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Yearly Review of Stock Brokers

2017 Online
Broker Review

By Blain Reinkensmeyer | February 21st, 2017

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Fellow Investors,

Over the past six months, I have once again had the honor of leading research for our seventh annual StockBrokers.com Review.

As a hobby trader for the past 16 years, 2016 was the year I reached a personal milestone: I completed my 1,000th trade in my personal portfolio, finishing 2016 with 1,013 trades in total (2,403 individual buys and sells, to be exact). Of the 16 brokers that volunteered to subject themselves to our thorough assessment this year, I personally have traded with 14 of them.

Experience provides a true perspective that cannot be found elsewhere. Looking at this year’s 2017 Review, there were 308 variables, a record over last year’s 295, spread across 10 categories (no other publication, print or web, eclipses even 100 total variables).

New this year, we have added a ranking, alongside individual reviews, for eight different robo-advisors. Scored as a separate segment of the Annual Review, we dove head first into the space. Instead of relying on website information and marketing materials as most editorials do, we opened and funded an account with each robo-advisor to acquire a true client experience.

To narrow down your choice of a broker best suited to you, you can start with the “Best in Class” category lists below where you can see recommended brokers based on aspects that matter most to you. Then read a full-length review and compare your favorites side by side, using the comparison tool to finalize your selection.

Since our inception back in 2011, StockBrokers.com has helped over three million investors research and compare online brokers. While the markets are anything but certain, you can feel confident that StockBrokers.com has your back in 2017 to help you find the perfect broker.

PS – Keep an eye out for our first-ever UK Broker Review and Forex Broker Review, which will be published in the coming months.

Here’s to us as investors and our success in 2017,

signature

Blain Reinkensmeyer
Blain Reinkensmeyer Co-Founder & Head of Research StockBrokers.com

Best in Class

Our “Best in Class” awards highlight the top five brokers for 12 categories. Each category winner is displayed below its respective section label. Click on a category name to view all five winners and read additional commentary.

Best in Class for

Stock Broker Reviews

All broker participants were assessed on 308 different variables across 10 core areas: Commissions & Fees, Customer Service, Platforms & Tools, Research, Ease of Use, Offering of Investments, Education, Mobile Trading, Order Execution, and Banking. Read full length reviews including detailed analysis, image galleries, feature lists, and detailed commission notes.

#1Broker Innovation TradeStation Salutes
#1International Trading Interactive Brokers
#1Banking Services Merrill Edge
#1Smartphone App TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader
#1Tablet App Fidelity
#1Desktop Platform TD Ameritrade thinkorswim
#1Web Based Platform OptionsHouse
#1Platform Technology TradeStation
#1Client Dashboard Charles Schwab Trade Source
#1Overall Client Experience Scottrade
#1Retirement Services Charles Schwab
#1Trader Community TD Ameritrade
#1New Tool TD Ameritrade thinkorswim earnings analysis
#1Phone Support TD Ameritrade
#1Email Support Fidelity
#1Live Chat Support E*TRADE

Industry Awards

Each year online brokers stand out for going "above and beyond" in the areas that matter most to customers. To recognize these brokers, we distribute industry awards. Here are the 2017 winners.

2017 Stock Broker Rankings

In total, 5,277 data points were gathered to rate and rank broker participants. To determine an Overall winner for self-directed investing, we weighted each category as follows:

  • Commissions & Fees (16.0%)
  • Offering of Investments (16.0%)
  • Platforms & Tools (16.0%)
  • Research (16.0%)
  • Customer Service (11.5%)
  • Mobile Trading (11.5%)
  • Ease of Use (4.0%)
  • Education (6.0%)
  • Order Execution (3.0%)
  • Banking (0.0%)

Click on any category name to filter brokers results by that category. For more information, see How We Test.



BrokersCommissions & FeesOffering of InvestmentsPlatforms & ToolsResearchCustomer ServiceMobile TradingEducationEase of UseOrder ExecutionBankingOverall Rating
TD Ameritrade
Fidelity
Charles Schwab
E*TRADE
Merrill Edge
Interactive Brokers
Scottrade
TradeKing
OptionsHouse
TradeStation
Firstrade
Capital One Investing
SogoTrade
Lightspeed Trading
Just2Trade
ChoiceTrade

Best in Class

Our “Best in Class” awards highlight the top three robo-advisors for four categories. Each category winner is displayed below its respective section.

Best in Class for
  • Investment Approach #1 Betterment
    #2 Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
    #3 TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios
  • Cost #1 Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
    #2 Wealthfront
    #3 Betterment
  • Platforms & Tools #1 Betterment
    #2 Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
    #3 TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios
  • Customer Service #1 Merrill Edge Guided Investing
    #2 Betterment
    #3 TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios

Robo-Advisor Reviews

Robo-advisors were assessed according to four primary categories: Investment Approach, Cost, Tools, and Customer Service. Read full length reviews below including detailed analysis, image galleries, feature lists, and detailed listing of advisor fees.

#1Goal Tracker TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios
#1Retirement - Calculator Betterment RetireGuide
#1Market Research Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
#1Mobile App Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
#1Full Service Robo-Advisor Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
#1Phone Support Merrill Edge Guided Investing
#1Email Support Wealthfront
#1Live Chat Support Betterment

Industry Awards

To recognize the robo-advisors that shine in the areas most important to clients, we distribute industry awards. Here are the 2017 winners.

2017 Robo-Advisors Rankings

To determine an Overall winner, we weighted each category as follows:

  • Investment Approach (50%)
  • Customer Service (10%)
  • Cost (20%)
  • Tools (20%)

Click on any category name to filter results by that category. For more information, see How We Test.



Robo-AdvisorsInvestment ApproachCostPlatforms & ToolsCustomer ServiceOverall Rating
Betterment
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios
Wealthfront
Fidelity Go
Merrill Edge Guided Investing
TradeKing Advisors
E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio
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