Scottrade Broker Review
Scottrade Inc. is a discount broker that offers both online services and brick-and-mortar offices with hundreds of locations all over the nation where you can get professional in-person service for a very competitive commission rate. They were founded by CEO Rodger Riney in Scottsdale, Arizona and ever since it’s opened its doors back in 1980 they have remained focus on providing exceptional value and in-person services that distinguish themselves from their competitors.
The company has received numerous awards over the years for their Customer Service, Work Culture and their Technology and they continually strive to improve the user experience with powerful trading tools, a wide range of educational resources and exceptional customer service. Their customer service was one of the best experience’s I have had when dealing with a broker and one of the nicest features they have is that when you call in they redirect you to the closest branch according to your zip code where they will assist you with whatever you need. Or you can stop by and talk with them in person for a more personal experience between the hours of 8:30 and 5 pm. When you call outside the normal office hours you will be directed to their national service center that has excellent hours both during the week and on the weekend (Mon-Fri 6am-1am; Sat-Sun 9am-7pm), BUT they are not open 24 hours like some of their competitors. That’s the only real flaw I could find in their customer service and it’s not even a big one so when you open an account with Scottrade you can rest assured that you are in excellent hands.
Trading Platform & Tools
Scottrade has three options for trading platforms: Scottrader Streaming Quotes, Scottrade ELITE and ScottradePRO.
Scottrader Streaming Quotes is a basic java based platform that is somewhat customizable and easy to use. It has charts, time and sales, news and other features to help make more informed decisions but it is slower and less powerful than the other options Scottrade has and is more suited for the casual trader.
ScottradELITE was developed for active traders with real time data and powerful tools that help you analyze data so that you’re making informed decisions. The platform is great but the only set back is you have to have $25,000 minimum in your account to utilize it which could be a problem for some traders just looking to get started. It also doesn’t have direct market access for routing so your trades could take a little longer and you may not get the best fill. The charting is decent but definitely not the best. Overall, the platform is powerful and will fulfill the needs of any trader or investor but it is not the very best for the very active trader like myself.
To take it up a step, Scottrade now offers ScottradePRO. This is a very powerful trading platform that is powered by Interactive Brokers. You will receive commission discounts when using this platform and their is only a $5,000 minimum equity requirement but their is a $39 per month fee for non professionals and $149 for professionals. The platform features streaming quotes and market data, powerful scanners, news feeds and direct market access. This is the platform to go with if you’re actively trading and is the one I recommend out of the three.
Commission & Fees
Scottrade has fairly competitive rates compared to most of its competitors that are full-service brokers. Equity trades start at just $7 per trade no matter how many shares you’re trading and options are set at a reasonable $7 base rate plus $0.70 per contract, which is slightly higher than the online discount brokers like TradeKing who offer equity trades at $4.95 and options at $4.95 plus $0.65 per contract. This makes sense though, because Scottrade has more overhead with having actual offices and personnel there to run them resulting in a higher charge for their services. If you call in for a broker assisted trade then you are looking at paying $32 per trade for equities and $32 plus $0.70 per contract for options. You can find out more information on their commissions and fees here.
Scottrade is an excellent broker that offers some great tools and services that will meet the needs of just about any type of trader. They also conveniently have offices throughout the nation in most major cities where you can go in and receive a more personal level of service. From investment advice to banking, they pretty much have your financial needs covered and is why I would recommend them to investors or traders who want that personal touch and extra service. With the addition of Scottrade PRO they are now a serious competitor in the active trading arena and should be considered by even the most demanding trader.
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