Aite Group conducted a study of 332 U.S. retail consumers who possess investing accounts with access to online trading and asked them to rate their impression of their broker's overall online capabilities. Over 70% of responses represented five firms. Because of this representation, Aite Group chose to only rank the leaders: Ameritrade, E*Trade, Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Scottrade. Aite Group then ranked each firm based on 26 features, focusing on Account, Cash Management, Export, Portfolio Tools, and Trading Tools.
Charles Schwab ranked top in the survey, with customers appreciating how comprehensive the website was. Day traders liked the streaming quotes and ability to perform multiple transactions simultaneously. Navigation and site speed, as well as pricing, were areas that left most to be desired in the opinion of many users.
"We found that retail customers are largely satisfied with their online brokerage's capabilities, particularly in the cases of those that offered the most functional capabilities," said Adam HonorÃ©, senior analyst at Aite Group. However, he warned, "As the retail brokerage landscape continues to seek new customers and aggregate the cumulative assets of existing customers, there is a constant stream of new programs, features, and capabilities designed to draw and retain more assets under management. In the race to provide the richest online experience, firms would do well to remember that customers are still interested in price, service, and usability above all else."