Scottrade is a low-cost online brokerage firm, although they prefer to call themselves a low-cost trade execution provider. Being a trade executioner rather than an advice-giving broker, Scottrade keep their costs down by not devoting a lot of resources to market research and similar. This translates into low costs for the clients. Also, Scottrade do not provide any managed accounts.
Scottrade are very good at executing within the National Best Bid Offer (NBBO). According to themselves, less than 5% of all trades are executed outside of their customers’ expectations.
Scottrade offers three products:
- The basic interface. This product is suitable for clients that do not churn their accounts. The interface is easy to use, even if you are a novice trader.If you want low-costs and are okay with a no-frills outfit, this is a great choice. If you desire a high degree of customization, we can not recommend this product.Generally speaking, this product is popular among two groups of investors: comparatively long-term investors that do not need their broker to provide them with real time stock quotes and advanced short-term traders that have their own sources for quotes and stock analysis tools.
- The interface for intermediate traders. This product is also quite popular among experienced and advanced traders that are long-term investors rather than short-term traders. A high degree of customization is possible. This interface comes with quoting tools that support long term trades.
- The ScottradeElite, a high-end trading desk for active traders. This is for the very active trader that wants a very high degree of customization. Level II streaming stock and option quotes come in handy for anyone interested in short term and intraday trades. A downside with this product is that the charting and screening tools aren’t top of the range.ScottradeElit is available for customers with an account balance of $25,000 or above. .
ScottradeElit have among the lowest costs in the industry, but the exact costs will vary depending on the interface. We therefore recommend that you read the fine print for the specific interface that you would use. Focusing too much on various adds and marketing clips can give you an incorrect idea of what it would cost to have Scottrade as your broker.
Scottrade is promoting their customer service as a way of distinguishing themselves from other low-cost brokers online. The customer service representatives are registered brokers, with a lot of knowledge in the field. (Although, don’t ask for advanced and tailor-made investment advise. This is the free customer support, not your privately retained broker.)