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Discount Brokerage Firms

Joined
11 February 2007
Messages
1,210
Location
SF Bay Area
I'm thinking of transferring my account from Wells Fargo Advisors to another discount broker for better trading and research tools.

Does anyone here has experience with TD Ameritrade, Scotts Trade, Charles Schwab, E-Trade etc.?

Anyone tried Thinkorswim or Investools? I heard they are really advanced tools.

Thanks!
 
I use Charles Schwab for my self directed IRA. Trades are between $8-$12. What is funny, is most of my best performing stocks are rated "C" or "D" by Schwab. I have bought what they consider "A" rated stocks, but they didn't do too much.

I have friends that use TDAmeritrade & E-trade and they like the low fees.
 
Ameritrade. :biggrin:
 
I recently moved my brokerage account assets from Zecco to Scottrade so I just finished a bunch of research on the issue. I do not understand the logic of 20+ dollar trading costs (IMO there is none).

Yahoo finance has the same tools any broker does outside of a LVL2 window etc. I used to be a professional trader and do not see the advantage of the high priced brokers, for whatever that is worth.

Haven't been with Scottrade long enough to give a proper opinion but I can tell you they've been courteous and outgoing thus far.
 
I use Charles Schwab for my self directed IRA. Trades are between $8-$12. What is funny, is most of my best performing stocks are rated "C" or "D" by Schwab. I have bought what they consider "A" rated stocks, but they didn't do too much.

Remember that the Schwab grades are designed for people building retirement accounts - so, stocks that have guaranteed (but very slow) growth.

"C" and "D" stocks are riskier, but the market is growing at the moment, however slowly, so these will be on the upswing at the moment and outperforming the reliable ones... but that is temporary and you shouldn't bet your retirement on it.

For making fast cash in the meantime they can't be beat though. I love it every day Apple closes over 600.
 
I recently moved my brokerage account assets from Zecco to Scottrade so I just finished a bunch of research on the issue. I do not understand the logic of 20+ dollar trading costs (IMO there is none).

Yahoo finance has the same tools any broker does outside of a LVL2 window etc. I used to be a professional trader and do not see the advantage of the high priced brokers, for whatever that is worth.

Haven't been with Scottrade long enough to give a proper opinion but I can tell you they've been courteous and outgoing thus far.

I want better charting tool so I can see the candlesticks in real time. Yahoo finance is pretty good but charts are 1 day old.
 
I use Charles Schwab for my self directed IRA. Trades are between $8-$12. What is funny, is most of my best performing stocks are rated "C" or "D" by Schwab. I have bought what they consider "A" rated stocks, but they didn't do too much.

I have friends that use TDAmeritrade & E-trade and they like the low fees.

Do you buy/sell solely based on fundamentals or you also look at the technical side?
 
Remember that the Schwab grades are designed for people building retirement accounts - so, stocks that have guaranteed (but very slow) growth.

"C" and "D" stocks are riskier, but the market is growing at the moment, however slowly, so these will be on the upswing at the moment and outperforming the reliable ones... but that is temporary and you shouldn't bet your retirement on it.

For making fast cash in the meantime they can't be beat though. I love it every day Apple closes over 600.

Agreed, I have a good 15 years before I retire so I can take more risk. When I get closer, then I will change up the portfolio. I only play with 40% of my total account value buying stocks. The other 60% is in diversified mutual funds.

I sold my AAPL positions the other day. I am willing to sit out for a while to see how the stock price holds up.

I want better charting tool so I can see the candlesticks in real time. Yahoo finance is pretty good but charts are 1 day old.

I use yahoo finance also.

Do you buy/sell solely based on fundamentals or you also look at the technical side?

I look at whatever I can to make an informed decision. But it seems most of it is luck, based on how the market reacts to whathever report is published on a given day. I just try to limit my investment to any given sector so I don't get hurt too bad if one takes a hit.
 
I've been using Scottrade for over 20 years and they haven't made an error and have been able to answer all questions to my satisfaction. Highly recommend them :smile:.
 
I've been with Schwab since 1992 -- 20 years -- and in that time I've never had a bad experience with them. Even in the beginning when I was just starting out, they always treated me with professionalism, and patience, answering all my stupid questions, nicely explained in plain English.

On the other hand, I had a couple accounts with TD Waterhouse (since bought by Ameritrade), and they screwed up on a regular basis. Once they lost a deposit, and it took them nearly a month to find it. After they found it, they never apologized, nor offered to credit me any interest for the missing days (this was back when interest meant something), nor offered a couple free trades or something -- I mean, c'mon, you lost my money, throw me a bone or something. Closed out all those accounts and moved them to Schwab.

I also have a couple accounts at Vanguard. I'm not very active with them, but I have no complaints about their service.
 
I don't know which discount houses are best. There are plenty of primers well qualified here to help you decide. One thing I do know, is that all of these banks such as Wells Fargo, have other things on their minds. They have your "other" money (you know, the kind that you don't want to play around with), all under their roof and will ill-advise as to it's usage.

What has happened to the ordinary bank? Why can't you just go in and up to a teller to put your money in or take your money out without being lured over to an advisors desk? :confused:

Go with a discount broker.:wink:
 
What has happened to the ordinary bank? Why can't you just go in and up to a teller to put your money in or take your money out without being lured over to an advisors desk? :confused:

Those still exist. Except now they're called "credit unions" :cool:
 
Do you use Thinkorswim or Investools offered by TD Ameritrade?

I do not take investment advice from the site.

I do, however, utilize their trading tools: command center is a great all in one tool....my favorite.

They've botched trades for me before but have always made up for it. :biggrin:
 
Their research and tools suck, but Merrill Edge (Bank of America) gives you commission-free trades if you have over $25,000 in assets.

Warning though, they have some stupid rules that may prevent you from placing trades on some ETFs they consider very volatile. Their system wouldn't let me place any trades on USO.
 
Their research and tools suck, but Merrill Edge (Bank of America) gives you commission-free trades if you have over $25,000 in assets.

Warning though, they have some stupid rules that may prevent you from placing trades on some ETFs they consider very volatile. Their system wouldn't let me place any trades on USO.

You greedy oil speculator, you. :wink:
 
I just transferred my assets from Wells Fargo to TD Ameritrade. They offered me free trades and quite a bit education credits to attend their stock trading seminars.

So far I love the charting tool in Thinkorswim and I'm learning the Investool.

Sounds like Investool has some very powerful functionality such as money flow and trading indicators.
 
Update since I've been with Scottrade for a little while now and have done about a dozen trades.

First, their customer service is above expectations across the board. I received a courteous, professional phone call/email with status updates on my account transfer every couple days.

Second, without me even having to request it, Scottrade noticed I was charged a $50 account closure fee by my previous custodian and instructed me to fill out a document so Scottrade could reimburse me.

Lastly, I put in the ~50 or so GTC limit buys deep out of the money into their system yesterday (I keep these pending in case the market acts up, which it tends to do every year or so) and couldn't figure out how to structure preferred shares; i.e. WFC-J, WFC-PJ, WFC.J. I sent them an email about 8pm last night and received a concise response (it's WFCpJ) by 9am this morning.

Trading functionality is fine, nothing special. I don't need a LVL2 window to place buys for muni bond funds I plan on holding for 5-10 years.
 
Sahtt,

Since you used to be a professional trader, can you advise on if those trading classes worth the money? I received some credit to attend some class offered by Investools, some of the advance classes cost between $5-10K. There must be a reason for the high cost?

Thanks
 
Sahtt,

Since you used to be a professional trader, can you advise on if those trading classes worth the money? I received some credit to attend some class offered by Investools, some of the advance classes cost between $5-10K. There must be a reason for the high cost?

Thanks

I won't outright discount a program I am not familiar with, but I have never heard of a single documented case where classes like that paid off.

Always keep this truth in mind - although there are scalable methodologies that pay off consistently, 99.99% of professional traders take advantage of market opportunities with limited scalability. Say I locate an inefficiency and tell you about it; if there is 10 grand worth of profits there we will be fighting each other for it.

By this I mean if I provide you all the same tools I have, explain what to look for and how to take advantage of it in real time, I am flat out giving you some of my money. It is that simple.

I traded primarily closed end funds, berkshire hathaway (a shares and the b shares before they were converted), and preferred shares. You simply cannot get long 10,000+ shares of any of these (no more than about 6 shares of BRK.A and 75 of BRK.B when it was 2k a share) without taking massive risk - you cannot get in and out quickly enough to manage risk properly.

99.99% of successful traders focus on high reward, low risk "anomaly" trades. These are not easy to find. The only reason I learned to trade well was because the first firm I worked at gave you a monitor showing the other 200+ traders' activity (all but a few who had enough pull to stay off of it).

It is still extremely difficult to figure out why they were making the trades they were, but at least I could grasp the kind of trading tactics that worked and those that didn't. I got out of the game about a year and a half ago for a run of the mill finance job because the liquidity in what I traded dried up and the risk vs reward wasn't worth risking my capital anymore. I have a couple buddies in their 20's that have 7 figures in the bank and none of their strategies are truly scalable - i.e. by teaching you how to effectively trade like them, they are literally handing you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Lastly, a trader with an edge, sufficient capital, and a good risk management strategy he actually implements will make 5 figures a month. They aren't going to give up having no boss and no schedule for a teaching job. A washed out trader with no useful information might though :smile:
 
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Interactive Brokers here.

Cheap, cheap, cheap! $1 commission on up to 200 shares, 1-2% margin rate, similarly low fees on everything else. Their trading platform is incredibly fast; most of my trades execute before I've even released the mouse.

But they are only for the self-reliant experienced investor/trader/manager. All electronic, no paper at all, minimal support or research. They have a phone number, but don't expect the kind of coddling described above.
 
I'm not a pro, but I stay with Fidelity because i personally trust them to not intentionally go after my money in case of a major economic collapse. Fidelitys news and analysis seems to be decent and i don't listen to brokers for advise anyway. Their TraderPro software does way more than i care to understand. Now that the market is pretty much at fair value for the market in general, the risk reward for me looks very bad, so i'm almost totally out, and making no money of course. While volotility is low, the individual stock moves are flat brutal. Too much money chasing too few values IMO. The whole world is still leveraged to the hilt. I retired early two years ago to trade stocks from home. Momentum works when the trend is up, but other than that i can't find a strategy. Day trading can work but takes way too much time and effort. The market correlation (stocks all trading together) is still in the 70 plus %.
 
Tradeking
 
sahtt, why;d you leave zecco? i havent made a trade in a year and the small amount of $$ i do have is sitting as cash at zecco. good time to move if there are greener pastures elsewhere :)
 
sahtt, why;d you leave zecco? i havent made a trade in a year and the small amount of $$ i do have is sitting as cash at zecco. good time to move if there are greener pastures elsewhere :)

Rob,

The main reason I left was because of how Zecco handled the new SEC/FINRA requirements for registered reps. Since I have various securities licenses, brokerage firms have to handle me a little differently than the average Joe and it costs them a little extra.

The new financial legislation added to these costs. Zecco didn't feel like the number of professionals on their platform justified the additional expense, so they were trying to force me to state I was not a financial professional. I didn't feel comfortable with this and reached out to them. They were courteous and responsive but basically said "just do it, it's a compliance thing on our end and won't affect you in any way."

I could still access my account without agreeing to the new terms, but I couldn't place any trades except over the phone (which I never did). I told Zecco I'd give them until tax time to figure it out, but otherwise I was leaving.

I would still rate Zecco well and despite the odd securities I tend to purchase, I never had a single trading issue with them and their cost structure is phenomenal. If they didn't try to force me to accept the new terms for registered persons I'd still be there.
 
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