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Favorite Brokerage?
Thanks everyone, really appreciate the input. I'll pass along the recommendations!
I've searched for this as I assumed such a thread had to exist but I couldn't find one.

I'm currently using Vanguard but I'm about to exhaust my discounted trades and I'll not be paying $25 per trade. I sent them an email asking to clarify their fees as I believe I should qualify for the permanent discounted trades but in case I don't, I will have to take my business elsewhere.

So which broker do you use and why? What am I looking for?

- Cheapest trade possible
- Secure and reliable
- Good mobile app
- possibility to DRIP
- possibility to buy fractional shares (when DRIPing)

Easy to use, spot trends, etc. I'm not looking for Funds or ETFs, that I can do with Vanguard, just stock trading.

I was using this for comparison but nothing like first hand comments and feedback:
I use TD Ameritrade $9.99 per trade and Merrill Edge $6.95 per trade.

I am very happy with both, customer service is great also.

I use both laptop and mobile for each.

One problem I have with Merrill is they have a few stocks that will turn Dividends to cash example BP.

TD just started the ability to do your own online DRIP.

There is a thread on here somewhere, it was discussed not to long ago.

I know this may sound like a dumb question but if I open an account with TDAmeritrade or Scottrade for example, can I transfer my equities from Vanguard to the other brokers? I imagine it's possible, but is it easy to do?

EDIT: stop being lazy and go ask Google... Big Grin
Here's the recent thread. (Though repeats certainly don't upset me.) [[Edited to add: Threads now merged!]]

I've started using Fidelity for some brokerage stuff, and it seems pretty good to me. $7.95 trades and a pretty good platform and good customer service. I have not tried their mobile app yet.
Thanks Kerim, if it's easy you can join the threads.

For ppl using vanguard, do you know if the $50k rule to get the $7 trade applies to stocks or just vanguard funds and etfs?

And does the 401k count for this rule?
(09-02-2015, 06:44 AM)Rasec Wrote: I know this may sound like a dumb question but if I open an account with TDAmeritrade or Scottrade for example, can I transfer my equities from Vanguard to the other brokers? I imagine it's possible, but is it easy to do?

EDIT: stop being lazy and go ask Google... Big Grin

Even easier -- call the brokerage you're interested in transferring your assets to. I would imagine they'd be quite happy to add another revenue stream.

However, everything is negotiable. It just depends on the amount you're talking about. Call your existing broker and tell them you keep getting emails or see ads from another brokerage and you're wondering if they could match it?

I use TD Ameritrade. I called customer service and told them Fidelity would only charge me $7.95/trade and asked if they could match it. I only do 6-8 trades per year at most so it's not a big revenue generator as far as activity but they still matched it.

I've thought about switching at times but I've been at TDA and its predecessors since the late-80s and have had little problems and prompt customer service. Every time I think of switching, I keep thinking about what should I be asking of the potential new brokerage. Here's my list so far:
  • Holds on deposited money. Can you trade the same day the money shows up in your account? Can you transfer money electronically? How long is the process?
  • DRIPs. Can you turn them on/off by yourself? How many decimal places do they carry it to. Any other special requirements? Do they do the trade the day the dividend is received?
  • Foreign tax withholding? For US investors, do they withhold foreign taxes in Traditional/Roth IRAs in which we have a tax treaty? Ask specifically about the countries you want to hold securities from. What about scrip shares like RDS mentioned here.
  • What research products do they have available?
  • How easy are they to contact? Try calling at 7am, 3pm, 11pm and 3am and see if you get a helpful rep? Perhaps ask these same questions. I've called TDA sometime between midnight and dawn sometimes and still get a helpful rep.
  • If you use options, what are there requirements to get options trading approved?
  • If an IRA, can you do in-kind distributions when RMD time comes around? What account services are available in a regular taxable account to access your money? Checking account? Debit card? Online transfers to your local bank?

Anything I forgot?

“While the dividend itself is merely a rearrangement of equity, over time it's more like owning an apple tree. The tree grows the apples back again and again and again, and the theoretical value of the tree doesn't change just because of when the apples are about to fall.” - earthtodan


Concerning Vanguard, the 50k balance in order to get the permanent $7 trades needs to be in Vanguard products, not overall balance held at the brokerage, individual stock holdings do not count. However, it can be an accumulation of different funds/accounts that are under the Vanguard umbrella, i.e., 401k, Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, brokerage account, including any investments that a spouse could have with Vanguard. If those investments excluding individual stock holdings add up to 50k then you get $7 dollar trades, 500k and those trades drop to $2 trades, any balance over 1 million get the picture.

@anyone out there

I have been looking over my Vanguard account (tax time) and I knew they have the ability of online bill pay, free checking, a visa, ect ect ect but never really thought about using these services. The reason is that I'm extremely happy using two different credit unions, my wife uses Wells Fargo. However, it would be nice to downsize a bit and simplify everything under one or two banking outlets. The only thing is that Vanguard doesn't offer full banking services, no car loans or mortgages, no such services that I'm aware of at the moment.

Does anyone use their brokerage for everything? That would be nice. IMHO.

I also did a re-evaluation on my Vanguard, in other words, I compared it to other brokerages to see if there is a better place to save dollars. I guess call me a creature of habit, the fact I've grown with Vanguard for 20 years and they continue on improving I'll stay for the time being. I'm extremely happy with them but I'll keep one eye open, periodically.

These were the brokers I was checking out, I still like the clean feel of Vanguard, everything works, no hiccups.
Anyone from Europe here?

I am using Interactive Brokers at the moment but want to open another account so that not all my money is with IB.
The problem is that as a Hungarian I am not allowed to open an account at most of the reputable brokers I know.

Any ideas I should check out?
Thanks in advance.
Hi OsztalekPortfolio_HUN, in Europe you may try
They have really low fees for US stocks, however stock prices are not real-time, they don't support DRIP and fractional shares at the moment.
From what I have heard, it is good broker for long term investors, not that good for traders.

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