Stock trading has come a long way in just over a generation and TD Ameritrade has been a part of that history for more than forty years. It was only thirty years ago that stock trading was still done by calling a stock broker who called a specialist who took part in an auction process that would eventually result in you, the client, owning stock. Although this still happens today, much of the stock trading now takes place using computer technology.
To see how computers have had a remarkable effect on the investment markets, in 1961 the New York Stock Exchange reached trading days of 4 million shares sold. Today, because of new technology, over 4 billion shares are traded on some days.
Because of this new technology, much larger volumes of trades can now take place and more trades means more business for brokers. That extra demand has given rise to a virtually endless supply of online brokers that made the stock market accessible to all consumers at a price they can afford.
In the following TD Ameritrade review, we’ll see what makes this broker tick and why they may be a good fit for your investing needs.
Who They Are
While many of these companies are still in their infancy, TD Ameritrade has been trading on behalf of investors since 1971. It began as a small investment banking firm in Omaha, Nebraska and grew in size through a series of mergers and acquisitions that has turned it in to a firm with more than 6 million customers.
As well as its size, its customer friendly reputation has been recognized by companies like Kiplingers who declared TD Ameritrade the #1 online broker in 2011. In addition, Barrons named it the best options platform and gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars for its tools catering to long term investors.
What They Offer
TD Ameritrade, like most online brokers offers a full range of investment products including stocks, etfs, options, bonds, and other more sophisticated products. At $9.99 per equities trade, they aren’t as competitively priced as brokers like Scottrade but TD Ameritrade offers an array of research tools, such as its thinkorswim platform and QuoteScope™, make the higher price more palatable. Their highly praised Trade Architect helps to identify and construct trades based on real time data and their free level II real time quotes are just a few of the notable resources available to investors.
You can trade stocks, ETF’s (over 100 commission-free ETF’s available), mutual funds, options, fixed income products, futures and Forex. Many of their online trades are a flat-fee $9.99 rate and the account has no maintenance fees.
TD Ameritrade Pricing
|Other ETF's||$9.99 Online|
|Mutual Funds - No Transaction Fee||$0|
|Mutual Funds - No Load||$49.99|
|Mutual Funds - Load||$0 - Fees included in fund|
|Options||$9.99 Online + $0.75 per contract|
There is no minimum to open an account (though a $2,000 deposit is required for options and margin trading). You can also write checks from your balance account with no per-check minimum amount and no annual fees. Also choose from two options to earn interest on your cash balances (TD Ameritrade FDIC Insured Deposit Account or TD Ameritrade Cash). Make deposits to your account easily, even automatically, electronically, by check, or via wire.
With the emergence of smartphones, IPads, and other mobile devices, the need for a robust mobile platform is paramount and TD Ameritrade meets that need with a mobile website that allows clients to monitor their trades in real time as well as applications made for the latest mobile technology including the iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Windows phone.
Finally, like all brokers who have a large retail client base, TD Ameritrade has a full array of educational tools including webinars, community forums, and live workshops. All of these educational tools have options available for basic level investors all the way to experts.
In their forty years as an investment broker, TD Ameritrade has learned a few things about how to respond to changing market conditions and service clients in an investing environment that is rapidly evolving. For those looking for a broker or are thinking of making a change, TD Ameritrade is definitely worth a look.
Visit TD Ameritade for more details and to sign up.