Interactive Brokers (IB) offers services that that the average investor may seldom need: a customizable trading platform, cutting-edge charting and research services including a new "tax optimizer," dynamic streaming quotes and the ability to place orders that go directly to the market. IB stands out as well for its low cost and access to foreign markets. If you want the low trading costs but are not a frequent trader, Scottrade (*Est. $7 per trade) might be a better option, according to reviewers.
One of our top-ranked reviewers, Barron's, includes IB among the online brokers whose products and services are tested and reviewed for the 2012 online broker survey. IB also wins several 2011 Readers' Choice Awards, as reported in the publication Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities. Another publication, Wall Street Letter, gives IB two of its 2012 Institutional Trading Awards.
This year, Barron's rates 27 online brokers. Interactive Brokers is ranked No. 1 overall. IB is also named best broker for international traders and second best for frequent traders, and it is included among the four brokers with the lowest monthly costs for frequent traders and for occasional traders. The review warns, however, that it takes $10,000 to open an account, and that "the firm is clearly aimed at hedge funds and very frequent traders."
Review: Cut the Cord, Theresa W. Carey, March 12, 2012
2. Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities Magazine
Subscribers to the magazine Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities vote Interactive Brokers the best stock brokerage, best futures brokerage and best foreign exchange brokerage for the third year in a row. However, you need to buy the article to see the full report.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2011, Editors of Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities
3. Wall Street Letter
Wall Street Letter gives its first awards to "brokerage firms, exchanges and financial technology companies for achievements and innovation over the last year." IB is picked as the best broker for options and gets an award for the best use of technology by a broker.
Review: WSL Institutional Trading Awards 2012, Editors of Wall Street Letter