The internet age has allowed discount brokerage firms to flourish. Today, online brokers and virtual brokers have opened investing up to more Canadians.
Getting into investing for the first time, or saving on trades and fees, can be attractive for many people. The low-cost of entry and online tools make the process fast and easy.
Discount brokers have a clear mission. They keep overhead low (usually by going online) and offer fewer services. Unlike full-service brokers, this often means there is no access to financial advice. The firms then pass the savings back to you in the form of discounts on commissions and fees.
Online brokers are the most common providers in the discount space in Canada. These include do-it-yourself (DIY) apps and websites. These allow you to build and manage your portfolio using a suite of virtual tools.
Some online brokers attract new clients by offering “virtual” money. This simulation makes the experience feel like a game. It allows you to explore how investing works before using real money. It also helps you get a good sense of how the tools and features work.
Virtual brokers, including many Canadian online brokers, may include extra features. Many have robot-managed portfolios, online chat forums, or mobile apps.
Discount brokers, though, do offer fewer services than full-service brokers. In most cases, advice or help on managing your wealth is not available.
THE BOTTOM LINEDiscount brokers are a viable option for Canadian investors. They are suitable for experienced and novice investors alike.
A discount brokerage can be an attractive entry point for wealth management. Only invest what you can afford to lose. The barriers to entry are low, but discount brokers also offer little advice.