Largest Brokerage Firms Overview
Large brokerage firms usually 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.
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 firms. These brokers also frequently offer on-line chat, brick-and-mortar locations, and phone numbers for international travelers.
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.
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.
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 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 large firms in particular and see how well they meet the above standards.
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.
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.
In 2015, clients at this broker generated on average 462,000 trades per day. With more than 100 commission-free ETF's and nearly 2,000 no-load, no-transaction-fee
mutual funds, TD Ameritrade customers have good reason to be trading. They also get a suite of very good trading tools, including its most advanced platform,
, 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.
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. Furthermore, with more than 100 commission-free ETF's, investors can build a diversified portfolio with no trading fees.
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 large brokerage companies. Learn more...
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.