Pros and Cons of Email Alerts from CIBC Investor’s Edge

You can set Alerts within your CIBC Investor’s Edge account to send you an email message when the price of a stock changes, when a stock split is announced, when the market moves and for hundreds of other criteria. But is it valuable to set these Alerts? Perhaps they will provide the information you need to make the optimal decisions for your investments. Perhaps not. Here are some of the pluses and minuses of the system generating alerts for CIBC Investor’s Edge.

Pros of the Investor’s Edge Alert Email System

Investor’s Edge permits you to enter two email addresses and a SMS phone text message address. This is an efficient way to make sure you’re connected to the right device when the Alert is issued. (BMO only allows you to add one email address or wireless address.)

You can select whether the email messages should be delivered in HTML or text uniquely for each Email address. This is particularly useful if you must receive text-only email at one of your email services, but you prefer the interactiveness of HTML mail at the other address.

You can set a vacation schedule (even if you’re going to be in meetings not, alas, on vacation.) On the days you specify, you will not receive any stock alerts. All of your Alerts stay set up and resume at the specified date. You will not have to re-enter each of your Alerts.

You can set alerts for many different market conditions, stock situations, and technical analysis requirements. This may tip you off to unexpected opportunities or risks.

You can receive a daily list of stock splits. Some splits offer excellent opportunities to invest. For instance, once when Enbridge split I bought a bit and realized a 34% capital gain a few months later on a portion of those shares.

Cons of the Investor’s Edge Email Alert System

You cannot opt to receive a very short text message for SMS phone messages. (You can for BMO InvestorLine. See How to Set a Stock Alert for a BMO InvestorLine Self-Directed Account.) This means you may get multiple text messages for the same Alert. You could also incur additional service provider charges. Be sure not to request reports if you include your phone address or you could get dozens of text messages!

You cannot put a note in with a price watch stock alert. You can for BMO InvestorLine Alerts. For example, with BMO you could make a note of the price you purchased a stock to be sent with the price alert as a reminder.

You cannot tell the CIBC system to send only some alerts to one email address and some to another. That means the Alert will be sent to both the Email addresses you provide. You can’t, for example, ask for only Alerts of stocks setting new 52-week highs to be sent to only one email address. That’s too bad, because I’d like to have a feature where only red-hot Alerts went to one specific email address, and general Alerts went to another.

CIBC does not send an email message to confirm that you have set up your Alerts Preferences. Therefore there is no way to know if it’s working until the first Alert is received. (BMO sends a confirmation message the first time an email address is added to the Preferences.)

You must opt to receive ALL watch lists as email daily, weekly, monthly or view online only. You cannot opt to only receive some as email.

You cannot set a time period inside or outside of regular trading hours when you do not wish to receive any Alerts. You can stop all Alerts by setting a Vacation hold, but you cannot tell the system that you never wish to receive Alerts between 8 a.m. and noon, and 1 p.m. and 6. It would be handy to be able to turn off Alerts during certain working hours every day. (You can turn off Alerts between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. daily using BMO InvestorLine, but again, you cannot turn them off every day during part of the day.)

A price Alert does not include a link to take you directly to the Trading screen. You have to follow all the usual steps to get in to your account and navigate to the correct pages.

Price Alerts are based on a quote that is 15-20 minutes delayed. That makes it a bit tricky to enter an Alert. If you know the stock is at $12 in real time, you may want to set an alert to notify you when it reaches $12.50. But because of the time delay, the system may think the stock is at $13 and not let you set an Alert for a price rise to $12.50. And if you set the Alert for a drop to $12.50 it will be triggered almost immediately because it already fell through that price before the current real time price of $12.

Price Alerts really are meant more for long term price changes than for tracking same day price changes for a volatile stock.

NOTE: this constraint applies to any brokerage that uses time-delayed prices for Alerts.BMO Alerts are also hampered by this delay.

You cannot set two Price Alerts for the same stock at the same time. If you want to know when BCE hits $75 to execute a partial sale and when it hits $100 to execute another partial sale, you can’t set one alert for each of $75 and $100. You have to wait till the $75 Alert is received and then go set another Alert for $100. This is not a big problem, but it’s a bit annoying.

Alerts may be delayed if email receipt is delayed. For example, if your email provider screens all email for viruses, the Alert may be delayed another 5 minutes or more. This is not a CIBC problem, however, and it is the same for all brokerages that use Email for Alerts, such as BMO.

CIBC Investor’s Edge does not charge any fee for the Alert service.

You may, however, have to pay your email service provider to receive Alerts, especially if you use a cell phone. Be sure to check with your service provider about any and all fees before signing up for Alerts.

If you are out of cell phone range, you could miss Alerts.

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Do you use Price, Stock or Market Alerts from CIBC Investor’s Edge? Have they helped you score a big deal? Please share your experiences with a comment.

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