TD Ameritrade Broker

Founded in 1971, TD Ameritrade has grown through a series of acquisitions and partnerships to become one of the largest brokerage companies in terms of market base. It provides several trading platforms with excellent functions and extensive research capabilities. It has its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.

Regulation and Safety

Regulation

  • TD Ameritrade is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA). It is also registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Safety

  • TD Ameritrade is safe. It serves only United States-based traders and currently houses over 11 million client accounts. Apart from its regulated status, it is listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “AMTD.” It therefore has a significant capital base and makes financial disclosures. Investors who do not make specification of the account type to be opened, will have their funds kept in an FDIC-insured deposit account.

Customer Support Service

  • The broker offers 24/7 online, phone, and physical customer support services. Online customer support service is provided via many means including social media such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter, WeChat, and Apple Business Chat.
  • Also, it has a virtual client service agent, Ask Ted, for instant customer support. You can also contact the customer support through the broker’s trading platform. Unlike many other brokers with limited physical support service, TD Ameritrade has over 300 branches in many parts of the country.

Account Types and Account Opening

Account Types

  • The broker provides quite a handful of account types including Standard, Retirement, Education, and Business accounts. Then, you will have to choose the type of account ownership you want: individual ownership or joint.

Leverage

  • TD Ameritrade has a high portfolio margin offering. However, it is available only to qualified investors who have at least $120,000 in total equity. 

Account Opening

  • Opening a TD Ameritrade account is fast and fully digital. Before you can set it up, the broker will request you to provide either your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITN) and details about your employer. The application process is in four, easy steps: entry of personal information, reviewing and editing of the information supplied, agreeing to the broker’s terms, and setting up your online login details.

Minimum Deposit

  • TD Ameritrade does not have a minimum deposit requirement. However, to benefit from its margin trading offering, you must have at least $2,000 in your account. This, of course, is relatively high when compared to many other brokers.

Charges and Rates

Brokers’ fees can generally be classified into the three: trading fees, non-trading fees, and financing rates.

Trading Fees

  • Trading fees are the fees that traders incur on their trades. They are the unavoidable charges that brokers level whenever you enter and exit positions. TD Ameritrade offers them in two forms: commission-based or commission-free pricing model. However, the commission-free pricing basis is more competitive. For instance, at $6.95 per trade for stocks and ETFs, TD Aneritrade’s stock trading fees are relatively cheap.
  • Due to the limited public disclosures of the broker about much of its pricing scheme, definite figures cannot be accessed. Therefore, the broker can do better in this regard by becoming more transparent about its price offerings, especially for other financial instruments like Forex.

Non-trading Fees

  • The broker does not charge any hidden fees.

Financing Rates

  • Variable

Markets, Products, and Investments

Markets

  • TD Ameritrade covers the most popular financial markets: stock, ETFs, Forex (including options and futures on pairs), mutual funds, cryptocurrency, and fixed income.

Products

  • The broker offers over 300 ETFs, 75 currency pairs, the US Dollar Index, Bitcoin futures, and at least 12,000 mutual funds.

Investments

  • It has hundreds of no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds and simple and complex, structured fixed-income investment offerings. The fixed-income securities offerings are primarily bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs) and unit investment trusts (UITs).

Trading Platforms, Educational Resources, and Research Tools

Trading Platforms

  • The broker supports web-based, desktop, mobile trading.  The web-based platform, however, does not support Forex trading. The TD Ameritrade Mobile App is available in both iOs and Android forms with charts, several indicators, and order types.
  • Its trading platforms, Thinkorswim and Trade Architect, are extremely customisable and make trading an efficient and user-friendly experience. Currency rates are displayed under the Forex Trader module from which the trader can easily choose one of the available 75 pairs. You can also quickly view any currency pair within each forex quote window using a sidebar.
  • There are over 400 technical indicators, thinkScripts for algorithmic trading, and notification and alert push buttons on individual indicators. Moreover, there is an editing tool that you can use to create your own custom candlestick patterns.

Educational Resources

  • TD Ameritrade has an Educational Centre which provides free online immersive curriculum courses covering retirement portfolio, fundamental analysis, technical analysis, and income investing.

Research Tools

  • The trading platform has powerful in-built research tools which include the Stock Hacker and a live newsfeed streams from CNBC, Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters, and other third-party quality market information sources.
  • The broker also provides an economic calendar and historical data for fundamental analysis. Social Trading/signal service functions are also embedded into the platform, enabling a connection especially to Twitter.

Methods of Payment

TD Ameritrade offers a variety of ways for funding accounts. Primarily, those ways are five.

Deposit

  • Electronic Bank Deposit (ACH) (most popular)
  • Wire Transfer
  • Check
  • External Securities Transfer – for transferring assets from another brokerage firm into your Ameritrade account

Withdrawal

  • Same as for deposit.

Bonuses, Promotions, and Prospect

Bonuses

  • You can get up to a bonus of $600 as a new account owner. However, this depends on the deposited amount.

Promotions

  • The broker has a 60-day trade commission-free promotional policy for new accounts.

Prospect

  • In 2018, TD Ameritrade was ranked the Best Online Broker in the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Best Online Brokers review. Established since 1971, the broker is stable, well-regulated, and listed on a public exchange, the Nasdaq. It is expected to be in operation for long.

Conclusion

TD Ameritrade is a well-regulated brokerage firm. It is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA) and is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Plus, it has been in business since 1971 and is listed on the Nasdaq, thereby establishing itself as a safe, well-capitalised company. By using Gain Capital as its liquidity provider, the broker does not take the opposite side of their clients’ trades. Also, in terms of commissions and fees, it is reasonable. You can choose either the commission-free model or commission-based one.

The broker’s trading platform is sophisticated and advanced traders will find it perfect for their needs. Of course, for beginners, this same sophistication of the platform can be off-putting. Nevertheless, they will most likely find its virtual and social trading functions extremely useful. The research capabilities of the platform are extensive, the educational resources are useful, and the customer support service is topnotch. Despite the almost 80 currency pairs TD Ameritrade, however, it appears that most of the functionalities of its trading platform work better for other products than Forex.