Stock Portfolio Broker Test – the most important criteria at a glance
The trading offer: What investment opportunities are there?
Every investor makes different demands on a deposit. Your own investment strategy and your personal budget play an important role. These aspects can shed light on which trading products are particularly important. Without question, the broker‘s focus should be on stock trading. Many share deposit brokers specialize in exchange-traded products, so the initial question arising is which stock exchanges you can trade with a provider. Worldwide, international stock exchanges are particularly interesting for many investors. Brokers offering stock quotes in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America may therefore be shortlisted if you wish to trade on international stock exchanges. Nevertheless, a broad range of investment opportunities may pay off, so it‘s a good idea to look for smaller exchanges in a broker's trading portfolio.
If you do not want to commit exclusively to stocks or believe that other financial instruments might be eligible, you may be pleasantly surprised by some brokers. Many providers are no longer limited to one product, but allow also, for example, trading in ETFs, CFDs or Forex trading.
- Stock portfolio brokers often offer additional trading opportunities as well.
- Find out about the number of exchanges and check whether there are enough international offers.
- We recommend to take a look at the trading hours.
The Conditions – Costs and Fees for a Stock Portfolio
A broker comparison offers the opportunity to compare the terms of each provider. The depot is mostly free, but note that some brokers will eventually charge an account maintenance fee after a certain period of time and account statements are not always free. Another especially important aspect are order costs. Since time immemorial, fixed price deposits are popular, with a fixed price for each order so trading costs don‘t depend on the traded volume. Yet variable order costs may be interesting, in particular for investors who are already familiar with the matter.
Besides, you should look at the level of order fees domestic and abroad in a stock portfolio broker comparison. The fee model should be transparent. Consider possible costs for order and limit changes and for the use of different trading tools. Many brokers also offer regular promotions to save on trading costs, so offering such as „no-fee“ or „free-buy“ may be important clues – especially with a limited budget or if you want to be very active.
- Check out more than the costs for opening an account in your share deposit broker comparison.
- Order fees can be fixed or variable and often differ at home and abroad.
- Some share deposit providers can save you trading fees with attractive offers.
Accounts – Junior Depot, Digital Asset Management & Co.
Beside a „basic“ deposit for stock investment, some stock portfolio brokers also have other accounts available that are geared to different investment objectives. These might include junior depots or offers for students for long-term wealth accumulation. Some brokers also offer accounts with digital asset management. Here, portfolio and risk management are carried out automatically. The basis for this is a software or an algorithm that follows a specific strategy, weighing the opportunities and risks of investments. Some providers offer accounts enabling employers to transfer capital contributions to employees‘ investment account. For some investors this may be particularly attractive for some investors, since capital accumulation benefits are also promoted by the state.
Sooner or later, even less experienced investors will come across the term „withholding tax“. Those who have familiarized themselves with the subject and consider separate portfolios under new and old tax law, should check whether it is possible to open a second depot.
As far as costs are concerned, you should first inform yourself about any minimum deposit at the various depots. This is not always required, but may amount to three digit sums.
- It is advisable to check beforehand the various account models.
- Sometimes a second deposit may be relevant for tax reasons.
- In some cases brokers require a minimum deposit.
The trading platform at a share deposit broker: software, apps and tools
The trading platform is unquestionably an important aspect and is at the heart of the investment. It should therefore be sensible and practical, so you can keep an eye on the most important data, act swiftly and compile orders efficiently. Points that should be taken for granted for a good trading platform are, in our experience:
- Overview of open orders
- Overview of the development of own shares
- Overview of current market activities
A solid stock trading platform should have analytics and, at best, interactive charts. Many stock brokers offer their clients the opportunity to obtain have up-to-date stock market news and other information. Also advantageous is an individually customizable representation of the depot.
Smartphones and tablets have become indispensable. Of course, brokers with stock portfolio experience know this and offer you the greatest possible flexibility. You should also have mobile software solutions and apps at almost every broker, so you can trade securities on the go at any time and benefit from real-time mobile rates.
- The trading platform should be well structured and meaningful.
- Charts, stock market news and analytics are important tools for trading.
- You should always be able to keep an eye on your depot when you‘re on the move, so mobile software solutions are essential.
Look, structure and usability of the website
The website is the first impression left by a stock broker, so it is an important criterion in an evaluation. For example, you should pay attention to how transparently the broker deals with information. Important details such as the terms and conditions, the fee model, contact details and regulatory information should be readily available. A clear and user-friendly website is the alpha and omega.
Although you can not decide whether a broker could convince you as the best stock portfolio provider based on the website alone, but easy navigation, short click paths and information in an understandable language should be self-evident. Some brokers do not have their headquarters in the U.K., but it is often possible to choose the language with a click. Here you should make sure that not only the main pages, but all subpages have been translated. Take the time to scrutinize the quality of the translation.
The provider should design his website in such a way that you can also find trading venues and information about various depots very quickly to get a good picture.
- The website should be available in a language that you understand.
- Check that all relevant information is available on the website.
- The website should be transparent and clear.
Customer support should be easily accessible and competent
There is no broker universally regarded by investors as „Best Stock Portfolio Broker“, but a not to be underestimated criterion in the evaluation of a provider is the customer support. If you have questions about withdrawals, billing or the platform, you need fast and above all reliable help. While most brokers provide a FAQ section that answers the most common questions, this is not always enough for more specific questions or problems.
It is not mandatory for support to be available around the clock, but especially during the primary trading hours and during the week, you should be able to contact a support person. Meanwhile, many providers rely on a live chat, otherwise a hotline, a contact form or an e-mail address are available. Do not be afraid to contact the support before registering to clarify any ambiguity. You should make sure that you reach a contact person who can answer your questions competently in a short time and, of course, in a language that you can understand.
- The support should be accessible in different ways, a live chat being especially useful.
- You should have a contact person who speaks your language and is familiar with the subject.
- Customer service does not necessarily have to be guaranteed around the clock, but certainly during the most important times.
Deposits and withdrawals to and from the depot: payment methods and conditions
When looking for a suitable provider, make sure that the broker accepts your preferred payment method. As a rule, you have various options for transferring funds. For the majority of share deposit brokers, the following payment methods are listed:
- Credit cards like Visa or Mastercard
- Payment service providers such as Skrill, Neteller and Paypal
- Conventional bank transfer
Credit cards are a popular means of payment, being easy to use, considered safe and with the money immediately arriving in the depot. Most brokers accept credit cards, beside the option of paying by conventional bank transfer or SOFORT bank transfer. The latter, in particular, is now relatively widespread, since transactions are processed quickly. Yet more popularity is gained by online payment services such as Neteller, Paypal and Skrill. In a broker evalutation, however, the number of payment methods is not most important.
If your preferred payment method is available, you should take a look at the fees that may be charged for transactions – these may vary depending on the payment method. For some brokers only a certain number of payments per month is possible free of charge. Concerning withdrawals in particular, some providers set limits, so that payout is sometimes possible only from a certain amount. Take the time to find out about fees and conditions for deposits and withdrawals.
- Your preferred method for deposits and withdrawals should be available.
- Ask about possible transaction fees.
- Brokers may set other conditions for payments.
Does the Stock Portfolio Broker provide useful additional offers?
While additional offers are not obligatory to prevail in a depot comparison as the best stock portfolio broker, it is still recommended to look out for them. Various training opportunities are helpful especially for less experienced investors. These range from blogs to news to glossaries, guides, video tutorials or even webinars. Market and economic reports or analysis tools also belong in this category and are quite useful for planned investments.
An especially popular additional offer: the test depot
If you do not have any stock portfolio experience, you can use a demo account with some brokers. Although a model portfolio is not as widely used in stock trading as foreign exchange or CFD trading, it‘s an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the trading platform and at least partially try the broker‘s offer without investing your own money.
Even with the additional offers there is no guarantee for successful trading, but it is of course advisable to familiarize yourself in advance with the theoretical basics and to keep an eye on current market developments.
- Look for meaningful additional offers.
- A model depot is convenient but not essential.
- Make sure that the broker has offers suitable for your level of experience.
Security: Do you have to fear share deposit fraud?
As a rule, brokers are registered officially and regulated by a financial supervisory authority. This is the legal basis for the broker to offer his services in a particular market. You can find the relevant information – such as a registration or license number – on the website. These are at least a first indication of whether this is a reputable stock portfolio broker, as the relevant authorities carry out regular checks.
With regard to a possible share deposit fraud, deposit insurance is also relevant. Before registering with a provider, you should make sure that customer funds are kept in segregated accounts and remain intact – or at least protected up to a certain level – in the event of insolvency. When comparing different providers, you can find out in when the deposit insurance is taking effect and how much it will cover.
Another aspect of security is your data. Brokers usually rely on secure SSL encryption. You can additionally protect your data by using only secure Internet connections, choosing a suitable password and not writing down the access data.
- The broker should be regulated by the authorities.
- Check if and to what amount client funds are protected by deposit insurance.
- Data transmission should be encrypted.
Stock portfolio providers put to the test – trade press reviews and awards
Financial magazines, business blogs and other specialized media regularly issue awards to brokers or review various providers. Therefore, a look at the specialist press cannot hurt searching for a suitable stock portfolio. Forums are to be treated with caution. While sharing in a community can be helpful, it is possible that conspicuously negative reviews have been fuelled by frustration. In the trade press, on the other hand, experts have their say. Usually, aspects such as the trading platform or the trading offer are scrutinized. Well-founded articles from the trade press are therefore a very good starting point to evaluate a broker.
Some providers also advertise on their websites with various awards and distinctions such as „Best Stock Portfolio Broker“ received from financial magazines. Often they put great importance to media representation and link to current press reviews.
Although various awards are not crucial – after all, some providers have not been on the market for a long time, but still convince with their terms –, they have quite a positive effect on the rating and create confidence.
- Opinions from the trade press may be helpful for a first impression.
- Forum posts are always subjective and should therefore be treated with caution.
- Awards are not essential.
Stock Portfolio Broker Test – a deposit comparison creates the basis for trading
Neither awards such as „best stock portfolio provider“ of the trade press nor the trading costs decide which broker offers the best depot for you. When looking for the right stock portfolio, you should consider several factors and decide in where you might be able to cut corners: if you already have experience with stocks, for example, an extensive range of training opportunities is less relevant than for a beginner. As a rule, more decisive aspects are the protection of client funds and, of course, the costs of trading.
But the trade offer is also crucial: In addition to the available trading venues, you should also find out how many and which stocks are available for trading and whether the broker offers other products, such as foreign exchange, ETFs or CFDs.
Your personal investment goals are also important: more and more brokers are no longer limited to one depot, but offer junior depots or digital asset management, as well.
Which depot proves to be the best stock portfolio for you depends ultimately on your individual requirements. On AskTraders you will find numerous objective reviews of stock portfolio brokers based on the criteria presented here. With the various reviews we want to give you a first overview and assist you in finding the suitable stock portfolio.