Zacks Trade Review
If you trade stocks at high volumes, Zacks Trade offers a robust platform. Is it right for you?
- Low cost trading
- Trade on foreign markets
If you’ve been bitten by the trading bug and like to trade stocks at high volumes, you might consider yourself a day-trader. The problem is, there are few solutions out there for people who want a ton of data, and a place where they can trade stocks quickly and efficiently.
That’s where Zacks Trade comes in. In this article, I’ll review what Zacks Trade is, who it’s for, and why you may or may not want to use their investment platform. Let’s start by getting to know a little more about Zacks Trade.
What is Zacks Trade?
Based out of Chicago, Zacks Trade is an online broker that caters to highly-active and self-guided traders and stock investors. The company was founded by Len Zacks, who you may know from his other company, Zacks Investment Research. Zacks Investment Research is globally-known for the in-depth research reports and analysis it produces for individual stocks.
Zacks Trade has also begun making a splash in the online discount broker space. The company is unique in that it offers not only a variety of financial products but access and the ability to trade stocks on 19 different international stock exchanges. You can trade stocks at pennies per share on a complex, yet sophisticated, trading platform, which day traders will absolutely love.
You’ll also get broker-assisted trades for free if you want some guidance, as well as tons of in-depth analysis and research. This platform definitely isn’t for beginners. But Zacks Trade has a lot more to offer, so let’s dive deeper into some of the key features.
Zacks Trade Features
The primary feature of Zacks Trade is its robust trading tools, which I’ll cover in more detail below. But first, there are a couple things to know:
- Zacks Trade is designed for heavy and active traders. Their systems aren’t sexy-looking, but they are feature-rich and cater to those who want to day-trade.
- Zacks Trade offers three different trading tools, all with different purposes and ease of access. You get access to all three with an account and can use any of them depending on what your needs are.
First up is the Client Portal. If you’re looking to make advanced trades, this isn’t the platform that you want to use. The Client Portal was set up to allow you to make simple trades, manage your account, access documents, see balances, and other account-related activities.
So if you just want to pull up some tax documents from the prior year and make a one-time simple trade, you can use the Client Portal to do that. Anything beyond this, you’ll want to check out one of the other two platforms offered by Zacks Trade.
ZacksTrader is the browser-based trading platform for Zacks Trade. It’s fairly complex, but still much more simplified than the desktop software Zacks Trade offers (more on that below). Zacks Trade says it’s the perfect platform if you want an uncluttered and easy-to-learn interface.
ZacksTrader has a few different tabs that are worth noting, and will help you as you trade actively throughout the day:
- Market – this is where you can create a watchlist of assets you want to track, such as stocks and currencies. There’s a default list already there, but you can modify this to your liking.
- Account – where you’ll use the Client Portal for account management (i.e., documents, passwords), the Account tab in ZacksTrader gives you a one-stop overview of where your trading situation lies. The main things you’ll find valuable here is your buying power (how much money you have to trade) and your maintenance margin (the minimum amount you need to have in order to keep a margin account).
- Options – no, not account options! This is for options trading. This tab will allow you to create an option chain for any given asset. An option chain shows the calls, puts, strike prices, and other pricing information into a single view for options traders. Options trading is complex, so you’ll want to read up on it before you get into it.
- Products – the Products tab is similar to looking look up a stock quote on Yahoo! Finance – it merely gives you a graph of the stock’s trend for a specific period of time. Nothing too fancy.
- Market Pulse – the Market Pulse tab is where you can get a high-level look at how markets around the world are performing. It uses a simple red and green bar chart to give you a quick look at performance, but you’ll need to manually dive deeper if you want robust information about specific stocks or indices.
- Orders and Execution – you can trade stocks, options, bonds, warrants, and more on over 90 markets worldwide. The platform allows you to create orders with a single click on the Bid or Ask price, or create more advanced orders through the Order Management Panel. You can then create spread orders based on predefined strategies, or create your own custom strategies.
- Market Data and Charts – with ZacksTrader you can easily add tickets to view any streaming market data and use interactive charts to view the market value and volume for a single stock or index for one of seven periods.
- News and Fundamentals – you’re able to see “security-specific fundamentals, including profile, news, charting, financials, insider trading information, analyst information and SEC filings for any company.”
- Customization – the platform has a modular design that allows you to add and remove trading functions and tools to fit your own trading style.
ZacksTrade Pro is what Zacks Trade considers its flagship software for trading. It is software you download (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). According to their website, it “provides a comprehensive and efficient trading workspace that lets you put all of the essentials at your fingertips.” You can “trade stocks, options, bonds and funds in over 19 countries, all from a single account.”
Oh, and it’s completely free when you have a Zacks Trade account.
- Customizable – the platform is highly customizable, and you can create a layout as simple or advanced as you want.
- Watch Lists – you can create multiple watch lists for any type of security you want, and you can customize these lists to show whatever data is pertinent to you.
- Account Overview – see the market value of your portfolio, how much you have to trade, any margin balances, and other relevant account information you might need to make day trades.
- Real-time Alerts – a necessary feature for day traders, you can tailor any real-time alerts “based on price, time, margin and volume that notify you of important changes in the market.”
- Order Overview – easily view both open and filled orders, as well as modify existing orders where applicable.
- Options Trading – ZacksTrade Pro makes it easy to trade options. The platform also has a tool called Strategy Builder, which allows you to build spread orders or option orders with multiple legs. Finally, you can utilize options tools like the Options Trader, Spread Trader, and Rollover Options to manipulate options orders, all from one screen.
- Charting & Technical Analysis– formulate various customizable charts within your layout by choosing from over 120 technical indicators that are also configurable. Another nice perk is that you can trade directly from the chart.
ZacksTrade Pro features some additional and robust trading tools that will make the process even better for you. According to their site, here are the features:
- Algos – ZacksTrade Pro Stock algos including Arrival Price, Percentage of Volume Strategy, TWAP and VWAP.
- Basket Trader – imports baskets of stock orders and executes them quickly within ZacksTrade Pro.
- Market Scanners – screen stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds and more based on parameters you specify.
- Options Strategy Lab – enter your price or volatility forecast for the underlying stock and view a list of potentially profitable strategies.
- Probability Lab– offers options probability without complicated mathematics. Fully adjust based on your forecasts.
- Volatility Lab – a comprehensive toolkit of volatility tools providing a snapshot of past and future readings.
- Rebalance Portfolio – quickly and easily rebalance your entire portfolio based on your investment goals and risk tolerances.
- SpreadTrader – create and manage complex option orders with ease. Easily close or reverse any spread positions.
Zacks Trade Pricing
There are no account fees such as annual fees, low balance fees, or inactivity fees, with Zacks Trade. This is excellent for a broker with such robust features. To open an account, however, you’ll have to start with at least $2,500 in deposits–though for day-traders this shouldn’t be an issue.
For normal equity transactions, you’ll pay just $0.01 per share with a $1.00 minimum (note that the price of the stock has to be at least $1.00 per share in order to get this rate).
If you trade penny stocks, you’ll pay 1% of the trade value with the $1.00 minimum mentioned above.
As I shared above, Zacks Trade allows you to trade on international markets. You can check out the full pricing here, but here are some of the highlights:
As mentioned above, you can get assistance in submitting an order with a live broker for free.
You can purchase individual, corporate debt bonds at 0.1% of the face value plus $3.00. Face values of $10,000 or more have a cost of 0.025% plus $3.00.
If you want to purchase U.S. Treasuries, you can, at a price of 0.025% of the face value plus $3.00 for the $1 million. If you surpass that level for some reason, the price will fall to 0.005 of the face value plus $3.00.
The first options contract you submit is $1.00 and you’ll pay $0.75 for any additional derivatives of that option. You don’t pay anything for exercising or assigning an option.
The rates for margin accounts range from 3.86% to 5.06%. To get the lowest rate, you’ll need to borrow at least $3 million. If you borrow $100,000 or less, your rate is 5.06%. The rate will vary from there in that range depending on your borrowing within those two extremes.
There are other charges you may find annoying, such as ACH fees and fees for data, which can accumulate if you’re very active on the account. These fees vary based on needs and usage, so you’ll want to check out the full pricing to know where you’d fall.
Signing Up for Zacks Trade
The sign-up process is pretty straightforward with Zacks Trade. You start by entering your name, email, and phone number, then you’ll go through a step-by-step process of filling out relevant information to open the account type that’s right for you. Remember that you’ll need a minimum $2,500 starting deposit to open an account.
Synchronization & Mobile Support
Zacks Trade offers an app called Handy Trader, for both tablet and phone (iOS and Android). This allows you to sync your account to your tablet or mobile device so you can trade on the go. Here are some of the features these platforms offer, taken directly from their site:
- Protect your account with our Secure Login System, which lets you log into your account using a physical device or our digital security application (iOS and Android only).
- View real-time streaming quotes and charts.
- Trade stocks, options, bonds, and mutual funds worldwide.
- View delayed market data for non-subscribed tickers.
- Route orders using Zacks Trade’s SmartRouting™ technology, which searches for the best price and dynamically routes and re-routes all or part of your order to achieve optimal execution.
- Access company fundamentals data and view the same independent analyst reports that you see in your desktop application.
- Quickly access trade reports, portfolio and account information.
- Set price alerts with email notification.
- Take a call and reconnect to Handy Trader without having to log back in.
Zacks Trade puts a heavy focus on security. As with any brokerage account, you’ll set up a username and secure password. But Zacks Trade takes it a step further. As a client, you’ll get a security code device that generates a unique, random number that must also be entered each time you log in. When you don’t have the physical card, you can use the HandKey app.
In addition, your Zacks Trade account comes with Account Insurance Protection. According to Zacks Trade, your accounts are “protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”) for a maximum coverage of $500,000 (with a cash sublimit of $250,000), and under our clearing firm’s excess SIPC policy with certain underwriters at Lloyd’s of London for up to an additional $30 million (with a cash sublimit of $900,000) subject to an aggregate limit of $150 million.”
Additional Security Features
- Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Encryption– Zacks Trade utilizes 128-bit SSL encryption to secure your connection when logged in.
- Login Limit – you can restrict access to your Zacks Trade account to specific IP addresses, making your connection incredibly secure.
- Security Monitoring – Zacks Trade has a dedicated security team that monitors accounts for suspicious activity using what they call state of the art monitoring systems. If they notice anything abnormal, they’ll contact you immediately. You can also contact their security team if you feel anything on your account has been compromised.
- Automatic Logoff – after your account has been inactive for a certain period of time, you’ll be automatically logged out for security.
- Failed Login Attempts – if you fail to enter the right username and password after a certain number of attempts, your account will be locked for protection. You can get it unlocked by contacting customer support, and this may seem frustrating, but it helps keep the wrong parties out of your account.
Zacks Trade customer support is available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM EST. They’re closed on weekends and market holidays. You can also reach Zacks Trade through Facebook and Twitter, or via email. Aside from these options, Zacks Trade has a pretty deep FAQ section that answers almost all questions.
Zacks Trade Pros & Cons
- The cost to trade is low — If you’re a high-volume trader, Zacks Trade offers some of the best prices for trading around. Their fees for international trading are also very competitive.
- Trade on foreign markets — Rarely do you see a platform that allows you to trade securities in 90+ different exchanges in 19 different countries across the world. Zacks Trade does it.
- Customization — You can customize ZacksTrader and ZacksTrader Pro to look and feel however you want. For someone who’s an active trader, this is an excellent feature, since there’s usually information you need right away.
- Top-notch research — Zacks Trade is owned by Zacks, which provides incredibly in-depth stock research. You get access to 26 different research reports for free. While you still have to pay extra for some of this data (an additional 87 subscription reports), you have quick access to some of the best research in the industry, all at your fingertips within the platform.
- Trading options — Meaning, the options you have for trading securities (although options are one of them). Zacks Trade allows you to trade currency, stocks, bonds, ETFs, and options on their platform. Don’t forget you can do all of these in different countries, which multiplies the variety.
- Live broker access — You can work with a live broker to make trades with you for free.
- The trading platforms — I lumped this into one con since it’s all related to the same thing – the trading platforms. While they do offer robust features, the ease of use and the look, feel, and speed of the platforms are the biggest issues I have with Zacks Trade. When you log onto their platforms, you feel like you’re in the early 2000s, with fonts that were popular back then. The platform looks dated, takes a while to log into, and is a bit clunky once you start moving around within it. I am hoping this improves with time, but for now, it’s not an ideal user experience. They’re also very complex systems to use. If you’re anything but an expert trader, you’ll quickly feel lost and overwhelmed.
In terms of the features and software Zacks Trade offers, they’re pretty unique and don’t have a lot of competition. Interactive Brokers is the one that comes closest, as it’s geared toward day traders and has more competitive pricing. Zacks Trade actually uses IB’s trading platform but offers a more personal touch. With IB, you’re on your own.
Other competitors that offer a little less are the more commonly known ones shown above —Charles Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade, and Vanguard. While they don’t offer the same day-trading features Zacks Trade does, they’re all nice alternatives for someone who isn’t an active day-trader and doesn’t need advanced tools or research.
If you’re going to go that route, I’d suggest reviewing our article on the best online brokers to determine which of these is the best for you and your specific situation.
Bottom Line: Is Zacks Trade for You?
The biggest thing to know is that Zacks Trade is not for beginners or even novice traders. It’s a platform for experts who trade frequently. That being said, it’s an excellent broker for those who fall into that category. The visual appeal of the platform is terrible like I’ve mentioned, but the data and analytics you have access to are unmatched. Plus you can have a live broker assist you for free.
If you trade at high volumes, trade regularly, or trade large amounts of money at once, I would strongly recommend looking into Zacks Trade. You’ll also love the platform if you like trading on margin, trading options and currency, and want to trade on global markets. Again, don’t try this platform if you’re a beginner–check out our best online brokers. For more experienced investors, though, this is one to consider.