Pros: Fees are reasonable; decent research tools
Cons: Navigation can get a little rough; little info on mutual funds
I have used the services of several different brokers over the years, from small, local financial service operations to large, nationally known brokerage firms. The broker that handles my stock trades now is Quick and Reilly, a well- known discount stock trading service. Originally, I was using Suretrade.com, but this on- line broker was taken over by Quick and Reilly and I have been using Quick and Reilly ever since then.
Features of This Service:
Quick and Reilly provides some information that?s available to anyone who logs onto the site. You can lookup financial advice on retirement planning, the basic types of investments, understanding the concept of compounding and time value of money, etc.
Most of this information, though, is just a teaser to entice you to establish an account. If you browse through each of the main categories (which includes learning, planning, researching, and investing), you will find that most of the information given is very basic. The site spends more time telling you what Quick and Reilly has to offer, rather than actually giving you the information that you?re looking for. The reason, of course, is to get you to open up a Quick and Reilly account, to find out more.
Setting up a New Account:
If you decide that Quick and Reilly is the broker of your dreams, then all you have to do is fill out a form with a little basic information about yourself, including name and address, social security number, and the type of account you wish to establish (cash account, margin, etc.). You can change this information at any time.
Once your account is established, you will have access to all of the investing tools that you need to start your investment portfolio. Among these are:
News Center- This area of the site includes any important financial headlines for the day, news by category, information on the economy, and an earnings calendar.
Charts- This is a good place to go if you want to see stock charts, financial overview, quarterly earnings, technical statistics, trading volume, daily high and low, and other basic financial information.
Portfolio Tracker - You can setup a portfolio tracker, showing all of your current investments, and get an e-mail updates several times each day, with price quotes, relevant news, insider trading, etc.
Pro Search- This is the best part of the site and it?s great for those who wish to analyze potential investments. Here, you have access to stock research information, industry comparisons, price forecasts, and so on. You can logon and specify certain criteria that you?re looking for in a stock investment (like ?P/E ratio less than 10? and ?Earnings per Share Growth greater than 20 percent annually) and then obtain a listing of stocks that fit your criteria.
Mutual Fund Center- In this section, you can access data on more than 3,000 mutual fund companies. You can view a chart, showing price trends over a specified period of time (1- month, 3- month, 1- year, 2- year, etc) and get a quick summary of the basics of the fund, like required fees, investment objectives, composition, and valuation.
If you?re a novice to the world of investing, Quick and Reilly has an educational center that will step you through the basics of making investments. This broker also offers 24 hour service, seven days a week, through a toll- free hotline. This is more than just a technical support line. You can also speak to a financial advisor who will help provide guidance to better manage your portfolio.
Quick and Reilly doesn?t offer the lowest fees in the business, but it does offer competitive rates on trading. The rates range from $14.95 for a market trade to $19.95 for a limit order. If you?re a frequent trader, Quick and Reilly will reduce the commission charged per trade to as little as $12.95 for a market or limit order for those who make more than 60 trades per quarter.
Penny stocks (those trading under $2.00 per share) will cost you a little bit more- $19.95 plus $5.00 plus 1 cent per share purchased over 2,500. Option trading will cost you $25 plus $1.75 per contract. Mutual fund and bond trading will also cost you a small fee, even if the mutual fund is no- load.
Other miscellaneous fees include a $15.00 fee for wiring funds; $12.00 for an ISF check; $15.00 to stop payment on a check; $50.00 for account transfers out; $50.00 for IRA transfers; and several other small fees.
Quick and Reilly is a decent discount brokerage service. It doesn?t have anything great to offer, but it?s not bad, either. It fulfills most of the needs of the average investor, for a reasonable price.
The navigation of the web site is not always user- friendly. With each click, you will find that more and more tabs pop up to click, to get to a specific sub- category. This is fine, if you already know a good deal about investing. But it?s not very useful to a rookie investor who doesn?t understand all of this investment jargon. It can easily turn into a trial- and- error process, to get where you need to go.
Some of the investment research is a little lacking, like the mutual fund center. There isn?t much in- depth information provided here at all. My advice for mutual fund seekers is to lookup a mutual fund within the Quick and Reilly site, then find the mutual fund company?s own web site, for more in- depth analysis on the fund.
I do all of my investment research myself, so I don?t need the use of a financial advisor. But it?s nice to know that this service is there, in case I need it one day. It?s all included as part of your trading fees. You don?t pay extra, if you need to call an advisor.
My original on- line broker, Suretrade.com, is now defunct. Quick and Reilly took over Suretrade.com and converted over all of the accounts. The fees that Quick and Reilly charges are a little higher than Suretrade.com, but you receive some more services for your money.
For now, I will likely stick with Quick and Reilly. I?m sure that some of the other brokerage companies are just as good, and perhaps even better. But it?s not worth the hassle to convert my account to another broker.
In summary, Quick and Reilly is an adequate broker. It?s not a great service, but it?s good enough to meet my needs and the prices are fair. For these reasons, I will stick with Q & R for my buying and selling of investments.