Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

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Topic Author
megaroth
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Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by megaroth » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:04 am

Hi,

I like to spread my funds across brokerages. With Schwab and TD Ameritrade merging, we'll be down to these top 3 (in no particular order, just gauging by biggest and seemingly most common among Bogleheads): Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab. After that list, which brokerage would you select as next-best? I've been thinking about eTrade but am not sure about them. For similar reasons, I'm less excited about the "old-school" banks' brokerages (Merrill Lynch, Chase), but maybe they're worth considering. I've read comments on this forum and some external reviews but am still having trouble getting a sense of which would be best for my needs.

Important considerations: Responsive and knowledgeable customer service, reliable recordkeeping/administration and technology (both front-end user experience and back-end platform), reasonable fees.

Thanks!

MichCPA
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by MichCPA » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:13 am

I can only think of disadvantages from having (presumably) more than three brokerages. I understand that having 401k's and HSAs doesn't yield you much choice, but how are you even going to properly report a wash sale if you own the security in 4 different places?The brokerage won't flag it for you, so you or your accountant would need to be able to override the 1099-B.

Each place has strengths, but its really a choice between Schwab (bought TD) and Fidelity vs Vangaurd. If you want a one stop, choose Schwab or Fidelity. If you really want to squeeze some pennies out of your MMFs or want to volunteer to pay higher fees to buy MFs instead of ETFs Vanguard is your choice.

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Wiggums
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by Wiggums » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:22 am

megaroth wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:04 am
Hi,

I like to spread my funds across brokerages. With Schwab and TD Ameritrade merging, we'll be down to these top 3 (in no particular order, just gauging by biggest and seemingly most common among Bogleheads): Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab. After that list, which brokerage would you select as next-best? I've been thinking about eTrade but am not sure about them. For similar reasons, I'm less excited about the "old-school" banks' brokerages (Merrill Lynch, Chase), but maybe they're worth considering. I've read comments on this forum and some external reviews but am still having trouble getting a sense of which would be best for my needs.

Important considerations: Responsive and knowledgeable customer service, reliable recordkeeping/administration and technology (both front-end user experience and back-end platform), reasonable fees.

Thanks!
I have a brokerage account at T Rowe Price for their state bond fund.

How many different brokers are you thinking about using.

saver007
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by saver007 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:28 am

Interactive Brokers. IB is becoming increasingly retail/user friendly .
IB don't advertise much.. It is one of the largest, efficient, safest,ethical brokerage out there..

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:28 am

eTrade. There are bonuses for opening an account with $5k or more. I find it similar to Schwab and TDAmeritrade (accounts at both).
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

ochotona
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by ochotona » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:32 am

I was considering Interactive Brokers recently, but seemed a little too propeller-headed for me at this time.
Peter W., MBA, CRPC

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ruralavalon
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by ruralavalon » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:34 am

megaroth wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:04 am
Hi,

I like to spread my funds across brokerages. With Schwab and TD Ameritrade merging, we'll be down to these top 3 (in no particular order, just gauging by biggest and seemingly most common among Bogleheads): Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab. After that list, which brokerage would you select as next-best? I've been thinking about eTrade but am not sure about them. For similar reasons, I'm less excited about the "old-school" banks' brokerages (Merrill Lynch, Chase), but maybe they're worth considering. I've read comments on this forum and some external reviews but am still having trouble getting a sense of which would be best for my needs.

Important considerations: Responsive and knowledgeable customer service, reliable recordkeeping/administration and technology (both front-end user experience and back-end platform), reasonable fees.

Thanks!
I have experience only with Vanguard, and personally prefer a fund firm rather than an independent brokerage.

But based on comments on this forum additional brokerages to consider would be E*Trade and Merrill Edge.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by isira » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:32 am

Many Bogleheads park at least 100k at Merrill Edge to get Platinum Honors status and take advantage of BofA's Preferred Rewards program. One of the benefits is increased cash back with BofA's credit cards.

bondsr4me
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by bondsr4me » Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:51 pm

The 3 your mentioned (notwithstanding TDA due to CS upcoming acquisition) are IMHO enough.

Anymore than those 3 will IMHO just complicate your bookkeeping of your investments.

You can simplify it even more and go with Schwab and Fidelity; both having excellent customer service and websites.

ExMachina
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by ExMachina » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:04 pm

Merrill Edge is great if you can take advantage of their preferred rewards program. The perks are nice. Downsides are the lack of homegrown funds and poor options for storing cash.

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by perikleez » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:28 pm

Have you tried the new kids on the block: M1Finance, Robinhood, WeBull?

Check them out, it will make you wonder why it's easier to manage your funds on those apps than with the old school institutional brokerage service. I keep most of my funds on Vanguard and TD Ameritrade, but sure is cool dabbling with these guys just to check out features. And I wouldn't have any problem rolling over my Vanguard Roth to M1 since it offers more features (and I can still invest in my Vanguard Mutual Fund via M1). I hear good things about Robinhood so plan on checking that out soon. WeBull is neat but more for trader types instead of buy-and-hold long-term investors.

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by TeeDee » Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:42 pm

Firstrade.

Commission free everything, including mutual funds.

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by Nate79 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:29 pm

I'm guessing that if you want to split between more than 2 brokerages that you must be a multi millionaire for this to be a worry. Congrats.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:55 pm

If something catastrophic happens to Schwab, Fidelity, and Vanguard, I doubt that any brokerage would provide a refuge.

I have accounts at all three. I have considered consolidating a couple (and may well do so yet), but I have never thought about adding a fourth.

Just my 2c

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megaroth
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by megaroth » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:30 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:55 pm
If something catastrophic happens to Schwab, Fidelity, and Vanguard, I doubt that any brokerage would provide a refuge.

Just my 2c
Yes, I'm with you on something so big that it hits all of the top brokerages. (Side note: To address US-wide catastrophic risk, I've thought about "diversifying" with a brokerage account in another country, but that seems too complicated for now and comes with other tradeoffs and risks.) Beyond catastrophic risk, I'm thinking also about administrative issues, such as inability to access funds because of identity theft or other fraud, system failure, unilateral decisions to lock me out of my account for reasons that make sense to them but not to me, maybe how they handle beneficiary and power of attorney, that kind of thing.

I'll probably hold accounts with 4-5 brokerages over the long term. I don't mind a little extra administrative work to manage the additional accounts. I have multiple bank accounts and credit cards, and that works OK.

Thanks to everyone for the ideas on additional brokerages. For E*Trade, Firstrade, Interactive Brokers, Merrill, M1, Robinhood, and WeBull, what do you think of their technology (front-end/user experience, availability, reliability/uptime), customer service (ability to easily and reliably get ahold of a knowledgeable person with authority to help), and tax reporting capabilities (accurate cost basis tracking/reporting, timeliness in issuing forms, low error rate on forms)?

perikleez
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by perikleez » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:26 pm

My guess is that most ppl stick to what brokerage services are available to them through retirement savings programs or recommended by trusted persons. The fact of the matter is that it takes a bit of time to learn about all the features for online brokerage services, along with a healthy interest in learning how to work them. And of course they all have pluses, minuses and aren't perfect. Best to identify your primary objective and go from there as it seems like all these platforms are geared for users who a common investing mindset and scope of desired services.

As to your dooms day scenario, your choice boil down to: physical possession (personal storage of cash, precious metals), non-bank custodian storage, banks (safety deposit boxes), and non-US/off shore storage. By the way, I am assuming a SHTF scene with EMP attack that would fry electronics and impair electrical grid, so no web access for sure. And in that case, I wouldn't trust any custodian set up.

P..S.: Check out VaultChain Gold/Silver on Kitco for online purchases stored at the Royal Canadian Mint. Pretty cool stuff: https://youtu.be/A3IBzFhtcVY

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by usagi » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:50 am

FirstTrade is good, especially if you are looking at options. In general their on-line seminars are excellent.

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by AlohaJoe » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:10 am

megaroth wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:30 pm
Side note: To address US-wide catastrophic risk, I've thought about "diversifying" with a brokerage account in another country
How would using a brokerage account in another country help with that?

As far as I can tell, everyone except maybe Japan ends up using American companies for their custodian. Saxo -- even though they are Dutch -- use Citibank, for instance.

And virtually everything on US exchanges needs to go through the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation -- DTC holds over $50 trillion of securities as a custodian. Or maybe NSCC as well? So two main things.

If there's a "US-wide catastrophe" then I would expect those custodians and clearing houses to be wiped out as well, so using a brokerage outside of the US wouldn't gain you much. Unless you posit some weird scenario where brokerages get wiped out but somehow custodians and clearing houses aren't targeted/affected even though "everyone" knows they're actually more important?

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by lexor » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:12 am

isira wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:32 am
Many Bogleheads park at least 100k at Merrill Edge to get Platinum Honors status and take advantage of BofA's Preferred Rewards program. One of the benefits is increased cash back with BofA's credit cards.
Am I reading this right that you get 2.63% to 5.25% cashback on everything? That sounds pretty awesome...but it's hard to tell how it changes when you don't want the $75 annual fee.
Last edited by lexor on Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
“The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.” -Mr. John C. Bogle

yougotitdude
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by yougotitdude » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:35 am

I use interactive brokers. The site is becoming easier to use (but still isn't as easy as most places). Margin rates are the best (roughly 3% on even low amounts). They also support IEX (which helps fight of high frequency trading).

rich126
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by rich126 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:34 am

yougotitdude wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:35 am
I use interactive brokers. The site is becoming easier to use (but still isn't as easy as most places). Margin rates are the best (roughly 3% on even low amounts). They also support IEX (which helps fight of high frequency trading).
I've had both a personal account and one briefly managed by someone else. Most have good things to say about IB but I hated my entire experience with them. They were quite extreme with regards to various processes and it took forever to get accounts set up. For an address change it was pretty easy with all brokers but IB wanted extra documentation, including a scan of my driver's license. And unlike someone like Fidelity it was hard to talk to anyone there.

It is possible I just had a lot of bad luck since I do see a lot of people recommending them.

And like the OP I like to have multiple accounts. Unfortunately my accounts have gone:
ThinkorSwim -> TD
Scottrade -> TD
TD -> Schwab

I have a Vanguard account which I don't really care for and a Fidelity account (started due to the new job using it) that seems ok. Two accounts is sufficient for me.

UnclePennybags
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by UnclePennybags » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:11 pm

lexor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:12 am
isira wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:32 am
Many Bogleheads park at least 100k at Merrill Edge to get Platinum Honors status and take advantage of BofA's Preferred Rewards program. One of the benefits is increased cash back with BofA's credit cards.
Am I reading this right that you get 2.63% to 5.25% cashback on everything? That sounds pretty awesome...but it's hard to tell how it changes when you don't want the $75 annual fee.
BoA offers a no-fee card, which returns 2.63% on all spending and gives you essentially $250 to sign up. The card that carries a $95 fee offers $500 to sign up and the same 2.63% on non-travel expenses and 3.5% on all travel-related and restaurant spending. Additionally, it will reimburse you up to $100/year in incidental charges by airlines (bag fees, upgrades, change fees, etc). Since I spend more than $100 annually on such charges, they pay me $5 a year to have their card. They also pay for your global entry or TSA Precheck fee, which is another $100 credit every four years.

This guy has probably the best write-up on the card.
Last edited by UnclePennybags on Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by UnclePennybags » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:18 pm

ExMachina wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 1:04 pm
Merrill Edge is great if you can take advantage of their preferred rewards program. The perks are nice. Downsides are the lack of homegrown funds and poor options for storing cash.
One day quite by accident I got into a conversation at my local bank about the poor money market options and the manager gave me a three page printout of better alternatives with better yields than their default cash management. I mostly use FISXX for taxable yield and MCSXX for munis.

They aren't the best options, but well hidden so you might not be aware of them.

I think this link only works if you are logged in to your Edge account: https://olui2.fs.ml.com/Mutualfunds/MFB ... ement.aspx

yougotitdude
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by yougotitdude » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:01 pm

rich126 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:34 am
yougotitdude wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:35 am
I use interactive brokers. The site is becoming easier to use (but still isn't as easy as most places). Margin rates are the best (roughly 3% on even low amounts). They also support IEX (which helps fight of high frequency trading).
I've had both a personal account and one briefly managed by someone else. Most have good things to say about IB but I hated my entire experience with them. They were quite extreme with regards to various processes and it took forever to get accounts set up. For an address change it was pretty easy with all brokers but IB wanted extra documentation, including a scan of my driver's license. And unlike someone like Fidelity it was hard to talk to anyone there.

It is possible I just had a lot of bad luck since I do see a lot of people recommending them.

And like the OP I like to have multiple accounts. Unfortunately my accounts have gone:
ThinkorSwim -> TD
Scottrade -> TD
TD -> Schwab

I have a Vanguard account which I don't really care for and a Fidelity account (started due to the new job using it) that seems ok. Two accounts is sufficient for me.
I don't think it's bad luck. The service sucks.

Topic Author
megaroth
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by megaroth » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:10 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:10 am
megaroth wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:30 pm
Side note: To address US-wide catastrophic risk, I've thought about "diversifying" with a brokerage account in another country
How would using a brokerage account in another country help with that?

As far as I can tell, everyone except maybe Japan ends up using American companies for their custodian. Saxo -- even though they are Dutch -- use Citibank, for instance.

And virtually everything on US exchanges needs to go through the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation -- DTC holds over $50 trillion of securities as a custodian. Or maybe NSCC as well? So two main things.

If there's a "US-wide catastrophe" then I would expect those custodians and clearing houses to be wiped out as well, so using a brokerage outside of the US wouldn't gain you much. Unless you posit some weird scenario where brokerages get wiped out but somehow custodians and clearing houses aren't targeted/affected even though "everyone" knows they're actually more important?
Thanks, good point about thinking of not only US-based brokerages but also US-based custodians and clearinghouses.
perikleez wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:26 pm
As to your dooms day scenario, your choice boil down to: physical possession (personal storage of cash, precious metals), non-bank custodian storage, banks (safety deposit boxes), and non-US/off shore storage. By the way, I am assuming a SHTF scene with EMP attack that would fry electronics and impair electrical grid, so no web access for sure. And in that case, I wouldn't trust any custodian set up.
Thanks, another good point. Too bad that mitigating the "US-wide catastrophe" risk carries a high hassle factor or other risks/tradeoffs.

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by trevorshhh » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:54 pm

M1Finance looks slick and I think has no trading fees. Great for a set and forget ETF portfolio. I have accounts with Schwab, Fidelity, and Vanguard and would rather have less complexity than more, but M1 looks nice to me. I'd be worried about using a start-up though.
"Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land." -Ecclesiastes 11:2 NIV

lexor
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by lexor » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:02 pm

trevorshhh wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:54 pm
M1Finance looks slick and I think has no trading fees. Great for a set and forget ETF portfolio. I have accounts with Schwab, Fidelity, and Vanguard and would rather have less complexity than more, but M1 looks nice to me. I'd be worried about using a start-up though.
Does M1 plan to offer no fee TLH at some point? They seem very interesting for a taxable account.
megaroth wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:04 am
Hi,

I like to spread my funds across brokerages. With Schwab and TD Ameritrade merging, we'll be down to these top 3 (in no particular order, just gauging by biggest and seemingly most common among Bogleheads): Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab. After that list, which brokerage would you select as next-best? I've been thinking about eTrade but am not sure about them. For similar reasons, I'm less excited about the "old-school" banks' brokerages (Merrill Lynch, Chase), but maybe they're worth considering. I've read comments on this forum and some external reviews but am still having trouble getting a sense of which would be best for my needs.

Important considerations: Responsive and knowledgeable customer service, reliable recordkeeping/administration and technology (both front-end user experience and back-end platform), reasonable fees.

Thanks!
I use E*TRADE and I find their website to be hard to use. I only use them because they have a good solo 401(k)...

Why is your preference to use multiple brokers? Is it to get SIPC insurance?
“The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.” -Mr. John C. Bogle

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by BrownEyedGirl_27 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:40 pm

I use TD Ameritrade and love it. The research tools are great and site is easy to navigate. Going to start using Fidelity for my HSA.
"Your mind has a mind of its own. At the very moment when you are most convinced of your own rationality, you may be feeling rather than thinking your way toward a decision.” | Jason Zweig

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megaroth
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by megaroth » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:29 pm

lexor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:02 pm
Why is your preference to use multiple brokers? Is it to get SIPC insurance?
Staying within limits for SIPC coverage is a potential factor for longer-range planning (good problem to have - long-run account growth/compounding), but I'm more concerned about administrative issues, such as inability to access funds because of identity theft or other fraud, system failure, unilateral decisions to lock me out of my account for reasons that make sense to them but not to me, maybe how they handle beneficiary and power of attorney, that kind of thing.
lexor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:02 pm
I use E*TRADE and I find their website to be hard to use. I only use them because they have a good solo 401(k)...
Thanks for this data point. How is E*TRADE with customer service and recordkeeping/administration?
trevorshhh wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:54 pm
I have accounts with Schwab, Fidelity, and Vanguard and would rather have less complexity than more, but M1 looks nice to me. I'd be worried about using a start-up though.
I share this concern about startups.
BrownEyedGirl_27 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:40 pm
I use TD Ameritrade and love it. The research tools are great and site is easy to navigate.
I like TD Ameritrade, too. Too bad about the merger.

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wander
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by wander » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 pm

I place Wellstrade before your top three.

lexor
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by lexor » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:25 pm

megaroth wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:29 pm
lexor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:02 pm
Why is your preference to use multiple brokers? Is it to get SIPC insurance?
Staying within limits for SIPC coverage is a potential factor for longer-range planning (good problem to have - long-run account growth/compounding), but I'm more concerned about administrative issues, such as inability to access funds because of identity theft or other fraud, system failure, unilateral decisions to lock me out of my account for reasons that make sense to them but not to me, maybe how they handle beneficiary and power of attorney, that kind of thing.
I don't see a benefit to so many accounts for what you're looking for. Stick to providers known for good customer service like Schwab or Fidelity. Maybe both of those two. I'm really not sure why you'd want more than 2 if it's not for SIPC.

Are you actually thinking multiple large brokers will have system failures or lock you out of your account.

Regarding identify theft I think you're increasing your risk by giving more brokers your SSN.
megaroth wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:29 pm
lexor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:02 pm
I use E*TRADE and I find their website to be hard to use. I only use them because they have a good solo 401(k)...
Thanks for this data point. How is E*TRADE with customer service and recordkeeping/administration?
Customer service has been decent but not as good as Fidelity so far.
“The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.” -Mr. John C. Bogle

lexor
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by lexor » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:27 pm

wander wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 pm
I place Wellstrade before your top three.
Why? I really found Wells Fargo to be awful but haven't used Wellstrade.
“The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.” -Mr. John C. Bogle

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wander
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by wander » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:34 pm

lexor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:27 pm
wander wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 pm
I place Wellstrade before your top three.
Why? I really found Wells Fargo to be awful but haven't used Wellstrade.
There are many reasons. I can tell you one. When transfer money from my non-Wellsfargo accounts to Wellstrade brokerage account, the money is available to trade within minutes. With Schwab, holding period takes a few days.

saver007
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by saver007 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:27 am

I still recommend you give Interactive Brokers a try. IB's client portal and mobile phone app is simple enough to use. Just stay away from their Trader Work Station (TWS) desktop application which is designed for active traders.

IB is a financially sound broker with 40+ years of industry experience.. arguably it's financial strength is more secure than Schwab,td, fidelity,E-Trade or other retail brokers..

Before you select a broker, Google the firm name and "statement of financial condition".. this is a required bianual financial statement for all US brokers even the private ones . Review the balance sheet provided, especially the Members equity/capital amount (firms own money) in relation to it's non liquid assets or liabilities.. this report should also show regulatory required capital and capital in excess over the required.

In times of financial crises, the equity cushion of the financial firms is critical.. banks/brokers survive financial crises as long as their own capital is higher than the losses and asset write downs invariably happens. Once they burn through their capital, then client assets will be at risk.

IB's brokerage equity capital of 5.7 billion is higher than the equity of brokerage arms of Schwab, fidelity,td, E-Trade etc. Schwab's group level equity capital is about 21 billion per their latest 10Q but most of their capital is in their banking arm that holds riskier and much larger asset base.

Also IB is pure brokerage unlike Schwab ,E-Trade etc that sweep client cash into banking arm.. banks are allowed to invest client deposits in riskier asset than brokerage.. brokers are limited to invest client cash in treasuries or government backed securities and secured margin lending.. banks can invest invest client money in more riskier asset, even unsecured personal loans.

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ruralavalon
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:29 am

lexor wrote: I use E*TRADE and I find their website to be hard to use. I only use them because they have a good solo 401(k)...
How do you like E*Trade's solo 401k?
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

lexor
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by lexor » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:23 pm

ruralavalon wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:29 am
lexor wrote: I use E*TRADE and I find their website to be hard to use. I only use them because they have a good solo 401(k)...
How do you like E*Trade's solo 401k?
They are nice because they offer ach deposits and have some pretty competitively priced funds like SWTSX and SWPPX. Also they have the Roth option.

I just found it confusing when selling specific lots in my taxable (which is also at E-Trade right now). To be fair, when I called customer service they were able to confirm pretty quickly that I sold the lots I intended.

One thing I forgot that bothered me is they have only let me add one bank and I think you have to wait 90 days or so to add more. Normally wouldn't be a problem but wanted to add both my business and personal bank accounts. I think they said I could add the second by mail only before then.
“The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.” -Mr. John C. Bogle

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ruralavalon
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by ruralavalon » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:29 am

lexor wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:23 pm
ruralavalon wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:29 am
lexor wrote: I use E*TRADE and I find their website to be hard to use. I only use them because they have a good solo 401(k)...
How do you like E*Trade's solo 401k?
They are nice because they offer ach deposits and have some pretty competitively priced funds like SWTSX and SWPPX. Also they have the Roth option.

I just found it confusing when selling specific lots in my taxable (which is also at E-Trade right now). To be fair, when I called customer service they were able to confirm pretty quickly that I sold the lots I intended.

One thing I forgot that bothered me is they have only let me add one bank and I think you have to wait 90 days or so to add more. Normally wouldn't be a problem but wanted to add both my business and personal bank accounts. I think they said I could add the second by mail only before then.
Are you aware of any other solo 401k providers besides E*Trade whose plans permit both Roth contributions and incoming rollovers?
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

lexor
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by lexor » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:49 am

ruralavalon wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:29 am
lexor wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:23 pm
ruralavalon wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:29 am
lexor wrote: I use E*TRADE and I find their website to be hard to use. I only use them because they have a good solo 401(k)...
How do you like E*Trade's solo 401k?
They are nice because they offer ach deposits and have some pretty competitively priced funds like SWTSX and SWPPX. Also they have the Roth option.

I just found it confusing when selling specific lots in my taxable (which is also at E-Trade right now). To be fair, when I called customer service they were able to confirm pretty quickly that I sold the lots I intended.

One thing I forgot that bothered me is they have only let me add one bank and I think you have to wait 90 days or so to add more. Normally wouldn't be a problem but wanted to add both my business and personal bank accounts. I think they said I could add the second by mail only before then.
Are you aware of any other solo 401k providers besides E*Trade whose plans permit both Roth contributions and incoming rollovers?
No, I am not. When I was looking at opening an individual 401k account, E-Trade seemed to be best option overall.
“The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.” -Mr. John C. Bogle

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Wiggums
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by Wiggums » Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:33 pm

wander wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 pm
I place Wellstrade before your top three.
https://www.wellsfargo.com/investing/we ... e/pricing/

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wander
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by wander » Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:39 pm

Wiggums wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:33 pm
wander wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 pm
I place Wellstrade before your top three.
https://www.wellsfargo.com/investing/we ... e/pricing/
And what are you trying to say?

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patrick013
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by patrick013 » Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:44 pm

Citibank - CitiTrade

US Bancorp Investments


Both backed by a very large bank organization.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle

fujiters
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by fujiters » Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:56 pm

wander wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:34 pm
lexor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:27 pm
wander wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 pm
I place Wellstrade before your top three.
Why? I really found Wells Fargo to be awful but haven't used Wellstrade.
There are many reasons. I can tell you one. When transfer money from my non-Wellsfargo accounts to Wellstrade brokerage account, the money is available to trade within minutes. With Schwab, holding period takes a few days.
Vanguard also allows immediate trading after submitting a transfer.

IB has notably long holds for transfers (about a week). They also don't allow withdrawals to a different bank until 60 days have passed from the original ACH transfer (which is a bit of a pain if you're using them to transfer currency).
“The purpose of the margin of safety is to render the forecast unnecessary.” -Benjamin Graham

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megaroth
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by megaroth » Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:20 pm

lexor wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:23 pm

I just found it confusing when selling specific lots in my taxable (which is also at E-Trade right now). To be fair, when I called customer service they were able to confirm pretty quickly that I sold the lots I intended.

One thing I forgot that bothered me is they have only let me add one bank and I think you have to wait 90 days or so to add more. Normally wouldn't be a problem but wanted to add both my business and personal bank accounts. I think they said I could add the second by mail only before then.
Thanks, these are both good considerations. About the difficulty in figuring out which specific lots were sold in taxable, is that not possible to select via online account as part of executing the sell request? Not being able to see a breakout of past purchases by cost basis and/or not being able to (confidently) select specific lots to sell in advance would be less than ideal.

The "can't add another bank within 90 days except by mail" is good to know. Not a deal-breaker but kind of a pain.
fujiters wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:56 pm
Vanguard also allows immediate trading after submitting a transfer.

IB has notably long holds for transfers (about a week). They also don't allow withdrawals to a different bank until 60 days have passed from the original ACH transfer (which is a bit of a pain if you're using them to transfer currency).
This is also good to know, thanks.

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by Puretaxableindexer » Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:44 pm

I've have Vanguard and TRP accounts for decades but I decided to open up a brokerage account when Fidelity went to Zero in August 2018. Since then I've been putting more money into Fidelity and buying ETFs. Fidelity's site is 100x better than Vanguard or TRP. I no longer trust Vanguard's back office ops and their website and TRP are overpriced but I've been there for too long and have major cap gains. Fidelity is the choice for me.

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by AerialWombat » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:07 pm

lexor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:02 pm
I use E*TRADE and I find their website to be hard to use. I only use them because they have a good solo 401(k)...
I will second the E*TRADE solo 401k. Very simple, quick, no fees, all the "options". I set up with them two years ago because I wanted the Roth 401k flexibility and the ability to take a loan in case I wanted to do something crazy in my real estate investing. But, I've ended up not using those features.

So, I'm thinking about moving it to either Vanguard or Fidelity and consolidating brokerages. I prefer Vanguard's website, but Fidelity has the CMA, cash back credit card, etc., so it's a toss up.

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by lexor » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:26 pm

megaroth wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:20 pm
lexor wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:23 pm

I just found it confusing when selling specific lots in my taxable (which is also at E-Trade right now). To be fair, when I called customer service they were able to confirm pretty quickly that I sold the lots I intended.

One thing I forgot that bothered me is they have only let me add one bank and I think you have to wait 90 days or so to add more. Normally wouldn't be a problem but wanted to add both my business and personal bank accounts. I think they said I could add the second by mail only before then.
Thanks, these are both good considerations. About the difficulty in figuring out which specific lots were sold in taxable, is that not possible to select via online account as part of executing the sell request? Not being able to see a breakout of past purchases by cost basis and/or not being able to (confidently) select specific lots to sell in advance would be less than ideal.

The "can't add another bank within 90 days except by mail" is good to know. Not a deal-breaker but kind of a pain.
fujiters wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:56 pm
Vanguard also allows immediate trading after submitting a transfer.

IB has notably long holds for transfers (about a week). They also don't allow withdrawals to a different bank until 60 days have passed from the original ACH transfer (which is a bit of a pain if you're using them to transfer currency).
This is also good to know, thanks.
It may have been me being paranoid because it did allow me to select lots but there was a message at the top that implied the lot selection needed to be done a different way. I finally just submitted them and tried to check which lots came through but couldn't figure out how to check so I called E-Trade.

I shouldn't complain too much because E-Trade's solo k has much better features than other providers.
wander wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:34 pm
lexor wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:27 pm
wander wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 pm
I place Wellstrade before your top three.
Why? I really found Wells Fargo to be awful but haven't used Wellstrade.
There are many reasons. I can tell you one. When transfer money from my non-Wellsfargo accounts to Wellstrade brokerage account, the money is available to trade within minutes. With Schwab, holding period takes a few days.
Fidelity, Vanguard and E-Trade have all allowed me to do same day purchases mutual funds using funds from Discover bank. Are you saying Schwab wouldn't allow this?
Puretaxableindexer wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:44 pm
I've have Vanguard and TRP accounts for decades but I decided to open up a brokerage account when Fidelity went to Zero in August 2018. Since then I've been putting more money into Fidelity and buying ETFs. Fidelity's site is 100x better than Vanguard or TRP. I no longer trust Vanguard's back office ops and their website and TRP are overpriced but I've been there for too long and have major cap gains. Fidelity is the choice for me.
What is TRP?
“The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.” -Mr. John C. Bogle

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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:49 pm

T. Rowe Price

lexor
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by lexor » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:06 pm

Cheez-It Guy wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:49 pm
T. Rowe Price
Thanks :sharebeer
“The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs.” -Mr. John C. Bogle

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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by CardinalRule » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:32 am

Not sure what was meant either, but the link did remind me of one of the things I don't like about WellsTrade - fees on options trading. I don't trade options often, but I was annoyed and surprised a month ago when I saw that Wells Fargo had charged me a hefty "broker assisted" commission on an assignment (a covered call I had written on SPY). When Wells Fargo joined the "zero commission" herd for stocks, it definitely did not do so for options.

Overall, Wells Fargo's brokerage website and tools are more primitive and less developed than the ones of Fidelity, Schwab or TD Ameritrade. I have only had customer service contact a couple of times over the past many years, but in those cases the Wells Fargo representatives were not particularly knowledgeable or efficient. I have kept a taxable brokerage account as part of my "Portfolio by Wells Fargo" relationship over time, but I may close it eventually, and consolidate to Fidelity and Schwab.
wander wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:39 pm
Wiggums wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:33 pm
wander wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 pm
I place Wellstrade before your top three.
https://www.wellsfargo.com/investing/we ... e/pricing/
And what are you trying to say?

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megaroth
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Re: Choosing brokerages - next-best after Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard, TD Ameritrade

Post by megaroth » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:33 am

Just saw the news about Morgan Stanley buying E*Trade. Not too surprising, but I was strongly considering E*Trade based on comments on this thread. I'll have to look again at some of the other brokerages that were mentioned. Won't be surprised to see more M&A activity given "race to the bottom" on costs/fees, as previously discussed in other threads. Makes it harder to choose a brokerage for the long-term, other than the "too big to acquire" ones (Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard).

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/busi ... trade.html

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