Last month, ING Direct acquired ShareBuilder, a discount online brokerage. The two companies seem to make a good pair, so I think it was a good move for the company.
ShareBuilder has now lowered the commission charged for real-time trades to $9.95. Automatic investments, orders which are grouped together with many customers and executed as many as 7 days later, are still $4. Low prices make dabbling in the stock market more appealing to novices. Lower prices are always welcome, but is this a good thing? Personally, I’ll stick with my buy-and-hold strategy and wide diversification among stocks.
A few years ago, ShareBuilder was offering sign-up bonuses, so I used some free money to buy an ETF and two stocks, IYZ, MSFT, and AKAM. I can’t say that any one of these options has shown stellar performance since I placed the orders. This “play money” is only a small fraction of my investments.
Updated October 7, 2011 and originally published December 18, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.