Daniel is a retired business executive who now devotes most of his free time to trading stocks and stock options in the stock market.
In January of 2017, I decided to do a study to find out which are the best options advisory services, or what is also called stock options pickers. Using the internet I was surprised to find so many such services. Listed below are the ones I found.
In order to have an unbiased and independent comparison of the various options advisories, I chose not to use each firm’s published performance results because I wanted an impartial, detached opinion of their performance. My intention was to subscribe to as many option picking services listed above to see which ones would allow me to produce the best trading results following their picks.
But the cost of subscribing to so many services at the same time would have been prohibitive in monthly membership fees and capitalization. It was, therefore, necessary for me to limit my study to only a few of those listed and some that were not listed. I first subscribed to more than a dozen option picking services but eventually narrowed my selection as some of them early on showed they were not worth keeping. Moreover, it was getting too expensive to follow them all.
I selected ten of what I believed to be the more trustworthy ones, subscribed to each one, and followed their various trading systems for several months. I traded their signals whenever I could but some of them required full immediate access to a computer when the emailed signals came through. I tried to chase those signals that I missed and in so doing I often did not get the same fills they did. This is a drawback for those who cannot be constantly watching up-to-the-minute pickers’ signals. The trading results shown in the tables that follow are those that I actually traded myself.
List of Preferred Option Picking Services 2017 (scroll right for more columns)
|Option Pickers||Trades||Wins||Losses||Gain -Loss||Percent Winners||Dates Traded||Period|
The trades column are the number of trades I did following the signals that were given by each picker. The next columns show the number of winning and losing trades as well as the net dollar gain or loss resulting from the total trades for that picker. In order to make the comparisons fair and meaningful, I invested the same amount - $1,000 - on each trade.
As you can see from the table, except for three pickers, all listed pickers delivered losses. Looking at the numbers, OptionAlarm.com appears to be the clear winner in terms of dollar values even though the number of winners exceeded the losers by just one trade. What this means is that the winning trades produced higher percentage wins than the losing trades.
OptionEarnings.com came in as a strong second and produced almost the same level of profits. It is a clear first placer in terms of the number of winning trades with a 65.7% winning ratio. Their high winning percentage is due to the fact that they employ a more conservative and safer option trading system, thus a lesser number of losing trades.
SteadyOptions.com came in a far third. Like OptionEarnings.com, SteadyOptions.com offers a very conservative and safe trading system but is difficult to follow if you are just following option picks. They require a deep knowledge of the system they use and in most cases leaves it up to the client to decide when and how to enter and exit their selected options.
I haven’t seen a similar study of actual trading performances by individual options traders like myself. All that we see on the web are trading performance results put out by the option pickers which, as I mentioned before, can be very deceptive.
There are good and bad stock and option pickers, unfortunately, the bad ones seem to outnumber the good ones by a large margin. But for an investor who does not have the time to do detailed research on which stocks and options to invest in, the right picker can offer a valuable service in leading him to the right selections.
Not completely satisfied with the outcome of my first survey I thought it would be interesting to see what the same option pickers would do in another time period. In the early part of the year 2018, I conducted a second comparison survey to see how those on the original list fared in another six months of trading. I also added two new pickers to the list. I again subscribed to their services for another round of actual trading comparisons. The table below shows the results of this second survey.
2nd Survey, April - October 2018 (scroll right for more columns)
|Option Pickers||Trades||Wins||Losses||Gain - Loss||Percent Winners||Dates Traded||Period|
Apr - Oct 2018
Apr - Oct 2018
Apr - Oct 2018
Apr - Oct 2018
Options Money Machine.com
Apr - Oct 2018
Apr - Oct 2018
Apr - Oct 2018
Again, in this survey, the two topnotchers were OptionAlarm and OptionEarnings. But in this second time around, OptionEarnings came out on top in both numbers of winners and dollar gains.
Those that I’ve omitted in this updated study do not necessarily indicate they are not reputable. It’s just my personal choice to continue the study with a set of advisory services that I believe may be worthy of further testing. It’s expensive to be subscribing to all the services all the time.
IT’S HERE FOLKS! The much-awaited update on the BEST PERFORMING ADVISORY SERVICES!
Firstly, let me clarify that many, in fact most, advisory services do not publish their track records unless you are a subscribing member. I have had to select only those sites where they do publish their trading results. But I did subscribe to some of those listed below and the numbers are those of my own trades. I prefer to remain silent on which ones I was a member of to avoid appearing to endorse any advisory service.
So this is again a limited comparison of those that were included in my earlier surveys and which proved worthy of further study. I would have wanted to list more option picking services but many of those I wanted to include do not publish performance results.
The period covered in this survey is January to September 2020. Also, the numbers shown are strictly for number of wins and losses without due consideration for dollar values. It is difficult to assign dollars to each win or loss since capital used on each trade may not always be the same amount. Many pickers show results only in percentages without actual numbers.
If you are a stock market trader/investor you should be aware that the period covered in this survery was a very difficult time due to the coronavirus pandemic which caused havoc in the market in general. The listed option services below were among those that survived very difficult times and are now emerging stronger that before as they learned hard lessons from the disastrous market downturn in early 2020.
For those who are not familiar with stock and option advisory services, also called pickers, these are online services that offer to pick stock or options for clients based on the clients’ investment goals. I mention only stocks or options in this article since these are my investment specialties. But I’m sure there are also mutual fund pickers, bond pickers, and pickers for futures, forex, commodities, indexes, and others. For this article, I chose only stock and option pickers since these are my specialties.
While they basically offer the service of picking stocks or options according to the investment objectives of their clientele they prefer to call themselves advisory services rather than pickers. In effect, they do serve the function of advising the client what stock or options to buy or sell.
They are not to be confused with licensed financial advisers
They are not to be confused with licensed financial advisers
Licensed financial advisers are licensed professionals who are regulated by local or national governmental agencies and/or are certified practitioners. Investopedia.com defines financial advisers as:
“A financial advisor or adviser provides financial advice or guidance to customers for compensation. Financial advisors can provide many different services, such as investment management, income tax preparation and estate planning. They must carry the Series 65 license to conduct business with the public; a wide variety of licenses are available for the services provided by a financial advisor.”
A financial adviser, therefore, offers its client a package of services whereas a picker offers only the service of picking a particular stock or option on a particular industry or segment of the stock market. For instance, an investor may wish to find a stock to buy in the oil drilling industry. He goes online and searches for stock pickers or advisory services that specialize in recommending stocks in the oil drilling industry. In the same way, the investor who wishes to invest in banking stocks can find stock pickers specializing in banking stocks.
In the case of options, since there is a multitude of strategies employed in trading options, option pickers do not normally specialize in any industry but rather more on the trading system being employed by the advisory service. For instance, there are advisory services that specialize in selecting straight buying or selling of options. This is known as directional trading, betting on the market’s direction, whether up or down. This option strategy is called going long (for buyers) or going short (for sellers). Another picker may specialize in selecting options for covered call selling, another may use spread trading or any of the dozens of other trading systems available in the options business.
What exactly is the role of the so-called advisory service? In short, they are supposed to find and recommend the right stock or option that will provide the desired result sought by the client. They also signal when to enter and exit a trade or in some cases, the picker also signals adjusting trades to existing open positions.
In what way do they claim to do a better job of selecting winners?
They claim to have extensive experience in the trading system that is being offered on their site. Additionally, they claim to have all the necessary tools such as advanced computer software technology, algorithms and deep research materials that enable them to do a much better job of locating the right stocks and options. Admittedly they do not claim to be always right in their selections, only that they will do a better job of finding the best potentials most of the time.
If you choose to use a stock or option advisory service you must be extremely careful in your choice. Pickers or advisory services can be very deceiving in their online presentations to lure prospective clients to their services. Many, in fact, most of them, exaggerate their successful trades or wins when they present their track records or performance results. They are always quiet on the number of unsuccessful or losing trades
They employ various ways to present a very favorable track record with the sole purpose of deceiving the visitor into believing their numbers. Many don’t even show track records on their websites and these, in my opinion, are the ones that should be avoided immediately in your search for an advisory service.
Especially, don't be misled by their client testimonials. Please see my other article on the subject of testimonials.
That said, it does happen that a picker may, in fact, be a good one even if it shows no track record in its website. The only way to know about them is by word of mouth from someone who has already tried them successfully. Don’t get me wrong. There are a few that really do render a valuable service. It’s just a matter of finding them
So, how does one go about finding a good picker? I’m afraid it’s a hit or miss system. For stocks you can google ‘stock picking service’ or ‘stock advisory service’ and you will come up with quite a selection. For options, you can do the same thing. Google ‘options trading advisory service’ ‘option picking service’ or ‘stock options advisory service’.
One thing to keep in mind is the time you spend in front of your computer. Many, in fact, most of the options pickers will send out their email signals any time during stock market hours. If you are not at your computer when their emails come in and you are not able to do the trade immediately it is often too late to try and catch up. The option may have already moved significantly against the signal. This has happened to me several times and when I tried to chase the trades they became losers. This condition predominantly applies to those following signals from pickers who specialize in directional trades such as buying calls and puts.
This case of needing to be quick in executing options signals may not be as critical with some option trading systems. Spreads, selling calls/puts, condors, butterflies, etc. are not so time sensitive. I have missed this kind of trade signals from late emails but by placing a “good-till-cancelled” order I often was able to chase and get the price indicated by the signal. Or, if I can’t get the exact price of the signal, a close match to the price will work out fine in most cases.
Any and all information pertaining to trading stocks and options including examples using actual securities and price data are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes only and should not be construed as complete, precise or current. The writer is not a stockbroker or financial advisor and as such does not endorse, recommend or solicit to buy or sell securities. Consult the appropriate professional advisor for more complete and current information.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Daniel Mollat
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on October 23, 2020:
Thank you very much for your kind words.
Chris T on October 23, 2020:
I just wanted to say thank you for writing this article! I've used several of the services you reviewed and found them to be 50% accurate at best. I've been searching for a new service but couldn't find the resources I needed to pick one. This article gives me two clear choices. It's nearly impossible to find an unbiased view with real research. I can't thank you enough for taking your time and resources to help people you don't know better themselves and their family. You are a rare and unique individual and the world needs more people like you! Best wishes in the future.
Daniel Mollat on August 17, 2020:
What I posted are my actual trades based on their alerts. It's always a problem when one follows signals of alerts that move so fast. It is seldom we can get the exact same price they do and this is what I mentioned in my article.
Dipy on August 17, 2020:
Hey Dan - Numbers you posted for
options-intelligence.com is lot different than wat they posted on their site .. Can you give more details on that ?
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on August 16, 2020:
Show us their track record of actual trades and we'll be the judge of their performance. Their website does not show anything of how they have done in the past yet they charge a hefty fee for their service?
This same comment applies to another high-priced site, option-trades.com.
Daniel Mollat on August 05, 2020:
Their service fee is $1000 by-weekly or $500 per week? $2,000 per month?
Seems too pricey and not at all in line with all other advisory services offering the same type of long call/put picks.
They don't show actual P&L for their trades so it's a big gamble for anyone to join without seeing some kind of historical results for each of their picks.
Martin Godfrey on August 04, 2020:
I have tried two services on your list - optnalarm.com and optionsintelligience.com both stink they do not offer the services they say they do. Their auto trader is the worst. I have been using a directional call and puts service option-trades.com they are amazing. Trade alerts that are real and work. None of the auto trader stuff.
Kim Klaiman on July 18, 2020:
You might want to update your review, based on the latest performance of some of the services you mentioned.
A "conservative and safer option trading system" that came "a strong second" wiped out YEARS of gains in 2020.
Exactly like one of our members mentioned - "Most of those services are "picking up nickels on the train tracks. The train came through in March this year and completely wiped them out." Some of the other services also had huge drawdowns, and some are not even around anymore.
Daniel Mollat on May 29, 2020:
Wish you the best in your learning process.
Zubair Ahmed on May 29, 2020:
Just the information I was looking for. Thank you for sharing it will be very useful as I am just starting to get more active with my stock market investments.
Daniel Mollat on May 03, 2020:
greentoken on May 03, 2020:
You did a great job with this article and information.
Daniel Mollat on April 04, 2020:
Thanks for you comment.
Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on April 03, 2020:
This is really worth reading. I also been the victim of fake advisory services. They asked me to trade on their advice and pay them a certain amount of fees in the beginning. However i lost the trade and it was a huge loss in my initial trade only. Then they asked me to that if they will recover my loss then should i continue with them. And again i trusted on them and another trade was also a big loss. They do not apply any analysis. They only want their fees and not concern with the investor funds. You have shared very useful information here.
Daniel Mollat on February 17, 2020:
Thanks for your comments, Jimmy.
JimmyK on February 17, 2020:
You did a great job with this article and information. Thank you for taking the time to do this and share your experience. I'm very interested in similar or follow-up articles to this.
Daniel Mollat on February 03, 2020:
Unfortunately not many investors have the patience nor the time to do diligent analysis of where to invest thus they rely on a good advisory service.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on January 07, 2020:
Pass the word around.
Bruce on January 07, 2020:
Thank you for your analysis and for sharing it!
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on January 01, 2020:
I visited the site but there is nothing there that tells me what they do. They also don't show any past performance record. Yes, they offer a 14 day free trial but I would like to see more details about what they do before committing to even a free trial.
Tameka on December 29, 2019:
Love your detailed analysis! Thanks for putting the work in to help inform us on trade services!
Rollo on December 28, 2019:
Hi Daniel, wondering if you've ever used OptionAlpha and what you thought about Kirk?
billhub5 on December 23, 2019:
i started using optionearnings.com credit spread service in Sept. and as amazing as this will sound, i haven't lost a penny YTD. there were 3 or so trades that they rolled to the following week which I believe show as a loss on their grid. But I didn't roll and let expire for full gain. their service is made for those that can't/don't want to be watching the the market from open to close. excellent service, very happy with the results. it's just a handful of trades per week, 1-4.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on November 28, 2019:
No, I hardly do any trading on stocks, except when I'm forced into it when one of my option positions is assigned.
James H on November 27, 2019:
Thanks!! for your research. It was great for Options.
Do you have any thing similar for the Stocks.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on November 23, 2019:
It costs money to subscribe to each advisory service not to mention that it costs a lot more to trade each advisory's recommendations. No I won't be doing any more reviews.
Gregory on November 23, 2019:
Can you do more reviews in the future?
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on November 16, 2019:
Unfortunately I don't keep track of which advisories specialize on which option systems they use. Visit their website and you should be able to determine which ones to contact for more information.
optionhk on November 16, 2019:
Your article is very useful.
I am looking at services which specialise only in buying of options of any kind, be it equity, commodities, currencies or ETFs. I want to cap my risks and focus only on buying of options.
Can you please recommend any of the ones reviewed by you.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on September 17, 2019:
The credit spread service is new so it was not included in the review of winning trades in the article.
Larry Morgese on September 15, 2019:
Enjoyed this article, the internet is sorely lacking reliable reviews of trading services.
My question, did you use the credit spreads or covered puts in your review of OptionEarnings?
JC Forero on September 15, 2019:
Good morning Daniel, I find this article very useful. Do you have any affiliation with OptionEarnings because I see articles by you on their website.
Also, do you think you got an accurate performance rating for them because there was a considerable amount of more trades - 51 trades vs 10 on some of the other advisories?
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on June 15, 2019:
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Gupi on June 14, 2019:
Thanks for sharing this article. I found it very useful.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on May 09, 2019:
try to contact me at email@example.com
Option Service Researcher on May 08, 2019:
I suggest you review the 10 year history available from various services and see how they did during various time periods(I deeply studied 3, trading 1 and adding 2nd). Autotrading with e O p t I o n does not require sitting at your computer and is only $0.15 per contract. I prefer the small credit spread services that have 80-95% win rates. I do not see how to contact you directly in your profile...perhaps b/c I am not signed up on Hub pages.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on April 23, 2019:
I am not allowed to publish my email here. Get into my profile and see how you can email me directly.
P J Lal on April 23, 2019:
Can I have your email please?
I can't locate the link.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on April 12, 2019:
A long time ago I used a Schaefers advisory service on options and I was not at all pleased with the results of my trading. I don't know if that service is the same as the one you are asking about.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on April 08, 2019:
Please email me directly for more information about your venture.
P J Lal on April 06, 2019:
I have been trading currency options for last 35 years. I am 70 now.
I have retired from business and thinking of setting up a Currency Futures Options Advisory Service. Until 1982 I was a financial journalist in Hong Kong before I became a product marketing entrepreneur.
How should I go into this business?
Any tips or even your association with the venture will be gratefully acknowledge.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on March 29, 2019:
The put selling group is now under a new name: OptionEarnings.com
Hector W Nieves on March 28, 2019:
Hello Daniel any news about the put selling group? Thank you!
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on March 25, 2019:
If you are talking about the same time period showing their winning numbers as those during my time trading their signals, doesn't that tell you something?
David on March 25, 2019:
Hi Daniel, Thank you for making this list. I was wondering if you saw the performance of Options-Intelligence's trade history on their website? They posted a 77% winning history and a 76% avg return. That doesn't sound even close to the performance you got when you traded with them....
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on January 24, 2019:
I went to investitute.com but couldn't go further than the home page which shows nothing. Is this the correct website?
I also looked at OptionsHawk. Their trading strategy is mostly based on going long on options which is what most option pickers do. I can't do a real comparison because this would mean subscribing to each one for a length of time as I did with those presented in this article. The study is long and costly.
keith on January 23, 2019:
Thank you for making this list. I am shopping around for a good options advisory site and have narrowed down to 2 choices, Investitute and OptionsHawk. Would be great if you could give them a fair comparison relative to the ones that you are continuing to use.
Daniel Mollat (author) from Nevada on November 15, 2018:
I'm glad to hear you're doing well with OptionsByPros. I'm not familiar with them but from what I see at their site they are a directional option picker.
Mark Tatom from Boston, MA on November 14, 2018:
I use OptionsByPros.com and their day trades are the best. I've made serious money this August - to Nov with their option trades. They use a point system which is unique and have a live chat full of traders with knowledge.
Daniel Mollat on August 05, 2018:
Doug, thanks for posting a comment but the best stocks options service depends a lot on the trading system you wish to pursue and your risk tolerance. This article only gives you some thoughts on those I have explored. There are many others I'm not familiar with.
Doug Smith on August 05, 2018:
What are the best stock options trading services?
Kim Klaiman on June 11, 2018:
We are honored to be among the only two profitable services.
There are few things worth mentioning:
First, based on our records, you were our member for only 3 months. As you mentioned, it takes time to learn our trading system, and members who stick around usually improve their results significantly over time.
Second, it is important to compare apples to apples. You mentioned that "In order to make the comparisons fair and meaningful I invested the same amount - $1,000 - on each trade." This still doesn't make the comparisons fair. Why? Because the risk is completely different.
Looking at the track record of the first ranker, you can see that around 25% of their trades are 100% losers. In fact, it is not uncommon for them to have five consecutive 100% losers.
Imagine you joined in February 2017 and allocated 10% of your account to each trade. Two months later, your account would lose 50%. While the overall track record is indeed impressive, you just cannot ignore the risk.