Stock trading and brokers
From real-time streaming quotes to last sale tickers, quality stock scanners, mobile trading apps, and level II quotes to name a few. Strong tools are essential for active investors.
Account Minimums Some brokers allow you to open an account with no minimum deposit while others may require several thousand dollars.
Also know that some brokers require higher minimums to gain access to premium platforms, functionality, and personalized support. Market Research A good online broker will provide a variety of market research tools.
The rule of thumb here is simple: Investment Options A online stock broker should offer access to not only trading stocks, but also a strong selection of no load mutual funds, commission free ETFs, and complex options. Other unique investment offerings to look for could include direct market routing, conditional orders, futures trading, and forex trading. Other Fees Fees beyond trade commissions include inactivity fees common with active trading brokers such as Interactive Brokers, Lightspeed, and TradeStation and IRA fees for having a retirement account.
Just like a bank account, stock brokers also make a portion of their profits off miscellaneous fees. There is no reason why you should pay an annual fee to have an retirement account. If managing your own portfolio is not of interest, all full-service brokers offer optional advisory services as well. Furthermore, robo-advisors such as Betterment are growing in popularity. Once again, the experience at larger established brokers is going to be superior to smaller brokers.
Banking Larger online brokers offer banking and other financial services. This goes beyond money market accounts and CDs. Checking accounts, mortgages, debit cards, and credit cards can also be offered. The leader in this space is, hands down, Bank of America Merrill Edge.
Account Security Because of the web today, all online brokers invest heavily into account security. Just like shopping online and choosing a trustworthy website to purchase from, the best bet is to choose a well-known, established broker for your portfolio.
To understand Order Execution, read this guide. International Trading For investors in the United States this is not a problem but for investors living outside the US, when comparing brokers it is important to make sure they offer service in your country.
If you need help deciding which broker to choose or have a broker specific question please feel free to email me and I will be happy to help. To view star ratings, summaries, screenshots, and more for these brokers, see our stock broker comparison tool. A discount broker or an online broker is a firm that charges a relatively small commission by having its clients perform trades via automated, computerized trading platforms rather than by having an actual stockbroker assist with the trade.
Most traditional brokerage firms offer discount options and compete heavily for client volume due to a shift towards this method of trading. Other ways to lower costs for these brokers is by executing orders only a few times a day by aggregating orders from a large number of small investors into one or more block trades which are made at certain specific times during the day.
They help lower costs in two ways:. Since investor money is pooled before stocks are bought or sold, it enables investors to contribute small amounts of cash with which fractional shares of specific stocks can be purchased. This is usually not possible with a regular stockbroker. Many broker-dealers also serve primarily as distributors for mutual fund shares. These broker-dealers may be compensated in numerous ways and, like all broker-dealers in the United States, are subject to compliance with requirements of the US Securities and Exchange Commission and one or more self-regulatory organizations , such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority FINRA.
The forms of compensation may be sales loads from investors, or Rule 12b-1 fees or servicing fees paid by the mutual funds. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Comparison of online brokerages in the United States. Retrieved 10 October British Columbia Securities Commission.