AB Watley Review

AB Watley is probably a new name to most of you, a direct access broker created with the sole intention of targeting high net worth, large volume retail and/or institutional traders using a dynamic real time direct access trading platform.

Therefore this is not a broker that’s going to suit the majority of traders reading this, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t check them out. If some of you graduate into big fish you’re going to want to know where to go next.

With that in mind we’ll give their platform a quick once over and compare their pricing. This should give us a pretty good idea what kind of broker they are and whether you should consider them.

Fees & Commissions

  • Stocks and ETFs: $9.95 (1-400 trades per month for Web Access plan) and $15.95 (1-49 trades per month for Direct Access plan)
  • Options: $9.95 + $1.50 per contract
  • Mutual funds: $40 (principal up to $25,000)
  • Listed & OTC Corporate Bonds: $5 per bond, $35 min
  • Treasuries, up to $50,000 value: $45
  • Investment products: stocks, options, OTCBB, Foreign ADRs, Listed Bonds, Treasuries, mutual funds, ETFs
  • Minimum to open account: $2,000 for Web Access, $5,000 for Direct Access

Website & Sign-up

It never ceases to amaze me how unprofessional some of these brokers look, I mean these are not small companies with limited resources, you’d think they could invest a little in a decent looking website.

But no, what we have here is a site that looks like it was designed by the CEOs nephew. It’s amateurish with very little graphical content and an extremely old fashioned feel. Its difficult to read and its not immediately obvious what are links due to the fact all of the text is the same color.

Beauty is only skin deep though, it’s not good to judge a book by its cover, so let’s open an account. It seems the CEOs nephew hasn’t figured out how to use online forms yet so you’ll have to print off a pdf and fax it back with copies of your identification, yes that’s right you’ll need a pen. This is an online broker behaving like its 1993, come on there’s no excuse for this.

Trading Platform & Tools


After 10 days of waiting I finally have an account and I’m ready to trade. Time to download their platform Ultimate Trader, there is also a web based platform but it’s far too basic for a direct access broker so we’ll concentrate on the downloadable version.

I’m quite pleased to see that its software based, after experiencing their website I was half expecting a batch of punch cards.

Before we go on I’ll just remind you that this is a direct access broker aimed at high net worth individuals that trade in high volume. So you’ll be expecting an all signing all dancing platform with a multitude of professional grade tools and world class charting right! Err no not exactly.

What you get is a rather basic, old fashioned looking platform that’s clunky to use and difficult to navigate around. You do get one click trading but it’s not intuitive to use, which is the whole idea of one click trading. This is a platform that requires you to read the very comprehensive manual before you start using it.

Like all direct access platforms it comes with a fee but in this case its very reasonable and waived if you make the required number of trades each month.

Is this a good platform? Well it’s fairly powerful once you’ve learned how to use it and it’s reasonably well priced, but it’s not a ground breaking platform in the same way Thinkorswim is.

Does it come with a mobile version? Forget it; I’m not sure AB Watley knows cell phones exist yet.


  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders and extended hours trades


  • Expensive commissions
  • $5 Platform or Maintenance Fee (waived based on activity)
  • $25 Maintenance fee (waived if >1 trade per month)
  • Few investment products
  • $35 annual IRA fee
  • High $23.95 option assignment or exercise fee


I have to admit AB Watley were a bit of a disappointment, especially when you take into account their target market. They have a woefully outclassed platform and expensive trading fees which are hard to justify.

These are slightly offset by cheaper platform costs and no surcharges on large orders but overall there are cheaper brokers around that offer better platforms with level 2 data and cheaper execution costs.

A good example would be TD Ameritrade who has a much better platform for similar trading costs and they offer better customer service to boot.

Copyright 2008 - 2011 - howtotradestocks.org - All Rights Reserved

Discount Stock Brokers | Compare Online Brokers | Penny Stock Brokers | Sitemap | Privacy/Affiliate