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Computerized Investing > Second Quarter 2013

Online Discount Brokers

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by Joe Lan, CFA

As a member of AAII and reader of Computerized Investing, chances are that you perform a significant amount of investing on your own. Though individual investors still call full-service brokers to place trades, many have now switched to fully using online discount brokerages. These online brokers have a number of advantages over “traditional” brokers, such as cost and convenience, and they are constantly evolving and improving. Most online discount brokerages charge $10 or less per trade, but there are some online deep discount brokerages that charge just a few dollars per trade.

Since most online brokerages are similar in pricing, the difference between each lies in the features and research that they provide. Like last year, this year’s online brokerage comparison provides an in-depth analysis of the features most individual investors use. I also point out some notable differences between the various brokers and highlight each broker’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition, I provide a clear calculation of the difference in pricing between the commonly used online brokers and deep-discount brokers.

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