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Though far from perfect, online brokers seem to have improved their standing with customers in the last six months, according to's


Online Broker Survey


The more than 2,400 readers who filled out our online questionnaire in August and September report that Web site reliability is getting better. A vast majority of them feel they're treated fairly when the dreaded margin call arrives.

Still, survey participants had plenty of complaints to share -- bad executions, high costs, poorly trained customer reps and accounting snafus, to name a few. And nearly one in four say they're thinking of changing brokers in the next six months, so brokers still have their work cut out for them.

We present our survey results in the following stories and charts.

Any questions or comments? Send them to

Brokers Improve, but Many Customers Still Dissatisfied

Once again Datek tops the rankings, though readers rate its reliability below average. DLJdirect is rated most reliable and No. 2 overall.

Direct-Access Brokers Draw Non-Daytraders

You don't have to be a daytrader to love the speedy executions and high-end trading features direct-access brokers offer. Mainstream brokers are starting to catch on.

Some Brokers Have a Side Business -- Selling Your Trade Orders

The practice is called payment for order flow, and critics say it can prevent you from getting the best execution on your trade.

Margin Calls? No Problema, Say Readers

When the squeeze is on, most of you think the brokers are pretty darn fair.

How We Crunched the Numbers

First we determined which features and services were most important to you. Then we scored the brokers on how well they delivered.