Comparing brokers is an often overlooked process. Brokers work for a variety of different firms, and in most instances their services are complementary to the products and services of other brokers. Most of the time they will have a wide range of expertise in various areas, including fixed income, equities, derivatives, commodities, and foreign exchange. However, there are some brokers that focus only on one or two investment markets. If you’re considering a brokerage, it’s important to make sure that it is represented in the proper market category.
Some of the more common markets represented by brokers comparison include: BSCs (Business Service Brokers), CLOSs (closed-end investing), EFTs (electronic funds), and USTs (ultra-financial traders). The types of services offered are typically broken down into two categories. Brokerage firms offer trading platforms for both individual traders and institutional investors. Some will offer access to managed accounts, and some may even offer trading signals for managed accounts. Many will also offer advice services, including tips on how to buy and sell stocks, what to watch for in particular market sectors, and various market indicators.
Most offer a full service brokerage platform. Their primary service, which is obviously their trading platform, is usually free of charge. However, if you want assistance with day-to-day investments, or have specific needs such as a stock market analysis software package, your chosen brokerage firm should be able to help you out. Most offer brokerage tutorials and training seminars for new and soon-to-be brokers, but some will still provide assistance to traders who need it.
Not all brokers charge a fee for their trading platform. Some, such as the famous Boston-based Stock Market Guru, offer a free stock trading platform. This allows you to learn the various aspects of trading without paying any up front costs or recurring fees. One of the first things you will learn is how to download and install SpeedTrader, a software platform that is ideal for beginning traders. Because it is offered free, there are thousands of other people just like yourself learning how to set up and use this same software at no cost to them.
The next thing you should look at when comparing brokers is their track record in providing excellent service. Each of the top notch brokerage firms has been in business for many years, and their track records can easily be accessed on the Internet. Most of the time, you can see testimonials left by previous clients as well as actual photos of the services they provided to those customers. The real-time streaming market data feeds provided by your selected brokerage firm, as well as their client support system, should provide you with a wide array of examples of their stellar customer satisfaction rating.
A. The Top Brokerage Firm – With a customer satisfaction score of at least 80%, you should make sure that your broker has maintained this high level of customer satisfaction score for at least one year. During this one year period, the top broker should have never received a single complaint regarding service from its valued customers. Additionally, the customer satisfaction score for the brokerage firm should remain quite consistent during this one year period. If the broker has constantly received complaints throughout this entire year, you might want to consider selecting a different brokerage firm.
B. Full Suite of Software Options – The best brokers will offer a full suite of stock market analyzing, research, and trading tools that are easy to operate and use. You must understand, however, that these tools can be very costly to integrate into your brokerage account. Some of the top notch brokers will provide their customers with a full suite of tools that are either free or charge a small monthly fee to utilize. A great customer service department, full support phone numbers, and great customer satisfaction score can all go towards making your broker one of the most reliable companies in all of the stock market industry.
C. Know Your Options – Every trader needs to know what his or her commission fees are going to be with every trade they place. This is especially true if you are considering a new brokerage. Some brokers will charge a full commission on stocks that are placed on a “per contract” basis while other brokers will only charge a commission on stocks that are sold on a “per transaction” basis. Many investors tend to think that the more expensive fees are actually the best since they believe that they are paying less overall than a brokerage that charges a commission on all stocks regardless of transaction or placement. However, this is not necessarily true, and a lot of investors have lost money using the wrong options trading services.