Option trading brokers may be your best friend in processing your orders, but it’s not always entirely smooth behind the scenes. Here is a brief list your option trading brokers are unlikely to tell you.
1. Broker-Assisted Isn't Better
Outside the few products that brokers won't sell via your online account, there isn't much use in making a “broker-assisted” trade. Typically, broker-assisted trades cost two to three times the average cost of making a trade through your options trading broker, but only provide a few advantages.
Of course, the biggest advantage for new traders is the chance to get some advice on a trade, but is it really worth the cost? Not always. Although stockbrokers do bring some experience to the table, the particular broker you speak to may know little, if anything, about the actual stock or option in question.
Most brokers employed by discount operations are generally just there to approve purchases of irregular products, such as OTC stocks and other equities that are sometimes disabled to clients.
2. Yes, You Do Qualify for this Promotion
Promotional products abound, and it’s likely that while you're paying your option trading brokers $9.99 per trade, someone else is paying just $6.99. The best way to find out if you're paying too much is to give your broker a call, explain the situation about their latest promotion, and see what they can do for you. Sometimes all it takes is a call to one of the many option trading brokers to get the best commissions or a better margin rate.
3. You're Still Paying for Charts, But Your Friend Isn't
Investors with accounts open at option trading brokers could still be paying for benefits and tools other investors are getting for free. When you open an account, you're entering into a contractual agreement to open an account and pay for the tools the broker offers to you.
As such, investors who opened accounts years ago may be paying for tools they no longer use. These same tools could now be offered for free. In many cases, real time quoting previously came with a monthly price tag, but competition has driven option trading brokers to give it away for free.
4. Please Trade Less – We Make More When You Do
Commission schedules can get hairy, especially considering the sheer number of products investors can trade through a standard brokerage account. With that said, your option trading brokers may be actually charging you more for less due to their pricing structure.
For instance, traders who make 90 trades or more in a quarter may get reduced commissions. However, those who make 89 are still paying just as much, but they may actually save money by making a small trade and closing it immediately to cross the 90 trade threshold.
While your option trading broker may not divulge what occurs behind the scenes, you are now savvy enough to ensure that your account is truly working in your favor.