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One of the largest online brokerages in the US, Scottrade offers low-cost trading in stocks, options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to consumers, with transactions handled in real time. Customers can trade online via the company's Scottrade, Scottrader, and ScottradeELITE platforms, as well as by phone or wireless device. The company also maintains – more... a network of brokers at more than 500 branch offices in nearly all 50 states, with concentrations on both coasts. Scottrade, which has more than 1.5 million active accounts, is controlled by CEO Rodger Riney, who founded the firm in 1980.

Additional products include CDs, IRAs, bonds, Coverdell education savings accounts, and trust accounts. Scottrade also provides access to third-party financial research and more than 14,000 mutual funds.

Scottrade offers a Chinese trading platform for customers in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the US. Scottrade Chinese includes translated market news and research reports. Scottrade has also been mulling expansion into Europe, but so far it has been content to grow domestically, where its branch network far outstrips those of rivals TD AMERITRADE and E*TRADE.

Scottrade continues to expand its brick-and-mortar branch system -- in recent years to the tune of around 50 new locations annually -- as a means to attract and satisfy customers who prefer face-to-face interaction. Commensurately, its ranks of investment advisors are also growing. Despite the expense of the branch network, the company is able to maintain its discount pricing of $7 per trade for stocks priced $1 or more.

Another way that the company reaches customers is through Scottrade Advisor Services, which provides institutional trading and custodial services to independent financial advisors. This segment has been growing as well.

Founded as Scottsdale Securities in 1980, the company put its name on the St. Louis Blues' hockey arena (now known as Scottrade Center) in 2006. It was one of the largest advertising outlays to date for the company, which previously focused its marketing efforts on active traders on the Web. Scottrade has since added TV spots to its repertoire, reaching out beyond financial news channels. – less

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