Barrons 7/2/01: Direct Access Showdown

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by proptrader00, Jul 3, 2001.

  1. Ms. Carey,

    Ok. I'll just ask. Do you know Erin Arvedlund? Like maybe from work? Can you get her to join ET? Maybe down in the options forum.

    I drive a long way every Sunday to get that paper and I especially like The Striking Price. Seems like she's got something interesting to think on every week.

    Keep up the good work.

    #41     Mar 23, 2002
  2. agent99


    Barron's new issue published a revised "What it costs, what you get" addendum table that includes IB (which it erroneously left off last week) although I don't know where they got the commissions which are listed as $5 for both a market and limit order. Following is an excerpt from this week's Barron's Electronic Investor column:

    Barron's readers never fail to impress us with their reactions to our annual review of online brokers. As usual, we received a myriad of e-mails, the major theme of which seemed to be: "Why didn't you review [fill in name of broker here]?"

    Most of the howling came from those wondering why we didn't review Scottrade. We made numerous attempts to contact Scottrade, but were unable to reach anyone with the authority to participate. We hope to feature the site in a future column.

    Another broker readers want to see reviewed is Quick & Reilly, which we were unable to reach because of e-mail snafus. Others that were left out were victims of space considerations, but we plan to cover additional online brokers throughout the year in this column. But, hey, not everybody gets to be a part of March Madness.

    That said, a couple of mea culpas: BrokerageAmerica will not be dropping its relationship with when it remodels its Website later this month. Also, we inadvertently omitted the information for Interactive Brokers from the "What It Costs, What You Get" table, which we've corrected online and include on this page.
    #42     Mar 24, 2002
  3. twcarey


    the commissions shown are for a 500-share transaction for an account with $100,000 in assets.

    So many brokers have sliding scales and varying fees that we had to fix a single point in time and space in order to present a reasonable comparison. I asked my readers about a year ago what size block they'd like to see represented, and 500 share blocks worked out to be the most popular. I know that not everyone is pleased by this particular calculation, but there's only so much real estate available in the print publication, so we had to pick a number and stick with it.

    The table on the Barron's Online website will be updated as I review additional brokers throughout the year. The art department restricted the size of the review based on how many brokers we could cram on a single page. I actually reviewed 30 but could only put 22 in the 3/18 story due to space considerations.

    I urge those of you who look at the various reviews to consider the audiences the review is written for. The Barron's audience is not a day-trading audience. It's a very-high-net-worth group that trades, on average, 6 times a month. Don't denigrate the entire review because it doesn't fit YOUR trading pattern. Surely there are publications that review online brokers for your needs.

    -- Theresa
    #43     Mar 25, 2002
  4. toby400


    As a reader from the UK I am amazed that a publication like Barrons was allowed to print inaccurate and misleading information, and then to skulk behind "It's only aimed at high net worth clients."

    Further proof of lazy reporting is evidenced by the later inclusion of the likes of IB after a flurry of emails from real traders who obviously know more about trading than said reporters of Barrons.

    Or maybe it's an advertising thing where advertising revenue drives the slant of articles. Who knows ?

    As for Elite Trader, I have quickly learnt that should I want to find out about brokers and trading in the US in general, I can speak to real traders on this board. Pity the reporter didn't include Elite Trader in researching the broker article.

    #44     Mar 25, 2002
  5. def

    def Sponsor

    I'll come to the defense of Barons on this one.

    Barons has an audience and they have never hid behind the fact that they are targeting their high net worth readership. It also stated that 500 shares was the size for the price comparison (which is fair).

    We all may not agree with all the weighting/ranking criteria but I think Theresa deserves credit as there is a vast improvement to the methodology of the rankings over the previous year.
    #45     Mar 25, 2002
  6. toby400


    Fair Comment

    #46     Mar 25, 2002
  7. twcarey


    Here's what happened with the big table, and why IB was inadvertantly left out.

    When I originally put the table together, Harris Direct was still being called CSFB Direct. My fact checker found out that Harris Bank, who recently purchased CSFB Direct and is in the process of changing the name, wanted all their company information to be run under the name "Harris Direct." So the art department reworked the huge table, moving the CSFB Direct information down the page a bit.

    Unfortunately, they inadvertantly put the moved CSFB/Harris line on top of the Interactive Brokers line. I proofread the table prior to the move, and all the brokers were there. I didn't see the finalized table until I picked up my print edition copy of the March 18 Barron's early on Saturday. I sent an "Omigod!" email off to my editor and the art folks immediately, and they inserted the IB line into the online version of the table as soon as they could on Monday morning. The earliest we could fix the mistake in print was the 3/25 issue.

    You can call that "sloppy reporting" or whatever you'd like, but those of us who worked on the story know the truth. I understand many of you who are extremely frequent traders disagree with the methodology, and those of you who are loyal customers of firms that didn't come out on top think I did a shoddy job. I'll disagree with your conclusions since I know how much work goes into a story that ends up running 5,000 words after hands-on testing of 30 different sites, plus interviews with people at 22 companies.

    I might also suggest to you the line that got me into freelance writing in the first place. I was talking with the editor of a major computer publication one day, and he asked me what I thought of their coverage of financial software. I told him it was awful, and went into great detail why I thought it was so bad. At the end of my tirade, he smiled and asked, "So, do you think you can do better?" That little scene happened in early 1991, and I've been covering financial software for a variety of computer trade, general interest and investing-oriented publications ever since.

    Take care,

    -- Theresa
    #47     Mar 25, 2002
  8. WarEagle

    WarEagle Moderator

    Ms. Carey,

    I'm with def on this one too, and I think this year's review was much better than last year's. I confess that I still don't understand why a "high net worth" investor wouldn't want to have the fastest execution at the lowest cost, particularly since with the money saved they can buy all the external research they want. I always assumed that "high net worth" = "savvy"...but maybe not.

    With that said, I think its great that you take the time to address our questions, even after the criticism that is directed your way. Whether people here agree with you or not, I would imagine that most people are thankful for your participation. Many others who have faced the wrath of this board have turned tail and run.

    Many thanks for returning again this year,

    #48     Mar 25, 2002