Scottrade, known as Scottsdale Securities until 2000, is one of those companies that is hard to hate. Founded by Rodger Riney in 1980 in Scottsdale, Arizona, employing over 3,300 personnel, in over 500 offices and having never laid off a single associate, it’s no wonder they have been ranked as one of the top 20 companies to work for over 4 consecutive years. That approach to their employees speaks volumes about the company and their impeccable business ethics.
With such a compassionate approach to their employees we were not surprised in the slightest when we received a response to our email query within half an hour, or that the customer support representative was polite, helpful and chirpy. In Fact, we pretty much expected it. Their live chat staff were the fastest in dealing with our request however, finding us a solution and actioning it in a matter of seconds. If, for whatever reason, you do not have much success through any of these lines of support then you could always drop by one of their 500 offices across the US for an immediate and face to face solution, or reach them by postal mail.
Scottrade also offer extremely comprehensive guides to options trading, which will help new traders get to grips with not only terminology used within options trading but also trading strategies, money management and how to spot potential profits.
Scottrade run the OptionsFirst platform, which was designed by OptionsHouse back in 2008 specifically for options traders. Obviously with such a tailored platform there are some extremely complex trades possible here, such as straddles, collars, spreads, iron butterflies and your standard butterflies. Do not be fooled though, the system is also simple enough that even the greenest of traders will be able to find their feed relatively quickly.
Although the features provided are extensive the platform does lack customization, such as movable widgets which are offered by many other brokers to allow traders to build their own tailored dashboard or working area.
Fees and Commission
Scottrade have been offering flat rate $7 trades since 1996 and have little reason to change their winning formula, it’s clearly working for them! $7 per trade with a $1.25 added on per contract low volume traders will be more than happy to use them, considering the trading platform that comes as part of the package. While the flat fee system does stand up when ordering 5 contracts at $13.25, it’s borderline extortion for volume traders with 100 contracts pricing up at a hefty $132, $109 more than OptionsHouse or TradeKing.
A truly remarkable brokerage, with strong roots, great business ethics and every employee based in the United States – which is a rarity in itself these days. The platform is solid and with a a few more customization options would be the best we have seen. The support and general levels of service we got during our trial with Scottrade was the best out of the 10 primary brokers we have reviewed and when you take into consideration that we did not attend one of their 500 walk-in offices you’ll surely see they are unparalleled in this department.
Unfortunately they fall down in the fees department. While their $7 flat fee is wonderfully simple, when trading in volume it just becomes too expensive to be viable. If you are a long term investor or low volume trader though, Scottrade will most certainly get the job done.