Broker Review: TradeMONSTER

Editor's Note: You can find our complete library of free investing articles here.
NOTE: This article was originally published in 2009 and is now out of date. We keep it for a historical reference only.

Formed in mid 2007, tradeMONSTER is owned by optionMONSTER, a for-pay trade advisory and stock picking service. The parent firm is affiliated with popular market commentators Jon and Pete Najarian, who many active traders may be familiar with from CNBC and the CBOE’s website. The web-based trading platform was the best we reviewed and includes lots of tools and a clear pricing structure.


Who Is The Broker Targeting?

TradeMONSTER is targeting the active options and stock trader. The product line offered is generic but complete for this kind of trader and pricing is relatively straight forward. Commissions are on the low end for this kind of broker but they are not the lowest and are graduated as you go up in volume.

TradeMONSTER is going to be most attractive to traders looking for lots of useful tools and a very tight trading platform. If you are trading a lot of option spreads and want to have very easy access to simple but robust analytics and an integrated tool set this is a broker worth checking out.

Ease of Use:

The trading interface is web-based but still very fast and easy to use. Once the platform is loaded moving from one page/feature/tool to the next was very easy. It was almost like working on a software-based platform. Like a lot of web-based applications, you will have a better experience with a fast internet connection and an updated browser.

TradeMONSTER has done a fantastic job integrating a robust tool set with the platform. Risk graphs, greeks, price charts, volatility charts and many other important tools for option traders are all within a click or two of the option chain sheet or stock you are evaluating. The tools are totally integrated with the platform so trading from the charts, chainsheet or quotes page is easy and quick.

Unlike many brokers in this space, who are on a quest to bolt on an endless series of tools and gadgets to their platform the tradeMONSTER tool set is actually quite useful. Assuming you have at least some experience in the options market the tools won’t overwhelm you and you will not need to take a course in options pricing theory to use them.

Order entry is very straightforward and extremely intuitive. The platform can be customized to a limited extent and option chain sheets can be set to display the expirations, strikes and spreads you want to see quickly.

Account tracking and analysis is one of the things that stood out to us during our test period with tradeMONSTER. This is almost always an overlooked feature with online brokers who typically put a web version of a current account statement online. Being able to chart your equity curve, evaluate your net exposure and glance at your profit/loss, positions and margin status in one easy to access location was great.

Costs and Commissions:

TradeMONSTER has competitive commissions and the structure was relatively straight forward. Costs do go up in absolute dollar terms with larger options trades but the costs per contract drop a little after meeting minimum commission levels. Overall, tradeMONSTER had slightly below average commissions and costs compared to other brokers in this space. The commissions for stock trades are flat, which we liked a lot.

Like most brokers we suggest that you ignore the published rates and call them to walk through your actual trading behavior. Doing this with each of the brokers you are evaluating will give you an much better idea of what your trading costs will actually be.

Pros and Cons:

TradeMONSTER has a very tight trading application. Everything is easy to find, totally integrated and is actually fairly useful. The commission structure was good and easy to understand. The company has a reputation with active options traders and their service department/trading desk was excellent. We always got a good answer when we called and were able to reach someone within a few seconds.

The TradeMONSTER platform is easy to use and powerful but if you don’t have some experience in the options market you will probably get a little lost. Unfortunately we feel that tradeMONSTER does a poor job at platform and market education. This was a surprise to us considering the relationship with optionMONSTER. The webinars and pdf

Like just about every broker specializing in the active options trader market, service was good and competent but they were not very friendly on the phone. I think this is one of the trade-offs you make when you hire people with solid market experience. They know what they are talking about (which is good) but they sometimes intimidate more junior traders looking for help.


Overall, tradeMONSTER earned a place on our recommended broker list. They are a good alternative for a trader working exclusively in stocks and options or an investor looking for a good broker to trade a portion of their portfolio dedicated to options strategies. Order execution was reliable, the platform was solid and fast and the tools and service were useful and comprehensive.