Author Topic: Which stock broker do you use?  (Read 9116 times)

muscleman

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Which stock broker do you use?
« on: May 17, 2013, 10:52:20 PM »
I am currently using Fidelity. They have international trading, but very expensive. Forex cost is 1% of the principle, plus commission per trade. This morning I bought some EXO.MI, and I had to pay 1% for their forex division to exchange my usd into euro, and then 19 EUR for their stock division to get the trade done. If I sell in the future, the cost is similar.

I used Scottrade in the past, but didn't like it. It doesn't have international trading, and OTC trading for low priced stocks is very expensive. (1% of principle)

I asked Interactive Brokers before and it seems like their International trading is the best. Also they provide the "Enhanced yield program", which allows me to lend shares out to earn some interest. But their custom representatives are very rude, and if you have a margin account, they have the policy of instant liquidation, so your account could be wiped out with one bad tick on one of your symbols. Since I only hold a cash account, I shouldn't have this problem though. My other concern is that IB forces you to pay a minimum of $10 per month for commissions even if you don't trade, and another $10 per month for US data fees. International exchanges will cost you extra data fees.

So in general, the reason I choose fidelity is because:
1. My employer opened my 401k in Fidelity, so it will be easier to manage all account in one broker.
2. Fidelity works with TurboTax, which makes tax filing much easier each year.
3. I trade mostly US stocks, so the higher cost for international stocks occastionally isn't that bad.


Tranloi

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Re: Which stock broker do you use?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2013, 11:27:26 PM »
I use wellstrade for 100 free trades a year.

Ross812

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Re: Which stock broker do you use?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2013, 05:49:56 AM »
I use IB and love their service. I don't pay for the $10 data feed though. I have a second Scottrade account that I use for their free mutual funds (i.e. Yacktman and Oakmark). I use the quotes from Scottrade before placing a limit order at IB. This gives me quotes that are accurate to the minute. I figure up until 20 years ago most investors used the newspaper for quotes and did just fine and I'll probably be fine without up to the .1 second quotes. Three years on, so far so good.

IB Forex changes are $2 or $2.5, lots of US stock are $1 for 200 shares. European trades are .1% of cost basis with a minimum of 4-6 Euros depending on the country. London is a 600 pence minimum. Their foreign offerings are great, but my favorite thing about them is their execution. I can get orders filled at any time of the day and have had orders filled that I truly did not think would go through. For instance, at Scottrade, you very rarely will get an order filled at the low. For options you better put in the ask. At IB this is not a problem. 
96% Fixed Income CDs, Muni, Corporate Debt - 4% SPX Options

wachtwoord

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Re: Which stock broker do you use?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2013, 05:58:08 AM »
I asked Interactive Brokers before and it seems like their International trading is the best. Also they provide the "Enhanced yield program", which allows me to lend shares out to earn some interest. But their custom representatives are very rude, and if you have a margin account, they have the policy of instant liquidation, so your account could be wiped out with one bad tick on one of your symbols. Since I only hold a cash account, I shouldn't have this problem though. My other concern is that IB forces you to pay a minimum of $10 per month for commissions even if you don't trade, and another $10 per month for US data fees. International exchanges will cost you extra data fees.

I use IB and also use their "Enhanced yield program". I like their low rates and no holding charges. I don't pay for the data feed, as I am not a trader but a long term holder and therefore don't need it (the delayed feed is fine). In my experience the enhanced yield program has produced generously more than the $10 per month I need to pay, but of course this will depend on the particular stocks you hold (short interest and prices for lending differ a lot) and the size of your portfolio (however my portfolio size is quite modest to what I expect most people here to hold, if you like to know PM me).

Finally, I read all sorts of negative things about customer support and don't share this sympathy. To me, support has always been swift in responding and as long as you take the time to properly explain things you get correct answers.
"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master"

boilermaker75

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Re: Which stock broker do you use?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2013, 06:09:29 AM »
I use IB and Schwab. I like them both. I negotiated my commissions with Schwab, pointing out the lower commissions I get at IB, and Schwab lowered my commissions to $4.95 a trade plus $0.75 per option contract. What you can negotiate with Schwab will depend on your account value and how much trading you do. Of course the commissions are still much better at IB as Schwab would not/could not go that low.

MrB

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Re: Which stock broker do you use?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2013, 06:11:36 AM »
I used Schwab for years and found them to be great. Especially if you want to buy non-US stocks.

Redskin212

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Re: Which stock broker do you use?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2013, 06:24:55 AM »
I have used Fidelity for about 10 years and have been very happy.  Do not underestimate the value of downloading info to TurboTax at tax time and the access to 10 years worth of old statements.  I find I am looking back at old statements more and more and of course filing my taxes is a lot easier with the download.

Satisfied Fidelity customer.

boilermaker75

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Re: Which stock broker do you use?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2013, 06:41:21 AM »
I have used Fidelity for about 10 years and have been very happy.  Do not underestimate the value of downloading info to TurboTax at tax time and the access to 10 years worth of old statements.  I find I am looking back at old statements more and more and of course filing my taxes is a lot easier with the download.

Satisfied Fidelity customer.

Yes that downloading into TurboTax is a major plus for Schwab and a minus for IB.

ERICOPOLY

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Re: Which stock broker do you use?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2013, 07:21:11 AM »
and if you have a margin account, they have the policy of instant liquidation, so your account could be wiped out with one bad tick on one of your symbols.

I pay less than 1% margin borrowing cost with them, vs 4+% for Fidelity.

Using the money saved, I can purchase puts that completely eliminate the "one bad tick" risk.  The account is configured for "portfolio margin" (as opposed to "Reg-T Margin").

You see, under the rules of Portfolio Margin, if I buy $5 puts on BAC then my account in effect has $5 of uninvested cash sitting in it (from their point of view).  The rules for portfolio margining are simply different -- they look at only your net exposures, and puts effectively free up your invested dollars (below the strike price).


Hielko

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Re: Which stock broker do you use?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2013, 07:34:26 AM »
Quote
I asked Interactive Brokers before and it seems like their International trading is the best. Also they provide the "Enhanced yield program", which allows me to lend shares out to earn some interest. But their custom representatives are very rude, and if you have a margin account, they have the policy of instant liquidation, so your account could be wiped out with one bad tick on one of your symbols.
It should actually reduce your risk. If positions are not liquidated when you are using a lot of margin you could end up with zero equity a lot faster if prices continue dropping.

Quote
Since I only hold a cash account, I shouldn't have this problem though. My other concern is that IB forces you to pay a minimum of $10 per month for commissions even if you don't trade, and another $10 per month for US data fees. International exchanges will cost you extra data fees.
There is only a $10/month minimum fee. If you pay for the US real time data you don't pay the minimum fee, and the US data is free once you reach $30 in commissions that month. When you can buy stocks for less than $1/trade it might not be easy to hit that number though.

What is imo also a huge advantage of IB are the cheap rates on currency conversion. You pay $2.50 fixed per conversion while at other brokers you often pay something like 1% of the transaction value. Just one 10K transaction in foreign currency and IB is already unbeatable wrt fees. But also when you want to use margin, short stocks or lend shares IB >>> everything else. Only wished they had access to more foreign markets.