OptionsHouse was founded in 2005 and is currently headquartered in Chicago, IL. In 2014, General Atlantic, a global equity growth firm, acquired them from PEAK6, while separately acquiring tradeMONSTER, a Chicago-based online trading company. These two companies were integrated in January of 2015, which gave them the combined knowledge and expertise, which continues to benefit them through a deeper understanding of the industry as a whole. These two companies are both now under the name OptionsHouse, which is a subsidiary of Aperture Group, LLC.
OptionsHouse appears to be a top-notch online trading company with a solid reputation. Although they are now a larger company, they believe in keeping a casual, comfortable workspace as that is what helps drive great ideas, big and small. Happy employees make happy customers and this shows in their fast, responsive customer service and their cutting-edge innovation and desire to improve on all levels. They pride themselves in using integrity as their anchor and the values upon which OptionsHouse was built remain at the core of their operations and these same values resonate throughout their team. Benefits to the service include:
One of the great features OptionsHouse has to offer is the fact that they don't charge any type of account maintenance fees, nor do they require minimum balances. This is helpful for people who are just getting started with investing and don't have much money to put down upfront. Additionally, OptionsHouse doesn't charge any inactivity fees either, unlike some of their competitors.
Another feature that draws people to OptionsHouse over their competitors is the fact that they only charge $4.95 flat rate stocks, although their broker assisted trade fee is $25. Additionally, for stocks under $1 you will need to add $.0005 per share. And if your order is over 50,000 shares, it will be divided into two or more and an added $4.95 commission will be charged for every 50,000 shares. Their options trades are 50¢ per contract plus a $4.95 base with only one base charge per spread. And there is an additional $5.00 fee for each exercise or assignment. OptionsHouse also offers futures trading and their mutual funds trades are only $20 per trade.
OptionsHouse offers tradeCYCLE, which is a proven integrated process that will maximize your trading potential. This tool will help you to better understand the risks and rewards of every trade you make so you can learn and master the markets. And their integrated pro grade tools will prove to be an invaluable source of knowledge and convenience.
- liveACTION Scanner - scans the database of streaming quotes, volatilities and other factors in real-time to assist you in finding the best opportunities in the market.
- strategySEEK - takes you from symbol to strategy in just three simple steps. You input your forecast and risk priorities and the program will scan thousands of different option strategies for the ones that meet your criteria. Then with one click you can analyze, change or trade any given strategy.
- Spectral Analysis - will analyze strategies using a colored Spectral Map so you can see how each strategy creates either profits or losses. You will enjoy having the probabilities, risk metrics and gains right at your fingertips.
- Snapshot Analysis - This feature analyzes the risk versus reward and in just one click you can see the potential profit and losses along with their probabilities, risk/reward ratio, the risk profile graph and key data, including the date of the next earnings announcement.
- exitPLAN - This tool was designed to provide its users help with creating exit strategies that will minimize any potential losses and lock in gains.
- adjustTRADE - This exceptional tool will help you create an adjustment for any given strategy and includes simply closing the position based on your preferred goals. Then you can use the results or modify them to easily execute a trade.
Although OptionsHouse offers plenty of useful tools, you don't have to worry about experiencing a huge learning curve as they are on a great platform that is easy to use for beginners and advanced traders alike.
OptionsHouse has earned many accolades and awards, such as Barron's 2015 Top Broker and Best for Options Traders, as well as earning Barron's highest score for both their mobile app and their Portfolio Analysis & Reports and Trade Journal as best in class. These types of awards help lend credence to their abilities as industry recognition helps confirm they are providing high-quality products and services to their customers.
OptionsHouse is a relative newcomer to the financial services industry compared to some of its competitors; however, they are rapidly growing and as mentioned above, are backed by financial giant Investor General Atlantic. They are an award-winning firm who is dedicated to providing traders with unprecedented value by offering low prices, the use of premium products and a lightning fast platform speed and execution. That being said, there are a number of limitations that need to be pointed out as well:
There are mixed reports on the online public forums that indicate there might currently be some possible issues with OptionsHouse's customer service team. However, there are also plenty of people who are perfectly satisfied; therefore, it appears that any time you're dealing with large numbers of people, dissatisfaction can and does happen. The disconnect might be due to their recent merger and the process of transitioning the two companies. However, we suspect that once all policies and procedures have had enough time to solidify and everyone has thoroughly adapted to them, that we won't have to report this again on our next OptionsHouse review.
Most online trading sites offer a multitude of educational opportunities, which include online learning tools, webinars, podcasts, online and local classes, videos and an in-depth knowledge base. However, OptionsHouse only offers recordings of webinars and a blog page in which you have to independently sort through their current and archived series just to find what you need. Therefore, if you are a new trader, you might want to consider another company that offers more education and assistance, at least for the first year or so, until you've mastered the art of investing.
Lack of Alerts
Additionally, OptionsHouse does not offer any type of trade alerts. This is a huge drawback for most people. More and more people are using their mobile devices to manage their investments and finances; therefore, they really need to step it up in this area, if they ever want to compete with their larger competitors in the industry, and maintain their dedicated customer base.
The Bottom Line
OptionsHouse appears to be a reputable online stock trading company with a great online reputation. And although they have apparently been experiencing some bumps in the road as far as the quality of their customer service, we are confident they will get things sorted out and back to normal hopefully sooner rather than later.
Although OptionsHouse does have a few areas where they could use some improvement, they do meet the criteria of being a low cost, excellent online trading firm. Therefore, due to their great online reputation, their minimal fees, extremely low competitive rates, exceptional trading tools and their easy to use platform, we have no problem giving them a high rating. However, just as with anything else, we urge you to perform your own due diligence, before making any decisions about whether or not they are the right fit for you and your situation.