CIBC Investor's Edge is the least expensive of the brokers affiliated with the major Canadian banks, excluding National Bank Direct Brokerage and Desjardins Online Brokerage. Even if it doesn't offer free services like the two competitors mentioned above, CIBC Investor's Edge has no reason to be ashamed of its fee schedule. It's more than reasonable! 

Overall, CIBC continues to improve its mobile banking experience. Recently, CIBC was ranked number one among Canada's largest banks in terms of customer satisfaction with mobile banking by J.D. Power. Will this recognition inspire CIBC to further develop its online brokerage service? Let's look at CIBC Investor's Edge together.

How is CIBC Investor's Edge different from the competition?

CIBC Investor's Edge is somewhat different from other online brokers affiliated with the major Canadian banks in terms of pricing. The base commission is $6.95, a saving over the $9.95 often charged by these other banks. 

In fact, CIBC Investor's Edge ranks fifth in a list of 15 online investment platforms ranked by Surviscor based on the fees they charge their clients. Its 75% rating is still far behind National Bank Direct Brokerage‘s 95% rating, which sits atop the list.

Like the vast majority of its competitors, CIBC Investor's Edge provides screening tools to quickly filter through hundreds of stocks, reports from in-house CIBC World Markets and third-party research firms such as Morningstar and Thomson Reuters+, and access to advanced charting. 

However, clients do not benefit from a steady rollout of new features as is the case with smaller independent brokers. They do, however, enjoy the benefits of being in the fold of a large bank.

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There are some features that should be brought to your attention now.

An enhanced range of classic and advanced order types

Much like the online broker Interactive Brokers, Investor's Edge offers conditional trade orders that are more elaborate than the usual buy or sell orders. Typically used by experienced traders, these more aggressive orders are an additional tool for the investor looking to protect gains, limit losses or automate the trading of certain securities. 

CIBC Insights tool

When I heard about the capabilities of CIBC Mobile Banking's recently deployed CIBC Insights tool, a feature that uses artificial intelligence to help clients with their personal finances, I was hoping that the same breath of fresh air would blow through the Investor's Edge discount brokerage division.

Remember that a brokerage platform, or online or discount broker, allows you to manage your own investments in stocks, bonds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). There are several such platforms across the country and they compete fiercely for market share. This comparison tool will help you see at a glance.

Trading Central

Technical analysis enthusiasts can find new investment opportunities with Trading Central. You'll get information on technical events before the markets open with the morning newsletter.

The Knowledge Bank

Education is obviously very important when it comes to choosing an online broker. CIBC Investor's Edge offers a wide range of resources to help you develop your investing skills. Blog posts, video clips, virtual workshops and other tutorials help you master everything you need to know about the markets and how the platform works.

Does CIBC Investor's Edge have any weaknesses?

Any platform has weaknesses. The important thing is to assess your personal technology and service needs. For some investors, the following aspects are not problematic.

 A service that requires patience

The investment consulting firm Dalbar Canada undertook a study between January 19 and 22, 2021 to verify the quality of telephone service offered by Canadian brokers. Dalbar Canada representatives called each broker five times during normal business hours to assess the wait time for investors to speak with an agent. 

The industry average wait time was 92 minutes. CIBC came out on top with a respectable average response time of 101 minutes. The longest wait was nearly five hours. Virtual Brokers and Qtrade Direct Investing were the only brokers to have more than one call answered in the 10 minutes or less range. In contrast, another study, by the respected analytics firm Surviscor, found CIBC Investor's Edge to have a “poor level of service”.

Lack of tools to analyze performance

Improvements in this area are likely to be deployed in the near future, but for now, the lack of tools to analyze a portfolio according to the usual factors such as performance, risk and diversification are lacking.

What are the fees associated with using CIBC Investor's Edge?

The base fee is $6.95, a saving compared to the $9.95 fee charged by most other major banking institutions. Students, who are required to have a CIBC Smart Account, and active investors who execute more than 150 transactions in a quarter receive a commission of $5.95 and $4.95 respectively.

There is no annual account maintenance fee for the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) or Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). If you have a non-registered account, you will be charged $100 per year if your balance is less than $10,000.

Finally, for other registered plans (RRSPs, RRIFs, LIRAs and LIFs), the $100 per year account maintenance fee only applies if your account balance is less than $25,000.

CIBC Investor's Edge: What's the verdict?

One thing is for sure, the most recent aesthetic refresh of the web platform has done the trick. This update has been anticipated for some time. It's a shame that they didn't take the opportunity to add some new or third-party functionality: Investor's Edge needs to beef up the tools it offers to investors. 

However, with the large selection of analyst research reports available and a reasonable commission, CIBC Investor's Edge scores well, especially for existing CIBC clients, who can easily transfer funds from their bank accounts. However, be aware that you can get a trading platform with very similar features, but with lower fees and commissions.

What we like about CIBC Investor's Edge

  • Reasonable commission compared to other Canadian banks.
  • Market alerts that can be customized.
  • All of the account types typically offered by larger institutions are also available at CIBC Investor's Edge.
  • The option of a dividend reinvestment plan.
  • The generosity of the educational content of the platform.

What we don't like about CIBC Investor's Edge

  • Features that have not evolved in recent years.
  • Lack of tools to analyze portfolio performance.
  • No free ETF trading, neither buying nor selling.
  • The impossibility of creating a practice account.
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