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Online Investors in it for the Long-Haul: RBC Poll

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TORONTO, July 12, 2011 — The vast majority (85 per cent) of online investors are using their online investing accounts for either long-term goals (opens PDF in new window) or a combination of long-term and short-term ones, according to the latest RBC Direct Investing poll (opens PDF in new window). Contrary to popular perception that many online investors are looking for quick financial gains, just nine per cent of Canadian online investors are seeking short-term profit through their online investing accounts.

"Our study confirms the trend we identified last fall: online investors are looking for more than just a quick buck," said Michael MacDonald, vice-president, Strategy, RBC Direct Investing. "This is why we introduced a goal-setting tool to help investors define their short and long-term goals and chart their progress toward achieving those goals."

The majority (73 per cent) of online investors (opens PDF in new window) have been investing for longer than three years and of these, 92 per cent are 36 years of age and older. The remaining 27 per cent have been investing for three years or less, with just over one-third (35 per cent) of these being 18 to 35 year olds.

The key challenges (opens PDF in new window) identified by those who are newer to online investing include:

  • not confident investing on their own (44 per cent)
  • little time to manage investments (40 per cent)
  • inadequate knowledge to manage investments on their own (38 per cent).

The poll also found that more than four out of five (84 per cent) of those newer to online investing use their online brokerage to gain investment knowledge. RBC Direct Investing has set up its website specifically to help online investors ramp up their knowledge.

"Those who are newer to online investing don't have to 'go it alone', particularly with the online tools and resources now available," added MacDonald. "Our Rep-Assisted screen-sharing gives clients a one-on-one phone guidance session; our Practice Accounts offer a no-risk way to test investing strategies. Convenience and ease of use continue to be at the heart of everything we make available to our online investors."

Fast Facts

Top reasons for opening an online account:

  • For convenience (96 per cent)
  • To have control over investments (95 per cent)
  • To gain cost savings on fees and commission (92 per cent)
  • To become a better educated investor (76 per cent).

Forty-nine per cent of married discount brokerage users report having completely separate investment accounts from their spouses.

In addition to consulting their online brokerage, men and women seek out online investing advice differently:

  • Men are more likely (69 per cent) to have consulted online resources
  • Women are more likely (32 per cent) to have consulted family or friends.

About the RBC Direct Investing Poll
TNS conducted a survey with users of discount brokerage services between May 13 and May 19, 2011. The survey was administered online to members of TNS Canada's online financial panel in English Canada and French Quebec, and supplemented with TNS Canada's regular online panel and the online panel of one of its partners. Respondents were screened to ensure that they were at least 18 years of age and had used an online brokerage service within the past six or twelve months. In order to ensure that the sample would allow for examination of younger discount brokerage users, quotas were set by age, as follows: 18-35 - 300 completions and 36+ - 300 completions. In total, 630 interviews were completed, 316 among those aged 18-35, and 314 among those aged 36+. At the tabulation stage, the data were weighted by age within gender to ensure that the completions reflect the universe of discount brokerage users in Canada.

About RBC Direct Investing
One of Canada's leading online brokerages, RBC Direct Investing is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC Direct Investing provides innovative tools and resources for investors who prefer to manage all or a portion of their investment portfolio. Clients have online access to their investments 24/7 and can choose from a broad range of investment products including stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds, GICs, and thousands of mutual funds. Online "Practice Accounts" and "Rep-Assisted" screen sharing, together with comprehensive learning resources, help give new online investors the confidence they need to get started. For new as well as seasoned investors who wish to speak to someone directly, RBC Direct Investing has an award winning team of investment services representatives available to respond to clients' customer service, account and trading inquiries. RBC Direct Investing is a member of The Canadian Investor Protection Fund. For more information, please visit www.rbcdirectinvesting.com.

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For more information, please contact:

Kathy Bevan, RBC Corporate Communications,
(416) 974-2727

Elyse Lalonde, RBC Media Relations,
(416) 974-8810