Everybody is looking for ways to invest at a lower cost. Canadians have started flocking in droves to the increasing number of discount brokers and trading platforms across Canada.
Wealthsimple and Questrade have become two of the most popular online trading platforms offering low-cost investment solutions to Canadians. However, the major financial institutions in Canada are not willing to be left behind.
Several Canadian banks have also launched online brokerages to compete with non-banking platforms. I have used and reviewed several trading platforms in Canada over the years.
In this CIBC Investor’s Edge review, I will tell you everything about the discount broker platform of one of the Big Five banks of Canada.
- Has free research tools and educational resources
- Is backed by a well-established bank with a history
- All account options are available
- Offers lower trading fees than other big bank brokers
- Is costlier than non-bank brokers
- Offers no commission-free ETFs
- $100 annual account maintenance fee for certain account types, if the minimum account balance is not maintained.
What Is CIBC Investor’s Edge?
CIBC Investor’s Edge is the brokerage arm of CIBC Investor Services Inc. and a subsidiary of CIBC bank. CIBC is one of the oldest and top financial institutions in the country. Founded in 1961, CIBC has over 44,000 employees and more than 10 million clients worldwide.
CIBC launched Investor’s Edge to compete with the rising number of non-banking online discount brokerage firms becoming popular among self-directed investors. The online trading platform is available on the App Store and Google Play Store as the “CIBC Mobile Wealth” app.
Features and Benefits of CIBC Investor’s Edge
This section of my CIBC Investor’s Edge review will cover all the main features and benefits of the platform to give you a better idea of what you can expect if you choose to use it.
I will highlight the basic information that you should know, the cost you can expect for using the platform, and how it differs from its banking and non-banking peers in the industry.
Accounts Offered by CIBC Investor’s Edge
CIBC Investor’s Edge offers a broad range of account types you can open with the broker. You can use various account types to cater to different short- and long-term trading goals. The account types include most of the accounts you can expect to open with online brokers and traditional bank, including:
- Cash accounts
- Margin accounts
- Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
- Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
- Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
- Locked-In Retirement Accounts (LIRA)
- Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
- Life Income Funds (LIF)
- Locked-In Retirement Savings Plan (LRSP)
- Locked-in Retirement Income Fund (LRIF)
- Prescribed Retirement Income Fund (PRIF)
- Non-registered personal accounts
- Non-personal accounts, including
- Corporate account
- Partnership account
- Investment club
- Formal trust
- Estate account
You can access a wide range of investment assets using CIBC Investor’s Edge, including equity securities, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options, mutual funds, Guaranteed Income Certificates (GICs), bonds, and precious metals certificates.
The Cost of Using CIBC Investor’s Edge
This section of my CIBC Investor’s Edge review will discuss the costs you can expect while using the discount broker.
Discount brokers are becoming increasingly popular because the platforms offer lower-cost trading and investing solutions than working with traditional brokerages. CIBC Investor’s Edge offers self-directed investors its products and services at a lower cost than traditional brokers do.
CIBC Investor’s Edge also boasts a competitive fee structure among brokerage platforms owned by the Big Banks in Canada. However, you can expect to save a lot of money working with a non-banking discount brokerage.
Here is a look at the trading fees you can expect to pay while using the platform:
- Equities: $6.95 per online trade. $5.95 per online trade for eligible students with a CIBC Smart™ Account, and $4.95 per trade for qualified active traders
- Options: $6.95 per online trade plus $1.25 per contract,
- ETFs: $6.95 per online trade, $5.95 per online trade for eligible students with a CIBC Smart™ Account, and $4.95 per trade for qualified active traders
- TFSA: No annual account fee
- RESP: No annual account fee
When you place a trade for an ETF or options through CIBC Investor’s Edge representatives over the phone, you can expect to pay a minimum of $50 in commissions for trading any investment asset.
If you place more than 150 trades per quarter, you may qualify for Active Trader status and the subsequent discounts on trading commissions with CIBC Investor’s Edge.
If you have non-registered accounts with CIBC Investor’s Edge with combined assets worth $10,000 or below, you can expect to pay a $100 annual account maintenance fee. The discount broker waives this fee if you open a registered retirement account with the platform.
If you have a registered retirement account with a balance of $25,000 or less, the same $100 annual fee will apply.
The margin rate for non-registered accounts is 4% for CAD accounts and 4.5% for USD accounts. For a registered account, the margin rate is 5% for CAD accounts or 5.5% for USD accounts.
Platforms and Tools Offered by CIBC Investor’s Edge
CIBC Investor’s Edge is available through a mobile app called “CIBC Mobile Wealth” on the App Store and Google Play Store and through a web-based platform. You can use the platform to trade various investment assets like stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds listed on Canadian and U.S. exchanges.
The platform’s functionality gives you access to several features, including:
Advanced charting: Get access to advanced charting capabilities with multiple indicators that you can customize for better investment decisions.
Trade notifications and alerts: You will get notifications via emails that will confirm when your stock and option order trades have been completed.
Alerts: You will also be notified about price movements, technical events, news announcements, and research changes for securities that interest you.
Watch Lists: CIBC Investor’s Edge lets you create up to 20 customizable Watch Lists that you can use to track your portfolio’s performance and keep an eye on securities that you find interesting.
Daily market reports: You will receive daily market report emails that give you trade ideas based on technical events being monitored by the global leader in technical analysis, Recognia.
Research and investment education resources: CIBC Investor’s Edge gives you access to a daily newsletter from Trading Central that includes trade ideas and market information based on different industries. It also offers insights from the top investment experts from CIBC and other platforms.
CIBC Investor’s Edge also provides you with access to CIBC Learn, a comprehensive educational platform that serves as a rich resource of educational content covering various topics and product categories. Industry experts write the content to provide you with the information necessary to understand various topics related to investing.
Is CIBC Investor’s Edge Safe and Legit?
Absolutely. It is operated by CIBC, one of the largest banks in North America and one of the Big Five Canadian banks. CIBC Investor’s Edge is a division of CIBC Investor Services, Inc., which is a subsidiary of CIBC itself. Hence, you can expect that the funds you invest with CIBC Investor’s Edge are safe.
CIBC Investor Services, Inc. offers decent coverage because it is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).
CIPF membership means that the money you have invested through CIBC Investor’s Edge in certain account types will be covered by up to $1 million if the firm goes belly up.
CIBC customers also have access to a Digital Banking Guarantee, which guarantees a 100% refund in cases of unauthorized transactions on your account.
CIBC Investor’s Edge Customer Service
You can contact CIBC Investor’s Edge by calling their customer support agents from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 6 pm. You can also try to reach them via email or chat. The online broker boasts a multilingual customer service team that can also provide you with assistance in Mandarin and Cantonese.
The rise of online brokerages and trading platforms is due to the increasing number of people pursuing self-directed trading to generate additional revenue. The importance of providing an excellent customer experience is growing.
Unfortunately, CIBC Investor’s Edge is severely lacking when it comes to getting through to the customer service team. Many people complain about having to wait for over three hours just to get through to someone on the phone. Some users also complain about delayed responses via chat and email.
Considering that CIBC Investor’s Edge is a subsidiary of one of the top financial institutions in the country, having one of the longest wait times in the industry does not bode well.
CIBC Investor’s Edge Alternatives
Several names come to mind when I think of alternatives to CIBC Investor’s Edge. Questrade, Wealthsimple, and TD Direct Investing are the most relevant platforms to consider.
CIBC Investor’s Edge vs. Questrade
Questrade is my pick for the top online trading platform in Canada. It is one of the fastest-growing online brokerage firms, adding thousands of new customers each year. The non-banking product is the lowest-cost solution for self-directed investors, giving CIBC Investor’s Edge a run for its money.
Questrade does not offer very comprehensive educational and market research tools like CIBC Investor’s Edge. However, its substantially lower costs for using the platform make it far more attractive than CIBC Investor’s Edge.
Check out my detailed Questrade review to find out more about the non-banking trading platform.
CIBC Investor’s Edge vs. Wealthsimple Trade
Wealthsimple Trade is another popular non-banking online discount brokerage firm in Canada, and it is becoming popular among self-directed Canadian investors. It is one of the lowest-cost trading solutions available and the only trading platform that offers commission-free trades on ETFs in Canada.
Wealthsimple Trade does not charge you for trading using the platform because it relies on foreign currency conversion fees to generate its revenue, making it a very low-cost alternative to CIBC Investor’s Edge.
Check out my detailed Wealthsimple Trade review to find out more about the non-banking trading platform.
CIBC Investor’s Edge vs. TD Direct Investing
TD Direct Investing is an online brokerage product offered by another Big Five Canadian bank called the Toronto-Dominion Bank. Similar in many ways to CIBC Investor’s Edge, the platform offers excellent educational resources and research tools to help you make more well-informed investment decisions.
CIBC Investor’s Edge boasts much lower trading fees than the online brokerages offered by other major banks, like TD Direct Investing. However, TD Direct Investing boasts a more responsive customer support team that could make it a better alternative to CIBC Investor’s Edge for some users.
Check out my detailed TD Direct Investing review to find out more about the big bank’s online trading platform.
The number of online trading platforms and discount brokers is growing. Amid so many names, CIBC Investor’s Edge is an online brokerage that offers the backing of a reliable and reputable financial institution with a long history.
It might be a welcome sight for self-directed investors who prefer working with well-established institutions.
If the higher fees and commissions do not bother you, CIBC Investor’s Edge gets a Wealth Awesome thumbs up. You can check out the platform yourself on CIBC Investor’s Edge’s website.