Alley Invest Overview
Alley Invest (formerly known as TradeKing) is an online broker who deals in a variety of assets such as futures, forex, stock, options, mutual funds and EFTs. To give you a history, Ally Bank entered the brokerage market under their brand ‘Ally Invest” by taking over TradeKing in 2016. TradeKing was reputed for being centred on active investor segment. The two corporations with the combined force further the cause by focussing on providing low-costs, a robust web-platform and good support for complex order types. Though Ally Invest’s tools may not be state-of –art but will definitely cater to the minimum requirements of individual stock and option investors.
- A fixed rate of $4.95 for stock and ETF trades. And a rate of $4.95 plus $0.65 per contract for options. This isn’t the lowest the industry has to offer, but it’s close
Good –Quality Web-Based Platform
- Some features from TradeKing are yet to go “live” at Ally; but the features it does have such as charts, analytics, and screeners are easy to locate and use
Options of Instruments
- The traders can trade and manage different instruments through one account on Ally
ETF Trading is Charged
- Free trading for ETFs or funds is not offered by Ally Invest
No Branch Network On-ground
- Ally invest does not have any physical branches that the traders can visit
Web Platforms has Limitations
- Though the app features basic functionalities such as charts, analytics and watchlists; more advanced features are missing.
Product & Alley Invest Fees
A fixed rate of 4.95$ is levied on stocks and ETFs, but can go down to 3.95$ for bigger trades; likewise, options are charged with a commission of $4.95+0.65$ per contract but can go lower for high volume trades. Alley Invest margins for futures, forex trading and bonds are competitive by industry standards. The trader falls behind when its fees are compared to competitors for mutual funds and ETFs. The fee-structure is better suited for short –term traders and may not cater to the long term traders as much. Ally Invest traders however get the benefits of high –volume discounts, zero monthly inactivity fee and no-charge extended hours trading. A standard account requires no minimum deposit; however for the managed account an initial deposit of 2,500 dollars is required.
Is Alley Invest Safe? Yes, it is on the account of it being regulated by reputed entities such as FINRA and SIPC. It is also regulated under the jurisdiction of CFTC and NFA as it acts as an introducing broker when it comes to forex accounts for GAIN Capital. It also performs the duties of an introducing broker for Wedbush Securities for their futures account and hence is falls under CFTC and NFA jurisdiction once again. When it comes to account security, it is password –protected and a special code needs to be entered when being accessed from a different or a new device.
Ally Invest Special Features
What Ally Invest lacks is back-testing capabilities, auto-trading trading functions and the ability to order routing guarantees. What they do provide is automated, managed portfolio through intelligent (robo) advisors for traders with a minimum account balance. For the sake of this review we have included a few other interesting functionalities, and not left out the core-criteria for our ratings that some active traders may find useful.
Desktop Trading Platform
As the focus of the broker is on short –term, active traders, its web-browser based platform is not as competitive as one might expect. However, it does cover basic functionality that most active traders look for and find useful. These features where easy to locate and use. The platform is yet to include all key features from the former TradeKing platform, which was quick and easy to navigate through both on desktop and mobile.
How to use TradeKing?
The dashboard is customizable with regards to default layouts and colour scheme. It can also be set up to include basics like watchlists, charts and order entry modules. The options analytic tool can be a bit overwhelming but has a set of full features and is flexible again. The Traders can increase the type, which is especially beneficial to the high volume traders who multiple trades on a screen. The choice of technical indicators and settings is impressive, these are customizable too and can be saved on the profile.
The mobile version at Alley Invest is very similar to its web counterpart however some advanced tools like options analytics is missing on the mobile version. Like the web-version it is easy to navigate and has a wide scope for customization as per one’s needs.
Alley invest has a 24/7 support that can be contacted via phone, email or live chat. The chat is more responsive than the calls, as the hold time can be long during market hours. The help link takes you to self –help articles, so the investor has to go through the articles to reach a customer support individual.
Research and Insights
The tools for research are limited besides the news feeds and analytical tools provided by the broker inside the platform. A stock screener is still available on TradeKing.com however is not available on the trading platform. The broker has good technical analysis and option strategy tools. More features such as financial statement and more will be added as an upcoming project that is still being developed, as per their reps.
The education options are difficult to locate within the app, however is much more easily located as a separate sun-domain. The articles aren’t very satisfactory in terms of quality of education. It may be more useful as a reference, however to become proficient in the markets using this articles, the new investors may have to struggle a bit.
The Bottom Line
The platform has a lot to offer to the short-term, stocks and options traders who are looking for lower trading costs. It has quality tools such as charts and options analytics and the mobile and the web-trading platform are pretty good quality and well –integrated with each other. It also benefits from having a full-service online bank as an ally. While there are some missing functions, most traders will appreciate that what Ally Invest does well, it does very well.