CIBC Investor's Edge Review
DIY online investment platforms have taken off over the last decade. Reliance on in-person portfolio managers (and their high fees) has been dropping off as investors embrace lower fees and management of their own portfolios. CIBC Investor’s Edge is one such self-directed online platform. Read on to discover whether CIBC Investor’s Edge is a good choice for your investing needs.
In This Article:
What Is CIBC Investor’s Edge?
CIBC Investor’s Edge is a discount online investing platform operated by CIBC Investor Services Inc., a subsidiary of CIBC bank. Because it’s operated by one of Canada’s big 5 banks, rather than an independent financial services company, CIBC Investor’s Edge enjoys name recognition and a solid reputation as an institution that Canadians can trust.
The investment platform is intended for people who want to make their own investment decisions and manage their own portfolios without a lot of hand-holding. With its low fees and comprehensive tools and resources, the CIBC Investor’s Edge platform is also designed with beginner investors in mind and aims to make the process of investing as easy as possible.
What Does it Offer?
CIBC Investor’s Edge offers a wide array of registered and non-registered investment accounts. Among non-registered accounts, you can choose from individual, joint or corporate cash accounts. Non-personal accounts include corporate or partnership, investment club, formal trust, and estate accounts. CIBC Investor’s Edge registered account selection includes Tax-Free Savings Accounts, Registered Retirement Savings Plan accounts, Locked-In Retirement accounts, Registered Retirement Income Funds, Prescribed Retirement Income Funds, and even Registered Education Savings Plans.
CIBC Investor’s Edge investors can select from a wide selection of investment products, including stocks, ETFs, options, fixed-income investments (e.g. GICs and bonds), and mutual funds.
How Does It Work?
To use CIBC Investor’s Edge, you simply open an account online and choose what account type you want, like a registered account such as a TFSA or RRSP, or a non-registered personal account. You then fund your account by selecting the ‘Cash Transfers’ option to transfer funds from a CIBC bank account into your CIBC Investor’s Edge account. You can also transfer funds or securities from a different financial institution to your CIBC Investor’s Edge account. You can then access educational resources to learn about investing, or if you’re more experienced, you can just start trading. CIBC Investor’s Edge offers lots of videos and tutorials on how to use the platform, as well as on things like how to make your first trade and more advanced subjects like short selling stocks, dollar-cost averaging, and more.
Fees and Commissions
Among Canada’s Big Five banks, CIBC Investor’s Edge has some of the lowest trading fees. To buy Canadian and U.S. equities, which includes stocks, ETFs, and other securities there is a flat fee of $6.95 per online trade. Options cost $6.95 per online trade + $1.25 per contract. CIBC Investor’s Edge offers a discounted price of $5.95 per online trade for students (but you must have a CIBC Smart™ Account for students to be eligible for the discount).
They also offer Active Trader Pricing for those who make more than 150 or more trades per quarter. Note that you must enroll as an active trader to be eligible for the discounted rate. The fee for active traders is $4.95 per online trade (and $4.95 + $1.25 per contract when trading in options). There are no commission charges when trading mutual funds. For non-registered accounts, the margin rate for debit balances is 4% for CAD accounts and 4.5% for USD accounts. For a registered account, the margin rate for debit balances is 5% for CAD accounts and 5.5% for USD accounts. CIBC Investor’s Edge charges a minimum commission of $50 if you place a trade order by phone.
Though there are no account minimum balances or minimum trades required with CIBC Investor’s Edge, if your non-registered account holds $10,000 or less, you’ll be charged an annual fee of $100. For most registered accounts of $25,000 or less, there is an annual fee of $100 (though the fee does not apply to TFSA or RESP accounts).
Young investors 18 to 24 can trade stocks and ETFs online – all for free. Save on the regular rate with unlimited free online Canadian and U.S. stock and ETF trades and a $0 annual account fee with no minimum balance. Step 1: Open a CIBC Smart™ Account with CIBC Smart™ Start Step 2: Open a CIBC Investor’s Edge Account and choose from TFSA, RRSP and non-registered accounts. Terms and conditions apply.
CIBC Investor’s Edge Features
CIBC Investor’s Edge has a variety of helpful features that are designed for both beginner and experienced investors:
- Watch Lists: You can build up to 20 customizable lists that will help you track your portfolio, monitor stocks, and get real-time quotes
- Market Report: Free daily email that gives you actionable ideas to make informed trading decisions
- Morning News Call: Daily email that delivers the latest market information and displays a range of market and sector-specific information regarding things like U.S., European and Asian companies, the global economy, emerging markets and more
- Alerts: You can set up alerts to track price movements and news announcements
- Charts: The platform features advanced charting that follows numerous indicators and studies which can even be customized to match your needs
- Cash transfers: You can set up recurring cash transfers from a bank account to your CIBC Investor’s Edge account
- Interactive resources: CIBC Investor’s Edge offers extensive resources like how-to guides and videos, webinar replays, and tutorials on trading.
- Research reports: Take advantage of reports from CIBC World Markets Inc. and respected third-party sources that give investors of all levels insights to evaluate companies and equities
The Mobile App
Though the CIBC Investor’s Edge app had a reputation in the past as outdated and unresponsive, it has recently been updated. The mobile app, which is called CIBC Mobile Wealth, is available for both Android and iOS. The app is relatively clean and concise and allows you to do pretty much everything you need. You can make trades, monitor your stocks, or create a regular investment plan. You can even put in buy or sell orders for bonds and GICs and you can view New Issues and IPOs.
The app gives you detailed information about your accounts, including daily change values, book values and gains or losses. You can also use customizable charts to review stock performance and trends. Your e-documents are also available so you can see your trade confirmations, account statements and tax documents. With the CIBC Mobile Wealth App, clients can access their CIBC Investor’s Edge, CIBC Imperial Investor Service, CIBC Wood Gundy and CIBC Private Investment accounts. Note, however, that despite the recent update, the app only has an overall review of 3.6 in Google Play at the time this is written and there are many reviews in the last two months that discuss a lack of responsiveness, frequent freezing and poor customer service within the app.
Pros & Cons
Pros of CIBC Investor’s Edge
- Lots of free investing tools, educational resources, webinars and more
- Subsidiary of a reputable Canadian bank
- Wide range of investments and account types
- Has lower trading fees than the other big bank online trading platforms
- Student and active trader discounts
- No minimum investment needed
Cons of CIBC Investor’s Edge
- Fees are still higher than many other discount trading platforms
- No free ETF trades
- Inactive account fee of $100 for accounts that don’t hold the minimum required amount
- Reputation of difficult to reach customer service
How Does It Compare
|CIBC Investor's Edge||Wealthsimple Trade||Questrade|
|Fees||$6.95 for online trade in equities and ETFs; possible student discount of $5.95 and active trader discount of $4.95||No fees aside from foreign currency conversion fee of 1.5%||Range from $4.95 up to $9.95 but buying ETFs is commission free|
|Account Types||Impressive range of accounts like an RRSP, RESP, margin account, corporate investment accounts, LIRA, LIF, TFSA and more||TFSA, RRSP or a personal investment account||Impressive range of accounts like an RRSP, RESP, margin account, corporate investment accounts, LIRA, LIF, TFSA and more|
|Investment Types||Wide range, including stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds and GICs||Only U.S. and Canadian stocks and ETFs||Wide range, including stocks, equities, international equities, options, precious metals and more|
To get a real sense of CIBC Investor’s Edge’s attributes and whether or not it’s right for you, it’s a good idea to compare the platform to a couple of its competitors like Wealthsimple Trade and Questrade.
Wealthsimple Trade is a discount online trading platform whose main selling point is that it offers commission-free trading. While its lack of fees obviously means that Wealthsimple Trade comes out on top for fees, it doesn’t offer anywhere near the same variety of accounts or investment types as CIBC Investor’s Edge does (you can only buy and sell stocks and ETFs with Wealthsimple Trade). Wealthsimple Trade has much fewer bells and whistles in terms of educational resources as well, though its elegant and colourful trading app is much more engaging and easier to use than CIBC Investor’s Edge. In fairness, however, the Wealthsimple Trade app is more user-friendly because it just doesn’t have all the features that CIBC Investor’s Edge does. One area where Wealthsimple Trade outshines CIBC Investor’s Edge is that Wealthsimple Crypto shares the platform as well, so it’s very easy for investors using Wealthsimple Trade to access if they are interested in buying crypto assets.
Questrade is one of the most popular discount online trading platforms in Canada. It has many more investments and account types than Wealthsimple Trade, making it a more accurate comparison to CIBC Investor’s Edge. Much like CIBC Investor’s Edge, with Questrade, clients can buy and sell a myriad of investment products like mutual funds, options, bonds and IPOs, international equities, and precious metals. Questrade also has a comprehensive selection of investment management and research tools, including real-time quotes. In a head-to-head comparison, CIBC Investor’s Edge does give clients access to a larger array of investment tools and educational resources because it’s backed by a Big Five bank. Unlike CIBC Investor’s Edge, Questrade requires that clients have a minimum of $1,000 in their account to start investing. Where Questrade really shines in comparison to CIBC Investor’s Edge is with its fees. Questrade’s fees for buying and selling stocks start as low as $4.95 (up to $9.95), which can add up to big savings for people who make a lot of trades but would not trade quite enough to reach the 150 trades per quarter threshold needed to qualify for CIBC’s discounted Active Trader status. Furthermore, Questrade also offers commission-free ETF purchases (with a fee ranging from $4.95-$9.95 for selling), while Investor’s Edge charges $6.95 every time you buy or sell an ETF online.
Who Is CIBC Investor’s Edge Best For?
CIBC Investor’s Edge is best for traders of all levels (including students) who are looking for a trading platform with lots of educational resources and tools. It’s ideal for those who are willing to pay somewhat higher fees in exchange for extra resources and want a platform that is connected to one of Canada’s big five banks.