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Leaders of the Pack in Online Brokerage Capabilities: Consumer Comparison by Function

Leaders of the Pack in Online Brokerage Capabilities: Consumer Comparison by Function

Out of 21 firms used by survey respondents, five leaders represent 70% of the total responses. Of those, Charles Schwab was ranked the best overall online broker by Aite Group.
By Adam Honoré

Boston, MA, April 2, 2007 – In a new report, Leaders of the Pack in Online Brokerage Capabilities, Aite Group compares retail online brokerage firms and ranks the top five, based on participant responses.

Aite Group conducted a study of 332 U.S. retail consumers who possess investing accounts with access to online trading and asked them to rate their impression of their broker's overall online capabilities. Over 70% of responses represented five firms. Because of this representation, Aite Group chose to only rank the leaders: Ameritrade, E*Trade, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Scottrade. Aite Group then ranked each firm based on 26 features, focusing on Account, Cash Management, Export, Portfolio Tools, and Trading Tools.

Charles Schwab ranked top in the survey, with customers appreciating how comprehensive the website was. Day traders liked the streaming quotes and ability to perform multiple transactions simultaneously. Navigation and site speed, as well as pricing, were areas that left most to be desired in the opinion of many users.

"We found that retail customers are largely satisfied with their online brokerage's capabilities, particularly in the cases of those that offered the most functional capabilities," said Adam Honoré, senior analyst at Aite Group. However, he warned, "As the retail brokerage landscape continues to seek new customers and aggregate the cumulative assets of existing customers, there is a constant stream of new programs, features, and capabilities designed to draw and retain more assets under management. In the race to provide the richest online experience, firms would do well to remember that customers are still interested in price, service, and usability above all else."

This 69-page Impact Report contains 89 figures and tables. Clients of Aite Group's Wealth Management service can download the report.