April 2016 – A Review of Trade Tickets

This report evaluates the online trade tickets offered by brokerages in our coverage group. Our analysis emphasizes the accessibility of trading, with firms that offer trading throughout the authenticated site scoring higher. We also reward firms for offering advanced order types, such as trailing stops and conditional orders, which provide a well-rounded experience to self-directed traders who need to mitigate risk. We examine only those trade tickets that are available by default to all users, not specialty services geared toward active traders.

Eighty-three percent of firms tracked by e-Monitor offer online trade tickets. Most firms skimp on trade ticket design, offering simple interfaces with dropdown menus and text-entry fields. Anchored trade tickets offer a step up from the traditional order form and make trading accessible throughout firms’ websites; however, they are offered by only a handful of firms. While rare, some firms allow users to trade specific tax lots or even shares, providing users greater control and the ability to engage in tax-loss harvesting, a benefit touted by many robo advisors. Trailing stop orders are not widespread, even though they are a common strategy and are useful for self-directed investors without time to monitor their portfolios constantly.