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Seeking reco: Brokerages for IRAs
Old 01-22-2021, 08:52 AM   #1
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Seeking reco: Brokerages for IRAs

I tried searching the forum, but Iím not finding a thread that matches. Iím using Robinhood for some crypto and options, and Iíve been with Vanguard forever ó> but now ready to move my traditional & Roth IRAs (~900k) out of VG since everyone else is low-cost and VGís trading platforms suck.

I want the capability of fast, online & mobile self trading of options within the IRAs, which I canít get with Vanguard. Iíll still hold a mix of stock & bond ETFs and individual stocks, too.

Looking for recommendations on low-fee but still safe brokerages (that allow options trading in IRAs): which do you like? Which do you avoid and why? What gotchas might be in the fine print? TIA!
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Old 01-22-2021, 10:48 AM   #2
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Kipplinger and Barron's do annual reviews of all the brokerages including rankings. Vanguard does not participate, presumably with good reason.

I believe that you can find those from a Google search. Lots of great information there about which brokerages are best at what.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:46 AM   #3
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Thanks! Good pointers - both reviews had good info for 2020. I’ve ruled out a few of the brokerages and narrowed it down to my top three. I’ll test drive a taxable account in each for a while before making the move. I’m actually pleasantly surprised with the breadth of offerings and advantages at Ally Invest, considering that Barron’s didn’t rate them highly. Maybe Ally has been improving since the articles were written.
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:47 AM   #4
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^^^^^^^^^^
Which ones did you feel are the top 3 you are willing to try ?
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:02 AM   #5
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Thanks! Good pointers - both reviews had good info for 2020. Iíve ruled out a few of the brokerages and narrowed it down to my top three. Iíll test drive a taxable account in each for a while before making the move. Iím actually pleasantly surprised with the breadth of offerings and advantages at Ally Invest, considering that Barronís didnít rate them highly. Maybe Ally has been improving since the articles were written.
Ally invest also has a generous cash bonus.program for moving money there!
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:18 AM   #6
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Ally invest ...
Not a show stopper for me, but I generally avoid dong business with companies where that business is not their main thing. For example, Morgan Stanley, Thrivent, Wells Fargo, etc. have main businesses that are not based on serving individual investors. Morgan Stanley is not at all shy about boasting a 25% profit on their "wealth management" business.

Example, for logical reasons a rep at USBank called me last week. Brokercheck showed that she has been in the business 30 years. Attempting to exhibit her brilliance she told me: "We think Janet Yellen will continue quantitative easing ... " When I said: "Yellen doesn't have a vote on that any more." she got all flustered and started to say something about Biden. I interrupted and said "Biden nominated Yellen for Treasury, not the Fed." Silence. I quickly thanked her for her time and hung up.

For a pure trader this "what's your main business?" question may be less critical but if supporting retail traders is not a company's core competence I would at least consider that in my selection criteria.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:51 AM   #7
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^^^^^^^^^^
Which ones did you feel are the top 3 you are willing to try ?
Iím trying Ally (gives $1,200 bonus, pays transfer fee, has lowest options contract price (.50 vs .65), seems to offer everything I want including stock lend program. Easy account open and $$ transfer.

I tried 3x to open account at fidelity & it keeps crashing. Iíll give it another try or two, then bag it if itís still glitchy. They also donít seem to offer any bonus to switch to them.

I feel like I SHOULD try interactive brokers because theyíre rated so highly, but again no bonus and it seems like they have the highest fees, at least on options.

If Iím ambitious I might try Merrill - they had a really good agent on chat and will offer at least some bonus, have lots of features... but it seems like a smidge more fees.
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:01 PM   #8
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RVplusdog,

Not a customer at this point but Ally has moved up the rankings over time. The bonus money does make it enticing. E*Trade is my broker and they have a similar program, though no one is as generous as Ally. E*Trade is now owned by Morgan Stanley.

I like your strategy of sampling.

Good investing!
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Old 01-23-2021, 01:57 PM   #9
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Very happy with Charles Schwab but I am not looking for advice. The local office reaches out maybe twice a year to see if I need anything but never any pressure to do or buy anything. If I have a question, they always get back to me quickly.
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by RVplusDog View Post
I tried searching the forum, but Iím not finding a thread that matches. Iím using Robinhood for some crypto and options, and Iíve been with Vanguard forever ó> but now ready to move my traditional & Roth IRAs (~900k) out of VG since everyone else is low-cost and VGís trading platforms suck.

I want the capability of fast, online & mobile self trading of options within the IRAs, which I canít get with Vanguard. Iíll still hold a mix of stock & bond ETFs and individual stocks, too.

Looking for recommendations on low-fee but still safe brokerages (that allow options trading in IRAs): which do you like? Which do you avoid and why? What gotchas might be in the fine print? TIA!
Although I still have the bulk of my assets at VG, about 5 years ago I switched my IRA options trading to Fidelity. Fidelity has a much better trading platform (Active Trader Pro) and much less onerous "margin" requirements for spread trading in an IRA. Commissions for online options trading are just 0.65 per contract, and there are no ticket charges. Active Trader Pro allows you to create watch lists that display the Greeks (delta, theta, implied volatilities, etc). You can create multi-leg trading tickets with up to four legs and monitor the bid, ask, and midpoint in real time. If you are a serious options trader, I would definately recommend that you investigate Fidelity.
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Old 01-27-2021, 09:56 AM   #11
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Well. Who knew I’d have the opportunity to evaluate brokerage systems during my decision timeframe.

I ended up opening accounts at Ally, Fidelity, Interactive Brokers, and TD Ameritrade.

At this time, Vanguard and Ally are both down. The other three (and Robinhood) are working well.
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Old 01-30-2021, 07:58 AM   #12
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Ally Invest accounts stayed down / unreachable for me all day and then some. Inexcusable.

I’m adding E*trade in to the potentials list - they have a lot of features and it sounds like even a potential transfer bonus.
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Old 01-30-2021, 10:05 AM   #13
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I have accounts with TRowe Price, Vanguard and Fidelity. My vote is Fidelity for best customer service and best website. Their mobile app sucks but I work around it by accessing Fidelity through the website on my mobile phone. Works good enough that way.
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Old 01-30-2021, 11:48 PM   #14
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Very happy with Charles Schwab but I am not looking for advice. The local office reaches out maybe twice a year to see if I need anything but never any pressure to do or buy anything. If I have a question, they always get back to me quickly.
I second Charles Schwab recommendation.

I do my own decision making on investments, not looking for advice. They do have a state representative that contacts me checking up, by like said above, never any pressure.

Schwab's breadth of products is very good, costs very low, and they know their business. I always use limit orders on my stock trades, and more often than not Schwab traders seem to get me in at better prices than I anticipated from looking at instantaneous quotes right after I place my orders. Always a pleasant surprise when that occurs.
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