UPDATE 02/04/15: OptionsHouse tradeMONSTER Merger Brand and Commission Updates

It was formally announced Tuesday evening that tradeMONSTER and OptionsHouse would be combining forces and merging. The transaction is expected to close in the Fall (Q3 pending regulatory approval).

From the tradeMONSTER client email,

“As one of our most valued customers, I personally want you to be among the first to know some exciting news about tradeMONSTER. That is – we have just signed a definitive agreement to combine tradeMONSTER with OptionsHouse into a new standalone company.

By combining our two dynamic companies, we’ll be able to draw on even greater resources to bring you the most innovative tools, fast, reliable execution, superior value across desktop and mobile devices—and strengthen your trading with the market leading platform in the online brokerage industry.

Like tradeMONSTER, OptionsHouse is a best-of-breed online brokerage focused on serving active traders and investors. By joining forces, we will bring together the best of both companies to continue to provide our customers with the products, features and advantages they seek. Our goal is to continually improve our customers’ trading experience as one of the most dynamic and innovative companies in the industry.”

Some interesting points / thoughts:

  • While the client email simply noted that General Atlantic, a global growth investor, would own a majority stake in the two companies, the plot is a bit deeper. It appears that General Atlantic bought OptionsHouse outright, then purchased a majority stake in tradeMONSTER, and is then merging the two together.
  • In late 2012, the TradeKing Zecco “merger” really ended up seeing TradeKing engulf Zecco’s client base, best tools, and top staff then left the rest behind including the brand, offices, etc. The combined entity became TradeKing Group. What will take place here?
  • While both tradeMONSTER and OptionsHouse have similar flat rate equity rates, $4.95 and $4.75, respectively, the option commission schedules are worlds apart. tradeMONSTER’s is pricey for those trading just a handful of contracts, but is justified through the broker’s outstanding platform which won multiple awards in our 2014 Broker Review.
  • Speaking of platforms, this too will be interesting. Knowing the technology team behind tradeMONSTER, we would be extremely surprised if tradeMONSTER’s platform did not come out on top post merger.
  • Both brokers clear through Apex (formally Penson), owned by Peak 6, and will continue to do so post merger. Furthermore, both brokers are stationed in Chicago (OptionsHouse has a much nicer pad). This will make for a much smoother and quicker transition overall.

Congratulations to both firms and we will share more information as the merger comes together.