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I am trying to help a close friend select where he should open an account for the fixed income part of his and his mother's portfolio that he will be managing. He expects to trade opportunistically over time among the major segments of the market (treasuries, corporates, munis etc). The fixed income part that he will be managing will be about $500,000. Any advice on which brokers to use and the key considerations would be much appreciated. He would like to use no more than 2 brokers.
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I have 7 brokers (including all the big ones), and I would recommend Interactive Brokers. It has a good electronic bond trading platform (as well as an excellent stock trading platform), their commissions are low, and their margin interest rates are unbeatable if you think you might want to use margin. Their margin interest rates are something like 1.5%.
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The only quibble I have with IBKR is it is more geared towards serious traders and not causal individual investors. I also use multiple accounts but primarily E*Trade and IBKR. I have not subscribed any data plans, quote plans etc with IBKR and that keeps my fees very low and use E*Trade for my live quotes. The margin rate is fabulous! So just be careful, don't get carried and use excess margin. :)
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IB is great. I would second that choice. However, if you are into bonds, IB doesn't let you know some non-standard bond types, most notably converts. Maybe a minor thing, but a reason to also have E-trade in your stable.

Ben
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I swear, I need to type once, read twice. :)

"...know some..." should say "...trade some..."
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I haven't looked at the other responses to your question yet, hopefully I'm not duplicating:

I like Etrade. I have an account with Zionsdirect, which I got from a reccommendation from this board. I've have no complaints from my orders and dealings with them.

HOWEVER...I was unimpressed with boy scout leaders going out and destroying geological formations in a preserved area. Granted, the morman church did come out and speak against that action, and did remove the culprits from their BSA organization.
More recently, and more irritating and frightening, there has been mention in the news of the outlaw cattleman in Nevada being morman. I do not know just how much he has played the "morman card", if at all. Maybe the newxpeople were doing it, and not him. I don't know how many of his armed supporters, who had guns aimed at federal employees, are from the morman church. But that was a very ugly situation. Hopefully the church will make a statement, separating themselves from that idiot. If not, I might not do any more buying or selling with them.
What has this to do with how well Zionsdirect executes bond orders? Nothing...but it does make me think of who I want to support, however little, with my commissions.

I did not find it easy to buy fixed income stuff on Ameritrade. I don't reccommend them for fixed income. They may have improved, but... BEFORE SETTING UP AN ACCOUNT FOR EQUITIES OR FIXED INCOME with Ameritrade, you may want to read at least pages 180 and 181 of Flash Boys...Michael Lewis's new book. It ticked me off. I might not give them any more equity commissions.
As you may or may not know, Interactive Brokers is giving their customers the option to route all of their orders thru the IEX Exchange. I am moving some money over to Interactive Brokers. I have no idea if the IEX Exchange is dealing with fixed income instruments for not.
Lastly, someone recently posted a link to barron's review and rating of discount online brokers.
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So long as you're not thinking of options trading, E*trade is the one I would recommend for bond trading.

If nothing else, on this thread I found I'm not alone in having multiple brokers: OX, E*trade, Scottrade, Muriel Siebert,Charles Schwab (which now owns OX) and OptionsFirst (an off-shoot of Scottrade). Every time I wanted to be able to do something new (reinvest dividends, buy bonds, options, etc.), I added the broker that would let me do it.
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recently posted....link to barron's review and rating of discount online brokers

http://boards.fool.com/2014-barrons-broker-review-31169685.a...
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hmm...that seems to link to Barron's 2013 version.

Here is Mar 2014:

http://webreprints.djreprints.com/3353780609426.html
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