Overview of TradeMonster Broker Services
Compared to many other online options brokers, TradeMonster is a newcomer. The company was founded in 2006, by brothers Jon and Pete Najarian and Dirk Mueller. These three options trading professionals used their extensive experience to help build a powerful trading platform. The online brokerage was launched in 2008 and has quickly established itself as a leading operation in large part due to its dedication to always making their services better.
With the focus firmly on trading options (other products and services are available) this broker is well worth considering for any options trader. It isn't the cheapest broker on the web, unless trading in very high volume, but it does offer certain advantages, for example it has an excellent trading platform. So even though you may not find it to be the least costly there are definitely certain aspects that will draw you in.
You can read our comprehensive review of TradeMonster below. We have looked at the commissions and fees, the trading platform, the research and analysis tools, and the quality of the customer service.
Commissions, Fees & Minimum Deposit
Unlike with many brokers there's no base fee for trading options at TradeMonster. The cost per trade is based solely on the number of options involved. The fee structure is graduated depending on how many options you trade per quarter. It starts at $0.50 per contract and goes down as low as $0.10.
There is a minimum fee per trade, of $12.50, which can make it expensive for those trading in small volumes. By contrast, the lack of a base fee and the sliding cost per contract makes trading pretty cheap for those buying and selling in large quantities. The exercise fee of $7.50 is very reasonable, and it's lower than a lot of other brokers.
TradeMonster doesn't have an annual account fee or on an inactivity fee, but there are a few extra charges. Ordering a paper statement, for example, will cost you $5 and there is a $20 charge for outgoing wires. There's nothing particularly unreasonable in their schedule of fees though.
There is no minimum deposit required to open an account, although you must deposit at least $2,000 if you wish to utilize margin.
Trading Platform, Tools & Features
At TradeMonster the trading platform and all the associated tools are web-based, so there's no need to download anything. It's one of the most impressive platforms around and it's very fast and responsive. Beginners will love how easy it is to use and understand everything, while experienced traders will appreciate its more advanced features and the fact that it can be customized to suit personal preferences.
TradeMonster was formed with options traders in mind and this is very apparent. A minor complaint would be that trading can involve having to open a lot of different windows rather than everything being integrated. This can cause a bit of frustration but is by no means a major issue.
Although the platform is advanced, there is a “QuickTrade” feature which many traders will appreciate. This opens a much simpler window and allows you to place your orders quickly and easily without any of the bells and whistles.
Particular highlights of the TradeMonster trading platform are the Spectral Analysis tool, the strategySEEK tool, and the liveACTION scanner. Spectral Analysis gives you a visual overview of your planned strategies while straegySEEK helps you pick strategies based on criteria you define yourself. The liveACTION scanner is the quote streaming tool and can be used to easily find trading opportunities.
There is also a guidance tool named tradeCYCLE. This is especially useful for traders that struggle with discipline or applying a solid strategy. This tool walks you through six steps to help you complete the full process from research, testing, executing orders, and exiting positions. Beginners and even intermediate traders could benefit enormously from this.
It's worth mentioning that TradeMonster offers a functional mobile trading application for traders wishing to use the broker’s services from a smartphone or tablet. It also has a paper trade feature which allows you use the trading platform to make virtual trades and keep track of your results.
Research & Analysis
TradeMonster offers most of the research and analysis capabilities you need but there have been criticisms that they aren't as in depth as they could be. The charting tools are certainly a little weaker than many of its competitors and the range of technical studies available is somewhat lacking.
For additional research you can sign up to researchLAB. It's free to use but it's separate from the main platform which is not ideal. There are also paid subscription services for more comprehensive technical indicators and more thorough research.
Overall the research and analysis that is available at TradeMonster is certainly sufficient, but it's fair to say it isn't of the same high standard as the trading platform itself.
Customer support isn't the strongest point of TradeMonster. They do offer both telephone and email support, but there have been reports of poor responses. This isn't something we have experienced ourselves though, and the broker has made a concerted effort to improve this area.
Perhaps the biggest disappointments are that customer service is not available 24 hours a day and that there is no dedicated technical support.
TradeMonster unquestionably gets a lot more right that it gets wrong. The research and analysis tools, along with the quality of the customer support, could be improved for sure, but they are far from inadequate. The fact that the trading platform is of such a high standard means that these issues are really quite minor.
The fee structure isn't ideal for small volume traders, but it doesn't make trading excessively expensive either. It certainly provides good value for high volume traders. Taking everything into account, this broker has something to offer everyone from beginners starting out small to experienced traders who trade very actively.