The number of online trading platforms being used has sky rocketed alongside the growth of online trading, with almost every trading company offering online trading platforms to its clients.
What online trading platforms offer independent investors is the opportunity to be their own personal broker, giving them access to all the tools and functions full-time brokers have.
When accessing an on-line trading platform independent brokers will automatically see the same options on their platform that are available to full time brokers, and these include:
– News; which gives you up-to-date information on the market
– Markets; all the markets available to trade on, such as indices and commodities, whether you are trading using CFDs, Spread Betting or Shares
– Asset Information; live updates on the price of all assets (updated on a second by second basis)
– Change; the current trend the asset is moving in shown as a percentage
– Asset Tools; all the tools and functions a trader would require to place a trade, tailor a trade, order a trade and research an asset (through specific information on that asset and charts updated every 5 minutes)
What all this allows independent brokers to do is perform the roles a full-time broker would, without the pressure to trade or fund their account that commonly come when dealing with some stock broking companies.
What any new online broker should look for when considering trading online, is firstly, and most importantly, a company that offers a free online trading platform. Some companies charge fees to use their online trading platforms or charge for independent brokers to use functions such as their news feed or when opening or closing a trade, so make sure when you sign up to a company’s on-line trading platform, it is free.
Next, look for companies that offer a free demo service for their online trading platform. Free demo accounts allow perspective brokers to experience what it is like to trade using different companies’ platforms. You trade using fictional funds and have the same tools and functions as you would if you were using the platform as a funding client, but the demo account gives you the option to try out how easy or difficult it could potentially be to use the platform and this is important when you consider that if you eventually decide to fund your account with your own money, you want to make sure you are trading it properly.
Also look for companies that offer free research to their clients, created by in-house analysts. Any and all research you can get your hands on when trading online can be invaluable, but being given free research from in-house analysts can potentially be the difference between a big profit and a massive loss.
The reason it is advised that you should make sure the research being offered is free is because, as mentioned, all the information you can get when trading online is helpful, so you never want to be in a situation where the profit you make from trades is being garnished by fees for research and you also don’t want to be in a situation when you are contemplating whether or not to continue paying for research if you feel it is not helpful. All information you are sent may or may not be beneficial to you personally, but you have to be patient with what you receive. Also, make sure the research being sent out is created by in-house analysts. The difference between receiving information from in-house analysts and receiving information that is simply regurgitated from secondary and tertiary sources is that the research created in-house is often more thought-out, scrutinised and tailored to the specifications of clients, regurgitated information can, at times be out of date and pointless for most clients.
After downloading the free online trading platform and testing it out to make sure you are 100% comfortable with the platform you are using. Then made sure the company you are looking to work with offer free research created by in-house analysts. The final feature to look for when choosing your online trading company, is to contact the company directly and look to speak to someone about the possibility of trading with that company, this is if you haven’t been contacted by the company itself already. The reason for speaking to the company directly is because most companies, more specifically execution-only companies, will inform clients that they are there as and when you, as an independent investor, will need them. The benefits of working with an execution-only company, over other types of stock broking companies, is that execution-only companies only have the power to execute a trade and answer questions from their clients, they will never call you to pressure you to fund your account, go in or come out of a trade or advise you on what asset to trade with, meaning you are left with the freedom to trade how and when you want, with the aid of a qualified broker when, or if, you need them.
Risk warning: Spreadbetting, CFD trading and Forex are leveraged. This means they can result in losses exceeding your original deposit. Ensure you understand the risks, seek independent financial advice if necessary. The value of shares and the income from them may go down as well as up. Nothing on this website constitutes a solicitation or recommendation to enter into any security or investment.