Published by Blain Reinkensmeyer
Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
Over the past few 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. While truly interactive education, provided by tech-focused companies such as InvestingTeacher.com, has not yet made its way onto the scene, investors can be confident knowing the space is progressing.
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.
The top three finishers this year impressed us. In first place is TD Ameritrade, which blew us away as it leveraged the premium education of Investools to launch a brand-new education center in 2014. TD Ameritrade clients now have access to over 100 videos, a points system tied to progress tracking, and even badges to encourage continued learning. The Ticker Tape Monthly interactive newsletter, 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).
In second place is ETRADE, 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 and can be bookmarked for easy access later. The broker is also one of multiple in the industry to include Morningstar Investing Classroom courses.
Rounding out the top three, 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.
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.
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.