Founded in 1985, FirstradeSecurities (initially only "Firstrade") is an online brokerage firmthat offers an extensive line of investments, including mutual funds, bonds,options, online trading stocks, and ETFs.
Whilefairly young, the firm has already established a reputation for theircommitment to achieving their client's financial goals through quality customerservice.
Inaddition to excellent ratings from customers, Firstrade is appealing because itis not cloying; while it offers a full range of investment services, transaction fees are lower than many competitor rates and it offers a number ofvaluable free services. On top of this, the site is simple and interactive withfunctionalities meant to optimize the client's investment experience.
Firstrade'splatform is quite simple, however it allows clients to sustain a long-termportfolio and is easy to use and navigate.
Witha customizable dashboard, clients are able to access only the informationpertinent to their personal financial goals, allowing them to work directlyaccording to their portfolio.
InvestmentTypes and Financial Products
Firstradeoffers a full line of online trading stocks, exchange traded funds, options,mutual funds, and a number of fixed income investments.
Firstradealso offers a Smart Account service, which allows clients to manage theirbrokerage service and banking service under one account.
Investmentoptions through Firstrade also include extended-hours trading.
Firstradeis a simplified trading platform with the bare minimum of functionalities andfeatures. Compared to its competitors, it could be seen as lacking, however fora beginner investor or trader, it can be a great place to start.
WhileFirstrade lacks the educational tools to adequately prepare a novice, it doesprovide affordable rates and the advantage of no-deposit trading and investmentopportunities.
So,simply put- you would choose Firstrade as a first practice ground. It's easy touse, simple to understand, and economic.
FirstradeResearch and Tools
WhileFirstrade operates on simplicity, it does use Morningstar as its primaryprovider, just like all the competitive brokerage firms- and just as well,since Morningstar is the best, providing valuable data.
Firstradeoffers access to Gainskeeper, a feature that helps clients track and visualizetheir taxes, allowing them to instantaneously see gains and losses in realtime. This information can then conveniently be exported to a money managementprogram.
Tradingtools are unfortunately lacking, given the site's simple functionality. In additionto the lack of trading tools, Firstrade does not cater to active investorsbecause it does not offer a desktop-based platform or any in-depthcustomizations. With that being said however, Firstrade's Java-based software,X-Stream Watchlist, allows clients to track multiple stocks at one time.Firstrade users can track up to 20 stocks simultaneously. This feature alsoallows users to learn everything about the stock of interest simply by addingit to the stream.
Likemost simple traders, Firstrade does offer a mobile trading option throughmultiple device apps that provide quick access to trading tools- actually,trading is as easy as tapping the trade screen.
Firstradeoffers investors the advantage of opening an account without a minimum accountbalance. In addition to this, the firm does not charge commissions for mutualfunds held for a 180-day period.
Inthe case of assisted trades and automated trades, a balance of $2,000 isrequired. For spreads and straddles, the minimum amount is $10,000 and fornaked puts, $25,000.
Withoutpesky inactivity fees, minimum volume requirements, or inactivity fees,Firstrade pulls in a lot of beginners and young investors.
Loyalto its theme of simplicity, even fees are kept to a minimal. With stock tradesat a flat-fee of $6.95 each, Firstrade offers some of the lowest rates withinonline brokerage firms, despite the $0.75 rate per contract, which remainsstandard.
Optionscost $6.95 per trade with an additional $0.75 fee per contract. Compared tocompeting firms, the per-contract cost is standard.
Amutual fund costs $9.95 for a no-load fund while funds and load funds are freeof commission.
Whileits equity rates are barely a nickel lower than its biggest competition,Scottrade, the young firm does beat out competition with its mutual fundsoptions and its free ETFs ( 10 commission-free ETFs).
WhileFirstrade gives beginners the advantage of low-risk trading and setting up anaccount without a deposit, it does little in the way of educating them aboutmaking profitable investments because it lacks educational resources. So whileFirstrade provides a great doorway, there's not much room to develop as aninvestor or trader.
Firstradeis also lacking in the market department as it does not offer access toFutures, Fortex, or any international markets.
Despiteits shortcomings, a life of over 25 years is impressive for an online brokeragefirm. The free brokerage account and economic rates is well worth having toopen a separate window to do some site-independent educational research.