TradeStation at a glance
Features you'll love
OptionsStation Pro: This well-regarded tool allows you to evaluate your options positions or potential strategies. OptionsStation Pro provides a graphic visualization of a strategy’s profit and loss, and you’ll be able to set up options trades quickly and efficiently, even multi-leg options. The tool is incorporated into Tradestation’s desktop trading platform for ease of use. This tool is available only on the broker's TS Select platform.
Portfolio Maestro: This tool provides portfolio-level reporting on your performance, analyzing the risk of your holdings and can optimize the portfolio for almost any combination of holdings. Portfolio Maestro helps you reduce your downside and avoid overexposure to risks across the portfolio. It’s also integrated into the broker’s high-powered desktop trading platform. This feature is available only on the broker's TS Select platform.
Where TradeStation rocks
TradeStation offers two major pricing plans, allowing customers to select the plan that fits them best:
TS Select: The broker charges $0 commissions for stock and ETF trades, putting it right in line with other major rivals such as Fidelity and Charles Schwab, though it doesn’t offer all their benefits (see more below). With this plan, you'll pay $0.60 per contract for options trading and receive access to all the broker's trading tools, such as OptionsStation Pro and Portfolio Maestro.
This plan requires a $2,000 account minimum.
TS GO: The broker charges $0 commissions for stock and ETF trades, competitive with major brokers. With this plan, options trades cost $0.50 per contract, though you won't have full access to all the broker's features and tools, such as those listed above or others, including backtesting tools.
This plan requires a $0 account minimum.
With either plan, TradeStation is offering competitive commissions on stock and ETF trades as well as undiscounted options commissions that are among the best in the industry from a full-service broker.
TradeStation offers a pair of platforms — one desktop and the other web-based — that bring the power of the broker to the forefront.
The desktop platform is the flagship and offers a fully customizable experience that should appeal to professional traders. Traders can use the broker’s own built-in charting indicators or create their own. The platform features more than 10 charting types with dozens and dozens of technical indicators, and you can create your own too. Plus, decades of historical data allow you to backtest any strategy you develop. The capabilities go on and on.
The web-based platform offers the core functionality of the desktop platform but will be easier for less-experienced investors to navigate. This platform also provides streaming real-time quotes and offers one-click trade execution, both offered in the flagship app.
In addition, the broker offers a mobile trading app that allows you to analyze charts with technical indicators, including many from their desktop platform. You can also monitor a watchlist of up to 30 securities with streaming quotes as well as place trades, among other functions.
TradeStation delivers the range of securities that you’d expect from a broker geared toward advanced traders. In addition to the usual offerings of stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds, investors can swap futures contracts too. And TradeStation also offers cryptocurrency trading, allowing traders to buy and sell bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum and others. The only major category missing is forex, a rarely offered asset class.
There is a $0 minimum to open an equities account, while futures accounts have a $5,000 minimum.
TradeStation makes an excellent choice for the right kind of investor, but may not be a good fit for some:
- The trading platforms and tools appeal more to active and professional traders.
- However, the lack of no-transaction-fee mutual funds may have newer or individual investors feeling left out.
- The lack of research and education may be fine for experienced investors, but not rookies.
Investors who are looking for similar per-trade pricing and more research should look into Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab. Investors who need a wide range of fee-free mutual funds should also consider those two as well TD Ameritrade and E*Trade.
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