Schwab Doesn’t Want Former CyberTrader Clients — I Need a New Broker…

Like they say, all good things must come to an end. I’ve been with CyberTrader since I started trading full time back in 1999. I can’t even imagine how much I’ve spent in commissions with them. That first year I spent about $30,000. It’s certainly dropped over the years, especially when I switched to per-share commissions, but it’s still got to be at least an order of magnitude more than the average Schwab client. Which makes it so astounding that Schwab would push all of CyberTrader’s clients away.

This was the week when Schwab turned off the lights at CyberTrader and moved Cyber’s traders to Street Smart Pro. I haven’t even had the energy nor motivation to even install the damn thing yet because I knew it was gonna be a mess. Looks like I was right. — Dave has a post which details the major issues with Street Smart(?) Pro. I’ve been emailed by at least 4 other people complaining about Street Smart Pro and asking about other options for brokers.

I’ve now come full circle from when I made this post in summer of 2006 asking for broker/platform suggestions. My requirements are basically the same:

  • A direct access, non-browser based platform.
  • Server-held stops. (This is critical!)
  • The ability to set a timed stop, e.g. close this position at 3:58 PM
  • Per-share pricing — less than $0.01/share
  • A good shortable stocks list (one of my favorite things about CyberTrader)
  • Reliability & execution speed

I’m already considering Interactive Brokers and TradeStation. Does anybody have any other suggestions?

I also want to move my long term accounts from eTrade for obvious reasons. For that I’m fine with a more typical online brokerage like Ameritrade. Any recommendations besides Ameritrade?

Comments

  1. Posted by Keith Shepard on December 16, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    I don’t have any suggests on a new broker, but I’ve been using Schwab’s Street Smart “Pro” for a few years and it pretty bad … and the “Pro” part of the name is extremely debatable. It is not a Pro package, IMO. It’s fine for position or Swing trading, but anything other than semi-passive management is out. And the chart data is crap … riddled with bad tick spikes that never get fixed (especially Intraday).

    Schwab support is decent.

    I have been lazy and haven’t dumped SSPro yet, but it would be a smart move to NOT use it.

    Personally, I’d like to switch to TradeStation, and probably will in 2008.

    ~o) ~ Keith Shepard

  2. Posted by HighProbabilityTrader on December 17, 2007 at 12:26 am

    Mike,
    I’ve been using IB for last 2 years. Rarely have problems, and when I do they are fixed quick. Customer Support is pretty quick. Using Quotetracker with IB is awesome. With tradestation you can’t get tick charts, and no interest on cash, and they have a ton of fees. With IB and Quotetracker, fees are pretty much zero, and commissions are great thru IB. With quotetracker there is a 10 day backfill for tick charts max on the registered version, and customer support is excellent. I tried Tradestation charts and like QT’s 10x more because you can resize your charts and switch indicators and time frames very quickly. IB charts are OK if you trade 30/60min time frames.

  3. Posted by Daniel on December 17, 2007 at 2:07 am

    I am going through cyber withdrwal unbeleiveable what they have done to us . Tradestation I am going back to 5000 shares andd platform free . 50% off on commisions for 3 months to former cyber clients. Orders and alerts are held on there servers. Ach transfers . cyber pricing on per share priceing roboust charting revamped customer service. National road shows on platform usage and strageies. Streetsmart pro does not even update your account until 15 minutes Icould go on and on I am switching tomorrow also fills at ts were better for me then cyber.

  4. Posted by JW on December 17, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Anyone has experiences with Zecco, the zero commission offering?

  5. Posted by Fausto Pugliese on December 18, 2007 at 6:08 am

    If you would like to try a good software, try a demo of this level II software. It has alot of what you need to trade. I have been using it for my school for about 10 years. my traders love it.
    http://www.cybertradinguniversity.com/Page.asp?ID=500

  6. Posted by Keith Shepard on December 18, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Of course, here I rag on StreetSmart Pro and they put out an upgrade (end of November) that addresses some of my issues (namely, Tick charts, Put/Call Ratio):


    StreetSmart Pro 4.16 new features include:

    * Tick Chart – Charting by trading activity
    * Dynamic Ticker – Offers insight into stock activity by ECN
    * Put/Call Ratios – Displays the ratio of puts to calls in watch lists and the Trading window
    * Cost Basis – Real-time cost basis calculated intraday. For most accounts, it includes access to lot level information

    * Message Center – Offers access to non-urgent messages from Schwab, such as regulatory, service and product information
    * Trading Entry – Includes Hot Keys, Trading Window display changes, an Order Quantity tab
    * Enhanced Conditional Order Settings – Additional variables for triggering orders
    * Bracket Orders – Automate your risk management

    * Trailing Stops for Single Leg Option – Set for existing positions
    * “Close All” Button Added – Quickly close out a position
    * Additional Order Selection – Improve your workflow

    * Gain/Loss Calculations for Options – Displays max gain and loss
    * Warning Added for Adjusted Options – Alerts you to actual valuations
    * Schwab Equity Ratings® – Incorporated into StreetSmart Pro

  7. Posted by Richard Mackey on December 19, 2007 at 6:23 am

    There is a great broker that allows daytrading with only $2500 and 10x trading power, they are called Prodigy Trading their comision is 8/per trade. They use a java based platform called OmniPro check them out contact Keith very helpful.

  8. Posted by MarketMonk on December 23, 2007 at 4:00 am

    Mike, In regards to TradeStation, orders are held on their server (buy orders, sell orders, stops loss orders, etc.). Alerts are on your own PC. Just wanted to clarify this rather big distinction.

  9. Posted by MarketMonk on December 23, 2007 at 4:23 am

    Joey,

    Tradestation does offer activation rules (price hits target and then submits order) which are server side (not PC side). Is this the type of alert that you are referring to? I think of this as being a trigger, not an alert. An alert to me is when you want to be notified of a situation (news, signal line crossing below MACD, price dropping below 50 dma, etc.).

    MM

  10. Posted by downtowntrader on December 24, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    MM,
    Yes, that is what I was talking about. I had spoken with a Tradestation rep a while ago and they told me any triggers or alerts were stored on your local pc. I use these triggers in a couple of ways. If price hits a certain target then I can “close” a position. I can then add or reduce to my position while leaving a close all stop in place. I can set these triggers as a fixed price or by trailing it. In either case though, the distinction is that these triggers are held on the servers, and are not live orders. If Tradestation can do this then I would reconsider moving to them because of how strong their backtesting and automation tools are. Thanks for the info.

    Joey

  11. Posted by Ronald Fisher on December 28, 2007 at 11:46 am

    I stumbled onto this site because I have been using and having problems with Streetsmart Pro for a year now. I have call numerous times to complain about errors in prices, quotes not being updated, etc. The Schwab staff is always curtious, but they never have an explanation or solution for the problem.
    I would highly recommend evaluating Schwab before committing.
    Ron