TradingBlock Broker Review
TradingBlock is an online discount broker that has focused in providing their clients the tools necessary to achieve financial growth over the long term. Their commissions schedule is in line with most discount brokers but where they really excel is their educational resources.Their Learning center is mostly focused on option trading and different strategies you can put on based on market volatility and sentiment but what I really like is that they have a YouTube channel that is hosted by Joseph Cusick, Vice President of Wealth and Asset Management at MoneyBlock, where he goes over all kinds of trading strategies from complex, multi leg options trades to understanding market volatility and portfolio protection.
A nice feature that TradingBlock offers is called Auto-Trade. Basically what this does is you subscribe to one of their Financial News Letters that has a specific trading strategy and when they execute trades they send out alerts to your broker who will then place the trades in your account. This is useful if you can’t be by your account all day watching the markets as they will place the order and monitor it based on your risk tolerance levels and profit targets. Each news letter has a different per month fee that can range from $50 to over $100. For a list of their current news letter offerings you can click here.
As far as their customer service goes it was middle of the pack. They have a customer service desk you can call between the hours of 7:30am – 4:30pm Central Time and an email you can reach them at. They didn’t have a chat option which I find to be very helpful and their phone hours are normal business hours so you can’t get any help on the weekends or later at night. Other than that, they were helpful and professional with answering my questions for opening an account
Commissions & Fees
TradingBlock offers commission rates on the higher end of the discount online broker spectrum with equities starting at $0.001 per share with a $7.50 minimum while options start at a $7.50 base rate plus $0.75 per contract. Multi-leg options trades are charged just one base rate plus the $0.75 per contract so if you opened a straddle position of 10 contracts on both sides then your commission would be the $7.50 plus $15 ($0.75 x 20) for the contracts bringing your total commission fee to $22.50. This is a little above average but not terrible. They do offer active traders a discount if you trade enough volume per month but you have to call in and get it set up. Mutual Funds are $30 per trade and Fixed Income products like bonds are $1.00 per bond but there is a $50 minimum.
Trading Platform & Tools
TradingBlock’s standard trading platform has all the basic tools to get you by with interactive charting, streaming quotes, advanced orders and trade alerts. However, if you really want to kick it up a notch and get into one of the active trading platforms they offer then you have to contact their pro trading desk ([email protected]) where you can gain access to Sterling Trader Pro, SILEXX OEMS, RealTick or TOP from Instinet trading platforms. They are all advanced trading platforms with all the bells and whistles including advanced charting and order entry, direct market access, hotkey capabilities and Level 2. The platforms are sophisticated and powerful with some of the best customization features you can get in the industry. You will have to meet requirements like capital requirements and monthly fees for using the advanced software but if you’re serious about you trading then you shouldn’t limit yourself to products that will just get you by.
Based on my research and overall experience with TradingBlock I would say they are an average broker with commissions slightly on the higher end and their platform is fairly basic unless you get access to the more powerful ones I mentioned above. Either way, there are better options out there for active traders so I would only recommend this broker to casual traders and investors. For those of you who are interested in trading more actively then you may want to check out LightSpeed, TradeStation or Interactive Brokers who specifically cater to active and professional traders.
As always if you have any questions or comments regarding TradingBlock, please leave us a message below!