Brokerage survey: Which is best?

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    Posted: 20 October 2010 05:50 PM

    I wanted to ask everyone which broker you were using, and if you are happy with them. I’ve had Schwab for 20 years, and always liked their hybrid model of discount, self-service, but 24 hour access to a human rep. But a lot has changed in 20 years, and Schwab’s Street Smart Pro software, which I just started using yesterday, looks like it was written for Windows 98, and makes me feel like Bud Fox on a glowing green screen. Plus it has a minimum yearly trade requirement or minimum account balance or they charge for the software. Plus, they have no iPhone app, which is quite surprising to me.

    So, recommendations for a guy who wants the most tech options (good software, options-friendly, iPhone app, and anything else I overlooked that the informed trader needs), but 24 hour access to a human? Saving a couple of bucks on commissions isn’t really an issue.

    I didn’t include a poll since there are so many brokerages and didn’t want to leave any out.

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    Posted: 20 October 2010 06:13 PM #1

    JDSoCal - 20 October 2010 08:50 PM

    I wanted to ask everyone which broker you were using, and if you are happy with them. I’ve had Schwab for 20 years, and always liked their hybrid model of discount, self-service, but 24 hour access to a human rep. But a lot has changed in 20 years, and Schwab’s Street Smart Pro software, which I just started using yesterday, looks like it was written for Windows 98, and makes me feel like Bud Fox on a glowing green screen. Plus it has a minimum yearly trade requirement or minimum account balance or they charge for the software. Plus, they have no iPhone app, which is quite surprising to me.

    So, recommendations for a guy who wants the most tech options (good software, options-friendly, iPhone app, and anything else I overlooked that the informed trader needs), but 24 hour access to a human? Saving a couple of bucks on commissions isn’t really an issue.

    I didn’t include a poll since there are so many brokerages and didn’t want to leave any out.


    I use Fidelity and TDAmeritrade. The iphone apps for Fidelity/TD are easy to use and the rep told me(from Fidelity) I am not liable for any type of fraud. (Comforting) I have used many times BTW.

    If you switch to Ameritrade there is usually a signing bonus. Right now you can get up to $800 in Apple gift cards for a transfer over 300k. I already have an account with them and still sent me the offer, impressive.

    Best of luck.

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  • Posted: 20 October 2010 07:40 PM #2

    mbeauch - 20 October 2010 09:13 PM

    I use Fidelity and TDAmeritrade. The iphone apps for Fidelity/TD are easy to use and the rep told me(from Fidelity) I am not liable for any type of fraud. (Comforting) I have used many times BTW.

    If you switch to Ameritrade there is usually a signing bonus. Right now you can get up to $800 in Apple gift cards for a transfer over 300k. I already have an account with them and still sent me the offer, impressive.

    Best of luck.

    I’m in the market for a new broker as well.

    Ameritrade seems to have a $500 bonus right now for $250K balances. I don’t see an $800 gift card one (which would be better as I’m in the market for a new lappie).

    I have a Fidelity account as well, but not for trading. I should go back and look at their stuff more closely.

         
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    Posted: 20 October 2010 07:55 PM #3

    I’m wondering if the $300K is just cash, or equities?

    mbeauch - 20 October 2010 09:13 PM

    I use Fidelity and TDAmeritrade. The iphone apps for Fidelity/TD are easy to use and the rep told me(from Fidelity) I am not liable for any type of fraud. (Comforting) I have used many times BTW.

    If you switch to Ameritrade there is usually a signing bonus. Right now you can get up to $800 in Apple gift cards for a transfer over 300k. I already have an account with them and still sent me the offer, impressive.

    Best of luck.

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    We filed for over 200 patents for all the inventions in iPhone and we intend to protect them. — Steve Jobs, 2007

         
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    Posted: 20 October 2010 11:07 PM #4

    Hold on guys, I am going to call TD and see if I can give you guys the registration code on the back of the offer. :innocent:

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    Posted: 20 October 2010 11:43 PM #5

    OK, here goes. I called and they said you guys can use this code to get the $800 Apple card offer.

    73966307


    I actually got a bunch of stock and option trades for free just for telling them I wanted to give you guys this offer. Ameritrade has very good customer service.

    I must say, that was the longest I have ever been on the phone with a rep. Guess what? He was an Apple nut, owns a lot of the products, wants the new MB Air.

    Parameters, 75k or more $200, $150k or more - $400, $300k or more $800.

    The fine print on the back said it is not transferable, but the rep says it is OK.

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    Adversity does not just build character, it reveals it.

         
  • Posted: 21 October 2010 12:01 AM #6

    I have been with Schwab since before some of you were born.  They are capable, honest (as broker’s go), and provide outstanding service.  Their prices are good.  Financial stability is excellent.  The website is average.  They are very Windows centric, and despite years of complaints have not adopted Mac as an equal.  They still have no iPhone App after 3.5 years.

    Think or Swim is fabulous for options tools.  TD Ameritrade now owns TOS.

    Interactive Brokers is good for international and Forex.

    My good friend and neighbor has been with Fidelity forever and loves them.  From what I have learned from him over the years, they are similar to Schwab in quality, price, and size.  Not sure about financial strength.

         
  • Posted: 21 October 2010 12:40 AM #7

    mbeauch - 21 October 2010 02:43 AM

    OK, here goes. I called and they said you guys can use this code to get the $800 Apple card offer.

    Awesome. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this.

    I’ve heard some complaints about Ameritrade processing trades in a timely manner. Run into those things?

    I’m with Etrade and while they’ve been fine (suddenly I’m worthy of having a broker call me every month just to check in) I’ve been worried about their financial stability.

         
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    Posted: 21 October 2010 01:13 AM #8

    Johnsonwax - 21 October 2010 03:40 AM
    mbeauch - 21 October 2010 02:43 AM

    OK, here goes. I called and they said you guys can use this code to get the $800 Apple card offer.

    Awesome. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this.

    I’ve heard some complaints about Ameritrade processing trades in a timely manner. Run into those things?

    I’m with Etrade and while they’ve been fine (suddenly I’m worthy of having a broker call me every month just to check in) I’ve been worried about their financial stability.

    I hope you are happy. This is what the AFB is all about.

    I have no complaints with Ameritrade. Excellent customer service. Remember that volume has an effect on trades. I remember during the flash crash trying to execute a trade and it was slow to process. That was an unusual situation though.

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    Adversity does not just build character, it reveals it.

         
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    Posted: 21 October 2010 10:24 AM #9

    Johnsonwax - 21 October 2010 03:40 AM

    I’m with Etrade and while they’ve been fine (suddenly I’m worthy of having a broker call me every month just to check in) I’ve been worried about their financial stability.

    I’m with E*Trade since December 1999 and I’m quite happy with them. My demands are quite low: no hassles trading and decent research. They are quite ok with that.

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    Tightwad.

         
  • Posted: 21 October 2010 11:19 AM #10

    I am with etrade and just moved a sizable IRA account to Optionsxpress.  I like the Ameritrade offer so I sent a message to OX to see what they will do to keep me.  I received no promotions for transfer.  The service I would rate a C.  Etrade I would like to see more in regards to options trading but it works for what I do…..so far

         
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    Posted: 21 October 2010 01:56 PM #11

    I’ve accounts in eTrade, Fidelity, TD/ToS and Charles Schwab.  My feel is:

    eTrade - Good for trading shares with or without margin. Max account insurance is half a mil.
    Fidelity - Not as good as eTrade for trading shares and not as good as ToS for trading option.  Account is insured up to $150mil.  Commission is lowest.
    ToS - Superb option trading platform.
    Charles Schwab - Inactive like an old man :evil:.

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  • Posted: 21 October 2010 02:42 PM #12

    I’m very happy with E-trade after 7 years with them.  I also have an account at Hewitt (not by choice).  Hewitt has improved its services lately, but still they are pretty close to bottom of the barrel.  I spoke to “Chuck” back when I opened my initial IRA and started investing in AAPL in 2003.  They weren’t interested in anything under 6 figures.  Acted like I was bothering them.  I have never “bothered” them again, although I’m sure my account would pass muster now.

         
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    Posted: 21 October 2010 08:06 PM #13

    Great to hear all these responses, keep ‘em coming. I’m definitely thniking of TD.

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    We filed for over 200 patents for all the inventions in iPhone and we intend to protect them. — Steve Jobs, 2007