When opening an option brokerage account, don't just go with the cheapest broker. You will find it worthwhile to spend some time evaluating their quality of service first. Read on for tips on how to find the best online options brokerage for your trading needs.
There are two main types of options brokerage firms in the market - the full service brokerage and the self-directed discount brokerage. Full service or traditional brokerages provide a wide range of services at extra charges. Their services include advice to their clients on where to place their investment money.
Discount brokers are geared towards the self-directed trader. They do not provide any investment advice, leaving their clients to make their own financial decisions. Discount brokerages merely execute your orders and consequently their charges are much less than their full-service counterparts.
There are also brokerage companies that offer both services to their customers, letting them to choose the level of service they require. Most option traders that I know opt to go with the discount brokerages since anyone who is confident enough to trade complex instruments such as options are usually financially savvy enough not to require trading advice from their brokers, especially when the broker's renumeration is based upon the frequency of trades rather than the quality of their recommendations.
When determining which is the best options brokerage, commission charges should not be the only consideration. When it comes to online brokers, site availability, speed of execution and ease of use are just as important, if not more so, than price.
Site availability and responsiveness are perhaps the most crucial aspects to look out for when selecting an online brokerage. No matter how low the commission charges, if the trade does not get through because the brokerage site is overwhelmed by ultra high load and becomes unavailable, the amount of transaction fees you save is not going to be worth it.
Responsiveness of the site affects the timeliness of the real-time price quotes you get. Remember, we are living in the information age. News travel fast, round the globe, 24 hours a day. Markets react to breaking news events faster than ever before. You don't want to be lagging, even if its just seconds behind, especially when the trading action is fast and furious.
Your own internet connection should also be up to speed. You should upgrade to a broadband connection if you are still using dial-up. If you are using wireless, check that your connectivity is good before connecting to the brokerage site.
The National Best Bid or Offer NBBO is an SEC requirement that brokers must guarantee customers the best available ask price when they buy securities and the best available bid price when they sell securities. Look for brokers that guarantee trade execution prices that meet or exceed the NBBO. With option trades already complicated enough on their own, it sure doesn't help when you still have to puzzle over how to use the order placement form.
An easy to understand user interface helps minimize errors, which can be extremely costly when thousands of dollars are changing hands every trade. Look for option trading brokerages that offer single-screen order entry forms for covered calls, condors, butterflies and other multi-legged option strategies.
To differentiate themselves from their competition, options trading brokerages are very creative when charging commissions. For options trades, if you take a look at their commission and fees page, you should see two charges: Per Trade Fee or Ticket Charge - There is usually a minimum fee per transaction, regardless of how many or rather, how few contracts are involved in each trade. It is important to know how they are used to calculate the total commission costs per transaction.
Usually, the following method is used:. Some companies charges different brokerage fees for different types of orders. You should note the fee for limit orders since you almost never place market orders. Broker assisted trades can cost as much as several times more than internet trades.
The only reason to place a broker-assisted trade is when you are cut off from the internet and a very good trading opportunity happen to arise. There are options brokerage houses which charge a lower rate if your trading frequency exceeds a certain threshold. So, if you are an active trader making dozens of trades a month, it makes sense to look out for a brokerage firm that offers such a discount scheme. To offset their low commission charges, some discount brokerage firms charges a slew of hidden fees.
So if an option brokerage charges an unusually low fee compared to the industry norms, make sure you find out whether there are other fees that you should be aware of. Some common hidden fees include:. If you are new to option trading, we recommend you sign up with OptionsHouse. They provide quality trade execution, intuitive, user-friendly interface while maintaining low commission charges.
Buying straddles is a great way to play earnings. Many a times, stock price gap up or down following the quarterly earnings report but often, the direction of the movement can be unpredictable. For instance, a sell off can occur even though the earnings report is good if investors had expected great results If you are very bullish on a particular stock for the long term and is looking to purchase the stock but feels that it is slightly overvalued at the moment, then you may want to consider writing put options on the stock as a means to acquire it at a discount Also known as digital options, binary options belong to a special class of exotic options in which the option trader speculate purely on the direction of the underlying within a relatively short period of time Cash dividends issued by stocks have big impact on their option prices.
This is because the underlying stock price is expected to drop by the dividend amount on the ex-dividend date As an alternative to writing covered calls, one can enter a bull call spread for a similar profit potential but with significantly less capital requirement. In place of holding the underlying stock in the covered call strategy, the alternative Some stocks pay generous dividends every quarter. You qualify for the dividend if you are holding on the shares before the ex-dividend date To achieve higher returns in the stock market, besides doing more homework on the companies you wish to buy, it is often necessary to take on higher risk.
A most common way to do that is to buy stocks on margin Day trading options can be a successful, profitable strategy but there are a couple of things you need to know before you use start using options for day trading Learn about the put call ratio, the way it is derived and how it can be used as a contrarian indicator Put-call parity is an important principle in options pricing first identified by Hans Stoll in his paper, The Relation Between Put and Call Prices, in It states that the premium of a call option implies a certain fair price for the corresponding put option having the same strike price and expiration date, and vice versa In options trading, you may notice the use of certain greek alphabets like delta or gamma when describing risks associated with various positions.
They are known as "the greeks" Since the value of stock options depends on the price of the underlying stock, it is useful to calculate the fair value of the stock by using a technique known as discounted cash flow Stocks, futures and binary options trading discussed on this website can be considered High-Risk Trading Operations and their execution can be very risky and may result in significant losses or even in a total loss of all funds on your account.
You should not risk more than you afford to lose. Before deciding to trade, you need to ensure that you understand the risks involved taking into account your investment objectives and level of experience. Information on this website is provided strictly for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a trading recommendation service.
Toggle navigation The Options Guide. Limited Unlimited Loss Potential: The financial products offered by the company carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds. You should never invest money that you cannot afford to lose.More...