My name is Tim Grittani (kroyrunner89), and I've been a full-time daytrader since the beginning of 2012. I've learned a lot along the way from my successes and failures and would like to pass along some of these lessons. This blog will hopefully save me time in answering the dozens of questions I get each week through Facebook and Twitter. If not, I guess I just created more work.
My basic trading philosophy can be summed up by one simple quote:
"Trade the ticker, not the company" - Nate Michaud
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Question: "What brokers do you Use?"
Let me start by saying that if any of you see information listed below that is incorrect about any of these brokers, please let me know so that I can fix it! But before I get into brokers, please note that the brokers I use are best for MY trading strategy. I don't believe there is one broker that fits everyone, and it is up to you to decide which broker(s) might be the best fit for you and the trading strategy that you implement. There are plenty of brokers out there that I don't know about or don't care to use, so don't limit your research just to this blog post. Listed below are notable brokers I use or that I have used and some info about each:
Commissions: .005/share or 0.5% of total trade value, whichever is less expensive
Trading Platform: "Trader Workstation 4.0"
Platform Cost: Under $10/month
Required Initial Deposit: $10,000 (no requirement to maintain $10,000 in account beyond opening)
Interactive Brokers' main strengths are their low costs and their availability of shares to short. However, while Interactive Brokers typically has more shares to short than other brokers, don't make the mistake of thinking that it will be easiest to short the biggest pump and dumps here. They issue their shares on a "first-come, first-served" basis; and given the limited number of shares they usually have, they run out quickly. However, if you're looking to short and hold long-term, IB probably gives you the best chance of being able to hold the shares beyond the typical three day period. While I still have an IB account, I rarely use it anymore. They just don't have shares available for me often enough, I don't want to rush my entries trying to lock them up in the cases where they do, and I don't take long-term positions so that benefit is meaningless to me. IB enforces the $2.50 rule and the Pattern Daytrader Rule. One downside of IB is that they do not offer level 2 data for OTC stocks.
Speedtrader has recently returned to their former glory, as they've added back most of the OTC routes that they lost and executions are once again superb. I use Speedtrader almost exclusively for buying, and their routing fees are still MUCH cheaper than anywhere else. One downside of Speedtrader is that you will rarely find shares to short of OTC stocks there, however if you open an account with their ETC-clearing division that will help solve this problem. The Pattern Daytrader Rule is enforced at Speedtrader. You can view Michael Goode's early video review of Speedtrader here. One other upside is that I'm a big fan of their trading platform, "DAS Trader". I use it for all my level 2 feeds as I find it to be very reliable and quick information. Unfortunately, they recently raised their account minimums, and now you need $15,000 to open an account.
The old saying, "You get what you pay for," sums up Centerpoint pretty well. While they are the most expensive of all my brokers, they are also by far my favorite. The biggest downside to Centerpoint is the cost. Routing fees and locate costs can really add up in a hurry. That being said, they don't enforce the $2.50 rule intraday. I can almost always find shares to short on the major pumps, and there are plenty of OTC routes; so executions are excellent. This is probably not a broker for beginners, or costs will eat you alive. However, if I had to pick one broker on this entire list to trade with, Centerpoint would be an easy choice.
Whether or not one of these brokers is right for you I leave to you to decide. All I can do is lay out the information. I hope I have given some of you a good idea of what's out there though - but, of course, remember to do your own research and see if there's anything else out there that appeals! Who knows, maybe someday one of you will refer me to the latest-and-greatest broker!