At Broker-Reviews.org, we are committed to providing the best reviews of brokers and financial services. We understand that choosing a broker is important to traders and we do our best to provide the best information possible. Everyone has different preferences and each broker will have it’s own strengths and weaknesses. We do our best to remain objective and focus on the key components of a great broker. While we will also highlight the features that are unique to each specific broker, we weight our reviews on a few common factors.
First and foremost, we rate brokers on their commission fees and structures. For most traders, this is the most important part of choosing a broker. If the broker is not cost effective, there’s no need to explore there other features. We analyze the commission structures offered by every broker we review. Certain brokers offer per-trade commissions structures while others offer per-share commission structures. Either way, we review the broker based on the value they offer to clients. We run a few sample scenarios in which traders may take positions of 100 or 1000 shares to see which brokers offer the most competitive rates. Of course, we also factor in the quality of the routes and speed of executions (as not all brokers are equal in these categories).
Most investors will be content with a simple web platform where they can access recent price data, stock charts, and basic order entry forms. Many traders will require advanced trading platforms with real-time data, level 2 streaming, and advanced trading tools. We evaluate brokers on the platforms they offer to customers. While not all brokerage clients will use these platforms, a full-service broker should provide access to all of the tools traders need. We take an in-depth look at a broker’s web platforms, desktop platforms and mobile platforms. These platforms are rated on their ease-of-use, efficiency, range of tools, and more factors.
Modern day brokers are responsible for providing traders and investors with the information they need to make smarter decisions. This decision support can come in the form of both technical and fundamental data. While the majority of our technical weighting is focused on the broker’s platform options, we weight the fundamental data on research tools. This may include access to market news, analyst reports, and other third party data. We evaluate the quality of this data and the ease with which it can be accessed.
When you trust a broker with your capital, you want to make sure your money is in good hands. Things can and will go wrong in the markets and its important that brokers are there to support their customers. This may include troubleshooting issues or simply providing guidance to less experienced market participants. We rate brokers based on how well they handle a variety of common customer service situations. These situations may include pre-application questions, troubleshooting account errors, or request for platform guidance. Both good and bad customer support are fairly obvious and can be rated on the quality and timeliness of the response.
Additional Rating Points
Every broker has a unique value proposition. There is no indisputable titleholder for “best online broker.” Different brokers exceed in different areas. For example, direct market access brokers provide better routing and execution options but may incur higher account fees. Discount brokers provide competitive pricing options but don’t provide access to some advanced tools. We take all of these factors into account and highlight key areas of strengths and weaknesses for every broker we review.