Finding the Perfect Broker

March 14, 2009 7:42 am

Great writeup in Barron’s this week that covers online brokers. Actually, some may be on- and off-line, but this is a good reference point to find out which platform may be the best fit once you leave your high priced broker. Of course that assumes that you are looking to make a change and take matters into your own hands.

If you think about it, how much worse can you do as compared to the  many pros that got out too late (assuming they got out at all) and only BUY – never seeming willing to sell. But that is not the point…..

brokers

We use a few brokers for client accounts. Here is one of the leaders of the survey and Barron’s writer Theresa W. Carey’s summary.

Interactive Brokers (www.interactivebrokers.com)

Pros: IB is once again the low-cost leader and international star. It gears itself for professional and semiprofessional traders, investors, hedge funds, brokers and advisers. The contract-search feature, new this year, lets you search by symbol or company name, generating a list of products you can trade. For instance, if you type in “Ford,” you will see everything available — options, futures, stocks and bonds. Overseas markets appear, too. IB’s charting application was significantly improved this year. For those who trade huge blocks of stock at once, IB’s ScaleTrader lets you break the order into smaller components and send it through in smaller pieces.

Once your order is set up, you can watch it on the Scale Progress table. We also like IB’s forex-trading screens, the ability to create your own index basket of stocks, the wide range of international equities, futures and option, and the new options portfolio algorithm.

Cons: Nonprofessionals still complain that the Traders Workstation is difficult to handle, so if you aren’t a very frequent, around-the-world trader, this isn’t the broker for you. There is limited personal service at IB, but you aren’t paying for it, either.

Check out the article as is does a good summary of many and will help to direct you toward what you may be looking for. Platform + service + quality of execution + cost is the formula as I see it.


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