Online Broker Review 2011
When searching for the best brokers for trading options online, we wanted to focus on not only the tools for researching options but also the commissions. In addition, we investigated how easy brokers make it for clients to actually place orders. The overall experience of trading options varies from broker to broker, depending on what clients seek.
We found that OptionsHouse offers the most competitive options commissions rates with two straightforward plans. Clients can trade up to 5 contracts for $5 with any further contracts costing just $1 each or $8.95, plus $.15 per contract. Any exercise or assignments is only $5. Overall, OptionsHouse gives investors the advantage of choosing the plan that is best aligned with their own personal trading habits. Its parent company, Peak6 Investments, is one of the largest options trading firms in the U.S. While OptionsHouse has great commissions, though, its order entry is more complex and not casual investor friendly.
Focusing on ease-of-use, TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim platform*, tradeMONSTER, and MB Trading's Options Strategist all had great offerings for options traders both casual and experienced. tradeMONSTER and MB Trading both do a fantastic job of visually showing clients what they are trading, whether it be as simple as a covered call or as complex as an iron condor. tradeMONSTER had a high "wow" factor with its clean and easy-to-use interface. On the contrary, MB Trading impressed us by tying in education, explaining what each strategy is with key points, and a full example breakdown of how an options trade would work.
For investors who are looking for advanced options trade tools, TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim platform* has the most robust offering. SpreadHacker allows investors to easily find the most profitable, low-risk trades for butterfly, calendar, and vertical spreads. Our testing narrowed down from almost 200,000 possible matches using multiple criteria such as price, profit probability, and delta, among others. Additionally, the SpreadBook tool allows users to view all currently active spread orders on the platform, sortable by ticker and spread type. Finally, for eye candy, users can utilize Widget 360 to view current call and put option interest on charts.
|tradeMONSTER||Review||Open an account|
|MB Trading||Review||Open an account|
|OptionsHouse||Review||Open an account|
|OptionsXpress||Review||Open an account|
|E*Trade||Review||Open an account|
|TradeKing||Review||Open an account|
Overall for options trading, every five-star-rated broker this year brings something unique to the table. Whether it be advanced options tools, a visually appealing interface, ease-of-use, or simply discounted commissions, the brokers we rated as the best will satisfy all options traders and their needs.
* - TD Ameritrade includes thinkorswim platform. Merger to be completed in 2011.