Discussion in 'Options' started by RickW00716, Aug 22, 2011.
Where is the best place to trade a small options account?
Stock options specifically.
Define small: Account size, average trade size, average number of contracts per month. What is your goal, trading income or stock hedging?
Interactive Brokers. I believe it works out to be the cheapest by far, they have an options trader application and are as quick as anyone else.
Depending on how small you are talking about, I'd go with either ThinkorSwim or Interactive Brokers.
TOS has a really nice platform (as far as options go) and a low initial deposit requirement ($3500).
IB will give you better commissions, but their platform is not nearly as user friendly and the require a higher minimum deposit (I think it's $10k, but double check their website).
If I had to do only one, I'd pick IB.
Also be aware that IB does not pay any interest on the money in your required minimum deposit. It's totally dead money.
If commissions and accessibility to a wide variety of markets are a key concern then head to IB. However if you want a platform that is user friendly, intuitive, and built for option traders then you'll definitely want to consider Thinkorswim. While TOS has higher commission rates you can negotiate if you promise some decent volume (i.e. 20+ contracts per month) as you may be eligible for a lower rate. However, the integration with TD Ameritrade has now completed they've become far more rigid in their commission schedule so keep that in mind.
If you use margin overnight, you need to be very very carefull if you choose IB, they can liquidate your account without warning even if you "think" you are covered.
If you only buy options, no margin/spreads, then IB is your best choice no one comes "close" to the IB quality and price.
How much interest do you expect to earn with a small account? A penny?
danshirley has very strict rules about replying to his posts, the consequences can be severe:
"If you reply I will just add you to my ignore list as I did for the last poster."
Your volume and frequency will determine what broker has the best rates for you. I would never utilize a commission per trade schedule since I scale in and out of positions.
If you trade clean and don't need any hand holding, look at IB. Assuming it hasn't changed, there's a $10 per month data fee unless you generate $30 in commissions per month. But I still think it will be cheaper than a flat fee like $7.95 per trade elsewhere.
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