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Cobra Trading

Published by Blain Reinkensmeyer
On Friday, March 11th, 2016

Overview

Designed for professional, active investors only, and unless you desire Cobra's niche personalized offering, its competitors come out on top.

Dislikes

Multiple platforms make for confusing customer experience; numerous additional fees make platforms expensive; all platforms are third-party.

Cobra Trading Review

The content portion of this Review was completed in February, 2013 in conjunction with the 2013 Broker Review.

As a small broker with less than a dozen staff members, Cobra Trading shines in its ability to personalize the broker-trader relationship. With price, execution and service mattering the most to hyperactive traders, Cobra Trading is competitive in the first two and specializes in the third. 

Being small, however, does have its drawbacks. None of the platforms Cobra Trading offers are built, nor managed in-house, and even the back-end client management software is outsourced. 

Any broker specializing in professional investing will negotiate over price, so the question becomes: Is Cobra outsourced?

Customer Service

Every team member at Cobra is capable of handling a support call, or any call for that matter. This is what differentiates Cobra from its competitors in our 2013 Broker Review: Lightspeed, Interactive Brokers, TradeStation and MB Trading.

With a small staff comes personalized service, remembering names and the like. Each support rep is well trained and passionate about what they do. They take their time with explanations and understand that every client matters.

CobraTrading placed second overall in Customer Service in our 2013 Review this year. Whether it is phone, email or live chat, Cobra has its clients covered.

Commissions & Fees

Don't let Cobra Trading's outdated and confusing website frustrate you our Cobra Trading Review has all the details on commissions and fees. 

First point to note: Cobra passes market rebates back on to the client, and with direct market access, this means complete control over costs for the savvy investor, adding liquidity with each trade.

As far as regular commission rates, equity trades run $.005 per share for those trading less than 250,000 shares per month, and $.004 per share for more than 250,000. Minimum ticket chart is $1.

Options are $.75 per contract with no volume discounts offered. Competitive, but still more expensive than Lightspeed and Interactive Brokers.

Platforms & Tools

As mentioned previously, Cobra Trading utilizes third-parties for all of its available platforms. While this does keep things simple for the Cobra staff (no headaches with coding), it is more costly for the client, as the platforms do not come free unless certain trading thresholds are met.

Of the four provided, three are desktop-based and one is web-based. The web-based is designed for newer investors with little experience, and considering Cobra Trading is a broker designed for professionals, we do not recommend it.

During our customer support testing, we asked which platform was most widely used, and CobraIQ (InstaQuote) was the answer. InstaQuote is robust and has all the niche functionality pros require, but beyond advanced charting, endless hotkeying and the like, InstaQuote is limited. In the war of desktop platforms, only two names reign supreme: TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim and TradeStation

Other Notes

Cobra Trading does not offer mobile trading, and research is virtually non-existent. Despite its drawbacks, however, Cobra Trading has managed to keep its doors open over the years, even with competitors being snatched up by bigger players, and DARTs (daily average revenue trades), being down substantially from their mid-2000s levels.

Closing Thoughts

Cobra Trading is an online broker that specializes in hyperactive trading and quality customer service. The broker uses its small size to deliver a consistent experience for its clients.

Size also has its disadvantages, and Cobra Trading outsources everything from back-end client management to the platforms traders trade on. Commissions are competitive for equities, but are easily beat by the competition for options. 

With larger, more experienced online brokers available, such as Lightspeed, MB Trading, TradeStation and Interactive Brokers, Cobra Trading is a small fish in a pond of sharks.


Blain Reinkensmeyer

Blain has been involved in the markets for over 15 years, heading StockBrokers.com broker research and reviews. His personal blog, StockTrader.com, provides education articles as well as to-the-point market recaps to over 17,000 subscribers.

Compare Cobra Trading


Cobra Trading Ratings

* - Cobra Trading did not to participate in the 2016 Online Broker Review. As a result, there are no current ratings to display.

Overall
Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
Research
Customer Service
Mobile Trading
Ease of Use
Education
Order Execution
Banking

Best in Class

Best in Class - Overall
Best in Class - Commissions & Fees
Best in Class - Offering of Investments
Best in Class - Platforms & Tools
Best in Class - Research
Best in Class - Customer Service
Best in Class - Mobile Trading
Best in Class - Ease of Use
Best in Class - Investor Education
Best in Class - Order Execution
Best in Class - Banking
Best in Class - Active Trading
Best in Class - Options Trading
Best in Class - New Investors

Cobra Trading Awards

2014

Cobra Trading was not included in the StockBrokers.com 2014 Online Broker Review.

2013

Cobra Trading was rated 4 stars for customer service. Read the 2013 Broker Review.

Commission Notes

Cobra Trading commissions structure details below. With Cobra Trading it is very important to look at there extra fees for trading which brings up the cost of placing average trades. This includes software fees and access to data.

There are four total platforms offered by Cobra Trading: RediPlus ($250 monthly fee waived if you trade 250,000 shares per month), RealTick ($250 monthly fee waived if you trade 250,000 shares per month), RealTick Express ($150 monthly fee waived if you trade 150,000 shares per month), and Sterling Trader Pro ($200 monthly fee waived if you trade 200,000 shares per month).

Stock Trades - All pricing is per-share with discounts available for trading higher volume each month:

Per Share rate (Monthly Volume): $0.004 (Under 250,000 shares), $0.0035 (250,000 - 1,000,000 shares), $0.003 (1M - 2M), $0.003 (2M - 10M). $1 minimum charge. All trades plus/minus applicable market center fees.

Options Trades - $.50 per contract (0 - 2,000 contracts per month), $.40 per contract (2,001 - 10,000 contracts per month), and $.30 per contract (10,000+ contracts per month).

Mutual Funds - Mutual funds are not currently offered.

International Trading - International Trading are not currently offered.

For Cobra Trading's latest pricing, see their website.

Trade Commissions Breakdown

$5.00 Stock Trade Fee (flat)*
$0.0100 Stock Trade Fee (per share)*
$5.00 Options Base Fee*
$0.95 Options Per Contract Fee*
$0.95 Options Exercise Fee
$0.95 Options Assignment Fee
$25.00 Mutual Fund Trade Fee
$5.00 Broker Assisted Trades Fee
$500.00 Minimum Deposit

Margin Rates

-1.00% Under $24,999.99
-1.00% $25,000.00 to 49,999.99
-1.00% $50,000.00 to $99,999.99
-1.00% $100,000.00 to $249,999.99
-1.00% $250,000.00 to $499,999.99
-1.00% $500,000.00 to $999,999.99
-1.00% Above $1,000,000.00

Miscellaneous Fees

$0.00 Bond Trade Fee
$0.00 Treasury Trade Fee
$0.00 CD Trade Fee
$0.00 IVR Trade Fee
$35.00 IRA Annual Fee
$0.00 IRA Closure Fee
$0.00 Forced Margin Sellout Fee
$25.00 Returned ACH Fee
$25.00 Returned Wire Fee
$0.00 Stock Certificate Processing Fee
$0.00 Stock Certificate Delivery Fee
$2.00 Paper Statement Fee
$3.00 Paper Confirmation Fee
$20.00 Domestic Wire Fee
$50.00 International Wire Fee

Offering of Investments

* - Cobra Trading did not participate in the 2016 Online Broker Review, as a result the following data may not be up to date.

Advisor Services
Bonds (Corporate)
Bonds (Municipal)
Bonds (US Treasury)
CDs
Wedbush Securities, Interactive Brokers and Vision Financial Clearing Firm
0 Commission Free ETFs
Yes Direct Market Routing - Stocks
Direct Market Routing - Options
DRIPs
# of Easy to Borrow Stocks
Forex Trading
Futures Trading
Yes Member FINRA
Yes Member SIPC
Mutual Funds
0 Mutual Funds (Load)
0 Mutual Funds (No Load)
0 Mutual Funds (NTF)
0 Mutual Funds (Total)
Mutual Funds Phone Trades
Mutual Funds Web Trades
No Fee IRAs
Yes No Inactivity Fees
No Minimum Deposit
Options Exercising (Phone)
Options Exercising (Web)
Yes Options Trading
Options Trading (Mini)
Options Trading (Weekly)
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Stock Trading

Customer Service

Yes Phone Support
Yes Email Support
Live Chat (Current Clients)
24/7 Support

Platforms & Tools

Yes Desktop Platform (Windows)
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Yes Web Platform
Active Trading Platform
Auto Investing
Charting - Display Corporate Events
Charting - Drawing Tools
Charting - Notes
Heat Mapping
Ladder Trading
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Level 2 Quotes - Options
Option Chains - Streaming Real-time
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Stock Alerts Delivery - Email
Stock Alerts Delivery - Sound
Stock Alerts Delivery - Text SMS
Streaming Time & Sales
Streaming TV
Trade Hot Keys
Yes Virtual Trading
Watchlists - Streaming Real-time Quotes

Research

Research - ETFs
Research - Mutual Funds
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Research - Fixed Income
1 Equity Research - Research Reports
ETF Research - Top 10 Holdings
ETF Research - Morningstar Style Box
ETF Research - Research Reports
Mutual Fund Research - Research Reports
Mutual Fund Research - Fees Breakdown
Mutual Fund Research - Performance Analysis
Mutual Fund Research - Top 10 Holdings
Screener - Stocks
Screener - ETFs
Screener - Mutual Funds
Screener - Options
Screener - Bonds

Education

Has Education - Stocks
Has Education - ETFs
Has Education - Options
Has Education - Mutual Funds
Has Education - Fixed Income
Has Education - Retirement
Investor Dictionary
Client Webinars
Live Seminars
Videos
Retirement Calculator
Community Forums

Mobile Trading

iPhone App
iPad App
Apple Watch App
Android App
Android Tablet App
Mobile Site
Quotes (Real-time)
Quotes (Streaming Real-time)
Watch List Syncing
Market Movers (Top Gainers)
Stock Alerts Delivery - Push Notifications
Customizable Homescreen
Stream Live TV
Trading - Stocks
Trading - Stocks (After-Hours)
Trading - Simple Options
Trading - Complex Options

Banking

Member FDIC
Checking Accounts
Savings Accounts
Debit Cards
Credit Cards
Mortgage Loans
Mobile Check Deposit
ATM Fee Reimbursement
No Fee Banking
0 Retail Locations

Active Trading

Receives Payment for Order Flow
Yes Client Liquidity Rebates
Financial Information Forum (FIF) Participant

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 2/16/2016 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

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