Largest Stock Brokerage Firms

Largest Stock Brokerage Firms in United States


Below is the list of six largest brokerage firms in the United States: known as "The big five brokerages" plus new sixth biggest online broker - TradeKing. "The big five brokerages" is the term commonly used to describe the 5 largest brokerage houses in the nation by the number of customers and assets: TD Ameritrade, Etrade, Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab, and Scottrade.

After TradeKing's merger with two popular discount brokers, Zecco and MB Trading, the combined company is now the sixth biggest brokerage in the U.S. It offers much more attractive pricing than "The big five brokerage houses", award-winning customer service, and an excellent suite of trading tools selected from the all three firms.

We believe that larger and more powerful TradeKing will be able to gain a bigger share of the North America retail investors market as well as get more institutional clients. This should put a downward pressure on the major brokerage firms commissions. As the result of more competition, customers should come out the biggest winners.

The largest online brokerage houses in the US are listed below without any particular order. By "largest" we mean the total number of clients they had in 2016. You could read detailed reviews describing advantages and disadvantages of these major stock brokers by clicking links on the right side of the table.


Brokerage
Company
Investing
Commissions
Investments
Offered
Brokerage
Review


Scottrade rating

Scottrade Review

Stocks, ETFs: $7

Mutual Funds: $17

Options: $7 plus
$0.70 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • CDs
  • Munis
  • ETFs
  • International Stocks
Scottrade
Review


Ameritrade brokerage rating

TDAmeritrade review


Stocks, ETFs: $9.99

Mutual Funds: $49.99

Options: $9.99 plus
$0.75 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • ETFs
  • Futures
  • Forex
TD Ameritrade
Review


4-star brokerage firm rating

Charles Schwab Review


Stocks, ETFs: $8.95

Mutual Funds: $76 to buy
$0 to sell

Options: $8.95 plus
$0.75 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • CDs
  • Annuities
  • ETFs
Charles Schwab
Review


4-star brokerage firm rating

Fidelity Review


Stocks, ETFs: $7.95

Mutual Funds: $49.95 ($75 for some funds)

Options: $7.95 plus
$0.75 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • CDs
  • Annuities
  • ETFs
  • International Stocks
Fidelity
Review


Etrade brokerage rating

Etrade Review


Stocks, ETFs: $9.99

Mutual Funds: $19.99

Options: $9.99 plus
$0.75 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Futures
  • ETFs
Etrade
Review


4.5-star brokerage firm rating

TradeKing Review

Stocks, ETFs: $4.95

Mutual Funds: $9.95

Options: $4.95 plus
$0.65 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Forex
  • CDs
  • ETFs
TradeKing
Review

Largest Brokerage Firms Overview


The largest stock brokerage firms in United States have billions and sometimes even trillions of dollars in assets under management. With very deep pockets and millions of customers, these large investment companies have distinct advantages that small firms aren't capable of matching. Let's take a look at some of these benefits.


Customer Service


Investors looking for the best customer service in the financial industry, including 24/7 help and multi-lingual service, will probably find it with the larger brokerage firms. These companies also frequently offer on-line chat, brick-and-mortar locations, and phone numbers for international travelers.


Trading Tools


Large brokerage firms usually have the best technology. Smaller firms usually aren't able to invest as much into the development of a sophisticated trading platform.


Mobile Apps


The best mobile trading apps are usually from the larger investment firms. With millions and even billions of dollars in revenue, these companies have the ability to develop the most sophisticated trading platforms for investors on the go — a must for traders nowadays.


Research and Education


The best investment information is usually found with larger stock broker firms, which are able to provide a wealth of information from independent third parties at no cost. For example, TheStreet.com and S&P Capital IQ reports, which can be quite expensive if purchased independently, are often available free of charge to customers of some of the larger firms.


Funds


Large brokers usually have a selection of commission-free ETF's for their clients to trade. These firms also tend to have an even larger selection of mutual funds, many of which have no loads and no transaction fees.


Cash Management Features


Larger stock brokerage firms tend to offer their clients cash management tools that can be connected to a brokerage account. These tools often include FDIC insurance, checks and a debit card, frequently at no cost to the customer.

Let's take a look at five largest brokers in United States in particular and see how well they meet the above standards.


Fidelity Investments


Fidelity has more than $4 trillion in customer assets, which is large even in a large category. The firm has an advanced trading platform, which is available to active traders. The broker also has a sophisticated mobile app free for all clients. Fidelity has a Cash Management Account that comes with checks and a Visa debit card, both free of charge. The account can be linked to a brokerage account. Fidelity also has 24/7 customer service, 180 branch locations across the U.S., and a long list of international phone numbers for clients who travel around the world. Customers also receive in-depth stock reports from independent analysts such as Thomson Reuters free of charge. As predicted, this large broker delivers. Learn more...


Charles Schwab


Schwab has more than $2 trillion in assets under management. The broker offers its customers more than 175 commission-free ETF's along with 3,500 no-load, no-transaction-fee mutual funds. Clients have access to StreetSmart Edge, an advanced trading platform that comes with a $1,000 minimum balance requirement. The broker offers customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also available is service in Chinese, and 325 brick-and-mortar locations. Customers also have free access to Schwab report cards, which analyze stocks and mutual funds. Schwab promises a lot and delivers. Learn more...


TD Ameritrade


In 2015, clients at this broker generated on average 462,000 trades per day. With more than 100 commission-free ETF's and nearly 2,500 no-load, no-transaction-fee mutual funds, TD Ameritrade customers have good reason to be trading. They also get a suite of best trading tools, including its most advanced platform, Thinkorswim, free of charge. Investors can also use Thinkorswim as a practice platform before committing real money. Customer service can be contacted around the clock over the phone. Also available is more than 100 branch locations across the U.S. Clients wanting cash management features will not be disappointed with a free Visa debit card and ATM reimbursements throughout the United States. Learn more...


E*Trade


With over 3 million brokerage accounts, E*Trade has a lot of investment dreams to help come true. Customer service can be contacted over the phone 24 hours a day, or during regular hours at one of its 30 branch locations. The firm offers a sophisticated and user-friendly web site along with one of the best mobile apps in the industry, including one for Apple Watch. Clients who prefer an advanced trading platform won't be disappointed. The broker has two platforms for active traders. Learn more...


Scottrade


With more than 500 branch locations and 3,000 employees, this broker can definitely service its clients. On the technical side, the broker offers a mobile app and intermediate platform free of charge. A more advanced platform is available for active traders. Investors can browse through more than 14,000 mutual funds, of which nearly 3,000 come with no transaction fee. Scottrade is the cheapest firm among largest stock brokerage companies in U.S. Learn more...


Summary


With deep pockets, the financial industry's largest brokerage firms are able to deliver the best in securities trading. Mutual fund traders will do well at Scottrade, while Schwab is a good choice for ETF traders. TD Ameritrade has the most advanced platform of the five brokers surveyed, and E*Trade has the best suite of mobile apps. Fidelity is a great choice for international travelers.



Updated on 6/23/2016.




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