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Author: CTBlankenship One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2600  
Subject: EGRP ... has its problems Date: 11/30/1999 4:01 PM
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Hi All:

I just couldn't let the E*Trade comments go. Currently, I use that brokerage ... their fees are $14.95/trade for NYSE and $19.95/trade for NASDAQ.

I have had the following problems with them:

#1 - Execution speed.

(Just a quick backround about me ... I have a schizophrenic <s> trading strategy. One part of my money is in long term buy and hold, UPS, INTC, MSFT, etc. However, another part of my money (50K) is in E*Trade where I try to find a good stock that is highly volatile, like NITE, and trade on its fluxuations. I just don't see the problem with buying 1000 shares at a definable low and selling them when the stock price goes up a point or two and repeating the process until I have a chunk of money to transfer into the LTH category.)

Anyway, trading like this on a volatile stock means that execution speed is critical. When I press that sale button, I need the transaction to go through double quick. For example, a couple of days ago I purchased a 1000 share block at 43 and the stock spiked to around 44-1/2 in less than 15 minutes. By the time the trade finally made it through (approx. 15 minutes later) the stock had fallen to 43-3/4. This effectively turned a $1500 profit into a $250 profit. So, trade execution, especially during the heavy morning hours is not too good.

#2 - Transaction Accuracy:
I recently tried to cancel an order that was hanging around too long (it was a market order ... I tried it just to see what would happen). My advice to you if you use E*Trade is this "Do not try to cancel a market order!". First of all, since market orders can't be cancelled you'll get an error message. If that is all that happens to you consider yourself lucky. For me, this transaction (the one I attempted to cancel) actually went through at the end of trading on Tuesday for 400 shares of AOL at 84. The next morning I wake up to find I own AOL ... and little cash ... a quick call to E*Trade verifies my ownership of that security. A few minutes later ... AOL goes to 85 and I get out ... I figger its way too high anyway and might as well make a quick $400 for 10 minutes work ... I then go on vacation, eat some turkey ... and get sick to my stomach when I see on CNBC what is happening with Ariel (ADSP). At this point, I am flat in AOL ... so I thought.

Upon return to my trusty little PC on Saturday I notice an alert in my inbox stating that I was placed back into my position for AOL at 84. Aaaarrgghhh! After three days of tech support calls I finally get a person who fixes my problem. However, for three days, one of them during a trading day, my cash balance is whacked, my positions are incorrect ... and not to mention my tax records are still screwed up in the sense that they do not reflect the $400 gain on the AOL sale. On top of that, since my cash balance was reduced again for the amount of the AOL purchase I can't buy a darned thing without broker intervention.

Whew!

Basically, my reason for letting you folks know about this is several fold.

First, are any of you customers of SCH and do any of you have any similar horror stories about account mixups?

Second, how fast are the executions for SCH, seconds, minutes or quarter-hours and how does the time vary with load.

Third, how are their brokers at answering the phones.

Fourth, how efficient are their tech support lines.

FYI, I am going to try another company for a while A.D. Watley. They offer a professional package that does not use a web browser. The only mandatory technology is the ISP must be UUNET enabled. They "say" trades execute in seconds. They also say you get a choice of which bid price you want to go with, Instinet and some others (although I really don't know what this means yet). Also, if you maintain a $10,000 balance you get free Level II stock quotes ... the account also comes configured for margin trading ... which is something I don't even *want* to know about. It's hard enough for me to buy *low* and sell *higher*.

I hate to bore you with this and certainly do not want to offend anyone ... I just wanted to let you know that E*Trade is not without its problems and what everyone thought about SCH's capabilities in online trading.

Best,

CT









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