Trading stocks can be scary in the best of times, never mind the worst of times. But if the present times were to be given a number from one to ten with ten at the top, the Obama years would qualify. They went from a Wall Street crisis that nearly shattered the American economy to a point now where investors would have tripled their money today had they opened an investment account on inauguration day 2009.
TD Ameritrade reviews here may provide some insight into why the stock market has been doing so well and why this has been a particular good era for traders and investors. The buying of stock may not have been the easy or popular thing to do when Mr. Obama took office. The economic downturn that held the country hostage was easily the most damaging since the Great Depression. The Dow had plummeted by more than a third over the previous year — and it was still on the decline. But since that time market has risen 11.8 percent, on an annualized basis, without dividends and small investors and large are crawling back into the market. Many of those customers are choosing houses like TD Ameritrade, a discount brokerage firm, for making their financial actions easy and efficient.
Advantages of Trading with TD Ameritrade.
a discount full-service brokerage firm:
|Low Fee Stock Trades|
|Low Fee Option Trades|
|Low Fee EFT trades|
|Low Fee Mutual Funds|
|Free Research Accessibility|
|Free Learning Tools|
|Free Account Mobile Apps and Trading Platforms|
|Free Banking Services|
|Research and data|
|Full Service Brokerage Services|
|24/7 Customer Support|
|100+ Local Branches|
TD Ameritrade Features
Online discount brokers make it all the more easy for people to do so. They are full service brokerage companies that provide services at all levels of investor need. That means, for experienced or cowboy investors, stock trades can be done instantaneously and for rates as low as $0.0 to $15 a trade.
There are more than two dozen established national online discount brokerages in the U.S., each fairly similar in function and structure. TD Ameritrade reviews for 2016 can offer a look into the differences while also giving readers a sense of what TD Ameritrade has to offer.
What is TD Ameritrade? What is an online brokerage?
Simply put, TD Ameritrade is an American online brokerage firm with roots and headquarters in Omaha, NB and a history that goes back to 1971. They may have been known at that time as Accutrade. But they were a small investment banking firm at that time until they introduced the first stock trade quote and order by phone in 1988. They were suddenly propelled into the frontier world of what would eventually become discount trading – where investors call their own orders based on their own tracking of information.
For a long time, certainly through the early 1980s and into the 1990s, those trades were managed by calls from investors to a firms order desk where clerks would read requested quote information from Quotrons or computerized screens attached to trading floors. Then came the age of the Internet and investors could get those quotes for them selves and place orders from their own desktops through the rise of online brokerage firms.
Today, TD Ameritrade is one of the largest online brokers, trading at around $30 a share on a volume of 1.89 million. It has come to focus on self-directed retail traders – more than over 6 million clients on their accounts rosters -- and process some 400,000 trades per day. Most of those clients, of course, do not trade daily or multiple times a day. They may make a few trades a week, they may manage their own retirement accounts or they may be participants in funds managed by the company. No matter what their purpose, there are a few clear reasons they may prefer investing their money with this company and Ameritrade reviews bring to light.
Key Advantages in Going with a TD Ameritrade Trading Account
Stock Trade Fee (flat)
Options Base Fee
Options Per Contract Fee
Mutual Fund Trading Fee
Broker-Assisted Trades Fee
Pricing: Although TD Ameritrade is not the cheapest when it comes to price per trade (in fact, trading fees are at the high end of the scale when compared with other discount brokers), it is still a very reasonable $9.99 per trade. In many cities, that might be cheaper than a ham sandwich at a diner, with or without coffee. Blue plates aside, commissions count in the eyes of traders. However, when deciding between a firm that charges $8 a trade and another charging $10, there are a few other elements that come into play.
Platforms: For many investors looking at TD Ameritrade Reviews, it is the platform that matters most: the convenience, access, reliability, easy of use, range of functions, speed. At TD Ameritrade, there are several platforms available to users, starting with an advanced trading platform called “ThinkorSwim.” The online trading company was purchased by TD Ameritrade in 2009 for some $606 million to give TD Ameritrade an edge in the options market as the company had developed a sophisticated options trading platform allowing investors to acquire the right to buy or sell shares of stock at a set price and time in the future. Options trading allowed TD Ameritrade to expand into a lucrative market that sees more frequent trading. The acquisition also allowed TD Ameritrade to handle the fast-paced currency trading market and avail investors of streams of news, updates and research that they did not have access to previously.
It also offers Trade Architect, a desktop view into investment opportunities through customized chart functions, live CNBC streaming video, and integrated research tools. The introduction of Trade Finder brings a tool that simplifies options trades through simple criteria filters that pull information together with one click.
Mobile Apps: The TD Ameritrade Mobile comes with some interesting features. It offers Snapstock, a function that allows you to snap a photo of a bar code and instantly access a product’s publically traded company information. The TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader, a more advanced tool, lets users test strategies in a virtual trading account. All users can look up quotes in real time, see streaming broadcasts directly on the app, join chat rooms and data feeds and talk in real time with other traders.
And just this summer, TD Ameritrade came out with an enhanced function in the Thinkorswim trading platform that allows investors to analyze social mentions of brands to discern trends and get an edge on a publically traded company’s sales distribution.
“Social analytics are not new to fintech,” said Nicole Sherrod, managing director of trading, TD Ameritrade in a published release about the new technology. “But this lens is. This lens does not focus on what investors are saying about a stock in social media. It focuses on what consumers are saying about the products that the company makes. And like all capabilities in thinkorswim, the aperture on this lens is customizable. Traders can analyze what people think of a core brand in the company portfolio or they can look at a roll up of all the brands.”
In a not too surprising move recently, Barron’s named TD Ameritrade the Best Online Broker for Novices (fifth year running, in fact). The company also received accolades for “Research Amenities,” “Portfolio Analysis & Reports,” and “Usability” categories, as evaluated against 15 other online brokers.
Other key categories or benefits the company likes to tout are: Product range, education inventory that includes live research as well as interactive courses and webcasts, value commission propositions, full service offerings and customer service.
Customer Service: Credits and Caveats
But when it comes to customer service, the jury is mixed. As with any brokerage company, there are several Ameritrade reviews out there that are not so kind to the company. For instance, some complaints on ConsumerAffairs.com discuss lapses in TD Ameritrade customer service and in upholding promises made to clients.
According to one complaint, posted August 9, 2016 by a client in Omaha, Neb.:
I've referred two friends for $50 referral bonus but got cheated. They say, the referrers opened by not clicking referral links, but am sure their system has got bugs which does not record appropriately, finally they don't give bonus money and provide commission credits which internally benefits them.
Another post from Bronx, NY in June says:
I opened a brokerage account a couple years ago. (I know this will seem funny to some, as you are all dealing with very large sums of money, but money is money and I wanted to learn some things.) I had a few thousand in there to play with and dabbled in some pennies. Risky? Yes. Profitable? Should be… I figured out a formula in 2 weeks. I was pulling in cash…. I made about $1,000. I kinda got bored a little and took a break from it. About two weeks later, I went to collect my earnings that were on my itemized statement clear as day as money earned. The system wouldn't allow me to pull it.
I contacted them, for them to tell me I earned nothing. NOTHING. I looked at my paper again, second guessing myself at the assured sound in her voice. "Nope, it said it" and so I said, "Ma'am it says right here that -" and I was cut off.
Upshot, he did eventually collect his sums but not at the amount on the statement.
TD Ameritrade Reviews stack up well against the competition. All brokerage firms suffer the complaints of customers from time to time. After all, investing money, trading stocks, options and futures contracts, participating in hedge funds and playing with exchange traded funds (ETFs) can be a fast-paced, scary and emotion-laded undertaking.
In fact, TD Ameritrade’s complaint roster on the web is light compared to other companies and its customer service is lauded for its 24/7 availability and plethora of brick and mortar outlets through the country – some 100 locations in 34 states.
TD Ameritrade: Pros and the Cons
The pros are in the details: TD Ameritrade offers inexpensive trades up to broker-assisted trades for a range of rates running from $9.99 to $49.99. It costs nothing to maintain an account, including an interest-bearing checking account. It offers a variety of products, from simple stock trades to 401k and IRA investment to options trading, ETFs and no-load mutual funds. There are no minimums on opening deposits and clients can start trading the same day. The company offers power platforms, tools and educational supports from a variety of sources and makes it easy for first time investors to test their mettle in the financial markets. It offers investors access to more than 1200 mutual funds to match their goals
In addition, investors need not worry about stock surcharges – something many brokers do by showing artificially low prices that get bumped back up for the trade. Nor does TD Ameritrade charge extra for after hours trading, orders on penny stocks, large orders or account inactivity.
As for the cons, a large company cannot always offer the personal touch an investor would like, especially if that service is based on a no-touch philosophy. The minute you start digging for service, you will start seeing charges – phone assisted trades and broker assisted trades cost plenty extra. However, the more capital you keep in your account and the more you trade, the more the perks and benefits come as rewards for your business.
Conclusion: Using TD Ameritrade
— What Price Peace of Mind?
TD Ameritrade is one of the best-known discount brokers, around for 45 years, publicly traded with branches based throughout the U.S. This is not just a fly-by-night, Internet only operation. If you are not comfortable with the 24/7 phone service available you can pop into a brick and mortar branch. The same cannot necessarily be said for a privately held company with an 800 number and a flag that hails far from U.S. shores.
With markets that are only getting more volatile according to world events, bank failures, falling interest rates and rising global unrest, a little peace of mind can go a long way.
As a solid company with solid investing tools, TD Ameritrade is right at the top and growing bigger by the day with new tools, investor amenities and capabilities. Where the stock market is going? That’s another story but investors at TD Ameritrade will be armed with enough information and tools to be on the right path, whatever the direction.