Zacks Trade Review: Advanced Research and Trading All-in-One

Zacks Investment Research is one of the top investor resources available today. Not only is it relied on by thousands of investors, but it’s frequently quoted in the financial media. But even if you’ve heard of Zacks Investment Research, you may not be aware that Zacks also offers an investment trading platform.

It’s called Zacks Trade, and not only does it have plenty of advanced trading tools, but it also gives you access to Zacks famed investment research. 

Is the combination of trading and research unbeatable? Let’s take a look…

Table of Contents
  1. About Zacks Trade
  2. Zacks Investment Research Review
  3. Features & Benefits
  4. Fees & Pricing
  5. Current Promotions
  6. How Zacks Trade Works
  7. Zacks Trade Pro
  8. Zacks Trader 
  9. Zacks Client Portal
  10. How to Sign Up with Zacks Trade
  11. Zacks Trade Pros & Cons
    1. Pros
    2. Cons
  12. Should You Invest Through Zacks Trade?

About Zacks Trade

Not surprisingly, Zacks Trade came about as a result of Zacks Investment Research. After all, if you have one highly successful product, why not follow up with another that’s related? A trading platform is a natural addition to a respected investments research service.

Based in Chicago, Zacks was launched in 1978 by Len Zacks. Today, Zacks Investment Research is the second-largest independent equity research firm in North America. Altogether, Zacks Companies has more than $5 billion in assets under management. It serves 218 countries and can accommodate trading on no fewer than 91 exchanges.

The company has the highest rating issued by the Better Business Bureau, at A+, where it has been accredited since 2012.

Learn more about Zacks Trade

Zacks Investment Research Review

Zacks Investment Research is at the heart of the Zacks investment empire. They offer several dozen investment research newsletters. While some cover the general market, others cover particular niches, like healthcare, options, technology, blockchain, short sales, value stocks, commodities, income, marijuana stocks, and penny stocks.

Perhaps at the top of the Zacks food chain of investment research newsletters is Zacks Premium. It provides daily updates of the Zacks Rank, in addition to the #1 Rank List, Equity Research Reports, and the Focus List portfolio of 50 longer-term stocks. 

If you’re looking for a service to help you pick individual stocks, Zacks Premium, or any of the various sector newsletters, are among the most prominent sources in the investment industry.

Features & Benefits

Minimum initial investment: $2,500

Investments offered: US and international stocks, penny stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options, mutual funds, Forex (currencies only), and corporate and government bonds.

Available account types: Individual, and joint taxable accounts; traditional, Roth, rollover and SEP IRAs; trusts and limited partnerships.

Customer service: Phone, live chat, and email, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Eastern time.

Mobile app: Available at The App Store for iOS devices 9.0 or later, including iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Available at Google Play for Android devices 4.4 and up. Zacks Trade has 4.3 stars out of five on both stores, based on nearly 1,300 reviews on The App Store and more than 3,700 on Google Play. 

Account security: SIPC covers up to $500,000 in cash and securities (including $250,000 in cash) against broker failure. An additional $30 million (including up to $500,000 in cash) coverage from Lloyd’s of London is available, subject to an aggregate limit of $150 million.

Fees & Pricing

Zacks Trade has the following fee structure: 

Stocks and ETFs: $0.01 per share, with $1 minimum per trade on stocks & ETFs greater than $1 per share; 1% of the value on stocks & ETFs less than $1 per share, with $1 minimum per trade. 

Options: $1 for the first contract, then $0.75 per additional contract. 

Mutual funds: $27.50 per trade. (Does not offer no-fee mutual funds.)

Corporate bonds: 0.1% of the face value up to $10,000 + $3 per bond; $0.025 of the face value over $10,000, + $3 per bond.

Government bonds: 0.025% of the face value up to $1 million + $3 per bond; $0.005 of the face value over $1 million, + $3 per bond.

Broker-assisted trades: There is no additional cost if you make broker-assisted trades on any securities above. 

Withdrawals: 1 free withdrawal per month, $1 for an ACH, $4 for a check, or $10 for a wire.

Inactivity, account transfer, order cancellation, and IRA custodial fees: None.

Margin rates: Rates are as follows, as of April 27, 2021:

Current Promotions

Zacks Trade will pay your transfer fee – up to $150 – on total account transfers of at least $5,000. You’ll need to complete an Account Transfer Reimbursement Request to show proof of the transfer charge.

Learn more about Zacks Trade

How Zacks Trade Works

Zacks Trade gives you the ability to use broker-assisted trades, a unique feature. As noted above, under Fees & Pricing, there is no additional cost when you trade using broker assistance. 

Most investment brokers charge $20 to $50 per trade for broker assistance, making this is a welcome feature.  

Something else to be aware of: 

“Zacks Trade is a division of LBMZ Securities. Brokerage products and services offered by LBMZ Securities – member FINRA and SIPC. LBMZ Securities is a fully disclosed broker through Interactive Brokers, LLC, which provides execution and clearance services to clients and is not an affiliate of LBMZ.”

Since we have not done a recent review of Interactive Brokers, we can’t say exactly how similar the two platforms are or if they’re entirely different. It may be that Interactive Brokers operates strictly as a clearing agent for Zacks Trade, without any joint real estate between the two of them.

Meanwhile, Zacks Trade uses three different trading platforms:

Zacks Trade Pro

This trading platform is Zacks top-of-the-line version. It’s the most advanced trading platform, with a customizable interface and plenty of tools and resources to help you improve your trading game. It’s designed specifically for active, high-volume traders, as well as those who engage in options trading.

One of the best features of Zacks Trade Pro is that it can be customized to meet your own specific investment needs. You can maintain either a simple format or a more advanced one, then incorporate all the tools and resources you prefer to have. For example, you can choose from more than 120 technical indicators.

Not only does the platform allow you to keep track of balances, margin, funds available for trading, market value, and portfolio data, but you can also create watch lists and real-time alerts. Those alerts can let you know when a security has reached a critical price, or the market reaches a significant level.

Zacks Trader Pro tools include Zacks Algos, Basket Trader, Market Scanners, Options Strategy Lab, Probability Lab, Spread Trader, and Volatility Lab. But what may be of interest to most investors is the Rebalance Portfolio tool. A common feature with robo-advisors, it allows you to quickly and easily rebalance your entire portfolio based on your investment goals and risk tolerances.

Zacks Trader 

Zacks describes the Trader platform as “scaled-down from Zacks Trader Pro, yet still feature-rich.” It’s designed primarily for traders who are looking for a more straightforward trading interface. It might be the right choice for you if you are a buy-and-hold investor or only an occasional trader. Even still, it does offer advanced trading features and tools.

This version is designed specifically for users who work behind a firewall. That’s because Zacks Trader runs through the Internet and requires no downloads.

You’ll be able to use the platform for orders and execution and trade financial securities from more than 90 markets worldwide. You can create orders with a single click on the Bid or Ask or even create more advanced orders. Keep track of open orders and executions, and create spread orders based on predefined strategies.

Zacks Trader allows you to add tickets to view streaming market data, option chains, and interactive charts to view market value and volume for a single stock or index. And much like Zacks Trade Pro, Zacks Trader can be customized based on your own needs and preferences.

This version also offers a paper trading account. It’ll be preloaded with $1 million in paper trading funds and emailed to you within one or two business days of your request. You’ll have access to the demo account for 90 days.

Zacks Client Portal

If you don’t select either of the above trading platforms, you’ll automatically access Zacks Client Portal. It allows placement and management of simple trades and access to account documents and balances, and the management of account settings, subscriptions, and permissions.

Client Portal will also enable you to make deposits to your account and make withdrawals from it. You can even initiate account transfers from other brokers. You’ll be able to access statements and trade confirmations and even retrieve tax documents.

How to Sign Up with Zacks Trade

There’s another complication in opening an account – a minimum requirement of 100 live trades. However, if you don’t have a deep trading history, you can substitute by using a simulated trading account.

You’ll also need to meet individual annual net income and liquid net worth requirements. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you exactly what the minimums for each might be.

You’ll need to provide the usual information required when applying to open an investment account. That will include your Social Security or tax ID number. Other information will require your full name, physical address, email address, and phone.

Because of the income and net worth requirements, Zack’s may require you to submit documentation proving both.

At the time of application, you can choose either a cash account or a margin account.

Once you’ve submitted your application and the required documentation, expect approval to take between 24 and 48 hours. However, it may take longer under certain conditions. They may even follow up with you during the approval process. 

You can fund your account immediately using a wire transfer or by connecting your bank account and funding your account through ACH. However, ACH transfers may take up to four business days to be credited to your account.

Learn more about Zacks Trade

Zacks Trade Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Zacks is a top industry source for investment research 
  • Can accommodate investors in more than 200 countries
  • The ability to buy stocks on international markets
  • No additional fee for broker-assisted trades
  • Zacks Trader platform gives you access to a paper trading account that will give you up to $1 million in paper funds, available for 90 days. That can help you become a better trader or investor.

Cons

  • Trading fees are slightly higher than competing brokers – may be an issue for high-frequency traders. 
  • Requires minimum initial investment of $2,500 – most competing brokers require no upfront investment. 
  • No-fee mutual funds aren’t available
  • Customer service is limited to regular business hours

Learn more about Zacks Trade

Should You Invest Through Zacks Trade?

All around, Zacks Trade is an excellent choice as an investment broker. They offer some of the industry’s best trading tools and resources and no fewer than three trading platforms. 

Zacks Trade can be perfect for long-term investors and those who don’t trade frequently. It also seems like a superior broker for new and intermediate-level investors. The fact that they enable you to make broker-assisted trades – at no additional cost – will be a welcome feature to investors placing the first trade or those who don’t trade frequently.

But Zacks Trade may not be the right choice for frequent traders. The commission structure works out to be a minimum of $1 per trade. If you place 100 in an average month, your commissions will total $100 per month or $1,200 per year. That’s a lot of commissions to pay, given that so many investment brokers have gone to commission-free trades on stocks, options, and ETFs. 

If you are a frequent trader, you may be better off with brokers like Ally Invest, Robinhood, and Webull. Each offers commission-free trading, which can be a big money saver for frequent traders.

Zacks Trade

8.5

Product Rating

8.5/10

Strengths

  • Zacks is a top industry source for investment research. 
  • Can accommodate investors in more than 200 countries
  • The ability to buy stocks on international markets
  • No additional fee for broker-assisted trades
  • Access to a paper trading account

Weaknesses

  • Trading fees are slightly higher than competing brokers
  • Requires minimum initial investment of $2,500
  • No-fee mutual funds aren’t available
  • Customer service is limited to regular business hours

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About Kevin Mercadante

Since 2009, Kevin Mercadante has been sharing his journey from a washed-up mortgage loan officer emerging from the Financial Meltdown as a contract/self-employed "slash worker" – accountant/blogger/freelance blog writer – on OutofYourRut.com. He offers career strategies, from dealing with under-employment to transitioning into self-employment, and provides "Alt-retirement strategies" for the vast majority who won’t retire to the beach as millionaires.

He also frequently discusses the big-picture trends that are putting the squeeze on the bottom 90%, offering workarounds and expense cutting tips to help readers carve out more money to save in their budgets – a.k.a., breaking the "savings barrier" and transitioning from debtor to saver.

Kevin has a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Montclair State University.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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