Published by Blain Reinkensmeyer
Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
There are three important assets a broker can offer any new investor. The first and most important is an easy-to-use website and platform. After all, what good is trading online if you can’t figure out how to perform research or place an order? Second, a robust offering of educational content (see the Education section for a full breakdown) is always beneficial. Third is having access to virtual trading for practice and honing the art of trading. “X” factors include research, customer service, and community functionality.
Based on the above criteria, our No. 1 pick for new investors is TD Ameritrade. New investors have access to an easy-to-use platform and website through Trade Architect, more than 100 branch offices for live seminars, top-notch research, and much more. Investools, a premium investing education provider brought to the broker through its acquisition of thinkorswim, is also a great asset. Driven by the Investools team, in 2014 the broker launched a brand-new education center that blew us away. Our one gripe with TD Ameritrade is that its virtual trading capabilities are offered only through the thinkorswim platform, which has not been built with new investors in mind. This caveat aside, TD Ameritrade is the best environment for new investors.
Earning our second recommendation based on its platform alone is OptionsHouse. OptionsHouse’s web-based platform requires no minimum deposit for access ($100 deposit for real-time quotes) and is the perfect atmosphere for any new investor. Whether stock or options trading in a virtual or real environment, the platform defines ease of use. Personal notes can be added to stock charts as well as any new trades being made (trade tagging also allows for speedy post-trade analysis). The one major caveat with OptionsHouse is its education center, which is housed on the platform; beyond a handful of options articles, it’s very weak. Also, OptionsHouse’s research capabilities are nothing spectacular. Despite the drawbacks, however, OptionsHouse is still a winner for beginners.
Other top brokers in this category include Scottrade, ETRADE, and Fidelity. Scottrade shines with its massive network of 505 local branch offices, its ever-increasing variety of on-site educational content, and the easy-to-use Scottrader Streaming Quotes platform. Alternatively, ETRADE and Fidelity offer clients access to in-depth research, easy-to-use websites, and excellent on-site education. ETRADE is also well-known for its mobile trading experience.
Navigating the challenges of being a new investor is no easy task. That is why having a good broker to instill confidence while newbies are learning the rules of the game will pay big dividends down the road.
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.
TD Ameritrade, Inc. and StockBrokers.com are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products. Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading privileges subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options. Offer valid for one new Individual, Joint or IRA TD Ameritrade account opened by 09/30/2017 and funded within 60 calendar days of account opening with $3,000 or more. To receive $100 bonus, account must be funded with $25,000-$99,999. To receive $300 bonus, account must be funded with $100,000-$249,999. To receive $600 bonus, account must be funded with $250,000 or more. Offer is not valid on tax-exempt trusts, 401k accounts, Keogh plans, Profit Sharing Plan, or Money Purchase Plan. Offer is not transferable and not valid with internal transfers, accounts managed by TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC, TD Ameritrade Institutional accounts, and current TD Ameritrade accounts or with other offers. Qualified commission-free Internet equity, ETF or options orders will be limited to a maximum of 250 and must execute within 90 calendar days of account funding. Contract, exercise, and assignment fees still apply. Limit one offer per client. Account value of the qualifying account must remain equal to, or greater than, the value after the net deposit was made (minus any losses due to trading or market volatility or margin debit balances) for 12 months, or TD Ameritrade may charge the account for the cost of the offer at its sole discretion. TD Ameritrade reserves the right to restrict or revoke this offer at any time. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business. Please allow 3-5 business days for any cash deposits to post to account. Taxes related to TD Ameritrade offers are your responsibility. Retail values totaling $600 or more during the calendar year will be included in your consolidated Form 1099. Please consult a legal or tax advisor for the most recent changes to the U.S. tax code and for rollover eligibility rules. (Offer Code 264) TD Ameritrade Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2016 TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.