Choosing an online stock broker can be confusing. There is a wide range of brokers to choose from with different commission rates, trading platforms, research and other services. Several of the financial magazines do online broker ratings, and in 2009 "SmartMoney" gave its survey and ranking of the top online brokers. "Kiplinger's" magazine provides an interactive broker selector that helps the investor pick a broker.
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ETrade was rated "Smart Money's" top broker by providing excellence in all categories. The company was top rated in banking services and research. Stock trade commissions are £8.40; however, ETrade has discounted commissions for heavy traders.
Fidelity was rated best for product offering and mutual funds by "Kiplinger's" and No. 2 by "Smart Money." This broker gets high marks for providing the largest number of mutual funds to investors. Stock trades are £7.10.
Schwab is a favourite for an easy to use website and best-in-class research. Schwab also has a large network of local offices for investors who like to talk to a live broker. Stock commissions are £8.40.
Called the Wal-Mart of stockbrokers by "Kiplinger's," Firstrade provides a broad range of investment products. Research and trading tools are less advanced than the higher rated brokers. Firstrade's stock commissions are £4.50.
TD Ameritrade is the top-rated online broker for its selection of trading tools. The company was downgraded for limited banking services. Stock trades are £6.40.
Muriel Siebert & Co., was selected as the best of the list for customer service by "Smart Money," but its £9.70 stock commissions are higher than most.
Scott Trade provides the fastest and easiest trading. This broker is aimed at experienced traders who want low-cost trades without a lot of extra services. Stock trade commission: £4.
Trade King was rated high for customer service and low commissions, although Trade King does not offer as many investment products as other brokers. With Trade King, telephone trades cost the same as those placed online, £3.20.
Relatively new, Just2Trade offers rock bottom stock commission of only £1.60 per trade. The broker is targeted at experienced investors and does not provide the services of the broader based brokers.
OptionsXpress was highly rated for trading tools, especially for option traders. The company has limited hours for telephone customer service. Stock commission is £6.40.
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