Some explanations of what the entries on the rest of the site mean:
  1. Almost all the information here is from the websites of the brokers. I have done my best to be accurate, but there are no guarantees. You should use what I have written should only to help you decide where to begin your own research, not as the basis for any decisions.
  2. Many brokers now have pricing schemes giving better prices to active traders, or those with very large balances. Many also have a different pricing scheme for large numbers of shares and for stocks which they define as "penny stocks". I have tried to list the prices for less than 1000 shares (or wherever that broker's cutoff point is) traded on a major exchange for the highest-paying customer tier. The prices I have listed are always for Internet trades. Prices for trades placed by touchtone telephone or through a live broker are often much higher.
  3. The phone numbers I have listed are those which seem to be intended for general customer service, or for inquiries by prospective customers.
  4. When I could not find a clear list of available products on the site, I tried to reconstruct them from the commission and fee schedules. I have not listed unit investment trusts among the products, since I suspect that many brokers will buy and sell them for you but don't advertise them consistently. The same is true of CMOs and certain other common securities with fancy names.
  5. There are three main reasons why I don't list a brokerage at all, or at least don't list it in the main list:
    Because I don't know of their existence.
    Because I can't find enough information about them, especially fee information, to make them worth listing. This is true, for example, of the online services of the major full service brokers.
    Because I can't express the information easily in a form which would make it easy to compare. This, for example, is true of many direct access brokers, since the platform and ECN charges make them difficult to compare with other brokers. However, since many of the site users have expressed an interest in the direct access brokers, on January 29, 2008 I started to list them separately, on an experimental basis, here.
Additional note on direct access brokers (November 13, 2007):

Some of the newer direct access brokers avoid posting clear information about platform fees, ECN fees, and data fees on their websites. In addition, I have been getting emails which try to give the impression that they are from users of my site sending me information to be helpful, when they are actually from owners or executives of some of these newer direct access brokers, and the content is promotional.

For example, today I received an email whose entire text is as follows:

"Hi, Do you have any info or reviews on www.protradefinancial.com ? They are new but it's a cutting edge hybrid platform that combines electronic trading with broker dealer market color and trade ideas. Unique idea............. Thanks, JP"

The email was sent from ACQUA0926@aol.com, an address used by one Jon Acquafredda. Jon Acquafredda is a "Senior Managing Partner" at Meridian Equity Partners, which is the owner of ProTrade Financial.

In my opinion, the style and content of the email, the use of a private, independent email address, and the signature are disingenuous. This leads me to doubt the honesty and the professionalism of the brokers involved. Although most of the emails I get from brokers are honest, this is not an isolated incident.

Additional note on sites pretending to help protect against forex fraud (July 14, 2010):

Among the frauds and scams related to currency trading, one of the latest is the appearance of dishonest sites purporting to help protect you from... frauds and scams related to currency trading. One of these sites has been nagging me to "collaborate and improve both our sites". Nothing fraudulent about that so far, although any email which is unsolicited and commercial is suspicious. (Among the organizations which consider 'unsolicited commercial email' to be a synonym for email spam are several US government agencies.) When I looked at their site, I noticed that none of the larger forex trading sites are among the ones they list, and all of the ones they list (and link) are praised to the heavens. This suggests that they are trying to represent paid advertisements as objective evaluations.

At one point, the representative who originally contacted me claimed to be using the automatic reply function to reply to an email he received from me, and tried to mark one of his email headers to look that way. He seems to have been lying outright. He should have studied a little about SMTP and POP3 headers before trying something like that.

Their most recent email to me suggests that they "sponsor [my site] with articles...." And continues: "I have a team of experts who can provide these articles for your site." Again, nothing clearly fraudulent, but it does sound as if they want to me to pass off paid advertising as informational "articles", as they seem to be doing.

If you are considering forex trading and are worried about frauds and scams, you might want to
  1. reconsider whether you really want to invest in a class of vehicle which is so fraud-ridden.
  2. consider whether your anti-fraud information itself might be coming from dishonest and fraudulent sources.
  3. start by reading the forex fraud page of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a government agency which is at least much less likely to be corrupt than many of the sources on the Net.


Last updated: July 14, 2010 Home.