Online trading account - first time and need some advice

I was wondering if anyone here on the forum can help me out.

After speaking to various fund managers on how to break into the industry I have been advised that unless I am trading myself, then many firms will not look at me.

With this in mind I am looking to open an online trading account, however, I am not too sure which brokerage I should use. Ideally I would like one with decent video tutorials and one that is cheap because I am just starting out. I would also like one that provides quite a bit of research.

Any thoughts?

After looking around I came across one called Zecco which is cheap ($4.95 stock trades) and has it’s own video tutorials, as well as a forum and a detailed blog.

What are other people using and what advice would you give me in my situation?

What is your academic background, work experience, age, etc…?

I use Charles Schwab, but I do pretty plain vanilla equity & mutual fund trades and that is who my company clears with but I would be impartial between Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and Fidelity, as they have good execution and low commissions. I don’t know that I would use ETrade, as their financial health is pretty poor. If you are wanting to do options trading, I have heard good things about Interactive Brokers.

Interactive Brokers is good, albeit a bit intimidating at times. If you are using it to demonstrate familiarity with trading, it may take you farther. Also stock/etf trades are $1, which - if you have a small account - may make it easier for you to pull the trigger on stuff. However, that can be a double edged sword.

Interactive Brokers lets you run a demo of their system with a paper trading account so you can get used to the controls.

I really like the TD Ameritrade “Think or Swim”. You can simulate all kinds of portfolios and it does a really good job of using realtime data for options/futures/etc. You can learn a lot just from playing around with these simulated portfolios alone. Be careful with some of the discount brokers. I opened an account with SogoTrade because all trades were $3 and my account was very small. Their clearing firm is Penson Financial and I my 1099 this year was completely incorrect and I never got an updated one in time to file. Their response: “Please use your monthly statements to determine your own cost basis, etc. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.” Big pain in the a$$

I am using Keytrade Bank, there are not as cheap as some of the brokers mentioned above but also they dont require a minimum cash balance to sign up…

I used Zecco (for over 4 years) for my own investments and my company uses Interactive Brokers. Zecco is fine if you don’t often trade options and invest maybe less than $100,000.

I also recommend Tradestation if you’re gonna trade using your own Quant models.

Has anyone here used saxobank? I’m from the UK and so its easier for me to use a broker that has a base here.

@capaldij, I’m not sure if TD Ameritrade or Optionsxpress are in the UK but they are really the best platforms out there. Optionsxpress is hands down the best because it allows you to purchase junk bonds, which is restricted on TD Ameritrade, Scottrade, and etc. Optionsxpress has various webinars and in person conferences free of charge. Optionsxpress and TD Ameritrade both have really good day trading platforms; Optionsxpress is slightly cheaper.

Zecco is not something you want to do if you’ll be day trading. Interactive Brokers is junk to personal trading IMO, I used it and it crashed on me numerous time; doesn’t inspire confidence to give them your money. Charles Schwab was pricey last time I checked.

If you’ve never traded before in your life, you should start out with a practice account for at least 3 months of consistent trading.