The choice of online broker is a crucial step for any person planning to invest in the stock market and grow their capital. Which broker should you choose? This article provides a list of the best brokers of the moment.
What is a broker?
A stockbroker is an intermediary between the investor and the financial market. The broker is the investor's direct contact whenever he or she wishes to make a transaction. The broker has an executive role, but cannot intervene in the investor's choices except through advice.
Over the last twenty years, the brokerage profession has evolved enormously thanks to the development of new technologies. Nowadays, all operations are carried out entirely on the Internet.
The investor has tools on their computer, tablet or phone that allow them to give buy and sell orders. They can also benefit from features and information allowing them to better refine their strategy.
Note that physical brokers still exist, but have become rare.
The best online brokers of the moment
eToro is a global online trading leader that many consider to be the best trading platform available today. Its headquarters are located in Israel. The platform allows you to trade on about 15 stock exchanges around the world. eToro offers the possibility to invest in direct stocks or CFDs.
The 'Zero Commission' offer is one of the main advantages of eToro. There are no account opening or maintenance fees. However, fees do apply for certain transactions, such as withdrawals, use of leverage or derivatives. Note that eToro also offers social trading on its platform, unlike most other brokers. You can open an account at any time, and eToro is suitable for both novices and more experienced investors.
Based in the Netherlands, Degiro is one of the best trading platforms and stands out for its very low fees. Opening an account is quick and easy. The minimum deposit is also relatively low. Investments on Degiro are mainly carried out through ordinary securities accounts. Stock savings plans are not possible on the platform.
The site and the mobile application are very simple to use and boast user-friendly interfaces. It is also very easy to give an order to buy or sell. The customer service is very efficient both by email and by phone.
The downside? Unfortunately, it is impossible to create a demo account on Degiro. Moreover, the educational content is relatively limited.
XTB, or more precisely X-Trade Brokers, is a broker based in Warsaw with a subsidiary in London. In France, XTB is associated with BNP Paribas and approved by the AMF. XTB provides access to 19 stock exchanges and is aimed at both individuals and professionals. XTB also offers a "zero commission" service for a monthly volume of less than EUR 100,000.
At XTB, you can invest with a securities account, in ETFs and the cash equity market, and through derivatives. The broker stands out for its variety of available assets. Users can access technical analysis and news related to the stock market.
Fx Pro is known as an excellent broker. The company is based in the United Kingdom, but is governed by several regulatory authorities. Fx Pro is best known for its fast and reliable servers. Issuance of trade orders takes place within milliseconds.
Fx Pro also has a zero commission policy and its spreads are among the most advantageous. The only major drawback of the broker is its €500 minimum deposit, which is among the highest on the market and considered excessive by some observers, who consider Fx Pro to be aimed only at experts.
How to choose your broker ?
What to consider when choosing a broker
In Europe, each country has its own regulatory body. However, a trader regulated in a member country of the European Union is entitled to practice in any European country. In France, for example, these are the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel (ACP). These same regulatory bodies also regularly publish a blacklist of unreliable traders that anyone can take a look at.
Regulation ensures brokers follow strict rules and procedures and protects users from scams, accidents or malpractice. For this reason, it is recommended that you choose a broker affiliated with a reliable regulatory body.
In addition to national regulatory bodies, the European Union has issued a quality charter through the MiFId.
An expanded service offering
For an investor, it is important to have as much choice as possible. Before choosing a particular broker, you should look at the available asset categories. At the very least, a broker should offer currencies, commodities and indexes. As a bonus, it is also preferable to be able to invest in ETFs, stocks and cryptocurrencies.
The available stock markets are also important criteria for a broker. For example, some may allow you to access the CAC 40, but not Wall Street (more interesting for some assets). So, if you already have in mind the assets you want to invest in, check that they are available on the platform.
Brokers provide their clients with various tools and features, such as software for analyzing historical values or access to training materials. Be sure to test these different features on all media, especially mobile. The application provided must allow you to access the same features.
You should consider your end goals before choosing a broker and ask yourself if you want to open a regular stock account or a stock savings plan? Some brokers do not offer the latter.
Are you investing in order to accumulate wealth or are you more of a gambler? The answer to this question will determine your choice. Indeed, if you are only there to play, prioritize platforms specialized in underlying assets.
Availability of the platform on several different devices, including mobile devices, is essential. Whether you are a day trader or a long term investor, keeping an eye on stock market developments is a must.
Stay connected to your broker site at all times. User-friendliness of the platform on small screens should also be taken into account.
Of course, reputation is of great importance when choosing an online broker. You have to make your own opinions about each broker, but don’t neglect those of others. Sometimes it is enough to take a look on the Internet and social networks. However, make sure you only consult reliable comparison sites and trust the opinions of real experts.
As with any service, price is also a key criterion in choosing an online broker. There are generally three types of fees:
- Subscription fees - most often these charges are for a certain amount or number of transactions.
- Brokerage fees - these are generally charged each time an order is executed, including deposit and withdrawal orders.
- ancillary fees - these entitle you to access certain features, such as analytical software, training and other optional services.
Conditions for opening an account
Each broker sets their own conditions for opening an account, which you should analyse to see if they fit your needs. The minimum deposit is one of the most recurrent points to take into account. Note that the amount of the minimum deposit varies from one broker to another.
Alongside conditions, some brokers offer gifts and welcome bonuses, for purely commercial aims. These gifts are usually subject to fairly strict conditions. For example, free access for a limited time to a particular service or a discount on certain fees.
The quality of customer service
Reactivity, courtesy and efficiency can be used to measure the performance of customer service. In general, this is the first factor that a potential client will take into account.
Some advice before choosing your broker
Choose a broker who supports you according to your needs
The task can be complex, but it is essential. You need to choose an online broker who will work with you according to your needs.
Are you a complete beginner? Choose a broker that offers free training and supports you in your first steps. If you’re not interested in learning content, opt for brokers who offer copy trading.
Don't hesitate to take advantage of demo accounts
Most brokers offer a demo account. This account where you can make simulations of investments. The amount of money you have in your account is simulated as well as your transactions, but the values displayed are real. This way you can test your abilities as an investor, but also test the different platforms and compare them.
Alongside basic features, some brokers provide educational resources. The Internet is full of potentially useful content, but the content offered by brokers is better. Very often, these materials are especially interesting for beginner investors who want to deepen their knowledge in the field. These materials can include videos, tutorials or webinars.
Prioritize interactive platforms
It can be a good idea for investors to exchange tips, ideas or information. This is called "social trading". Some traders offer users the opportunity to communicate with each other through specific features on their websites. These trading platforms are powered by both trading experts and investors themselves.
Use Arya software to connect to different platforms
What is Arya Trading ?
Arya Trading is an Expert Advisor that allows you to automate your trading, by connecting to several brokers at once. At first, the software was only intended for a handful of experienced traders. However, its creator, TechX, has reworked its offering to make it accessible even to beginners. Using it also limits the risks associated with emotions and human errors.
When taking control, the investor must define different parameters including money management, according to their objectives. For example, they can define the assets he wants to focus on. The user can also define the level of risk taking, which can vary for example between 0.125% and 1% of the capital. Similarly, the investor can set the maximum daily loss percentage.
What is an Expert Advisor ?
If all you have to do to start trading is log on to a broker's website, what good is the software? In reality, an Expert Advisor such as Arya is a guide, both for beginners and for advanced investors. By connecting directly to a broker's platform, the user is on their own. The software provides various tools to make the best decisions.
The other advantage of a tool like Arya Trading is the possibility to connect to several brokers at the same time. Not all assets are present at all brokers, while diversification is part of a trader's weaponry. Arya Trading allows you to keep an eye on all the assets of several brokers on one screen. So, instead of switching from one window to another, the investor has a global view.
Which brokers is Arya compatible with ?
Arya Trading runs on MetaTrader4, also known as MT4. With this integrated engine, Arya Trading can connect to several brokers at the same time and take advantage of the different features. Most of the current brokers are compatible with MT4, therefore with Arya Trading.
Note that MT4 can also be downloaded and used alone. Nevertheless, the services and possibilities offered by MT4 alone are largely limited. The automation tools, history viewing and expert advice are for example specific to Arya Trading.
Also note that the new version of MetaTrader, the MT5, has been available since 2010. However, many brokers are incompatible with this refined version.
Arya Trading’s various offers
The Starter pack
The Starter pack is completely free. It is mainly aimed at those who are considering using Arya Trading, but who need to test the tool before starting. The other advantage of this pack is the access to different educational materials that allow you to discover the world of trading and the use of the software. This pack also provides access to the Traders Room and monthly Masterclasses.
The Arya Pro and Arya Pro+ packs
The Arya Pro and Arya Pro+ packages allow you to get to the heart of the matter. In reality, there is only one difference between the two packages. The first one is for those who want to trade with a capital of less than 100,000 euros and the second one for those who want to invest more. In addition, the user of the Pro or Pro+ pack will have access to all the documentation of the site and free updates.
To summarize, here is a summary table of the top brokers 2021.
Name of the broker
Number of contracts: 13
+ Automatic trading available
+ Educational content suitable for beginners
- Transaction fees applied
- Only in dollars
Number of contracts: 37
+ Competitive rates
+ Very powerful application
- Limited educational content
- No Demo account
Number of contracts: 19
+ Competitive rates
+ Comprehensive educational content
- Difficult to handle for beginners
- Inactivity fees
Number of contracts: NC
+ Responsive customer service
+ Very powerful application
- Limited educational content
- Limited available assets