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Computerized Investing > January/February 2006

AAII.com: On-Line Broker Survey 2005 Results

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by CI Staff

AAII’s Discount Broker Survey provides a way for our members to voice their opinions on the brokers they use and to see how the brokers rate against one another among our membership. The Discount Broker Survey is one of AAII’s popular on-line questionnaires found in the Member Surveys area of AAII.com (www.aaii.com/membersurveys). The Discount Broker Survey asks members which discount broker they use and the primary reasons for choosing a broker and allows members to rate their satisfaction with brokers on a number of specific criteria.

Table 1 shows a summary of the past five years of results for this survey; it presents the ratings of the most popular brokers as determined by member responses collected since 2001. Results are ranked based on the percentage of members using each broker. Charles Schwab reigned as the most-used broker among members responding to the survey from 1999 to 2002. Scottrade, which debuted on the survey in 2002 at number five, jumped to the top spot in 2003 and has remained number one for three years. Since 2002, Scottrade’s popularity among members has grown each year, increasing 314% over the past four years. While Charles Schwab’s popularity fell in 2003 and 2004, it narrowly beat Fidelity for the number two spot this year.

The top brokers continue to encompass a greater number of our members each year. In 2001, the top five brokers accounted for slightly less than half of the total responses. The figure has grown every year for the past five years, although this year’s increase of 1.9 percentage points, to a total of 69.1%, is the smallest to date. This may be an indication of the consolidation trend that swept through the industry over the last few years.

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