CenterPoint Securities Review – Is This High-End Broker For You?

CenterPoint Sercurities Review
  • Commissions
  • Software Packages
  • Customer Service
  • Short Lists
  • Overall Value
4.2

Summary

In this review, we look at stock broker CenterPoint Securities. This broker only allows higher net-worth clients, and has higher fees than your average broker. They have a reputation for being able to lend hard-to-borrow stocks and supplying excellent customer service. Do you get more value in exchange for the costs and requirements? Find out in this review.

About CenterPoint Securities

CenterPoint Securities is a division of Precision Securities, which is a member of both FINRA and SIPC. Starting business in 2000, the brokerage firm specializes in helping professional and experienced traders with day-to-day trading needs, particularly shorting stocks. Let’s check it out.

Pricing

Commissions

There are three pricing schedules at CenterPoint. The standard plan charges between 0.004¢ and 0.002¢ per share, depending on monthly volume. With the broker’s all-in plan, trades range from 0.0065¢ to 0.0045¢ per share. Finally, clients who are signed up for the per-ticket plan pay between $5.95 and $3.95 per trade. All three schedules offer reduced rates for accounts that trade more than four million shares per month.

Account Requirements

CenterPoint Securities is designed for institutional and professional clients. As such, it requires a minimum deposit of $30,000 to open an account. There are several clearing firms available, including Wedbush, ETC, Vision, and ICBC Financial Services. Unfortunately, CenterPoint does not yet have an on-line application form. If you decide to open an account, you’ll have to request pdf documents by e-mail.

Software Fees

As we shall see, CenterPoint offers three software packages, and they all carry monthly fees. They range from $120 per month to $505. The good news is that all of the fees can be avoided by trading a minimum number of shares. Depending on the platform, the minimum could be anywhere from 300,000 to 1,000,000 shares.

CenterPoint

Centerpoint Securities Trading Platforms

The first thing I noticed during my testing of CenterPoint is that there is no website login, and therefore no website trading. There is also no CenterPoint mobile app, although some of the desktop platforms offer auxiliary mobile trading.

Sterling Trader Pro

The first platform we’ll look at is Sterling Trader Pro. This sophisticated program comes with advanced charting including sixty technical studies. Besides the US markets, the software has access to several foreign exchanges, including the Shanghai stock market.

Level II data is available in real-time. Basket trading can be implemented, and hot keys make many tasks faster. Alerts can be set up, and watch lists can be created and saved.

What I really liked about this program was its API compatibility. If you want to trade using your own software, you can integrate it with Sterling Trader Pro and access your accounts at CenterPoint.

If you need to stay up-to-date with market news, you can read articles on Sterling from Business Wire and Seeking Alpha. Besides equities and financial news, options can be traded on the platform. Chains, Greeks, and multi-leg strategies are all available.

CenterPointSterlingTraderPro

DAS Trader Pro

The next software program (and the cheapest at CenterPoint) is DAS Trader Pro. It comes with multi-monitor support, a feature that professional traders could really benefit from. Also integrated are advanced charting, options trading ability, multiple stop types, and market news.

Various tasks are divided into multiples windows, and these can be moved around the platform if you don’t like how they are placed by default. Level II quotes show real-time data from multiple venues, and codes represents where a security trades.

There is a stock scanner on DAS Trader Pro, although I thought it didn’t have enough criteria to search by. The program’s order entry ticket is connected to the Level II window. Here, it’s simple to choose an ECN by using a drop-down menu.

CenterPointDASTraderPro

RealTick

The final platform available to CenterPoint customers is RealTick. It also is the most expensive. The Pro edition is $505 per month plus data feeds. An Express version is cheaper, but still comes with time and sales data, sophisticated charting, and hot keys.

Both versions of RealTick have watch lists and scanning tools. The cheaper version is limited to just 100 symbols in a watch list. The Pro version has a mobile app for trading on-the-go. API functionality is integrated. Financial news is available in streaming mode, and I liked the level of customization on the platform.

CenterPointRealTick

Customer Service

One of the advantages of being a professional trader is that you can call your broker and talk to a human being rather than an automated system. This is exactly what happened when I called CenterPoint in a test call. Within three rings I was talking to a live agent. The broker is open from 7:30 am till 5:00 pm, EST. What I was disappointed in was the lack of an on-line chat feature on the broker’s website.

Executions and Routes

CenterPoint clients have access to over 30 venues for direct routing. Some of the available market makers and ECN’s include CPSMRT, TAILOR1, CNSDQ, and ARCASMRT. Adding and removing liquidity comes with fees and rebates.

Shorting Stocks

In addition to focusing on professional investors, CenterPoint Securities also caters to traders who frequently short stocks. The broker has one of the best short lists in the industry. CenterPoint works with locate providers to find shortable stocks; and CenterPoint’s clearing firms have large lists of hard-to-borrow and easy-to-borrow stocks. HTB fees are charged on a daily basis. This is the main appeal of CenterPoint for most traders.

Type of Trader CenterPoint Securities is Best For

Because CenterPoint only accepts applications from professional, institutional, and experienced traders, obviously it’s going to be best for those types of clients. Furthermore, because CenterPoint only works with sophisticated investors, the brokerage house probably wouldn’t be a good resource for educational or instructional resources. Clients who trade in large volume get free software and the broker’s lowest commissions.

Pros…

  • CenterPoint offers prime brokerage services.
  • The broker has an active Twitter page with lots of announcements via tweets.
  • CenterPoint’s trade desk has a separate phone number from its customer service line.

…and Cons

  • Routing and regulatory fees are passed onto the customer under both the standard plan and the per-ticket schedule.
  • CenterPoint charges for market data, and there is no way to avoid these fees. Packages range from $15 per month up to $228.

Judgment

Professional traders who want a partner that specializes in their needs will be well served by CenterPoint Securities. The broker provides a free demo trial, so it’s easy to try out one of the platforms without any risk.

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