Our new Around the Industry series will review the websites and digital resources offered by leading financial services firms that fall outside of our Monitor Services coverage groups. Here, our E-Monitor team and looks at Firstrade.
Firstrade is a discount brokerage firm that offers a $6.95 online stock commission – comparable to the lowest in the e-Monitor coverage group. Overall, the Firstrade public site does a good job communicating the features and benefits available to clients. The firm offers interesting retirement and investment education on the public site but keeps most features behind the login for clients.
Homepage & Navigation
Firstrade’s public site homepage is compact; users only need to scroll down to view the footer. The firm promotes various account holder benefits on the homepage, including 100 free trades in the first 60 days for clients who open an account and deposit at least $5,000. The homepage also includes major index quotes, a market briefing and quote search tool.
Firstrade’s Retirement & Planning section includes pages dedicated to various retirement investment accounts. The pages provide FAQs and are generally informative; however, they have a few design flaws most notably an overabundance of text and lack of imagery. Firstrade also offers 20 retirement, education and investing calculators for free in this section.
Firstrade Retirement and Planning Section
Firstrade offers a series of publicly available Investment Guides for stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, options and fixed income. The guides are fairly long and informative, providing briefings on topics like fundamental analysis and key ratios. Overall, the available public education is in-depth enough to be interesting, but shallow enough so that the firm really isn’t giving away much for free.
Firstrade’s homepage does a good job of providing important brokerage information within a small space, without appearing crowded. The firm also provides a decent selection of product information and education resources on the public website. Firstrade’s public site does have room for improvement with regards to navigation and page design which is lacking in the aesthetics department.