IMPORTANT NOTICE: As of April 11, 2013 Just2Trade has been issued a temporary cease-and-desist order from FINRA. Learn more.
On the surface, it is easy to understand what Just2Trade is trying to accomplish: being the dream broker. The homepage claims Just2Trade offers everything from first-class research to great support, premier education and award-winning discounted trading.
Unfortunately, looks are deceiving. While Just2Trade does offer cheap trades, everything else about the client experience suffers, and in the end, clients are better off investing elsewhere.
Commissions & Fees
Starting off with the one bright spot of Just2Trade's value proposition, its commission structure is straight-forward, easy-to-understand and contains few catches. All equities trades, mutual funds trades, bonds trades and even broker-assisted trades are just $2.50. Option trades run just $2.50 plus $.50 per contract, while exercising and assignments are $20 per.
For the casual investor, this is attractive after all, TD Ameritrade, ETRADE, Scottrade and other big name brokers charge at least $7 per trade, not to mention much higher costs for options trades. It works for investors who desire nothing more than a basic trade ticket to place orders with. Beyond this, TradeKing and OptionsHouse both offer commissions for less than $5, too, and are more compelling.
Lastly, for seasoned active traders, there is one critical flaw in Just2Trade's offering that should not be overlooked. Just2Trade, like the majority of online brokers, receives payment for order flow, keeping all the market rebates for themselves instead of kicking them back to the client. Active trading brokers such as Lightspeed, Interactive Brokers and Cobra Trading pass this rebate back to their clients, not to mention have far superior executions, and thus are a better deal.
Platforms, Tools, and Research
Just2Trade does not offer a conventional platform. There is no software to download onto the desktop, nor is there a traditional Java-based program to run in the browser. Instead, Just2Trade's platform is simply their website.
Along with ShareBuilder and Firstrade, Just2Trade was in the bottom three for total points earned this year in the Platforms & Tools category of our 2013 Broker Review. There is not much to get excited about, beyond the bare-bone basics every investor expects to find.
Research, like tools, is also disappointing. In 2013, Just2Trade parted ways with Morningstar, which is one of the premier research providers available on the web, as their primary research provider clearly, a cost-saving effort. They replaced them with InvestCenter, where depth of research is nearly non-existent and the UI is poor, to say the least. In fact, despite there being a section for mutual funds, we could not pull up one fund, instead receiving errors each time.
Just2Trade's website design is outdated and very basic in design. Depending on the browser utilized to access the site, misaligned text and other small nuances can be seen, reflecting the lack of extra capital to invest in site design due to ultra low-commissions.
Just2Trade used to offer technical analysis education through Recognia, but in late 2012 they ended their contract, as the content was underutilized. With Recognia out of the picture, the broker (as of this review) does not offer any investor education.
Lastly, the broker does not currently offer any apps for mobile trading.
Just2Trade paints the picture on its homepage as everything a self-directed investor could want, but in reality, they fall well short of their goal.
The main challenge for a broker like Just2Trade is delivering a well-rounded client experience with so little capital to work with. Because of its heavily discounted rates, Just2Trade is not able to provide some of the most basic features, not to mention a decent website.
In the end, Just2Trade's strategy seems clever on paper, but is poor in practice.
Blain has been involved in the markets for over 12 years, heading StockBrokers.com equity broker research and reviews. His personal blog, StockTradingToGo.com, provides to-the-point daily market recaps to over 17,000 subscribers.