Recommended broker for options

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    Posted: 05 May 2011 06:51 PM

    I was just wondering what broker would you guys recommend?  Merrill Lynch has been good up to now, but I started looking at the stuff Thinkorswim has, and it looks really nice (one click call/put spreads, etc).  Is there anything else out there that is similar or better?

    Thanks in advance.

         
  • Posted: 05 May 2011 07:04 PM #1

    Thinkorswim (now part of Ameritrade) has a great UI and tools - fees are ok, not great but uk.

    Interactive Brokers has a java UI not for the faint of heart and VERY low fees. FYI that at IB you can’t buy options on margin, IB has very low margin interest rates so if you are holding stock, you can margin the stock for options—although margining AAPL options with AAPL stock is possible, things can get crazy very quickly on dramatic drops in stock price since you lose margin power on the stock, value on the stock AND value on call options.

    Schwab just bought Options Express (which I have no experience with, but many others use).

         
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    Posted: 05 May 2011 09:59 PM #2

    I have both Ameritrade and Fidelity and TD Ameritrade is by far my favorite.

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  • Posted: 05 May 2011 10:42 PM #3

    mbeauch - 06 May 2011 12:59 AM

    I have both Ameritrade and Fidelity and TD Ameritrade is by far my favorite.

    I have switched several from many different brokers to OptionsXpress.  Their pages are clean, the site is easy to navigate, and order setups are a breeze.  They are always looking for customer suggestions to make their service better, and recently implemented a suggestion I made.  OX just merged with Charles Schwab.

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  • Posted: 05 May 2011 10:53 PM #4

    Gregg Thurman - 06 May 2011 01:42 AM

    I have switched several from many different brokers to OptionsXpress.  Their pages are clean, the site is easy to navigate, and order setups are a breeze.  They are always looking for customer suggestions to make their service better, and recently implemented a suggestion I made.  OX just merged with Charles Schwab.

    Greg, does the OptionsXpress platform run on OSX, or do you have to run under VMware or boot Windows?  And what about iOS?

    Two of the many things I like about ThinkOrSwim are the nice iPad App and that their main platform runs under OSX.

         
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    Posted: 05 May 2011 11:18 PM #5

    capablanca - 06 May 2011 01:53 AM
    Gregg Thurman - 06 May 2011 01:42 AM

    I have switched several from many different brokers to OptionsXpress.  Their pages are clean, the site is easy to navigate, and order setups are a breeze.  They are always looking for customer suggestions to make their service better, and recently implemented a suggestion I made.  OX just merged with Charles Schwab.

    Greg, does the OptionsXpress platform run on OSX, or do you have to run under VMware or boot Windows?  And what about iOS?

    Two of the many things I like about ThinkOrSwim are the nice iPad App and that their main platform runs under OSX.

    what I just noticed about my TOS account is that it is delayed by 20 minutes..  is this the way this is?  or can you pay for premium service that gives you streaming qoutes..

    See..  I do all my ‘work’ @ trademonster, and I only place my orders in TOS, or Scottrade, or OptionsHouse..  and soon to be SogoTrade again now that they have IRA’s..  they never had those before.  They have $3 stock trades and $5 options.

    I’m going to get a TradeStation account though soon.. I’m opening one for my business.  I have a feeling that between TradeMonster (whom I don’t place trades in because they are $26 roundtrip to trade options) and TradeStation, I think I"m going to be pretty much set…  but that’s just a ‘feeling’..

         
  • Posted: 05 May 2011 11:18 PM #6

    mbeauch - 06 May 2011 12:59 AM

    I have both Ameritrade and Fidelity and TD Ameritrade is by far my favorite.

    Agreed.  I quit Fidelity after they TWICE failed to process the paperwork enabling option trading, making me miss what would have been a very profitable trade. 

    No complaints with Ameritrade.

         
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    Posted: 05 May 2011 11:21 PM #7

    mjuarez - 05 May 2011 09:51 PM

    I was just wondering what broker would you guys recommend?  Merrill Lynch has been good up to now, but I started looking at the stuff Thinkorswim has, and it looks really nice (one click call/put spreads, etc).  Is there anything else out there that is similar or better?

    Thanks in advance.

    I’d recommend using TradeMonster.com

    you can use the platform on the virtual trading and then place your orders on a different platform..  it’s as easy as a quick “ALT+TAB” on the only ‘Google-Machine’..  and yes..  I rock a Windows computer..

    I’m not paying that much money for a computer (apple) until I can wipe my but with $100 bills and not feel like I’m wasting money…

    I digress…

    You can place your orders via Trademonster of course, but they cost $12.95 in, and $12.95 out..

    plus contract cost, which is $.50/each (i think)

         
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    Posted: 06 May 2011 12:10 AM #8

    Blaze, you have me scratching my head on your problems with TD. You made need to download the level 2, but I can assure you that their system is real time and execution is fast. (much faster than Fidelity)

    I don’t want you to divulge $$$$ amounts, but my option fees are nothing compared to what you are saying. I think there used to be a $ amount for all the features and pricing scale. TD has been so good to me I can’t begin to really do it justice. They have given me cash, VISA cards just for taking surveys, free trades, free option trades, etc….....

    Blaze, I called them up and told them I had 2 people that wanted to transfer funds and they gave me even more trades. The customer service is also very good. I even have a broker that checks in on occasion. Good people.

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    Posted: 06 May 2011 12:52 AM #9

    mbeauch - 06 May 2011 03:10 AM

    Blaze, you have me scratching my head on your problems with TD. You made need to download the level 2, but I can assure you that their system is real time and execution is fast. (much faster than Fidelity)

    I don’t want you to divulge $$$$ amounts, but my option fees are nothing compared to what you are saying. I think there used to be a $ amount for all the features and pricing scale. TD has been so good to me I can’t begin to really do it justice. They have given me cash, VISA cards just for taking surveys, free trades, free option trades, etc….....

    Blaze, I called them up and told them I had 2 people that wanted to transfer funds and they gave me even more trades. The customer service is also very good. I even have a broker that checks in on occasion. Good people.

    hmm..  I didn’t know there was a level 2..  although keep in mind that I only place trades there, I do all the ‘work’ @ trademonster.

    I will look into the level 2 thing..

    EDIT: Mark..  it is $26 roundtrip @ trademonster…  I didn’t mention a price for TD..  TD is $20 roundtrip for me.  I got the 500 free trade deal right now.  I just opened a business account..  I don’t know if that’s why I got 500.  I thought I was only getting 100.  I need to check if it’s for 30 days or 60.. not sure.

    [ Edited: 06 May 2011 12:54 AM by blaze biscuits ]      
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    Posted: 06 May 2011 01:01 AM #10

    mbeauch - 06 May 2011 03:10 AM

    Blaze, you have me scratching my head on your problems with TD. You made need to download the level 2, but I can assure you that their system is real time and execution is fast. (much faster than Fidelity)

    I don’t want you to divulge $$$$ amounts, but my option fees are nothing compared to what you are saying. I think there used to be a $ amount for all the features and pricing scale. TD has been so good to me I can’t begin to really do it justice. They have given me cash, VISA cards just for taking surveys, free trades, free option trades, etc….....

    Blaze, I called them up and told them I had 2 people that wanted to transfer funds and they gave me even more trades. The customer service is also very good. I even have a broker that checks in on occasion. Good people.

    Mark..  TD has dividend reinvestments I would imagine right? 

    I only trade in my TD account..  no dividend ‘action’.  I’m going to start buying dividend paying stocks and reinvested the dividends.  Starting with my current favorite stock:  AVP. 

    I’m so happy that Avon is catching all this crap about briding people overseas..  go ahead and sell it off some more please.  And who sells on that news?  I don’t understand some actions I see..  maybe there is some rhyme and reason to it..

    I’m HAPPY that they bribe people..  because that is how you get *(** DONE in some countries, and if they didn’t do that they would lose business to all the other companies that do bribe.  We are so ethnocentric here..

         
  • Posted: 06 May 2011 01:59 AM #11

    capablanca - 06 May 2011 01:53 AM
    Gregg Thurman - 06 May 2011 01:42 AM

    I have switched several from many different brokers to OptionsXpress.  Their pages are clean, the site is easy to navigate, and order setups are a breeze.  They are always looking for customer suggestions to make their service better, and recently implemented a suggestion I made.  OX just merged with Charles Schwab.

    Greg, does the OptionsXpress platform run on OSX, or do you have to run under VMware or boot Windows?  And what about iOS?

    Two of the many things I like about ThinkOrSwim are the nice iPad App and that their main platform runs under OSX.

    I use OptionsXpress on my Mac.

         
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    Posted: 06 May 2011 02:22 AM #12

    in terms of commission fees, IB is good.  note that order cancellation/change fees can start to add up though.

         
  • Posted: 06 May 2011 03:47 AM #13

    capablanca - 06 May 2011 01:53 AM
    Gregg Thurman - 06 May 2011 01:42 AM

    I have switched several from many different brokers to OptionsXpress.  Their pages are clean, the site is easy to navigate, and order setups are a breeze.  They are always looking for customer suggestions to make their service better, and recently implemented a suggestion I made.  OX just merged with Charles Schwab.

    Greg, does the OptionsXpress platform run on OSX, or do you have to run under VMware or boot Windows?  And what about iOS?

    Two of the many things I like about ThinkOrSwim are the nice iPad App and that their main platform runs under OSX.

    OX is platform agnostic, and is very happy with Safari.

    I trade a lot and that means my charges are 9.99 trade (includes 10 contracts.  I pay 99? for each additional contract.  There are no cancellation or change charges.

    I also have the flexibility to choose the exchange I want to execute my trade, but have chosen best price available.

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  • Posted: 06 May 2011 06:26 PM #14

    http://images.optionsxpress.com/static/pdf/day_trading_disclosure.pdf

    Anyone had problems with this?  I funded a separate day trading account, as I want it to be separate from other funds.

    No purchases have used margin and I’m only long calls/puts or spreads with no requirements.

    Advice?  Switch brokers?

         
  • Posted: 06 May 2011 07:07 PM #15

    iant - 06 May 2011 09:26 PM

    http://images.optionsxpress.com/static/pdf/day_trading_disclosure.pdf

    Anyone had problems with this?  I funded a separate day trading account, as I want it to be separate from other funds.

    No purchases have used margin and I’m only long calls/puts or spreads with no requirements.

    Advice?  Switch brokers?

    Yes I have.  The point is that your transactions haven’t cleared until after the close of business.  Therefor the funds/profits you generated with your day trade aren’t really yours to trade again until the following day.

    With the $25,000 cash balance in your day trade account, the online broker can exercise your trades without waiting for them to clear.

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