Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for finance professionals and academics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a trading system I would like to test for the S&P 500, or another very similar instrument. I'm looking to make approximately 10-15 trades per month. I know if you have a Vanguard account, you can trade their ETFs for no commission, but them limit you to 25 trades in a 12 month period. Are there any other brokerage that let you trade certain instruments without paying a comission?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Take a look at Schwab:



Pro-funds ========:



Rydex ========:



share|improve this answer
So I could trade a Shwab ETF 100x a day, commission free? Why do they allow this, while vanguard does not? – Zach Apr 21 '11 at 19:59
@Zach: You could e-mail them and ask, but my guess is, they're making the market for those Schwab ETF's (they get the bid/ask spread). If you assume a 0.25% bid/ask spread, then 100 trades per day gives them (100 * 0.0025) = 0.25 or 25% of the "notional trade" for that day with very little risk. I'd take that deal. – bill_080 Apr 21 '11 at 23:33
Gotcha, that makes sense. I guess Vanguard isn't making the market for their own ETFs? – Zach Apr 22 '11 at 0:17
@Zach: Vanguard may be making markets, I don't know. Keep in mind that with your example, to get 100 trades in one day, you would probably have to trigger those trades as "market orders". On an ETF, especially a specialized ETF, that spread may be a lot bigger than the 0.25% in my calcs. As a result, there's not as much "day trading" with Schwab's no-fee ETF's as you might expect. For future reference, this situation is called "Internalization". sec.gov/answers/internalization.htm – bill_080 Apr 22 '11 at 0:42

Here's a rundown of the various commission-free options out there. Doesn't give any info on maximum number of trades but that shouldn't be very hard to find on the providers' websites.

share|improve this answer

I think you've misread the weasel words about Vanguard ETF trades:

If you buy and sell the same Vanguard ETF in a Vanguard Brokerage account more than 25 times in a 12-month period, you may be restricted from purchasing that Vanguard ETF through your Vanguard Brokerage account for 60 days.


share|improve this answer
You're right, but I'm still planning to buy and sell 1 ETF more than 25 times in a 12-month period – Zach Apr 26 '11 at 12:52

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.