRSP or are “upgrading” their existing one to allow themselves to purchase and hold more types of investments. Some other people have resolved to take more control of their finances and are opening non-registered trading accounts. Whatever the reason for the new account, all of the brokerages want your business. CIBC Investor’s Edge has rolled out a bin of specials and offers to try to entice you to deal with them including cash back incentives, free stock trades and even free ETF trades, although everything comes with conditions of course.
What’s the New Offer for 2015 at CIBC Investor’s Edge?
Most of the offers at Investor’s Edge have been available for a while, but there’s one that’s new to me: They are offering free trades on about 1900 eligible ETFs from now till March 31, 2015.
This offer is a bit different than Scotia iTrade’s. They offer free ETF purchases for a list of eligible funds.
It’s also a bit different than Questrade’s. They offer free ETF purchases (well, there may be an ECN fee) but they do not offer free ETF sales.
Here are the details of the CIBC offer:
- The free ETF trades apply to ALL customers not just new ones.
- The trades are only free from now till March 31, 2015. After that the regular fee of $6.95 per purchase or sale applies.
- Leveraged ETFs are not eligible. (And personally I think you shouldn’t be buying them anyway, so good on Investor’s Edge.)
- If you buy units of an ETF you must wait one business day before selling the units or you will have to pay the usual commissions.
- You must buy at least $100 worth of units of an ETF. That’s $100 Canadian for a Canadian ETF, or $100 US for an American-listed ETF.
- You can only place the free orders online, not by phone.
Why This Investor’s Edge Offer is Great for Couch Potato or Index Investors
If you think that the best way to invest is to buy and hold “the markets” by buying units in 2 to 4 ETFs that mirror the behaviour of the TSX, NYSE and a few other international stock markets, plus perhaps a bond fund for balance, this deal is a good one for you. You could easily set up your portfolio for free!
Or, if you have an existing portfolio of ETFs, you could use these free trades to do your annual re-balancing. For no fee, you can sell any funds that you have too many $$ invested in, and buy the funds that are lagging behind.
What if you’re transferring in your ETFs from another brokerage and you don’t think they’ll arrive before March 31? Well, you might be able to at least do any re-balancing that can be done by buying ETF units using any new cash that you can contribute immediately to your account. At least those purchases will be commission free.
Why This Is Especially Cool for Registered Education Savings Plans and Tax Free Savings Accounts
CIBC Investor’s Edge already offers a plus for RESPs and TFSAs. They don’t charge an annual fee even if you have a very low balance in your RESP or TFSA.
Now (but only till March 31) you can also buy ETFs, or rebalance your ETF holdings by selling and buying units, even if you can’t afford to buy a huge number of units. You don’t have to worry that the commission of $6.95 per purchase or sale will eat up all of your earnings!
What Else Is Investor’s Edge Offering New Customers?
The free ETF trading is for all customers at Investor’s Edge, new or existing.
They also have the lowest trading fee of any of the “big bank” brokerages. They charge just $6.95 per trade regardless of the size of your account.
There are also some offers for new customers.
If you open a new account with Investor’s Edge before February 28, 2015 you can get cash back and free trades.
For an account transfer/deposit of
- $25,000 get $100 cash back and 25 free trades
- $50,000 get $200 cash back and 50 free trades
- $100,000 get $300 cash back and 100 free trades.
The free trades must be executed within 60 days of the transfer-in date (when the money arrives in your account.)
You can read all the other details at Investor’s Edge.
Remember, you must phone in and discuss the offer BEFORE starting a transfer if you wish to get the cash bonus and free trades! They do not automatically apply.
Do We Use CIBC Investor’s Edge? How would we rate Investor’s Edge?
Yes. We have a RRSP and a non-registered trading account at Investor’s Edge at this time.
I like the low trading commissions but as a “buy and hold” investor I don’t make many purchases in a year.
I wish they would add Home Trust to their list of GIC vendors, though, because sometimes I can get a better GIC rate at InvestorLine than I can get at Investor’s Edge. Overall, though, I can usually get a good rate.
Investor’s Edge does not offer US dollar RRSP sub-accounts, yet. If you talk to the brokerage on the same day as you wish to make a trade, you can get them to “neutralize the exchange-rate mark-up” for a US stock trade in a registered account.
I haven’t done this, as we keep our US registered funds elsewhere.
Overall, I find the Investor’s Edge platform to be fine. I don’t find it as pleasant at BMO InvestorLine’s, but considering I only need to buy a few ETFs, shares and GICs a year, I find it easy to use.
I have not really taken advantage of the market information etc available at any of the three brokerages we use so I can’t speak to them yet.
Anyway, given the host of incentives CIBC Investor’s Edge is offering, you may want to keep them on your short-list of possible brokerages. And personally I’ll be hoping they continue to offer some free ETF trading months each year!
- A Morningstar article by Gail Bebee: “Why you need a U.S.-dollar registered retirement account“
- How to Open a Brokerage Account at CIBC Investor’s Edge
- How to Buy Shares or Units of ETFs at CIBC Investor’s Edge
- How to Buy a GIC at CIBC Investor’s Edge
Does free ETF purchases and sales sound appealing to you? Have you tried Investor’s Edge? Please share your views with a comment.