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Cobra Trading Review

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The StockBrokers.com annual review (9 years running) takes six months to complete and produces over 30,000 words of research each year. Here's how we test.

With 16 years of business operation under its belt, Cobra Trading is an online brokerage that focuses solely on professional traders. Cobra Trading offers multiple direct-access trading platforms, is competitive in pricing, and, most importantly, provides personalized service.

Appealing to the niche segment of traders who place hundreds, if not thousands of trades per year is difficult. To stay profitable, Cobra Trading, like its competitors, is an a la carte shop that passes on all the costs of trading to its customers. Tit-for-tat brokers like Cobra Trading struggle to outdo Interactive Brokers in value.

Review Summary

Rank: 13th (of 16)

Cobra Trading was founded in 2003 by Chadd Hessing as a direct-access, low-cost online brokerage for professional stock traders. While Cobra Trading offers multiple trading platforms and personalized service, trading costs are more expensive than leader Interactive Brokers.

Benefits

  • Cobra Trading is platform agnostic – it offers traders access to Das Trader Pro as well as Sterling Trader and RealTick.
  • As a small firm, Cobra Trading has a small trading desk, offering traders the opportunity to know the team on a first-name basis.
  • In certain situations, short locates may be more widely available with Cobra than its competitors.

Considerations

  • Like most other niche professional-focused brokers, the mobile experience is very poor.
  • No proprietary trading platform.
  • Failing to meet monthly share minimums results in hefty monthly fees, depending on the platform being used.

Special Offer:


Commissions & Fees

Rank: 15th (of 16)

Cobra Trading’s pricing is in line with its competitors. For low-volume traders, Cobra Trading quickly becomes expensive.

Benefits

  • Cobra Trading’s pricing structure is easy to understand.
  • The company charges commissions on a per share basis, starting at $.004/share, which is cheaper than starting prices for SpeedTrader ($.0044/share) and LightSpeed ($.0045/share).

Considerations

  • Cobra Trading’s 5.25% flat margin rates are competitive compared to competitors such as SpeedTrader; however, like all brokers, the rates do not come close to matching the rates of Interactive Brokers.
  • Traders are fully responsible for their market center routing fees or rebates. Adding liquidity yields a rebate, while taking liquidity (e.g., market orders) incurs an additional fee from the market center.

Further Reading

Fees Comparison

FeatureCobra TradingInteractive BrokersTradeStationLightspeedSpeedTrader
Minimum Deposit$30,000.00$0.00$500.00$10,000.00$30,000.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade)N/AN/A$5.00$4.50$4.49
ETF Trade FeeN/A$0.005$5.00$4.50$4.49
Options Base FeeN/A$0.00$5.00$0.00N/A
Options Per Contract Fee$0.50$0.70$0.50$0.60$0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee$25.00$14.95$14.95N/A$50.00
Broker Assisted Trades Fee$0.00$30.00$50.00$25.00$30.00
Commission-Free ETFs048000
Commissions & Fees 3 Stars 4.5 Stars 3.5 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
View all 23 data points

Platforms & Tools

Rank: 10th (of 16)

Cobra Trading is platform agnostic, providing traders the freedom to choose whichever platform they desire. We focused our testing on Das Trader Pro, which left us unimpressed overall.

Benefits

  • In addition to Cobra TraderPro, which is a white-labeled platform developed by Sterling, traders can directly access multiple platforms, including DAS Trader Pro, Sterling Trader Pro, and RealTick / RealTick Express.

Considerations

  • Das Trader Pro provides traders only the core features required to effectively trade quickly and efficiently. Little is offered beyond this, which hurt Cobra Trading’s score for overall platform depth and flexibility.

Gallery

Further Reading

Tools Comparison

FeatureCobra TradingInteractive BrokersTradeStationLightspeedSpeedTrader
Web Platform Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Desktop Platform (Windows) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Watch Lists - Total Fields3045333514130
Charting - Drawing Tools992389
Charting - Indicators / Studies361212822036
Option Chains - Total Columns1737326017
Streaming TV No Yes No No No
Paper Trading Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Platforms & Tools 3 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars
View all 59 data points

Research

Rank: 16th (of 16)

Cobra Trading’s research offering depends on the platform chosen for trading, and like all professionally focused trading platforms, traditional stock research is essentially nonexistent.

Benefits

  • None.

Considerations

  • Once again, we focused our testing on Das Trader Pro. Alongside no traditional fundamental research, advanced portfolio analysis and back testing capabilities were nowhere to be found.

Gallery

Research Comparison

FeatureCobra TradingInteractive BrokersTradeStationLightspeedSpeedTrader
Research - Stocks Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stock Research - Reports01000
Research - ETFs No Yes Yes No No
Research - Mutual Funds No No No No No
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB No Yes Yes No No
Research - Fixed Income No Yes No No No
Research - Futures No Yes Yes No No
Research - Forex No Yes Yes No No
Research 1 Stars 3.5 Stars 1.5 Stars 1 Stars 1 Stars
View all 60 data points

Customer Service

Rank: 10th (of 16)

To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com partners with customer experience research group Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2019 Broker Review, 300 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks.

Results

  • Average Connection Time: <1 minute
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 7.3 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 6.9 / 10
  • Overall Score: 7.55 / 10
  • Ranking: 10 th (16 brokers)
  • View Infographic

Mobile Trading

Rank: 12th (of 16)

Like Cobra Trading’s closest competitors, Lightspeed, SpeedTrader, and CenterPoint Securities, mobile apps and trading on the go are an afterthought. Our testing once again focused on Das Trader Pro.

Benefits

  • Depending on the platform provider used, mobile trading is provided.

Considerations

  • A mobile app is offered by Das Trader Pro, which is very basic but does provide trading capabilities. Compared to Interactive Brokers, the mobile experience is terrible.
  • While we did not test Sterling Trader’s mobile app, we did confirm one is offered for both iOS and Android.

Gallery

Further Reading:

Mobile Apps Comparison

FeatureCobra TradingInteractive BrokersTradeStationLightspeedSpeedTrader
iPhone App Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Android App Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Apple Watch App No Yes No No No
Watch List Syncing No Yes Yes No No
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields No Yes Yes No No
Charting - After Hours Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Mobile Trading 3 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 1.5 Stars 2.5 Stars
View all 52 data points

Offering of Investments

Rank: 11th (of 16)

Cobra Trading offers everything hyperactive traders require to go about their business, including futures and forex trading through its subsidiary, Venom by Cobra Trading.

Benefits

  • Full direct-market routing.
  • Short locate capabilities with multiple venues for liquidity.

Considerations

  • By design, Cobra Trading focuses primarily on professional stock and options trading, which means there is little to attract casual investors.
  • Cobra Trading’s futures and forex trading offering uses a white-labeled version of the Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation (TWS) platform, providing little value beyond personalized customer support.

Further Reading

Offering Comparison

FeatureCobra TradingInteractive BrokersTradeStationLightspeedSpeedTrader
Stock Trading Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Trading Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs48464
Options Exercising (Web) No Yes No No No
Options Exercising (Phone) Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Bonds (US Treasury) No Yes Yes Yes No
Bonds (Corporate) No Yes Yes No No
Bonds (Municipal) No Yes Yes No No
Futures Trading Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Forex Trading Yes No No No No
Mutual Funds (No Load)0755888700
Mutual Funds (Total)011000435700
DRIPs Yes Yes Yes No No
Advisor Services No No No No No
Offering of Investments 3 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2.5 Stars
View all 40 data points

Final Thoughts

Rank: 13th (of 16)

Cobra Trading caters to the hyperactive and professional trader. Advantages of Cobra Trading include a clean commission structure, multiple trading platforms to select from, and personalized service that can only be found at a small firm.

Beyond these considerations, Interactive Brokers offers better pricing, a far superior trading platform, significantly better mobile capabilities, and much better value all round.

Methodology

For the StockBrokers.com ninth annual review published in February 2019, a total of 4,544 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. We take pride in StockBrokers.com data quality because it is 100% verified by the industry itself. As part of our process, we hand check and validate each data point to ensure its accuracy.

This rigorous data validation process yields an >error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.


Blain Reinkensmeyer

About the author: Blain Reinkensmeyer As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 18 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in The New York Times, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/18/2019 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. 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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