Who is The Best Online Broker?

There are numerous competitive online brokers with good rates and excellent service, but in my book, one stands above the crowd: that is Interactive Brokers.

Some of my trading strategies involved very frequent, very fast paced trading. For this, I needed to write an automated trading application. This takes months of careful coding to mesh your algorithms with the brokerage’sAPI, so needless to say, I wanted to get this right the first time. I did an exhaustive search and Interactive Brokers was the clear winner.

Interactive Brokers has some of the lowest commissions in the industry. Their minimums are two dollars per ticket. Stock rates start at half a penny per share and options rates start at $.70 per contract. They have a volume-based scale and active traders can get their rates down much lower.

With Interactive Brokers, you can trade almost every product in the world (stocks, foreign stocks, bonds, foreign currencies, futures and options) through one trading platform. You can also have your brokerage account denominated in any currency you want.

The real-time data feeds offered through Interactive Brokers are robust and the latency is very low. Even small traders can get the data fee waived if they do a few trades each month.

Interactive Brokers has been catering to institutional traders for more than a decade. Their API is very reliable and in 3 years since I have switched to them my feed has never gone down.

Interactive Brokers has a very deep borrow list compared with my other brokerage accounts. One of the trust accounts I manage uses Schwab as a custodian, so I am very familiar with that platform also. I was shocked to see how many times a stock is available to short at Interactive Brokers but not at Schwab. If your are deploying long-short strategies, this is a very important criterion that is often overlooked at first.

Margin rates are as low as you can find on the street. This lowers my cost when I want to buy stock on margin.

Interactive Brokers won Baron’s online brokerage survey in 2012 and 2013. They rate all of the online brokerage firms each year.

If you are not satisfied with your current broker, consider opening an account with Interactive Brokers

Disclosure:This web site discusses exchange-traded options issued by The Options Clearing Corporation. Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Prior to buying or selling an option, a person must receive a copy of Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Copies of this document may be obtained from your broker, from any exchange on which options are traded or by contacting The Options Clearing Corporation, One North Wacker Dr., Suite 500 Chicago, IL 60606 TradeJolt.com is not a registered investment advisor or broker-dealer. We do not make recommendations as to particular securities or derivative instruments, and do not advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment by you or any other individual. By continuing to use this site, you agree to read and abide by the full disclaimer.