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Jbay76 (< 20)

Investment Brockerage Firms



December 06, 2010 – Comments (8)

Hey Fooldom,


I am interested in knowing who uses what investment brockerage firm and why.  I am looking to end my relationship with MerrilEdge now that they are going to impose "maintenance fees" on a self-directed investment account.  As if all the other fees they charge me to buy and sell isn't enough.  So,  I have been looking at E-Trade, TDAmeritrade and Charles Swabb, though OptionsExpress just came into my sights not too long ago.


So any insight you may have and be willing to share would be greatly appreciated!


8 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 06, 2010 at 11:59 AM, Mary953 (84.16) wrote:

Scottrade is the one I use for my own trading but for heaven's sake, open a margin account.  Otherwise, just using tight stops to prevent loses can activate restrictions on your account.  This is not a big deal unless you start trading something like Apple, Netflix, or anything else that goes up and down in great leaps.  The information that they provide is good.  There is absolutely no guidance provided.  You must be able to check All or None on your orders or you may find that selling a lot of 100 has been divided up into 3 or more transactions and you have been charged separately for each.  (Several things can block the AON feature - odd lots, market orders, etc)

For a full service broker, visit and talk first.  Insure that you have a broker that will not take ANY action without your approval in advance - no churning just because you are in a specific "category" and the investments in that category changed out.  You may actually want this feature.  I do not, but I have seen what can happen in this situation and did not like it. 

If you have a retirement plan at work that has specific options available, you may want to talk to co-workers and perhaps HR.  There may be a broker or brokers who are especially familiar with the options that are available to your company.  This can be a tremendous help if you find someone that you enjoy working with.  I use Edward Jones because of this local familiarity, because of the good reviews from co-workers, and because the local agent is so excellent.  His most recent advice was to spend some money.  Get a new car, take a vacation, do something fun.  We have been on a very tight budget for several decades.  It was nice advice to hear and definitely unprecedented.

A downside for some would be this:  Edward Jones does not handle as large a group of fund families as some of the larger brokerage houses.  If you have investments in a certain fund and you want to keep them in those funds, check to see if the brokers you are considering handle them all.  Hope some of this helps.

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#2) On December 06, 2010 at 12:49 PM, MegaEurope (< 20) wrote:

I strongly recommend Interactive Brokers.  Trades as low as $1 (minimum $10 per month).  So if you do at least 12 trades per year they are one of the cheapest.  You also get the cheapest margin rates, free access to 30+ foreign markets and the best price execution on the planet (meaning, if you put in a market order it will probably get filled at a better price than other brokers).

The only thing they are not good for is mutual funds, the fees are quite high for that.

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#3) On December 06, 2010 at 12:54 PM, MegaEurope (< 20) wrote:

Correction: IB accounts can have direct access to 19 markets.

US, Canada, Mexico

Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK

Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, India (Indian nationals only)

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#4) On December 06, 2010 at 1:02 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

Thanks for all the input.  I'll mull it all over! =)

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#5) On December 06, 2010 at 2:57 PM, 100ozRound (28.59) wrote:

I use thinkorswim and I'm more than happy with their platform.  It's great if you trade options.

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#6) On December 06, 2010 at 4:09 PM, lemoneater (57.24) wrote:

I have Schwab. Their customer service has been very helpful whenever I have called.

I never get penalized for not trading. Some months I don't trade. When I do, the $8.95 fee is manageable.

I like the tools they have for making certain your portifolio is diversified. As a visual learner, pie charts and bar charts help. (Probably most brokerages help one analysis his portifolio at a glance, but I like how easy Schwab makes it.)

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#7) On December 06, 2010 at 6:36 PM, GenericInvestor (70.41) wrote:

i use optionshouse and ameritrade.

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#8) On December 07, 2010 at 9:11 AM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

Thanks everyone for your input.  I do not currently trade options, I am more of a buy and hold type of investor.  I actually have not had the time to learn about options trading, but am happy with what I do invest in at the moment. So, I will look into the various brockerage/platforms mentioned and do the math.



J =) 

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