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View Poll Results: Who is your primary broker? Highest % of your assets, but your call...
AG Edwards 0 0%
Ameriprise 1 0.61%
Banc of America 0 0%
Edward Jones 0 0%
E-Trade 3 1.84%
Fidelity 39 23.93%
Merrill Lynch 3 1.84%
Morgan Stanley 1 0.61%
Schwab 29 17.79%
Scottrade 2 1.23%
Smith Barney 0 0%
T Rowe Price 5 3.07%
TD Ameritrade 7 4.29%
UBS 0 0%
USAA Brokerage 3 1.84%
Vanguard 52 31.90%
Wells Fargo/Wachovia 7 4.29%
Other 11 6.75%
Voters: 163. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-06-2012, 12:09 PM   #21
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What's interesting that Scottrade is the highest rated firm...
I used to be with Scottrade, but moved on to Ameritrade, when I could not transfer money from my bank via ACH. Do they allow that now?
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:28 PM   #22
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Ameriprise (self directed/no broker) > Wells Fargo > Fidelity
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:31 PM   #23
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75% with T Rowe, 25% with Fidelity. I like splitting it up a bit.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:21 PM   #24
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I used to be with Scottrade, but moved on to Ameritrade, when I could not transfer money from my bank via ACH. Do they allow that now?
Yes. They use Money Direct for same day transfers to the Scottrade brokerage account.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:16 PM   #25
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What are the features you like at Fidelity?
The layout of the website.
The variety of things I can do online at their website.
The mobile app.
The ability to trade on other exchanges in the local currency.
The reports.
The research available.
The great customer service when I need it.
The more sophisticated trading platform they make available.
and on and on ...
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:32 PM   #26
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:02 PM   #27
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The layout of the website.
The variety of things I can do online at their website.
The mobile app.
The ability to trade on other exchanges in the local currency.
The reports.
The research available.
The great customer service when I need it.
The more sophisticated trading platform they make available.
and on and on ...
Sounds like a good package.

Vanguard is constantly improving their site and I understand in 2013 they will integrate the fund and brokerage operations which will show up as improved/simplified customer accounts. Their trading screen is better now. I imagine all these firms are watching and trying to outdo each other.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:09 PM   #28
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Vanguard is constantly improving their site and I understand in 2013 they will integrate the fund and brokerage operations which will show up as improved/simplified customer accounts.
Got a link to the announcement of that future?
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:15 PM   #29
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Got a link to the announcement of that future?
I was talking with a rep yesterday who mentioned this. Also independently it was mentioned on the Bogleheads site. Sorry, no link and no exact implementation date.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:29 PM   #30
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I'm cheap and I like Vanguard. I have some money with Fidelity but they have very few ETF's, many of their index funds are more expensive than Vanguard and I believe I save money since I'm primarily in index and ETF funds. And, since a have a healthy amount with Vanguard I get free trades, for Stocks and non Vanguard ETF purchases. Fidelity charges me for every ETF and Stock purchase......8 bucks I think so using Vanguard I save an extra few hundred dollars a year.

If Vanguard didn't exist I'd probably like Fidelity more. I've never considered a typical brokerage house with their higher fees.......like I said, I'm a little bit cheap!
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:57 PM   #31
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I think WellsTrade/WellsFargo with the PMA package is the cheapest on the list. Here's what it costs:

1. Stock trades - no commissions
2. ETF trades including Vanguard ETFs - no commissions
3. Vanguard actively-managed Admiral share class funds - no commissions
4. Vanguard index fund Signal share class funds - no commissions
5. Vanguard investor class funds - no commissions
6. Fidelity Spartan funds and other mutual funds - no commissions

Here's what I value in a broker:
1. No fees for the things I want to buy/sell.
2. Good 1099B / 1099DIV forms that download into TurboTax without any problems. The forms have ALL the necessary information and NO missing information such as cost basis and date acquired.
3. Timely dividend payments. I don't want to wait a day to see the dividend in my account.
4. Instant updating of transactions and dividends. I don't want to wait until tomorrow or the next day to see that I purchased 100 shares of XYZ.
5. Real-time level II quotes and charting there-of.
6. A single web-page view of the portfolio including all accounts, positions, gains or losses so that I can make decisions about tax-loss harvesting and rebalancing.
7. Instantaneous transfer of money from checking to/from brokerage. No waiting overnight or even 2 days for ACH.
8. No cost dividend-reinvesting in a timely fashion.
9. Good access even during a flash-crash.
10. No cost transfer of stock shares to charity and to children.
11. A nearby walk-in office.
12. $1,000 rebates when adding new money.
13. Routine betterment of my limit prices.

Here's what doesn't matter to me in a broker:
1. Research. I do my own research from free online sites.
2. Reports. See 1. Research.
3. 100 ways to place an order. I am only using market orders and limit orders.
4. Phone service. I'm not going to call them up.
5. Good rates on cash sweep. I'm not keeping any cash in the account anyways.
6. Thousands of NTF funds. Who cares! I'm only interested in about 20 index funds anyways.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:33 PM   #32
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I think WellsTrade/WellsFargo with the PMA package is the cheapest on the list.
1. Stock trades - no commissions
I like your list and wanted to know about PMA package with 'no commissions' So I read lots of fine print to find: No charge for the first 100 trades per year. That beats 100 trades that expire in a month or two!
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:36 PM   #33
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Just curious LOL, how do real time level 2 quotes help you during trades?

Lately when I've wanted a quick buy (using dollars from a previous sell order), I just set the limit at ask plus 1 cent. Even if I could see all the existing orders I'm not clear how that would help me to get a quick buy after a sell. Maybe it would help on the initial sell?

Some of this trading stuff can make your head spin, well my head anyway.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:59 PM   #34
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Real-time Level II quotes are unnecessary in most all cases, but have been helpful to me when trying to set limit prices.

One could look to see how much bid/ask are changing and set a limit price at roughly one standard deviation away. So instead setting the limit to buy at ask plus 1 cent, someone with patience might set the limit to buy at ask minus 10 cents (i.e. below current best bid) and wait for the market to come to them. This difference would not amount to much if dealing with 100 share lots, but would be a few nice dinners if trading 5000 share lots.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:04 PM   #35
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I like your list and wanted to know about PMA package with 'no commissions' So I read lots of fine print to find: No charge for the first 100 trades per year. That beats 100 trades that expire in a month or two!
That's 100 trades per account per year, so your IRA gets 100 free trades, your Roth gets 100 free trades, your taxable account gets 100 free trades, your spouse's IRA gets 100 free trades, your spouse's Roth IRA gets 100 free trades.

But if you are using up 100 free trades, then you might want to consider whether that's even helpful. I think 12 free trades a year per account is probably all one really needs.

And I'd like to note that I am unaware of any single broker that delivers all my 13 wishlist items.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:26 PM   #36
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Real-time Level II quotes are unnecessary in most all cases, but have been helpful to me when trying to set limit prices.

One could look to see how much bid/ask are changing and set a limit price at roughly one standard deviation away. So instead setting the limit to buy at ask plus 1 cent, someone with patience might set the limit to buy at ask minus 10 cents (i.e. below current best bid) and wait for the market to come to them. This difference would not amount to much if dealing with 100 share lots, but would be a few nice dinners if trading 5000 share lots.
Here is my peculiar perspective on going after good trade prices FWIW:

Generally I want to be in the market up to the limit of my AA. So any trading is just a sell/buy pair (because I'm up to my equity limit). If the market moves in either direction I assume for the trade they will on average move together (the sell ETF and the buy ETF). Hence I don't worry about being patient to try to get a better price.

If I'm getting out of the market then it's partly because the market is weak, and in that case I want to just get out. I'll execute the sell to be a quick one, i.e. set limit at bid minus 1 cent. Similar for getting into the market, quick buy at ask plus 1 cent.

When you set the limit this way, it's been my experience that the trade executes at slightly better then the bid (ask) for a sell (buy). That is probably because you are ahead of the line to do the trade. So the extra 1 cent you offer usually does not have to be paid.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:35 PM   #37
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Sounds like you get what you want, so that's great.

I consider it good if I sell at the high of the day or buy at the low of the day. That's what I try to achieve.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:47 PM   #38
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Sounds like you get what you want, so that's great.

I consider it good if I sell at the high of the day or buy at the low of the day. That's what I try to achieve.
Thanks for sharing LOL.

I don't mean to say that others should do what I have been doing. Just trying to share my recent thoughts on this subject. I don't see a lot of dialog about this stuff here or on Bogleheads. Frankly I do try to keep the trading to a low number because although it's somewhat exciting (or terrifying) there are real costs to one's portfolio.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:46 AM   #39
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Thanks for sharing LOL.

Frankly I do try to keep the trading to a low number because although it's somewhat exciting (or terrifying) there are real costs to one's portfolio.
+1

Other times I really worry about commission cost is when I buy in small increments. Like $1000 a month new money DD invests monthly.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:45 PM   #40
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