Best Options Brokers for OTC Options
On this page we have provided some advice for choosing listed our recommended brokers for any trader looking to buy and sell over the counter (OTC) contracts. We have researched and tested many online brokers, and produced a list of those that we believe are the best for trading contracts of this type. You can see our recommendations in the table below.
If you are a “trade at home” options trader then the chances are very high that you stick mostly to buying and selling exchange traded options and avoid those that are traded over the counter. This is probably for the best as, for the most part, it's much more straightforward to trade those contracts which are listed on the formal exchanges.
There may well be some reasons why you prefer to trade OTC contracts though and this isn't necessarily something that you should absolutely avoid (although we don’t recommend beginners get involved). If you do, then you really need to make sure you use an appropriate broker.
Although you can trade OTC contracts at most brokers, they aren't all ideal for trades of this type. In fact, even some of the very best brokers aren't actually that great for trading OTC options, so you need to look for those that are particularly suitable. In our opinion, it's those that we have listed above.
About Trading OTC Options
Trading OTC contracts is really something that only investors with experience should consider. Unlike the standardized contracts that you can buy and sell on organized exchanges, OTC contracts are completely customizable. This presents some advantages, as you can effectively design your own contracts to fit in with your investment strategy.
There are also some additional risks too though. For one thing you don't have the protection of an exchange or clearing house; you are reliant on the counterparty to your contracts fulfilling their obligations.
There are so many opportunities for trading the standardized contracts available on the exchanges that you really don’t need to get involved with OTC options unless you have very specific reasons to do so. They do allow you to be a bit more creative but, in our opinion, there are enough risks involved in trading already without adding any more unnecessarily.
About Our Rankings
We rank the best brokers in a variety of different categories, purely for the reason that who might be the right broker for one trader is not necessarily the right broker for another. This is certainly true for a trader looking to trade OTC options, as there are many brokers that are really not focused on this area at all.
When we are ranking brokers we take several different factors into consideration. Certain factors are relevant for every category that we cover, with varying degrees of importance, while some are only relevant to specific categories. When it comes to brokers suitable for trading OTC options, it is the following factors that we look particularly closely at:
- Ease of Placing OTC Orders
- Cost of Transactions
- Online Buying Restrictions
- Quality of Customer Support
Ease of Placing OTC Orders
This is important for fairly obvious reasons. Even some of the best trading platforms available aren't particularly great for placing OTC orders, and if this is going to be something that you do with any degree of regularity then clearly this can lead to frustration.
Ideally you want it to be as easy as possible to place all your orders, so this is something that has a significant impact on how we rank brokers in this category.
Cost of Transactions
The costs of making transactions are relevant no matter what category we are ranking brokers for. The reason they are especially important for trading OTC options is that some brokers charge particularly high fees for buying and selling contracts of this type.
While you need to be prepared for paying some additional costs to trade contracts over the counter, you obviously don’t want to be paying any more than you have to. Therefore the fees and commissions for placing orders involving OTC contracts is a key factor to consider.
Online Buying Restrictions
Some online brokers place restrictions on what transactions can be carried out over the internet. These restrictions will very often include certain types of OTC contracts. Although the restrictions don’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to make the transactions you want, they mean you may not be able to make them online.
One of the major advantages of using an online broker is that you can place your orders with maximum convenience, without having to use the phone or some other method. Therefore any broker that places heavy restrictions on what sort of transactions you can make over the internet is unlikely to be a great choice, particularly when trading OTC options.
Quality of Customer Support
This is another factor that is relevant for all the categories we put brokers in. It is, however, particularly relevant in this category. This is because transactions involving OTC options contracts can be somewhat more complicated than those involving standardized options contracts. You really need to be able to rely on decent customer support in the event that there are issues with your transactions that you need assistance with.
Trading OTC options is different in many ways to trading the standardized contracts that are bought and sold on the exchanges. We would advise beginners to avoid getting involved but there are some positive reasons for doing so for those that have some experience behind them. There are some key considerations you need to take into account if you are going down the OTC route though.
One such consideration is which broker you are going to use. As we have explained it's important to choose a broker that is good at handling the kind of transactions you will be looking to make. If you are looking to deal with OTC options then we do very strongly suggest that you use the brokers we have listed on this page, as they are definitely the most suitable in our opinion.