Sat 20th Jul '13
Generic Trade is the only online broker I have seen, which creates obvious transparency for traders when they go to the company’s website to get more details. The website is extremely basic and incorporates only the core functionality of an online broker.
All traders love low commission rates and they are usually one of the very first variables traders check when they compare futures broker. The rate is 59 cents per side plus exchange fees. They provide a link beside the commission figure to view the fees in each market. In the popular E-mini S&P futures contract, the total cost is $3.50, which is lower than most brokers. Though, you do need to think about the $59 per month if you want use the Firetip trading platform. Fees for other markets and futures are also very competitive with the lowest priced online brokers. I think the small retail trader will have dificulty finding a commission rate which can beat Generic Trades, though large and very active traders can find slightly better rates at a few online brokers.
Generic Trade provides two trading platforms. The first is a web based platform that is very generic, as many are. It has realtime quotes and charts (must be refreshed) at no cost, news and the normal portfolio information. Trades can be placed and monitored through the online platform. I wouldn’t want to use it to actively trade futures, but I’m told that some active traders like to use it. There is no cost for the web based platform. The other trading platform is the desktop version called Firetip. This trading platform works very well and has most of the features traders want. There is a $59 monthly fee for Firetip, which you have to factor into your trading costs. Many brokers charge a platform fee and some waive it if you do enough trades each month. The $59 monthly fee does cover the exchange fees for realtime quotes from the exchanges. That alone can often cost well over $100 a month for multiple markets. Traders who decide to go with the Firetip platform will also have access to the online platform. This is a handy little feature enabling you to check futures quotes and charts, retrieve portfolio updates and order trades from any computer that has internet access.