The Tokenist Review Methodology

Here at The Tokenist, we have one overarching goal: help our readers make better informed financial decisions. In order to accomplish this goal, we place an extraordinary emphasis on objectivity, transparency, and trustworthiness — which is why it’s important for us to share our review methodology with you.

The Tokenist comprises a team of financial experts. With that said, we cannot make any guarantee of the financial products or services we review. Rather, financial products and services always feature some degree of risk. As we provide content for informational purposes only, neither The Tokenist nor any of its authors are financial advisors. We strongly suggest you consult with a licensed financial advisor should you have any questions.

In order to provide you with the best information available, we’ve implemented a number of processes to ensure our reviews are grounded in facts and objectivity. 

This page explains the meticulous review process that we’ve implemented in our research.

There are a number of different categories of products and services we review; each have their own criteria.


Stock Brokers

We examine more than 50 data points for each stock broker we review, with a focus on the following areas:

Commissions and Fees:

  • What’s the fee structure for this particular broker?
  • Which trades (if any) are commission-free?
  • Are there any hidden fees (inactivity fees, currency conversions, withdrawal fees, etc.)?
  • Is there a minimum balance requirement?
  • What about a minimum deposit amount — and how does it compare to the competition?

Investment Selection:

  • Which types of securities are offered?
  • Can you trade ETFs?
  • What about options or bonds?

Account Options and Features:

  • Are any additional services offered — such as traditional banking services, an ATM card, etc.?
  • What are the deposit and withdrawal processes like — how many different forms are accepted?
  • How long do they take?
  • Is instant deposit available?
  • If so, up to what amount?
  • Which order types are offered?
  • How long do orders take to fill?

Usability:

  • How many different trading platforms are offered?
  • Are both desktop and mobile applications available?
  • Do they feature an intuitive user interface that users can reasonably understand their first time using the platform?

Educational Resources:

  • Does the broker make a legitimate effort to educate its users?
  • If so, which methods of education are utilized — text-based guides, videos, demo accounts for virtual trading?

Customer Service:

  • What level of difficulty is entailed in reaching a human representative?
  • Which means of communication are available — email, live chat, telephone, social media?
  • How long does it require to receive a response?

Tools:

  • Which types of charting tools does the broker offer?
  • Which technical indicators accompany those charts?
  • Are customizable watch lists available?
  • What about calculators?
  • How can traders receive notifications — and based on which criteria?

Data Security and Protection:

  • Does the broker protect its users personal information and data securely?
  • Are all applicable regulations regarding the safeguarding and safekeeping of data followed in a compliant manner?
  • Can users reasonably control which data is shared by the broker?

Note that we frequently analyze stock brokers based on specific criteria. For example, we research the best brokers for day trading, short selling, ETFs, for beginners, and more. We also look at brokers for specific investment types — to include Forex, options, CFDs, and others. In these instances, we place an added emphasis on the applicable factors. For example, when researching the best brokers for beginners, the categories of educational resources, customer service, and usability have a heightened priority.


Robo-Advisors

As the biggest threat to human financial advisors, robo-advisors provide automated investment management through computer algorithms. While such programs can drastically reduce human error, they can’t be perfect.

Commissions and Fees:

  • Does the robo-advisor offer competitive fees?
  • Are there any hidden fees or is the fee structure transparent and easily accessible?
  • What fees are applied to mutual funds, ETFs, and retirement accounts?
  • If human financial guidance is available, what are the associated fees?
  • If special features are included (i.e. tax-loss harvesting), are the fees reasonable?

Investment Selection and Features:

  • What type of investment accounts are offered?
  • When it comes to retirement accounts, are 401(k)s, IRAs (Traditional, Roth, SEP), REITs, or other accounts available?
  • Are other features such as automatic rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting available?

Account Options:

  • Is asset allocation flexible according to the individual desires of investors?
  • Can users add or remove investments directly?
  • What’s the quality of portfolios available?
  • Is there a good fund-to-portfolio ratio?

Usability:

  • How many different trading platforms are offered?
  • Are both desktop and mobile applications available?
  • Can major actions be completed through a mobile application?
  • Do available platforms feature an intuitive user interface that users can reasonably understand their first time using the platform?
  • Can deposits be scheduled periodically so as to facilitate a “hands off” experience?

Educational Resources:

  • What type of educational resources are available, if any?
  • Is a legitimate effort made by the robo-advisor to educate its users on the investments it offers?

Customer Service:

  • What level of difficulty is entailed in reaching a human representative?
  • Which means of communication are available — email, live chat, telephone, social media?
  • How long does it require to receive a response?

Tools:

  • Are financial planning tools available?
  • Are tools offered to enable users to set goals based on their investing needs?
  • Are calculators available to predict potential gains for financial planning purposes?

Data Security and Protection:

  • Does the robo advisor protect its users personal information and data securely?
  • Are all applicable regulations regarding the safeguarding and safekeeping of data followed in a compliant manner?
  • Can users reasonably control which data is shared by the robo advisor?

We are committed to maintaining a rigorous review process in order to provide our readers with the most valuable information available. If you have suggestions or would like to share comments on our review methodology, please contact us.

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