E*TRADE are an international powerhouse when it comes to discount brokerage houses. Started in 1991 they were one of the first brokers to offer trading via the internet. By 1994 their turnover had grown to $11 million dollars and by 2010 they had over 400,000 client accounts and revenues of $2.2 billion.
They are perhaps the best known of the major brokers, thanks to millions of dollars spent on TV advertising and a network of over 500 local branches. If you’re looking for a trusted name to invest your capital then E*TRADE are a prime candidate. I know many investors don’t want to trust their capital with some of the smaller brokerage houses despite the considerable savings they offer.
E*TRADE offer a professional style trading platform which includes level 2 data for qualifying accounts, so they’re perfect for the more advanced traders who require level 2 data to make inter day decisions. Not so good for beginners due to the lack of trading community and virtual trading platform.
Fees & Commissions
|Stock Trades||Options Base||Per Contract||Min Deposit||Broker Assisted||Mutual Funds|
Website and Sign-up
E*TRADE invest a lot of money in their website and it shows, it’s very professionally laid out and easy to navigate. They make it easy to contact them with both phone numbers and online chat readily available along with email.
Signing up for an account couldn’t have been easier, the whole process from start to finish took no more than 8 minutes. There are no forms to print off and no need to send off copies of your identification or samples of tissue for biometric testing. It was just quick and easy.
E*TRADE’s platform was awarded 5 stars for best trading tools by SmartMoney magazine in 2011. With a completely intuitive interface and over 24 advanced trading tools it’s easy to see why.
One thing that’s missing however is a fully functioning virtual trading platform. This is a big omission in my book, but I guess E*TRADE’s clients are at a level where they don’t require a paper trading facility.
I personally feel that all traders should be looking to develop their strategy and therefore a virtual trading platform is must for any platform.
E*TRADE definitely aim their services at more intermediate and advanced traders, there’s little in their education or training to support beginners and most of the tools are on the more advanced technical side. It’s an excellent platform for intermediates and advanced traders and provides all the tools necessary for advanced options or day trading strategies.
- Exceptional trading tools
- No E*TRADE IRA account fees
- Minimum to open: $1,000 for cash account
- No surcharges on large orders, penny stocks
- No account maintenance fees
- Extended hours trading
- Nationwide branch locations
- High commissions on all investment products
- High margin rates
- No virtual trading facility
- No online community
E*TRADE are a fine broker no doubt about it, but they are definitely on the expensive side. There are many brokers that offer more competitive fees than E*TRADE you won’t have to look far to find one. The question is are you sacrificing anything in terms of platform functionality and service?
Well the answer depends on which broker you ultimately choose. There are brokers out there whose platform matches E*TRADE for all the functionality and trading tools. The only exception would be the inclusion of level 2 data. Both TradeKing and OptionsHouse offer similar trading tools with substantial savings in commissions.
The only reason to keep using E*TRADE is if you really do require level 2 data or you’re not sure about trusting your hard earned cash with one of the smaller brokers. But my feeling is there really is no need to be paying commissions of this size when there are quality brokers available for half the cost.
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