Direct Access Brokers List

Direct Access Brokerage Firms List


Below we list top direct access brokerage firms in 2014. Read their online reviews, compare stock and options fees, and see ratings and rankings for their direct market access trading platforms.




4-star brokerage firm rating

Thinkorswim review

Direct Access Broker Trading Fees (Negotiable for active traders)


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $9.99
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $49.99
Stocks and ETFs Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Telephone System $34.99
Options $9.99 + $0.75 per contract
No-load mutual funds $49.99
Treasuries at auction $25 flat fee
All other bonds and CMOs, CDs on a net yield basis
Futures $3.50 per contract (inclusive of exchange fees)

Investments stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bonds, CDs, UITs, futures and forex
Thinkorswim\TOS minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesThinkorswim fees

ThinkOrSwim Pros

  • ThinkOrSwim is now part of TD Ameritrade, one of the largest brokerages in the U.S. with many local branches
  • No additional commission on stocks under $2, large orders, or extended hours trading
  • Best trading platform in the industry
  • Free virtual trading
  • Easy access to myTRADE trader community
  • No-fee retirement accounts
  • No maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Free streaming quotes, including Level II
  • Rich selection of independent research offered through S&P, Morningstar and other firms
  • Large number of mutual funds - over 13,000 available

ThinkOrSwim Cons

  • High commissions on all investment products
  • High margin rates

Direct Access Broker Review

ThinkOrSwim Review





3-star brokerage firm rating

TradeStation review 2014

Direct Access Broker Trading Fees


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs flat-rate plan 1 to 9 trades/month - $9.99/trade; 10 to 29 - $7.99/trade; 30 - 99 - $6.99/trade; 100 - 199 - $5.99/trade; 200 or more - $4.99/trade
Stocks and ETFs per-share plan first 500 shares $0.01 per share, $0.006 per share thereafter, $1 minimum per trade
Options $1 per contract with no ticket charge, or $4.99 per trade + $0.20 per contract
Futures 25¢ - $1.20 per side, per contract + exchange, regulatory & overnight fees
Mutual funds $14.95
Bonds $14.95 + $5 per bond
OTCBB $9.99 (100,000 share position maximum)
Pink Sheet Stocks $9.99 (100,000 share position maximum)

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, futures, T-Bills, OTCBB, Pink Sheet Stocks, Forex, ETFs
Tradestation minimum deposit to open account $5,000 for non-daytraders, futures and forex accounts, $5,500 for futures and forex IRA accounts, and $30,000 for daytraders
FeesTradestation fees

TradeStation Pros

  • Great direct-access platform
  • Trading modeling functionality
  • Rich selection of investment products
  • Active online user community

TradeStation Cons

  • $99.95 fee if not traded at least 5,000 shares in previous month (or 50 options contracts a month; or 10 round-turn futures or futures option contracts; or 50 round-turn single stock futures). Excluded are also accounts with $100,000 balance
  • High stock and ETF commissions for those who don't trade a lot
  • Lots of fees for market data
  • Direct routing up to 1,000 shares is no additional charge, $0.004 per share thereafter
  • $35 annual IRA fee
  • Steep learning curve: trading platform is too complicated for beginner investors
  • Poor research amenities
  • Excluding the first 10 free cancels, if the total number of cancels is more than the total number of contracts executed per day, per account, there is a $1.00 options cancelation charge per each cancel that is over and above the number of contracts executed
  • Minimum amount to open account is high: $5,000 for non-daytraders and $30,000 for daytraders

Direct Access Broker Review

TradeStation Review





3-star brokerage firm rating

Interactive Brokers review 2014

Direct Access Broker Trading Fees


ProductPrice
Stocks and ETFs $0.005 per share with $1 minimum, 0.5% of trade value maximum for SMART routed orders
Options $0.70 per contract if Premium => $0.10; $0.50 per contract if $0.05 =< Premium < USD 0.10; $0.25 per contract if Premium < $0.05 + exchange fees. Minimum $1 per order.
Mutual funds $14.95 (minimum size on initial fund order is $3,000, subsequent minimum order size is $100)
Corporate and Municipal Bonds0.1%* Face Value (10 bps) if <= $10,000 Face Value; 0.025%* Face Value (2.5 bps) if > $10,000 Face Value
Treasuries (Bills, Notes, Bonds)0.025%* Face Value (2.5 bps) if <= $10,000 Face Value; 0.005%* Face Value (0.5 bps) if > $10,000 Face Value; $5 minimum
Metals0.15 basis point * Trade Value; minimum $2; storage cost 0.10 % per annum
Forex0.20 basis point * Trade Value if <= $1,000,000,000; minimum $2
US SSFs$0.30 if <= 20,000 contracts
EFPs$0.50 if < 100 contracts; $0.30 if 100 to 499 contracts;

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, futures, currency transactions, US SSFs, EFPs, metals
Interactive Brokers\IB minimum deposit to open account $10,000 for non-IRA account, $5,000 for IRA account
FeesInteractive Brokers fees

Interactive Brokers Pros

  • Low stock commissions on orders with 1,000 shares or less
  • Professional trading platform
  • Best margin rates
  • Access to many markets
  • Rich selection of products for trading

Interactive Brokers Cons

  • $10,000 minimum to open most accounts
  • $30 per month minimum commission requirement to avoid $10 monthly fee (rises to $20 monthly if account balance is less than $2,000)
  • $10 monthly for market data feed (waived if trade commissions are more than $30 per month)
  • $7.50 quarterly fee for IRA accounts ($30 per year)
  • Extremely complicated fee structure: huge number of various fees
  • Fees on modified or canceled orders
  • Trader Workstation is designed for professional traders; it is not intuitive and difficult to learn
  • Expensive to make trades with over 1,600 shares
  • Lots of customer complains about snobby customer service (and yes, we experienced it ourselves)
  • Merciless margin tightening and fast margin calls - IB apparently doesn't care if their customers get completely wiped out
  • Minimum size on initial mutual fund order is $3,000 (subsequent minimum order size is $100). Only no-load funds with no early redemption fee are offered

Direct Access Broker Review

Interactive Brokers Review



List of direct access brokers

2-star brokerage firm rating

SpeedTrader Review

Direct Access Broker Trading Fees


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs per trade plan $6.95 for accounts under $25,000
Stocks and ETFs per trade plan $4.49 for accounts above $25,000
Stocks and ETFs per share plan $0.0044 per share, $1.99 min per trade (only for accounts above $25,000)
Options$0.50 + routing fees

Investments stocks, options, ETFs
SpeedTrader minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesSpeedTrader fees

SpeedTrader Pros

  • Low commissions for very active traders
  • Free streaming real-time Level I and Level II quotes
  • Professional trading platform
  • Free intra-day charting
  • Virtual trading

SpeedTrader Cons

  • $30 Quarterly Inactivity Fee (if under 15 trades in a quarter)
  • Steep trading platform fees
  • High mutual fund commissions
  • $35 annual IRA fee and $25 IRA set-up fee
  • Pricing is changed often
  • Option exercise and assignment fees are $30 each
  • No research tools and a poor tax record keeping

Direct Access Broker Review

SpeedTrader Review
This article was updated on 9/25/2014.



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