Featured Online Brokerage
Empowering Canadian investors during the industry’s largest surge in trading growth
I Christine Zalzal Senior Vice-President, Head of Qtrade® Investor and VirtualWealth® Christine oversees Aviso Wealth’s online brokerage and robo-advice businesses, with a focus on empowering Canadians with best-inclass wealth management choices. Under Christine’s leadership, Qtrade Investor has solidified its reputation as Canada’s best and most reliable online broker. Christine has held executive roles with several financial institutions, where she led product-line strategy, digital strategy, marketing and sales distribution for a wide range of products, including the online brokerage business of a big-five Canadian bank. Christine’s involvement in the community includes being a mentor with the Women in Leadership Foundation and a cabinet member for Women Against Multiple Sclerosis.
14 / SparxTrading.com
t’s been quite a year. Words like “unprecedented,” “unmatched” and “extraordinary” have been bandied about, but 2020 almost defies description. Trading volumes in the Canadian online brokerage industry doubled in the second quarter of 2020, the highest growth in its history. Qtrade® Investor was no exception; we saw account openings and trading volumes reach two to three times our normal trends. Of course, we’ve seen significant trading volume spikes before, like 20 years ago, when the tech bubble burst, or in 2008/9, with the global financial crisis. Then, as now, Canadians have been eager to take advantage of market volatility. The industry experienced a surge in growth in the spring of 2020 as Canadians responded to market volatility by opening online brokerage accounts. Qtrade Investor was well positioned to address online investor needs. We empower our clients with secure online access, a reliable technology platform and an award-winning customer service team, with which we extended service hours to handle the record volumes of client inquiries. Utilizing our robust educational resources and timely market commentary, our clients were able to navigate significant market volatility with greater confidence. In an environment with so many new investors, we also recognized that clients needed more tools to help them invest with confidence. In April, we launched new portfolio analytics tools – Portfolio Score™, Portfolio Simulator™ and Portfolio Creator™ – giving our clients unrivalled access to the most advanced risk analysis and portfolio-building technology in the Canadian online brokerage industry. As always, we’re committed to the continuous improvement and innovation of our platform to empower Canadians in their investment choices. The unprecedented surge in trading volumes and customer service inquiries put an incredible amount of pressure on Canada’s online brokerage industry. I’m proud of the Qtrade Investor team for keeping their focus on the client experience during these challenging times – all while transitioning to working from home.
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2021
At Qtrade Investor, we’re always looking for ways to create more value for clients, to provide innovative tools and resources that help them make investment decisions with confidence. A focus on the client experience drives our platform-design decisions, and that focus was top of mind when we integrated our new portfolio analytics tools into the Qtrade Investor platform. For do-it-yourself investors, knowledge is power. Qtrade Investor’s new portfolio analytics tools are a comprehensive set of risk analysis and portfolio-building tools that can help investors make informed investment decisions and manage their risk exposure as they navigate market volatility. Portfolio Simulator™ lets clients test investment scenarios in a simulator mode, to explore ideas and fine-tune their investment strategy. Portfolio Score™ provides a second opinion by grading a portfolio, helping investors understand their diversification and risk exposure and scoring selected securities across five key dimensions. If an investor is looking to build an ETF portfolio, with just a short series of questions, Portfolio Creator™ generates a portfolio, customized to their investing preferences, that will help them maximize risk-adjusted returns. In 2021, we’ll enrich the overall platform experience by adding guided how-to paths to walk investors through our platform. We’re also developing ways to achieve faster account opening, streamlining and automating our processes to get clients trading sooner. Enhancements to our existing interactive charting tools are planned for next year, so clients can make more-informed trading decisions. Qtrade Investor has won Best Overall Brokerage awards 22 times over the past 15 years, which reflects our commitment to continuous platform innovation and improvement, and our focus on the client experience. As part of that ongoing commitment, we’re interested in looking outside our industry at other sectors’ best-in-class online and customer experiences. I look forward to seeing how we might be able to adapt to better serve Canadian investors in the years ahead.