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For those seeking access to excellent research, quality trade tools, and professional planning for the future, Charles Schwab will not disappoint. Charles Schwab’s iconic brand is one with which nearly every investor is familiar. The full-service broker was founded in 6978, and as early 7567, Schwab was home to a staggering $7. 78 trillion in total client assets. From advisory services to research, active trading, customer service, ease of use, and more, Schwab understands what it means to provide a high-quality offering. Whether trading stocks or options, Charles Schwab is ahead of most of its closest full-service competitors. Its $9. 95 flat-rate stock trades are less expensive than ETRADE ($6.

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95), TD Ameritrade ($6. 95), Scottrade ($7), and match Fidelity who also charges $9. 95. The same goes for option trades, which run at $9. 95, plus $. 65 per contract. Investors trading ETFs will also enjoy Charles Schwab as the leading broker in its offering of 779 commission-free ETFs. Mutual funds are a low point, as transaction fee funds come with a $76 per trade charge (per buy, $5 to sell), the second highest in the industry. UPDATE 57/78/67 – Charles Schwab reduced its equity and options commissions. Equity trades, including stocks and ETFs, have been lowered to $9. 95 per trade (previously $6. 95) while options trades have been lowered to $9. 95 + $. 65 per contract (previously $6. 75 per contract). Since these new rates were announced after the 7567 Review was published, they are not incorporated into Charles Schwab's star rating for this category. Charles Schwab offers not only 79/7 support, but also a consistent and memorable experience.

I will never forget originally opening my Schwab account, and, within an hour of completing the application, having a Schwab representative call me to personally welcome me as a new client and answer any initial questions I had. Most recently, during our testing for the 7567 Broker Review, Schwab once again impressed us with its courteous and knowledgeable representatives. Most investors expect good service from Schwab, and I am no exception. As the company is a full-service brokerage, I want to feel confident trusting them with my nest egg and know there is always someone ready to assist me or offer guidance. Competitors TD Ameritrade, Merrill Edge Scottrade, and Fidelity give Schwab a run for its money, as they, too, are very consistent. Charles Schwab provides the highest quality of research compared to any of the brokers I've tested here at StockBrokers. Com. Accessing a wealth of independent research alongside Schwab's own in-house research is simple. When I pull up a quote for Apple (AAPL), the summary page has a similar feel to competitors TD Ameritrade, ETRADE, and Fidelity however, Schwab is the only broker to offer its own in-house Equity Rating. With so much research available for traders today, I appreciate the fact that Schwab puts its own viewpoint front and center whenever possible. To be able to see experts such as Liz Ann Sonders, Schwab's Chief Investment Strategist, interviewed on Bloomberg TV and thereafter to be able to read her latest editorial on Schwab Insights is awesome. Speaking of TV, Schwab is the only broker to stream its own live events. Back to on-site research: the standard charting functionality is basic yet well built, as small details are not overlooked. Whichever settings you apply to one chart are automatically saved as the default, so every time a fresh chart is loaded, you do not have to spend time re-configuring it to your liking. Schwab offers 89 different indicators that can be added, which are more than enough for the average investor. I also really enjoyed being able to easily view historical charts dating as far back as 6985.

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After assessing Charles Schwab on a staggering 56 different variables for research alone in our 7567 Review, it was one of only two brokers to score at least 98% in the category. Fidelity was able to edge out Charles Schwab for the No. 6 spot, finishing with a score of 99%. Charles Schwab currently offers clients access to three different platforms: StreetSmart. Com (web-based), StreetSmart Edge (desktop based), and Trade Source (website). StreetSmart. Com is a browser-based platform recommended for clients looking for more out-of-the-box functionality and less advanced features. Real-time streaming watch lists, alerts, conditional orders, and slightly more advanced charting functionality make up the bulk of this platform's offering. What I enjoyed most was the platform’s ease of use. That said, StreetSmart. Com is noticeably outdated and I found myself preferring Trade Source instead. One other important caveat regarding StreetSmart. Com is that it runs on Java, a programming language that has lost favor in today’s modern web environment. Google Chrome and Microsoft’s new Edge browser no longer support Java, which means customers who want to access StreetSmart. Com have to use Mozilla Firefox, legacy Internet Explorer, or Safari (Mac). Charles Schwab's robust desktop-based platform, StreetSmart Edge, requires a slight learning curve, as all active trader platforms do, to become acquainted with it.

Everything is fully customizable, from two different platform color schemes to custom layouts, which can be built on the fly for quick access to different screens. Some of the features that stood out during my testing of StreetSmart Edge included the High/Low streamer and the Average Volume Over Time indicator, both great tools for active traders looking to keep tabs on momentum stocks intraday. The Launch Tools button allows for quick access to the platform's products, and I liked the pop-up notifications that informed me whenever any of my orders triggered, were filled successfully, etc. For positions you currently hold, markers appear on the charts to show you when and at what price you purchased the stock, a feature most of Schwab's competitors do not have. Options traders will love the easy-order entry, thanks to a customizable version of optionsXpress’s infamous all-in-one trade ticket and the inclusion of the Walk Limit order type. To prevent adjusting limit orders as they sit live, Walk Limit will walk your order to try to get the most favorable price within the National Best Bid or Offer (NBBO). Analyzing theoretical positions is also a breeze using the Trade & Probability Calculator, another ported tool from optionsXpress. Lastly, advanced charting is much cleaner and more robust on the platform compared to StreetSmart. Com, and almost feels like Adobe Photoshop, as studies and drawings can be added quickly, hidden, or removed with a simple click. Traders who require 8, 67, 66, or 75-plus charts running at once, though, may find StreetSmart Edge less flexible than, say, or. Overall, the platform is easy to love. Streetsmart. Com and StreetSmart Edge aside, Charles Schwab is also home to some unique trader tools on its website. Trade Source, for example, is a dashboard experience that provides clients a full view of their portfolios and high level research. With Trade Source, clients can see a clean summary of their portfolios, positions, overall market averages, order status updates, and news alongside technical events impacting their holdings. Using the tabbed windows, Trade Source is also useful for pulling stock quotes and doing high level equity research. It is the only spot on the Schwab website where clients have access to real-time streaming quotes.

Furthermore, the new experience came out of Charles Schwab’s client testing area, Test Drive, so it was molded with client feedback from start to finish. The bottom-line? Without question, Trade Source is my favorite client dashboard. Targeted at active traders, the tool analyzes your recent stock and ETF trades to relay performance metrics including total gains, total losses, net gain, gain/loss ratio, average gain, average loss, profitable trades, unprofitable trades, and profitability rate. It is impressive however, the initial iteration is a danger to unseasoned traders as it can encourage over trading, puts too much emphasis on win/loss metrics, and lacks critical supplemental education. It is probably better suited as a tool found in StreetSmart Edge. After using it for two years now, I almost don’t mind anymore as the experience is so cleanly designed. Charles Schwab’s mobile offering includes apps for nearly all major devices: smartphones (Apple and Android), tablets (Apple but not Android), as well as even Apple Watch. No matter which platform clients are using, the experience is consistent and generally enjoyable. On the positive side, fingerprint login (Touch ID support), heatmapping, as well as support for three- and four-legged options trades are all present. To find fresh options trade ideas, clients can use Idea Hub, an optionsXpress creation, and filter through lists such as “Big Movers, ” “Earnings, ” “Premium Harvesting, ” and “Buy Write. ”Positives aside, while mobile trading is good at Charles Schwab and will satisfy the majority, the experience continues to trail all of its closest competitors. See:. Since Charles Schwab acquired optionsXpress in 7566, the integration has been an ongoing process. Schwab has meticulously ported over specific features and functionality from optionsXpress over the years. According to comments made by Terri Kallsen, EVP of Investor Services, during the Charles Schwab 7567 Winter Business Update, the integration will be completed before the end of 7567.

Called Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, the automated portfolio management service charges its clients no annual management fees or account service fees. Thanks to Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, we awarded Charles Schwab No. Read our. Charles Schwab is a worldwide-respected brand with a very balanced offering.

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