Choosing a Broker

broker

Full-service or Online Broker?

The choice between a full-service and an online broker depends in large part on the complexity of the trading you plan to do, your level of experience, and the amount of time you prefer to spend managing your money.

Almost any online discount brokerage — and all of those named below — easily handle trades of U.S. exchange-listed stocks. In general, commissions will be significantly lower with an online broker. Most will also have a knowledgeable agent who can help you with a complex trade or dig up shares to sell short. Many investors just prefer controlling the entire trading process themselves online and having the ability to place trades whenever they want.

Until recently, most online providers made it very difficult or impossible to trade Canadian and other foreign stocks. But that situation is quickly changing. Below you will find a list of the best-of-breed online brokers with low commissions, easy-to-use tools, and great international trading support.

Note that most online brokers won’t be able to support warrants or physical certificates. And for many thinly traded stocks, just because you can trade them online doesn’t mean you should. If you know an online broker is right for you, jump straight to the online broker recommendations.

For many investors, a full-service broker provides the convenience and security of knowing a professional is handling your trades and that they will help you get the best price and avoid common mistakes.

For larger accounts with lots of positions, especially in thinly traded stocks, or for anyone who will be dealing with warrants or private placements (which are actively tracked in our alert services), we highly recommend using a full-service broker. The more money you have on the table, the more important it is that you work with a broker who will give you good advice and buy and sell at the best time, at the best terms. At The Money Street we’ve worked with many full-service brokers over the years, and below you’ll find a list of our favorites.

So, which to use: full-service or online? For most investors, a combination is usually the best way to go. Take advantage of instant access and low fees to make small trades of thin stocks or to buy and sell larger-volume investments online. Turn to a full-service broker for thinly traded stocks or more complex transactions.

Below are our impartial recommendations, based on the collective experience of our staff and colleagues. Neither The Money Street nor its employees receive fees, commissions, or remuneration of any kind as a result of providing these recommendations.

Full-Service Brokers

Sprott Global Resource Investments Ltd.
Rick Rule or Jeff Howard
Toll-free: 800-477-7853
Direct: 760-943-3939
First Securities Northwest
Ben Johnson or JD Duyck
Toll-free: 800-547-4898
Direct: 503-723-4404

Online Brokers

Generally speaking, with an online account you’ll pay lower fees and commissions than you would on similar trades transacted at a full-service firm. Paying lower commissions is especially important for those who are not starting with a large dollar amount or who are active traders.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, a good online brokerage will give you all the tools you need to do your own research, as well as the ability to place orders whenever you choose.

Here are our top recommendations:

scottrade_img

For more than 30 years, we’ve helped our clients reach their financial goals. From tools for self-directed investors to sophisticated portfolio management from Scottrade Investment Management™, we have a solution for you.

Commission Schedule

Online trades
Market/Limit Orders $7

Touchtone Phone
Market/Limit Orders $32

Broker Assisted
Market/Limit Orders $32

Account Minimums

Cash Account
$2,500

Margin Account
$2,000

Retirement Account
$0

Account Features

Online Banking
Mobile Trading

Global Trading on Foreign Exchanges
Options1
Mutual Funds
Dividend Reinvestment
Local Offices
Broker Assisted Trades

Tools/ Research

Scottrade® Mobile App
Our mobile app offers online research, trading and banking in a sleek, intuitive design. Details

Easy-Access Online Banking
Enjoy real-time transfers to and from your Scottrade® brokerage account and refunds on most ATM withdrawals nationwide. Details

Full Suite of Investment Products
Access stocks, ETFs competitive margin loan rates, option products, 14,500+ mutual funds, CDs, bonds and more. Details

In-Depth Research Tools
Get access to stock, ETF, and mutual fund screeners, independent analyst reports from Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones and S&P, a comprehensive market calendar and more. Details

Special Offer: Qualify for upto $2,000 OPEN ACCOUNT

ameritrade

For over 40 years, TD Ameritrade has been proud to help our clients pursue their financial goals while giving more time to focus on what really matters in life. From our knowledgeable guidance to powerful trading tools and retirement resources, we’ll help you head into the future knowing you’re on the right track to do what you’re passionate about.

Commission Schedule

Online trades
Market/Limit Orders $9.99

Touchtone Phone
Market/Limit Orders $34.99

Broker Assisted
Market/Limit Orders $34.99

Account Minimums

Cash Account
$0

Margin Account
$2,000

Retirement Account
$0

Account Features

Online Banking
Mobile Trading
Global Trading on Foreign Exchanges2
Options
Mutual Funds
Dividend Reinvestment
Local Offices
Broker Assisted Trades

Tools/ Research

TD Ameritrade Mobile:
Trade at the drop of a hat with the leader in mobile trading. Details

Exceptional Value:
Learn about TD Ameritrade’s managed portfolio and automatic fee rebate. Details

Support when you need it:
Help online 24/7 and at your local branch. Details

Special Offer: No hidden fees. Get up to $600 and trade commission-free
for 60 days with TD Ameritrade
OPEN ACCOUNT

fidelity

With low rates, exceptional service, and powerful tools and research, there’s a reason why serious investors choose to trade at Fidelity.

Commission Schedule

Online Stock Trades
Market/Limit Orders as low as $7.95. Details

Touchtone Phone
Market/Limit Orders as low as $12.95. Details

Broker Assisted
Market/Limit Orders as low as $32.95. Details

Account Minimums

Cash Account
$2,5003

Margin Account
$2,0004

Retirement Account
$2,5005

Account Features

Online Banking
Mobile Trading
Global Trading on Foreign Exchanges
Options
Mutual Funds
Dividend Reinvestment
Local Offices
Broker Assisted Trades

Tools/ Research

Trading Tools at Fidelity:
Sophisticated platforms and tools help you trade how you want, wherever you are. Details

Stock Research:
Easier access to the insights needed to make informed investment decisions. Details

Kiplinger’s names Fidelity #1 online broker for 2014 Details

Special Offer: Get 500 commission-free online trades over two years OPEN ACCOUNT

capital_one

We want you to feel confident about your financial picture. Whether you want to invest on your own online, get a little help from intuitive tools or rely on personal advice, we think you should have what you need in one place. Our goal is to provide a clear, complete, straightforward investing experience, however you choose to do it.

Commission Schedule

Online Trades
Market/Limit Orders $6.95. Details

Automatic Investments
Market/Limit Orders $3.95

Phone Trades
Market/Limit Orders $19.95

Account Minimums

Cash Account
No Minimum Required

Margin Account
$2,000

Retirement Account
No Minimum Required

Account Features

Online Banking
Mobile Trading

Global Trading on Foreign Exchanges
Options1
Mutual Funds
Dividend Reinvestment

Local Offices
Broker Assisted Trades

Tools/ Research

Free ETF Portfolio Builder:
Create a diversified portfolio based on your goals and investing style. Details

Research Reports:
Find the stocks, ETF’s or mutual funds for your investment strategy with 8 powerful tools. Details

Special Offer: Get up to $600. Open a Capital One Investing account now OPEN ACCOUNT

interative_brock

Rated a Top Broker by Barron’s for 6 consecutive years, Intearactive Brokers provides transparent, low commissions and financing rates, plus best priced executions allowing you to minimize costs while maximizing your return.

Commission Schedule

Online Trades
Market/Limit Orders 1/2 penny per share. Details

Touchtone Phone
Market/Limit Orders $30 per order Details

Broker Assisted
Market/Limit Orders 1 penny per share. Details

Account Minimums

Cash Account
$10,000 Details

Margin Account
$10,000 Details

Retirement Account
$100 Details

Account Features

Online Banking
Mobile Trading
Global Trading on Foreign Exchanges
Options
Mutual Funds

Dividend Reinvestment
Local Offices

Broker Assisted Trades

Tools/ Research

MobileTWS:
Trade stocks, options, futures, futures options and forex worldwide from your phone. Details

Stock Yield Enhancement Program:
Earn extra income on the fully-paid shares of stock held in your account. Details

Margin Rates:
Below 2% Details

Special Offer: No Ticket Charges OPEN ACCOUNT

extrade

E-Trade is a financial services company headquartered in New York City, United States. It is an online discount stock brokerage firm for self-directed investors. Investors can buy and sell such securities as stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds via electronic trading platforms or by phone. E-Trade Financial also provides banking services to retail investors, such as sweep deposits and savings products.

Commission Schedule

Online trades
Market/Limit Orders $9.95 Details

Automatic Investments
$7.99 for 150–1,499 trades
$6.99 for 1,500+ trades

Phone Trades
Broker Assisted; Add $25.00

Account Minimums

Brokerage Account
$500 Minimum Details

Futures Trading Account
$10,000 Details

Checking Account
$100 Details

Account Features

Online Banking
Mobile Trading

Global Trading on Foreign Exchanges
Options
Mutual Funds
Dividend Reinvestment
Local Offices
Broker Assisted Trades

Tools/ Research

E*Trade Pro7
The optimum in speed and performance Details

E*Trade Mobile
The full power of E*TRADE in your pocket Details

E*Trade.com
Easy to use, without any compromises Details

Special Offer: Get up to $600 plus 60 days of commission-free trades
when you open an account with $10k or more. How it works.
OPEN ACCOUNT
1. Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Detailed information on our policies and the risks associated with options can be found in the Scottrade Options Application and Agreement, Brokerage Account Agreement, and by downloading the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options and Supplements (PDF) from The Options Clearing Corporation, or by requesting a copy from a Scottrade branch office. Supporting documentation for any claims will be supplied upon request.

2. TD Ameritrade clients have access to foreign securities via exchanges in the United States and Canada. We currently do not trade on any other world exchanges.

3. Excludes SEP-IRAs, SIMPLE-IRAs, Self-Employed 401(k)s, BDAs, Keoghs, Non-Prototype Retirement Accounts and HSAs.

4. Minimum equity account balance requirement. Margin trading involves risk and is not suitable for all investors. Assess your financial circumstances and risk tolerance prior to trading on margin. Margin credit is extended by National Financial Services, Member NYSE, SIPC.

5. Minimum account balance waived for monthly contributions of at least $200 per month (does not apply to SEP-IRA or SIMPLE IRA accounts).

Note: Offers may be valid in the US only. The information and links on this page are provided for your convenience only. Compare online brokers and find out how to invest your money the best way you can. Our handy discount brokerage comparison chart shows you where to invest and includes great promotional offers. The Money Street is not a registered broker-dealer and does not endorse or recommend the services of any brokerage company. The information and services that can be accessed through these links are provided by the individual brokerage companies, not The Money Street. The brokerage company you select is solely responsible for its services to you, the user. The Money Street shall not be liable for any damages or costs of any type arising out of or in any way connected with your use of a brokerage company’s services. Please read our disclaimer.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE BEAT

Now includes EVEN MORE of what you love…
Leading Industry News, Market Trends, Profitable Stock Picks and more. SIGN UP TODAY!