Stock Brokerage Firms in the US

Sep 03, 2022 By Triston Martin

Numerous brokerage houses offer stock within the United States. Four major companies stand out due to their name, the offerings they offer, the total amount of client assets, and the number of clients they serve. They are commonly called "the big four brokerages."

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab was established in 1971 and is headquartered in San Francisco. It is among the US's top investment brokerages and IRA custodian companies. As of Dec 31st, 2019, Charles Schwab owned $4.04 trillion in its clients' assets, including 12.3 million brokerage accounts in operation. The company also runs Schwab Bank, one of the largest banks in the United States, which allows clients of its brokerages to link their trading accounts to an account with a bank. The company had 1.4 million accounts in its banking system at the year's close.

The firm provides its customers with various investment options comprising mutual funds, stocks ETFs, ETFs, and money market funds, as well as fixed income products and options such as futures, insurance, and annuities. Investors can choose to invest in Schwab's products and third-party investment options.

Fee Structure

Schwab is the first genuine discount brokerage and has been consistently rated among the most affordable brokerage companies in the United States. Since Oct 1st, Schwab reduced commissions from $4.95 to $0.00 on all US-listed ETFs, stocks, and options online or mobile transactions. Options trades will continue to have the typical $0.65 per-contract cost.

OER fees for mutual funds that are actively managed vary between 0.21 percent to 1.92 percent. Fees for mutual funds that are managed passively vary between 0.02 percent to 0.39 percent. Fees for managing portfolios annually at Schwab begin at 0.80 percent in the Schwab Private Client account accounts. These fees drop for clients who have greater asset amounts.

The firm also offers its customers an unhurried, non-stressful investment approach through its Robo-advisor program known as Intelligent Portfolios. The platform is online and provides users with an automated experience, providing them with access to various ETFs that can rebalance according to the customer's investment goals. It requires at least investment and is free of advisory or commission charges.

Fidelity Investments

Nation's largest provider of 401(k) retirement savings plans. It was founded in 1946 under Fidelity Management and Research; the business is headquartered in Boston. According to its site, Fidelity was home to $11.1 trillion in its customers' assets at the end of June 2021, having an open 82.8 million accounts with a brokerage. It boasted 38 million of its investors and more than 2.6 million commission-free trades daily. Fidelity is the most suitable choice for clients of brokerages who wish to put their money into Fidelity mutual funds and ETFs. It also offers investment in third-party services.

Fee Structure

Fidelity advertises zero charges for accounts and no minimums for opening accounts with a retail brokerage that includes IRAs. Following Schwab's model, Fidelity offers commission-free ETF, stock, or options trades. Options trades are still subject to the usual $0.65 per contract cost. There are no minimums required to put your money into Fidelity mutual funds. Fidelity is not a provider of an expense ratio charge for specific mutual funds that are proprietary and offers a variety of funds with no transaction fee.

Fees for Portfolio advisory services can range from 0.50 percent to 1.50 percent, depending on the amount of money. Depending on the investment options, minimum investments are between $25,000 and $250,000. For the automatic Fidelity Go service, the firm charges a 0.35 percent fee for advisory services; however, there is no minimum amount to create an account. By offering mutual funds and other advisory services, Fidelity is home to tens of millions of non-brokerage clients and can offer a level of service that no other brokerage can claim.


It was established in the year 1982. E*TRADE started as a holding business but has evolved into an online discount brokerage. The company was severely hit during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 because of its levels of subprime portfolios. The stock plummeted 86.7 percent in 2007 before launching a comprehensive turnaround strategy. The turnaround succeeded, and E*TRADE has grown into a top financial company thanks to its mobile access, online trading tools, and customizable, user-friendly experience. As of February 2020, E*TRADE boasted over 5.2 million accounts for retail brokerages that had greater than 360 billion assets owned by clients.

Like many other top brokers, E*TRADE offers clients access to mutual funds, ETFs, options, stocks, and fixed-income products. The company also offers two checking accounts and savings accounts that carry $1.25 million in FDIC insurance. Customers can also select a pre-built portfolio, which offers a diverse portfolio of ETFs or mutual funds designed with the help of an investment strategist.

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