One criticism: Customers only qualify for Active Trader Pro based on their level of trading. Low Mutual Fund Commissions. Boston Private Financial Warrants BPFHW. Adjusting Fewture and adding studies alongside company event data such as splits, dividends, earnings, and insider trades was helpful. We also considered the workflow for placing an order and managing an account.
An error has occurred and your email has not been sent. It has been a volatile ride for online investors this year. Watch offer entry to the markets. Click image to see how the brokers stack up in customer service. Illo: Carl Wiens for Barron's There is a bit of good—or maybe just less bad—news on security. The Identity Theft Resource Center identified data breaches in affecting million records. That was actually a tick less than the record breaches logged in Although the number of breaches may have peaked, they still occur far too frequently.
Sander Temme is a senior product manager at Thales e-Security, which recently won an industry award for the quality of its financial- and banking-security products. One of Featurr keys to its success, he explains, is the number of layers of security in place. And what about online brokers? Most brokers use overlapping systems, as Temme recommends, so that Watcnlist hacker would have to get through multiple levels of security in order to access customer data.
Platforms developed for very active traders and professionals still tend to focus on TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature desktop, but the rest of us increasingly place trades on phones and tablets. This past year saw expansion of mobile tools not only for placing trades, but also for researching complex options and monitoring portfolio performance.
Interactive TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature Group Inc. IBKRMerrill Edge, and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. AMTD —have even introduced apps for the Apple Watch. The convenience of mobile use, however, in some ways conflicts with investor worries about security. Mobile devices are smaller, lighter, and much more likely to be lost or stolen than a desktop. Then again, they actually offer some security advantages.
And you can ask the U. Can you save your favorite layout and have that follow you from your Featuree to your tablet? These creature comforts are important to us. Volatility and market stresses have tested the limits of quite a few brokers. Last August, as well as in mid-January, Watcjlist were several trading days in which so many investors tried to log on that online-broker systems slowed or even stopped functioning. That led to investor frustration and missed opportunities as the markets abruptly and TrareKing changed course.
But a few report that they can handle that load: Interactive Brokers, Lightspeed Trading, OptionsHouse, SogoTrade, TradeStation, and TradingBlock. NOW, TO THE RANKINGS. Charles Schwab decided to TradeKung its optionsXpress unit from the survey since all of the relevant tools have been incorporated into its flagship brand. Just2Trade, under its new owner, WhoTrades, returned to the survey after a couple years Featuure.
The brokerage operation of Livevol, which we reviewed last year, has been acquired by Lightspeed Trading, and Capital One ShareBuilder chose to take a break from competition while it rebuilds its site. In what has become an annual rite, we reached out to Vanguard Group, but once again, it chose not to participate.
Our primary consideration in judging these 16 firms is how they work for our readers, who are high-net-worth active investors. Customization, especially of reports, is a particular focus, as is the ability to move smoothly from idea generation to trade ticket. Which brokers made it to the top this year? The winner for the previous four years, Interactive Brokers, finishes a very close second, with OptionsHouse third.
Each has a particular set of strengths. We also show the brokers that were at the extremes when we calculated the monthly cost of trading for infrequent traders, as well as for those who trade multiple times per day. You can read about our methodology at Barrons. Many of the data points added this year were inspired by questions from our readers. Thanks for helping us out. Customers can see a summary of the price improvements their trades have experienced for their account, with TradwKing display of the number of orders that were improved, as well as the total amount for the month to date, year to date, and the past 12 months.
Each order that received price improvement for the previous six months can be listed and examined. During the wildly volatile and heavy trading volume in August and JanuaryFidelity. He notes that TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature Active Trader Pro invested heavily in technology and infrastructure duringincluding a move to a new data TradeKkng with state-of-the-art servers, nearly TradfKing its previous throughput levels.
Investing in the invisible back end makes the changes that Fidelity has introduced snap onto screens. In its online education center, the firm has made its content fully responsive to whatever device is being used. Its stock screener has evolved over the past year, and is visually engaging and easy to use. Rather than typing values into boxes, you can use slider bars to choose figures such as price or dividend yield. The exchange-traded-fund screener was based on the same framework TraceKing, like the stock screener, was designed with mobile devices in mind.
The stock-detail display has been updated to provide information as well as insight, including dividend analysis, earnings metrics, and social sentiment. The planning and guidance center has been redesigned and includes a Retirement Readiness score that may spur many investors into action. You can design a real-time alert based on technical data within ATP.
One criticism: Customers only qualify for Active Trader Pro based on their level of trading. Options-trading functionality has been enhanced, and those who trade multi-leg options will be pleased that the commission structure has changed so that there is only one base commission charge per trade. Most brokers charge the base commission for each leg of a multi-leg options trade, which can add significantly to the cost. The number of third-party providers seems to grow daily, and this feature makes it easy to find and compare services.
To support the use of an advisor or Watchlis service, you can partition your IB account TraddKing track the performance of each piece in real time using customizable portfolio-performance reports. IB continues to offer the widest access to international markets. There are also six commission-free international ETFs you can trade. You can become your own robo-advisor with the Portfolio Builder feature, which lets you select your holdings based on fundamental and TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature data, as well as ratings from 11 research providers.
You can back-test your strategy over four years to get a sense of how it will work. Enter the symbol for a mutual fund and the amount you want to invest, and the Replicator will present you with lower-cost ETF possibilities. The performance analysis includes the differences in annual expenses. The Web platform has been updated, and its interface is the same across all devices, and can be translated into several different languages, including Chinese.
The updated trade ticket lets you know, in plain English, what you will pay or receive once the order is executed. You can also create an alert from a trade ticket, such as a profit target TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature stop loss. The new Trigger Alerts feature lets you set up an order based on a particular market TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature.
You can, for instance, instruct it to buy shares of Once the trigger fires, you get an alert to send the order or ignore the message. This alert fires on all devices, including Apple Watch, though the firm warns you not to trade while driving. You can Watchlit a number of live Webinars, or view the archived ones on demand. OptionsHouse recently launched its dime buyback program to make it easy to close out a short options position.
Many traders wait for an option to expire worthless before opening a new position, but now they can get out without incurring a fee. You can benchmark your customized portfolio report against any index, security, or combination of securities. The brokerage is in the midst of shifting its mutual fund research from Lipper to Morningstar, and during the transition does not have a mutual fund screener.
The stock, ETF, and options screeners are flexible and come up with actionable ideas. StrategySeek, one of the options-scanning tools, is actually patent protected. Six online brokers earned four stars apiece in TD Ameritrade emphasizes mobile, in which it scored very high in our ranking. The firm reports that about a third of its daily customer logins happen on phones, tablets, and watches. User support can get tricky with all the devices supported, so last year TD added a feature that TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature it possible to chat with a representative directly on a mobile device.
You can share your display with the representative, who can guide you to the right function. TD Ameritrade offers a huge variety of platforms, including the downloadable thinkorswim TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature. For customers who use a variety of the platforms, though, almost everything syncs up, from watchlists to order entry preferences.
A second Web platform, TradeArchitect, straddles the line between the standard Website and the deep set of tools found on thinkorswim. Speaking of thinkorswim, there is a major remodel in progress, designed to make it much more customizable and easier to navigate. The broker points out, however, that frequent traders can negotiate their own rates, which can bring the costs Waychlist.
TradeStation has expanded its TradingApp store, which offers both proprietary and third-party add-ons to the platform. Some are Watchilst and some require either a one-time fee or a monthly subscription; these apps include analytics, trading strategies, and additional analysis tools you can use to personalize your platform. You can filter by a variety of metrics including the market value of the trade, and choose a list of symbols to track.
Fills that appear to be part of block trades, typically placed by institutional customers such as mutual funds, then flow onto the list. Big Stocm gives you a feel for which stocks might TdadeKing moving due to institutional activity. You can use that information to spark trading ideas. On the flip side, you can use one of the TradeStation trading algorithms to keep your large trades off the Big Blocker. The mobile platforms and Web trading allow complex options screening and trading. Fourteen multileg strategies are built into mobile, or you Watchliat create your own.
The alerting capabilities have been updated, including the ability to create an alert on a mobile app. This is a powerful and extremely customizable platform intended for the frequent trader. Merrill Edgewith its parent Bank of America, is positioning itself as a one-stop financial shopping center. The freebies do not extend to options trades, however. Merrill Edge features a long list of quality research content to its customers. There are 30 news providers available; you can select the ones you want to see under the news tab in the research center.
Frequent traders can use MarketPro, which contains several new options tools including OptionsPlay. MarketPro also has integrated the Recognia technical analysis tools. The platform and services offered by Merrill Edge are aimed at Feafure for life events, Frature as buying your first house, getting married, saving for retirement, and living in retirement.
The research and education content can be customized by answering a few questions about your current life stage, all of which has been optimized for mobile viewing. TradeKing offers great value, especially for those who trade options spreads. TradeKing offers two Web-based platforms, its flagship site at tradeking. For options traders, a probability calculator and several other tools have been created. Their functionality TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature been expanded to take into account existing positions when calculating potential profit and loss.
Upon launch, TradeKing Live features a dashboard, which can be personalized as desired. If your positions include a spread, you can quickly close it from the holdings page, or roll it to a future strike date from the options tools page. The tools section, which has been Frature focus of development, has expanded its charting offerings and added many new technical indicators.
TradeKing launched a professional platform, thanks to its acquisition of MB Trading last year. The platform enables you to trade futures as well as stocks and complex options using its extremely customizable TdadeKing. You can track your progress from either the Website or TradeKing Live. As it enters its pre-teen years, TradeKing shows signs that it is really growing up.
Charles Schwabhaving folded in almost all of the tools and technology from its optionsXpress platform, chose to go it alone this year. Schwab has improved speeds TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature its mobile browser it has observed about 20, downloads of apps per month. Using the mobile app, you can see market data along with some market movers and sector performance data prior to logging in. Schwab representatives envision a customer moving from checking on the markets via the mobile app to generating trading ideas on StreetSmart Edge, to researching individual stocks Wxtchlist Schwab.
The design of StreetSmart Edge is intended to reduce the number of mouse clicks between generating an Featute and placing a trade. All of the platforms, including mobile, feature the All-in-One Trade Ticket, Fexture is among my favorite pieces of trading technology. You can also use the Walk Limit order type for almost every order, which lets you test the market at various prices between the bid and the ask, automatically adjusting the price over time until it executes.
Schwab offers education, tools, and services intended to take an investor through a lifetime. There were significant upgrades to options tools, such as the Options Analyzer, which lets you explore a potential trade by dynamically editing a hypothetical scenario, such as expiry date, volatility, and other factors. The Strategy Optimizer displays options strategies that best fit your outlook, target price, and expiry date. Once you choose a strategy, a click of the trade button is all it takes to shoot it off to market.
You can also create your own custom screen. The charting experience in Pro has been updated to include Ichimoku clouds and a calculation of the volume-weighted average price. The latter is a tool used by buy-side traders and hedge TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature to ascertain price direction and overall volume. You can customize the widgets to reflect where you fall on the retirement timeline: starting to save, building your wealth, or living in retirement.
Lightspeed offers a lot of personal service along with low commissions, which can be negotiated even lower based on activity. Through a Lightspeed partnership with TradeIdeas, users are able to build and back test any strategy and automate it through the Lightspeed Featire. The platform is quite stable — and executes very quickly.
Scottrade adjusted its business model duringreorganizing to include banking services along with portfolio guidance. Stpck venerable Scottrade Website is turning its focus to guidance, building tools for long-term investors rather than frequent traders. Several new screeners have been added, along with lists of ETFs and mutual funds, which change monthly to help clients choose.
The firm also reworked and relaunched its active trader offering, Scottrade Pro, which is powered by Interactive Brokers and includes advanced tools for options traders and active equity traders. Another Web-based platform, ScottradeElite, allows trading from charts and technical events via Recognia. Sogotrade is working on updates to its Website TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature improve customer support and technology.
The firm added free access to ValuEngine research reports, the SogoTrade Morning Call, and the SogoPlay application, which provides options trading ideas. The mobile platform for iOS devices, SogoApp, is nicely customizable and is based on a platform originally designed for professional traders. SogoApp feels more modern than the Website, but is quite different.
The customers earn interest during the period that the stock is loaned out. Sogotrade offers Chinese language Websites and customer service. This is a deep-discount broker, and one that can save options traders in particular quite a bit Srock fees. The new design is very customizable and includes YouTube videos to show you how it all works. The order entry workflow is good — better than that of several brokers higher up in the rankings.
The portfolio analysis is very limited, but at these rates, you can afford to analyze elsewhere. Firstrade launched an active trading platform, Firstrade Navigator, in February that features streaming data and the ability to chart technical indicators. As you click on a ticker symbol, a new tab is created so you can quickly flip from one stock to another. Navigator has some intriguing features and we look forward to its ongoing evolution.
Firstrade is also participating in a securities lending program, and has many China-based customers. The firm plans to focus more attention on its mobile platform development. It is also making a foray into robo-advisory; we expect to hear more about that very soon. TradingBlock is planning to update its Website over the next year, and in the meantime has tools to help investment advisors manage multiple accounts.
Two of the tools built into the Website, TradeBuilder and Portfolio Hedger, are quite useful. They are ordered by their potential profit or loss and probability of breaking even. Investors can then compare Fature strategies to alternatives such as buying the stock long or selling it short. The Portfolio Hedger scans for options strategies to protect existing equity positions. These strategies can be ranked by cost or by upside potential.
TradingBlock is a little weak on the creature comforts and portfolio analysis, and does not have a mobile offering. Just2Trade has been relaunched and bears no resemblance to the previous platform. Customers who stuck with the site through some legal travails may have a rough time adapting to the new layout.
The range of offerings is fairly limited — no mutual funds, fixed income, or complex option trading. Research is virtually non-existent outside of quotes. And the platform itself is clumsy — new windows at times seemed to open randomly when we were clicking on news headlines, for instance. Some of the wording on the site seemed clumsy as well.
Trading Technology: This category represents the overall workflow for placing an order as well as the order-routing technology. We evaluated the quality of the data available prior to placing an order with an emphasis on streaming real-time data. We checked out the ways a trader is told that an order is executed, such as pop-up notices, an order-status update, or a text on a mobile device when the order fills.
We looked for prefilled order tickets when selling a position, which eliminates possible errors during the closing process. We also evaluated the options order-entry process, as well as mutual-fund, bond, and when available futures, commodities and foreign-exchange order-entry screens. Methods for placing conditional orders, such as one-cancels-another or one-triggers-another, were checked out. The availability of price-improvement strategies and TrradeKing routing technology which finds the best bid or offer is necessary to earn top ratings in this category.
Brokers offering price improvement -- a sale above the bid price, a buy below the offer -- received a fraction of a point depending on the portion of their transactions that benefited. Top marks were earned by brokers who offered a wide array of order types, and emphasized price improvement when routing orders.
The ability to Wachlist a trade from a TradeKing Stock Watchlist Feature earned a fraction of a point. In addition, we looked for ways to customize the trading TradeKong, such as setting a default number of shares or contracts, to speed order entry. The order entry-and-execution process must flow easily from one step to the next, with streaming real-time information including buying power and margin balance available when needed.
Points were deducted for internalizing a large number of orders as well as for order routing that emphasized payment for order flow. We looked at how easy it is to get started on the platform or Website as a new customer. Constant availability of a trading ticket, and easy access to research and account status data is key. Being able to easily switch from one area of the Website or program to another is important here, as are customization options.
The ability to quickly generate an order ticket from research pages without having to enter the symbol manually is also a key part of earning high marks for usability. Mobile: The availability and quality of mobile trading and account data are measured here, as TradeKng as education opportunities that you can take along for the ride. We looked for streaming real-time data, including charting and news. We looked for ways to trade stocks and options on your tablet or smart phone; the ability to trade other asset classes is a plus.
Cross-platform integration is key; when you set up a watchlist on your desktop, it should be available on your mobile device as well. We also considered the workflow for placing Stlck order and managing an account. Range of Offerings: We awarded points for the diversity of investments that can be traded online, with partial points given for those that can only be traded offline.
We asked brokers how many stocks, on average, their customers can sell short, and awarded up to a half-point based on their answer. Complex options trading, and the availability of mutual funds, bonds, futures, commodities and international trading were also considered. A 5 in this category means you can execute all of these transactions online. Research Amenities: This category measures the quality and accessibility of research, quotes and charting.
We take a long look at the available screeners, Watchilst points for the ability to customize a filter and generate precise and actionable results, such as adding to a watchlist or opening an order ticket. Brokers also won points for offering real-time streaming quotes at no additional cost, powerful charting capabilities, and Level II quotes.
Partial credit was awarded for features that generated an extra fee. Portfolio Analysis and Reports: The emphasis here is on clearly laid-out reports, updated in real time, showing current balances, positions and margin status. Customizable portfolio-analysis reports, with links to news and research, as well as extensive transaction history, are most desirable.
Tax reporting also falls in this category. Partial credit is awarded to brokers that populate services such as GainsKeeper and Maxit tax analysis and reporting programs for an additional fee. We also looked for ways that investors and traders can monitor their own successes and failures, to help them make better trades in the future. Customer Service, Education and Security: We sized up online help such as live-chat capability, user guides and frequently-asked-question files.
We took a look at the education offerings, both online and live. The ability to visit a broker in person is taken into account here. When it comes to security TradeKingg, we looked at whether a broker offers two-factor authentication, and checked out security measurement statistics for the Websites by third party evaluators. We also looked at the strength of TradsKing passwords each broker required, and whether password changes are forced from time to time.
Use of biometric identification on mobile devices is also considered. Costs: We looked at commissions for stock and options Featrue and margin interest rates, giving more points for lower costs. We scaled the points awarded so Watchlizt the lowest costs in the group earned the maximum number of points, with fractions and occasional zeros given to the more expensive brokers.
Stock and options commissions are the biggest factor here, but mutual-fund and other transaction fees are also considered. Wall Street's Best Minds. Read This, Spike That. Stocks to Watch Today. Asia Stocks to Watch. Ahead of the Crowd. Top Women Advisors. Top Independent Advisors. Recipient's Email Address Separate multiple address with commas.
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TradeKing Options Platform Tutorial and Review (Part 3)
OptionsHouse is fantastic for options trading, providing investors with industry-leading tools and extremely competitive commission rates. Vanguard review brokerage account rating, IRA investing, stock trading fees, mutual funds, minimums. Is it good firm? Cost, minimums. DEFINITION of ' Autotrading ' A trading strategy where buy and sell orders are placed automatically based on an underlying system or program. The buy or sell orders are.