Desjardins (Disnat) announces commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs

Rick Steves

In addition to cheaper access to the capital markets, Desjardins Online Brokerage is boosting access to education.

Desjardins Online Brokerage, aka Disnat, Canada’s first discount broker in 1982 according to the firm, has eliminated commissions on stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in CAD and USD when trading online or in the mobile app.

This commission-free trading setting applies to all clients and expands on the reduced commission fees that the firm was already offering to active investors and 18-to-30-year-olds.

Marjorie Minet, Vice-President of the Wealth Management Advisory Services Division at Desjardins, said: “Desjardins Online Brokerage (Disnat) became Canada’s first discount broker in 1982. Now, our cooperative organization is taking concrete steps to make the stock market even more accessible to all of our clients. We’re going to continue setting ourselves apart with unparalleled support and educational programs that promote financial empowerment.”

In addition to cheaper access to the capital markets, Desjardins Online Brokerage is boosting access to education, having rolled out a number of educational initiatives for its younger clients, among others. The program features daily contents on economic and financial news and a newsfeed that provides real-time market updates.

During the first half of 2021, some 23,000 participants attended 120 webinars and seminars on topics like how the trading platform works and the various exchange-traded products available, the broker said, adding that the entire team is committed to simplifying access to the stock market and opening it up to everyone.

Desjardins Online Brokerage is part of the Desjardins Group, the largest federation of credit unions in North America and the fifth-largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $389.3 billion.

Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry. It offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms, and subsidiaries across Canada.

Desjardins started to roll out enhanced options for self-directed trading at a lower cost since 2018. The firm partnered with fintech Hardbacon to boost the capabilities of its online brokerage.

The partnership with Hardbacon gives clients access to stock and portfolio analysis tools on the fintech’s mobile app, as well as a six-hour online investment course.

According to a SOM1 survey commissioned by Desjardins, 28% of Canadians believe that responsible investment (RI) products provide lower returns than traditional investments.

The misconception is on the rise, from 16% in 2016 and 24% in 2018, the study found. The reality is that the average returns of RI funds matched or outperformed the average for all funds in each of the main asset classes, across all reference periods.

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