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Online Brokerage

Online Brokerage


The Top Five Online Brokerage Firms, According To Investors Business Daily


The biggest and best brokerages in the industry are constantly doing their utmost to woo customers and beat competitors. Today, it takes more than customer service and discounts. Investors look for mobile platforms to let them trade from anywhere, or sophisticated education resources to help them navigate tricky markets.

Investors Business Daily and TechnoMetrica, a polling company, surveyed more than 10,000 investors to find out which online brokers are best.

They polled more than 10,000 investors to see what they liked and disliked about the brokerages they used. Firms were then ranked by 12 categories that include trade reliability, low commissions and fees, equity trading tools, customer service, research tools, investment research, portfolio analysis, mobile platforms and educational resources, options trading platform, ETF choices and tax preparation.

Here are the top five IBD Best Online Brokers of 2013:

Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW) 

Online Brokerage

9 million active accounts

Charles Schwab took the top spot in for trade reliability and research tools, but its top spot in Mobile Platform Trading distinguishes it from the rest of the list.

The 40-year-old San Francisco-based firm started its online trading in 1996. Today, they hold over $2 trillion in assets.

Clients can use the Schwab Mobile app to view real-time market data, place trades and even watch a live stream of CNBC from their smartphone or tablet.  

“Our employees interact with our clients on their terms,” said Kelli Keough, Schwab’s senior vice president of client experience. 

Fidelity Investments (NYSE: FNF)

14.5 million accounts

Fidelity’s high rank is thanks to its top spot in the portfolio analysis and investment research categories.

The Boston-based firm placed in the top five in nine out of 12 categories including equity trading tools, research tools and customer service.

Investors can compare up to four stocks at a time using up to 147 different traits with Fidelity’s tools. About a quarter of the mutual funds and about 6 percent of the ETS are commission-free for online customers.  

“It’s flexible,” said Doug Nordman, a retired Navy officer and Fidelity customer since 1986.

“I started with mutual funds. And I’ve done everything from stocks, options, calls, naked puts and exchange traded funds using their brokerage,” he said.

TD Ameritrade (NYSE: AMTD) 

6 million accounts

TD Ameritrade is a newcomer to the list this year, ranking second place in the options trading platform category with high scores in nine other categories including research tools and educational resources.

This year, the Omaha-based firm introduced its Investor Movement Index, which monitors investing behavior in real time.

The company is known for innovation. Employees compete on a regular basis to develop new ways to make things run better.

“We’re a bottom-up organization,” said Steve Quirk, senior vice president of trading at TD Ameritrade.

“No idea is stupid,” he said. “We’re a judgment-free zone.”

USAA Brokerage 

Number of accounts is undisclosed


USAA makes the list for its high top customer service ranking, which it also won in the 2012 survey.

About 85 percent of members at the San Antonio-based firm are from the active and deployed military community – which includes retired personnel and families.

The firm even supplies a “deployment checklist” to make sure that financial matters are in order for deploying personnel.

“We’ve built our customer service based on focusing on what our members do on a daily basis,” said Art Garcia, product management director. 

Online Brokerage



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