|Founded||Flushing, New York (1985)|
|Headquarters||Flushing, New York, USA|
|Key people||John C. Liu, CEO|
|Products||Stock Broker, Online Investing|
Firstrade is an online discount brokerage firm headquartered in Flushing, New York offering a full line of investment products - stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, and bonds. Its site is accessible via mobile phone and trades can be made by phone as well. Firstrade offers special services such as Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) online trading sites and Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) toll-free phone help.
Founded in 1985 by John C. Liu, as First Flushing Securities. First Flushing Securities served the investment needs of the local community. In 1997, the company was renamed to Firstrade Securities Inc. and the company launched Firstrade.com. Since its inception, the online discount brokerage website has undergone five revamps of the site, with the latest in early 2011. In April 2010, Taifook Securities Company Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of TSG, signed an agreement with Firstrade Securities, an US online broker, for cross-border securities trading business. As of 2011, most development of Firstrade's site is taken place in-house.
Since Firstrade's website redesign in 2011, the reviews have been generally favorable.
Online Broker Review states: "Firstrade starts off on the wrong foot with a paper heavy registration process and limited account funding options. Following a redesign of the entire platform in early 2011, the overall user experience is much improved. Stock trading in particular is now very good and so we recommend it for all investors. The options trading platform is improved as well but has an excessive exercise / assignment fee and is still missing a few advanced features. Therefore, we recommend Firstrade only for those who utilize simple options trading strategies. In other areas, the research tools are extensive, the charts are merely average and the commissions and fees are mostly respectable. The iPhone App has improved from its initial release and now offers a quality mobile trading experience."
Options Trader Review's Online Broker Review: 2011 states "The general consensus seems to be that Firstrade is a solid broker, and it will get the job done for you. This broker is a great choice if your first language is Mandarin or Cantonese. The prices are good, the margin rates are low, tools are handy, and the customer service is great. In the coming years, we’d like to see better options trading tools and beefed up education resources."
Stockbrokers.com reports, "Bottom Line - While Firstrade lacks a feature rich platform the broker maintains a clean site and offers its clients the basics to maintain a long term portfolio."
In "Barron's 2011 Online Broker Review: How the Brokers Stack Up" Barron's comments Firstrade is recommended to moderately active to active investors and attracts casual and novice investors. Barron also notes Firstrade pros and cons, enjoying Firstrade's watchlists set up on Website can also be used on iPhone app. Options chain view on Website slides in and out of view in a way that saves screen space. However disliking to set up a covered call or protective put, you would have to use the Conditional Orders feature. 2-legged options trade online; more complex spreads must be placed with a live broker.
Industry Awards and Rankings
Firstrade earned three stars and finished tenth overall in the StockBrokers.com 2011 Online Broker Review. In 2012, they earned three stars and a sixteenth place finish. For 2013, Firstrade moved back up, earning three stars and an eleventh place ranking overall. In 2014, Firstrade shifted down one position to twelfth place with an improved three and a half star rating.
Firstrade Securities has numerous competitors, including:
- Charles Schwab
- Fidelity Investments
- Merrill Edge
- Place Trade
- TD Ameritrade
- Firstrade's Online Trading System
- "?". Advantage.MarketLine.com. MarketLine. Retrieved 2013-05-28. (password-protected)
- Carey, Theresa (2011-03-12). "Making the Right Connection". Barrons.com. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
- "2011 Online Broker Review", January 18, 2011.
- "2012 Online Broker Review", February 21, 2012.
- "2013 Online Broker Review", February 19, 2013.
- "2014 Online Broker Review", February 18, 2014.
- "FINRA Member Firms: List of Members", Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. May 11, 2013. Accessed May 11, 2013.