Over the years, the educational offerings from online brokers has grown considerably. Brokers have realized that providing robust education on options trading basics and strategy, for example, yields more active and confident clients.
In our assessment and ranking of online brokers’ educational offerings, we have looked beyond just having investor videos or archived webinars. Instead, we have weighted the quality and quantity of each education type. We spent endless hours reading articles, watching videos and webinars, and even reading client magazines to find a true champion.
TD Ameritrade clients have access to over 200 videos, a points system tied to progress tracking, and even badges to encourage continued learning.
The top three finishers this year impressed us. In first place, once again, is TD Ameritrade, which blew us away thanks to its interactive education center driven by its premium education subsidiary Investools. TD Ameritrade clients have access to over 200 videos, a points system tied to progress tracking, and even badges to encourage continued learning. The Ticker Tape portal, together with the quarterly thinkmoney client magazine, are two other highlight offerings (Charles Schwab is the only other broker that mails out a client magazine throughout the year).
Moving up to second place this year, Fidelity continued to make progress, expanding its Learning Center that was launched in 2013. Content is sorted by experience level, category, and content type. The depth of content is truly impressive, with articles, videos, and webinars, as well as infographics and courses. Courses create a roadmap of both articles and videos to follow, with each step being tracked for completion so you can easily pick up where you left off.
In third place is E*TRADE, which offers one of the diverse and best organized education centers in the industry. ETRADE’s education center includes short videos as well as archived webinars and a slew of third-party articles. Content can be filtered by ratings, skill level, type, or category. The one primary drawback is navigation; once you navigate to an article or video, there is no easy way to navigate back to the education home without clicking the back button on your browser.
The brokerage industry overall has realized that organization, variety, and depth are extremely important components. Each attribute is dependent on the other, and while quality education shouldn’t be the only reason to choose a broker, it certainly is a nice complement to the primary offering.