How We Rate Online Brokers
In 2016 Brokerage-Review.com staff have rated 20 of the largest U.S. discount brokerage firms, using specific criteria that we feel offers readers a solid methodology to
compare brokers against one another.
The criteria we use includes the following. The percentages listed is the weight we give that specific criteria in the overall rating.
● Pricing (31%): Rates brokers based on a combination of commissions, fees, surcharges, and promotions.
● Trading Tools (15%): Rates brokers based on the quality of the trading tools, customizability, ease of use,
order execution, mobile trading apps, and advanced platform availability to clients.
● Range of Products (15%): Rates brokers based on the number and variety of investment products available to clients.
It includes availability of commission-free ETFs and mutual funds, bonds, futures, and forex.
● Research Amenities (15%): Rates brokers based on the quality and availability of investment research tools from independent, third-party sources.
● Customer Service (8%): Rates brokers based on how responsive, knowledgeable, and cordial the broker’s customer service team is. Includes an evaluation of the hours of support and online chat availability.
● Education (8%): Rates brokers based on educational resources including videos, webinars, and online classes.
● Friendliness to Beginners (8%): Rates brokers based on support provided for investors new to investing and trading. Includes analysis on the ease of use, presence of an online user community, availability of practice accounts, and well as how high the premium is for broker-assisted trades.
Pricing receives the highest weighting in our online broker comparison since the primary driver for choosing a broker by customers is the costs to trade. While many investors value different features, most brokerage clients worry first and foremost about trading costs and fees since those fees have the largest impact on investment returns.
Trading Tools, Range of Products, and Research Amenities are rated next in terms of importance. The ease-of-use and advanced trading tools available from the trading platform help traders take advantage of time sensitive opportunities in the market as well as help lower the chances of making costly mistakes. In addition, the Research Amenities offered help investors find excellent trading opportunities while the Range of Offerings scores the brokers on the variety of investment products available to trade.
The lowest weighting is given to Customer Service, Education, and Friendliness to Beginners. While these are important to some clients, they are not the most critical factors to consider when choosing a broker.
In the last column in the online broker comparison chart below, the Total Score is presented which is the overall score a brokerage company received as a
result of our analysis and review.
Broker Review Results