Good Small to Medium Size Affordable Brokers?

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destin
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Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:20 pm

Good Small to Medium Size Affordable Brokers?

Post by destin » Wed May 16, 2018 2:27 pm

Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab - these three are the brokers Bogleheads.org seem to always talk about.

I've written a few threads with customer service issues with Vanguard. Fidelity and Schwab maybe somewhat better but I'm not expecting great things from them either. But all three are very big companies.

Unless I'm mistaken, I'm pretty sure there a lot more brokers here in the US. Smaller and medium sized ones. What experiences does everyone here have with these? What are some of the pros and cons? What are some newer ones? How about older ones that stayed small?

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Alexa9
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Re: Good Small to Medium Size Brokers?

Post by Alexa9 » Wed May 16, 2018 2:29 pm

I don't see any reason to use anyone else. Admiral shares are only at Vanguard I believe.

livesoft
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Re: Good Small to Medium Size Affordable Brokers?

Post by livesoft » Wed May 16, 2018 2:37 pm

All my interactions with WellsTrade are superb. They out-Vanguard Vanguard.

You didn't mention TDAmeritrade, but they are better than Vanguard, too. If you want to sit down across a desk from someone, they might be a place to consider.

Neither WellsTrade nor TDAmeritrade are toy brokers, so are probably bigger than Medium Size. Everything can be free at both places, so quite affordable since one doesn't have to pay them anything.
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sreynard
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Re: Good Small to Medium Size Affordable Brokers?

Post by sreynard » Wed May 16, 2018 2:51 pm

No idea. Been at Schwab for 30 years and never dealt with customer service. Only time I ever talked to anyone there was when I started to open an tIRA for my wife, but didn't complete it. A service guy called me the next day and asked if I needed any help. I told him I didn't and he said, "OK," and rattled off his direct phone number in case I ever did.

The only reason I would talk to a broker would be if their website didn't work.

I wouldn't do business with any broker that had "trade" in their name. Not interested. :wink:

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FiveK
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Re: Good Small to Medium Size Affordable Brokers?

Post by FiveK » Wed May 16, 2018 3:34 pm

destin wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 2:27 pm
What experiences does everyone here have with these? What are some of the pros and cons?
Answers may vary depending on what one expects from a broker.

What are your criteria for judging "good"?

MrPotatoHead
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Re: Good Small to Medium Size Affordable Brokers?

Post by MrPotatoHead » Thu May 17, 2018 1:58 am

My personal view is, ultimately the small and medium will be acquired. Scottrade was merged with TDAmerica. It is simply a matter of economies of scale. So one of the cons is you end up with a broker you have no use for and face closing fees etc.

That being stated I have had an account at FirstTrade for over a decade. No big problems except one issue. If you are unlucky and your e-mail provider is down for maintenance or whatever and your e-mail bounces they will automatically send you a printed statement and charge you 5 bucks or so. : (

I note of late they created an impressive array of no cost etfs. What that tells me is they are felling the pressure. They cut trade cost to 2.95. That being said Schwab offered me free trades for 12-15 years and Fido will give me free trades. And I think I qualify for free trades of reduced ones at Vanguard.

Really the only way I see the small players surviving is with customer service that caters to high end clients. Free tax advice etc for large porfolios might allow them to stay in the game or access to desirable new issues.

TravelerMSY
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Re: Good Small to Medium Size Affordable Brokers?

Post by TravelerMSY » Mon May 28, 2018 6:04 pm

Interactive Brokers are pretty hard to beat on commissions and executions, as long as you don’t need any handholding.

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