E*TRADE Professional

Also known as etradepro and Etrade UK, E*Trade Professional calls itself 'a global leader in online investing', and ETrade's credentials do indeed seem impressive. The site operates in ten international markets, claims three million customers worldwide and looks after $50 billion in client investments. And these kinds of details do provide a level of comfort, as an established online business would seem more likely to have its security and efficiency proven than some of the rash of new sites that appeared when the internet trading craze first took hold.

The margin is negotiable but is usually offered at 10%. There are no administration fees for opening an Etrade account and no interest is paid on the balance of the accounts. UK retail active traders make the bulk of their UK clientele at The minimum deposit to open an account is £3,000, which allows you to maintain open positions of between £37,500 and £50,000.

Your open positions are marked to market continuously and reflected in your margin account. If you breach your aggregated margin you will get a margin call for more cash. If things get too bad Etrade can close down some of your positions until your aggregated margin is restored.

ETrade offers a good deal on price, and provides the advanced technical tools required by the more active trader. The £9.95 flat rate commission, free Level II pricing, automated technical analysis, and CFD and forex trading all add up to an impressive package.

All CFD clients qualify for Power E*trade, which means free L2 to UK users and standard commission rates for direct access are 0.2 per cent (£20 minimum ticket), with funding rates at 250 basis points over and under Libor. Dealing on the quote-driven service is a flat £9.95 per trade.

One of the best features of the Etrade site is the integration of futures dealing with other instruments traded on Etrade (shares, CFDs, forex), using a single trading platform. This means that a share dealer can skip across to the futures section and hedge a portfolio of equities and bonds with futures trades.

The site is easy to easy to use, and scores particularly high in relationship services and customer confidence. Beginners will be helped out by the E*Trade knowledge centre which looks at a variety of issues from the simple to complex. There's also help on what stocks to buy with the stock selection tool that helps users to make an informed decision in their next acquisition.

On the downside all stop and limit orders have to be at least 10% away from the current trading price.. well there has to be a catch...

ETRADE Securities Limited is one of the UK's oldest online brokers. Established in 1998, ETRADE has always focused on providing leading technology for Active traders. In the last two years, ETRADE has found that Active traders are very interested in trading CFDs and other derivatives. We launched CFDs to give our customers the opportunity to trade the recent difficult markets using the CFD benefits such as no stamp duty and margin trading.

Conor Ringland - Head of Sales at Etrade UK

Range of investments

Investors can access UK and European stocks traded on the London Stock Exchange via one sterling account. There is also direct access to dealing in stocks quoted on the NYSE, Nasdaq and AMEX with a dollar account and through ETrade in the US.

ETrade UK has also recently expanded its products to include dealing in CFDs and foreign exchange. The CFD package is attractive because it allows investors to trade in CFDs and shares all from the same account, making it simpler to keep track of a portfolio and hedged positions.

Trading platform

ETrade UK is one of the few stockbrokers to offer streaming Level II pricing free of charge - some brokers charge over £50 a month for the service. Level II pricing provides a much greater depth of information, letting you see the market makers' transactions as they take place. The result is that you can time trades with the same precision as the market professionals.

Monitoring investments

ETrade's new automated technical analysis tool - called Signal Seeker - is also fairly unique. Unlike many other packages, it does the hard work for you. You can either screen whole markets or sectors looking for significant technical events, or analyse the price movements of an individual stock.

The company research area is also useful. The stock quote function is linked to detailed company information, and you can view the typical package of company profile and news, charts, key financials and consensus forecasts.

You can also create customised watch lists to monitor the prices of stocks you are interested in, and virtual portfolios to keep track of your actual holdings. Both of these functions can be linked to smart alerts so you receive an e-mail if a specific stock hits your target price.

Research available from the UK Etrade site

The research tools available on the UK Etrade platform include:

  • Signal seeker: a pure technical analysis tool
  • Volatility index: scans the market and lists high volatility stocks
  • CFDs allow you to participate in the stock market at considerably less cost than via traditional sharedealing.
  • Market map: details the distribution of sectors against market capitalisation
  • Risk return: map analyses returns against stock volatility.

In addition, further analysis and news includes a streaming AFX news feed, access to the online Reuters Bridge portal, daily commentary and overviews from Saxo Bank analysts, and a Harryhindsight login.

Business structure of ETrade UK

ETrade UK is part of the E*Trade Group, which is based in the US. It launched its UK online share-dealing service in 1999.

ETrade UK deals in the following products:

  • UK & US Shares
  • CFDs
  • Direct Access CFDs
  • Forex
  • Futures
  • Covered Warrants