Full Review of TD Ameritrade Platform: Key Features, Pros and Cons

UTC by Adedamola Bada · 8 min read
Full Review of TD Ameritrade Platform: Key Features, Pros and Cons

This guide gives a full review of TD Ameritrade investments platform, its pros and cons, as well as highlights the areas for improvement.

TD Ameritrade is an online brokerage firm that has developed from a series of growth-oriented partnerships to become a global trading platform. The firm is associated with a number of holdings namely Scottrade, First Omaha Securities, TD Waterhouse, and Thinkorswim.

The firm mainly focuses on investments and has a wide variety of offerings which include exchange-traded funds, equities, futures, options, common stocks, and bonds. Users are also allowed to operate margin accounts with the firm. TD Ameritrade platform bears a number of similarities with its competitor E*TRADE because the trading firm has set up branches of operation in several districts to provide customer support to its users. Financial analysts are present to help investors make the right investment decisions to garner profit.

The company announced in October 2019 a change in its policy on commissions allowing investors to trade all its securities at no cost via its web platform. It also announced tax-loss harvesting and introduced a couple of trading platforms suited to both new investors and professionals.

Full Review

TD Ameritrade offers its services to investors at a $0 management fee and provides an array of offerings including; informative market analysis, statistics, and metrics, investment counseling, free management for securities like stocks, exchange-traded funds and the firm strives to continuously deliver top-notch services to its users by running several branches for walk-in support at any of the centers. Also, you can obtain support through SMS, a phone call to their offices, email, and live chat.

The firm also accepts $0 as a minimum investment on all its investment options; there are several account types hosted by TD Ameritrade which include; Taxable, Trusts, 401(k) accounts, joint, custodial, and IRA accounts. Some examples of their IRA Accounts include; Traditional, SEP, Rollover, simple, and Roth setups. Their platform can be accessed over the web through flagship phones and personal computers.

Charles Schwab purchased major shares and claimed ownership of TD Ameritrade in November 2019 with both parties expected to tie up loose ends by the end of the fall. Users can still sign up on the platform but all accounts are transferred as soon as the deal is finalized.

TD Ameritrade is great for:

  • New Traders and Investors
  • Long term Investment managers
  • Educative offerings
  • Zero-commission trades
  • Investment Capital Managers

Where TD Ameritrade Platform Shines and Where Not

Zero-Commission Trades

TD Ameritrade reduced its management fee in 2019 which seemed exorbitant at $6.95 and was way higher than what other brokers offered to its users. The firm made available other offerings which include options, ETF, and free online stock trades which comes at $0.65 for an options trade as is similar to other brokers.

Tradable Securities

TD Ameritrade continues to pride itself as one of the best investment platforms by offering its approved clients a wide array of investment plans to select from including but not limited to Bitcoin, forex, and futures.

The broker firm also offers a number of mutual funds for investors with small capital, all of which are free to trade with. The firm’s initiative for low-minimum funds at a cheap rate was received well by many investors and the company currently offers over 11,000 in number while charging 0.50% in expense ratios. Its minimum funds also number up to 10,000 at $100 each. This is a great start-up investment for students.

Educative Offerings

TD Ameritrade’s investor support has massively enabled investors to make wise trading decisions. The support offered by the firm is limitless and can be obtained in a variety of formats including; write-ups, video tutorials, slideshows, trivia questions, webinars, and location seminars.

The firm organizes its educational support according to experience or stages (beginner, scholar, professional) and it is better to have a general understanding of investment before advancing through the levels. Users who are finding trouble with any of the tutorials can make use of their intuitive feature “Ask Ted” to chat with an automated bot for the answers or where to obtain data, metrics, or tools for investing. Educational webinars, one-on-one meetings, online or live seminars are organized by the company for about 8 hours daily and often over the course of the year.

Virtual Trading Simulator

There are only a few brokers who offer demo accounts to intending investors to learn the ropes of trading and this great feature is provided by TD Ameritrade. Its virtual trading simulator can be accessed via a computer and is frequently employed by investors who want to test their trading patterns and strategy.

Most demo accounts usually have a standard lot size and $100,000 in virtual money on a margin account. This broker firm makes two broker platforms and a mobile app available to its investors and runs a trial period of 60 days for unregistered users which seems like a wise option for inexperienced users to try out before investing real money into a live account.

Choice of Trading Platforms

TD Ameritrade provides its investors with two platforms that can be accessed over the web and mobile app to use on the go. The web interface contains all tools needed to make research, maneuver the website, buy up trade funds, bonds, stocks, or options.

Some services embedded in the demo account include:

  • investment analysis from corporations like Morningstar, CRFA (previously S&P Capital IQ) Thomson Reuters and financial experts at TD Ameritrade;
  • screeners;
  • a customizable sales funnel page;
  • a money manager to observe and track profits and tax-deductible losses for a quarter or annually.

The portfolio Planner tool is widely used by investors and more specifically by savers who are planning towards their retirement. It allows users to plan strategically, diversify their investment capital, and stack up their portfolio by selecting an array of stocks, bonds, and options to obtain a balanced portfolio. TD Ameritrade provides its investors with pre-built models or they can choose to make use of the available tools to design one for themselves.

The planner tool also allows them to compare prebuilt with their personal portfolios and make adjustments where they deem fit. The portfolio planner tool is also great for determining if capital has been properly allocated to financial securities or if adjustments need to be made.

The company’s online investment platform called “Thinkorswim” is specially designed for investors with large capital interests in diversifying to forex trading, ETF, futures, stocks, and traded options. Its advanced investment interface provides new and expert traders with all the features needed from real-time market analysis and metrics tools, market trends, backtesting abilities, pictorial charts, screeners, and a host of others.

The broker’s mobile trading platform allows investors to work on-the-go. It allows users to make emergency changes, modify or closeout trades via third-party apps like; Apple Business Chat, Twitter Instant messaging, and Facebook Messenger. TD Ameritrade introduced voice-assisted and automated trading recently by partnering with Google and vehicle manufacturers so investors remain current with market happenings while on the move.

Mobile Trading

Investors are provided with the comfort of making trades while away from their computers. TD Ameritrade has made available its mobile app on only IOS flagship devices and is described as an associate platform to the thinkorswim web interface. The firm also has a mobile app designed with the web-based outlook for users who feel more comfortable with the outlay of things on the web.

The TD Ameritrade Mobile app has the same multi-level trading capabilities possessed by the browser platform with an added functionality only available on the mobile platform known as Level II quotes. Educational support, real-time notifications, and customer tickers are not limited to the web; thus, allowing users to be alerted to any issue.

TD Ameritrade Mobile app also offers as many securities as the web platform for portfolio diversification and provides graphical charting and help from the support group. The app also provides demo trading as available on the web for new investors.

Disadvantages of TD Ameritrade Platform

TD Ameritrade charges a relatively high fee of around $45 to manage portfolios for investors and this seems outrageous given that their fellow competitors typically demand between $20 and $30 for the same service.

Conclusion

TD Ameritrade remains one of the few broker firms that serve all parties from new to professional investors with the wide array of services they offer. While charging their customers nothing in commissions on futures, bonds, and stock trades, clients are provided enormous support and several services from strategic investment consulting, live-in seminars and webinars, extensive market research, investment tools, and several free mutual funds trade. Investors only hope that the quality of service continues to develop when Charles Schwab claims full ownership of the firm by the end of the year.

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