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I'm from the UK and want to make some long term investments in US stock. I also want to day / swing trade.

So I've opened an account with tradestation which seems complicated to use and offers leverage. I was wondering if its sensible to have two accounts (brokers) One for long term and keep trade station for short term? For instance if I want to quickly close all my positions then I could accidentally close long term positions also.

On a side note, as I'm in the UK I guess I will have to buy in dollar and FX charges apply irrespective of broker.

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TradeStation offers a complex platform for active advanced traders who want to design and test custom trading strategies. Just a guess but I have a gut feeling that is not what you need at this point.

I think that your priority should be a broker that offers the lowest commissions for your frequency and size of trading/investing.

If you trade larger blocks of shares, you'd be better off at a fixed fee broker like Ally, Fidelity or Schwab ($4.95 or so per trade).

Merrill Edge charges $6.95 per trade but if you maintain a combined balance $50,000 with them and parent company Bank of America, you're eligible for 30 free trades per month ($100,000 gets you up to 100 free trades per month).

If you want to scale in and out of positions, Interactive Brokers charges a 50 cent commission per 100 shares ($1 minimum charge per trade). Newer broker tastyworks has competitive commissions but isn't as sophisticated as IBKR, yet.

Your secondary considerations should be based on what your other needs are. Does the broker offer good research? Good charting? Good option analytics? Low margin rates? Portfolio margin? Trading algos for placing more complex buy/sell orders.? Real time news? Is the trading platform reliable and easy to learn? Is the broker effective at obtaining borrowable shares for shorting? Is customer support good?

It's sensible to have two brokerage accounts because one broker's server could be down and you would have no way to defend your positions, if necessary. As for your possible need for two brokers because you might accidentally close long term positions when inclined to only close trading positions well, if that's a concern then you are definitely not ready to day trade. With day trading, you have to be cool as a cucumber when it hits the fan. You have to be able to separate the emotion and be able to think clearly and not become the deer in the headlights. I'd suggest that you trade small until you get some experience and avoid margin trading until you have a lot of experience and can function under pressure.

  • If I want to trade mainly US shares, then would you say I should consider a broker that uses dollar currency as its base? (Unlike uk brokers that use sterling) . Thus way I can transfer x amount to dollars in one swoop. – Orange Juice Jones Aug 2 '18 at 16:36
  • @Raj Chahal - I can't help you with that because I'm in the US with a US broker so I have no idea what the best way is to approach trading in US stocks from the UK. – Bob Baerker Aug 2 '18 at 16:41
  • anyone from the uk who could assist? – Orange Juice Jones Aug 2 '18 at 16:44
  • @RajChahal I never used their non-sterling options, but from what I could see, TD Direct kept balances in several different currencies so (I assume) you could maintain a balance in dollars as you bought an sold US shares (TD are now owned by ii (interactive investor) – my only affiliation is as an occasional customer) – TripeHound Aug 8 '18 at 7:15
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I've found interactive brokers to be a very cost effective platform to trade from. I'd recommend checking out their website and perhaps speaking with a rep.

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If you are going to trade on margin, having more equity in your account will prevent margin calls.

Some brokerage firms might give you better terms if you have more money into your trading account.

Other than that, there is nothing preventing you from having 2 or more trading accounts.

Unrelated topic - day trading on margin is very dangerous for the inexperienced investor and judging from you question, you are not experienced. My advice is that you stay away from using leverage, at least in the beginning.

  • I dont wish to trade on margin just yet. Broker told me to go short I require a margin account. – Orange Juice Jones Aug 2 '18 at 15:00
  • If I wish to buy US equity then do I always need to exchange currency from sterling to dollars? Additional cost eats away potential profits. – Orange Juice Jones Aug 2 '18 at 15:16
  • A margin call is a wake up call that you have a really big problem with your position(s). Appropriate trade size and disciplined risk management avoids margin calls. Having more equity in your account (to prevent a margin call) only provides the 'opportunity' to lose even more. – Bob Baerker Sep 15 '18 at 12:35
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Actually I'm doing the same. I hold all of my long term positions at Interactive Brokers and for short term or shorting stock, I do it on another broker. Doing it that way makes it much easier to manage. Be careful with leverage.

There are many UK forex brokers to pick from. Make sure pick a regulated one.

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