TD Ameritrade Review
Richard Montana | March 24, 2022
TD Ameritrade is a US broker with a wide variety of investment products, powerful platforms, trading tools and abundance of educational resources. They do not offer CFDs or MetaTrader platforms which limits them when compared to other online brokers.
Pros / Cons
- Strict regulation
- Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)
- Wide range of investment products
- Competitive fees
- Advanced trading tools
- Abundance of educational resources
- Limited countries
- Restricted leverage
- No CFDs
- No MetaTrader platform
- Limited funding options
- Account currency limited to USD
- Account opening process
TD Ameritrade is an online US broker that offers online trading on multiple financial assets such as Stocks, Futures, Mutual Funds, Options, Exchange-traded Funds (ETFs), Fixed Income Investments, Cryptocurrency, Certificates of Deposit (CDs), Bonds and more.
They provide investors with powerful trading platforms, trading tools, market research, educational resources and award-winning customer service. In addition to this, they can also provide clients with margin lending and additional cash management services.
TD Ameritrade charge $0 commission when trading online stocks, ETFs and options (subject to terms and conditions, other fees may apply including a $0.65 per contract fee on option trades).
Founded in 1975, TD Ameritrade have been helping clients with their investments. The experienced and licensed Ameritrade team are happy to give some guidance depending on your individual investment goals and support clients along their investment journey.
TD Ameritrade is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the United States. They are also regulated by regulators in some other jurisdictions including the Securities & Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong.
In addition to this strict regulation, US clients are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) scheme. The SIPC is an investor protection scheme established in order to protect clients against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker cannot fulfil their financial obligations. The SIPC protection is limited to $500,000 with a $250,000 limit for cash. The broker also has an additional insurance policy in place with a coverage totalling up to $152 million ($2 million cash limit) per client and an aggregated limit of $500 million.
It should be noted that some investment products such as futures are not covered by the investor protection scheme and the protection is not available to all clients. Negative account balance protection is not provided. It is important to carefully read through all of the brokers terms and conditions so that you have a clear understanding of the protection offered before you open an account with any brokerage.
TD Ameritrade primarily focus on US investors although they can accept clients from some other jurisdictions where they are authorised to do so, including Canada, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore. The countries are however very limited in comparison to many other online brokers.
TD Ameritrade have a selection of powerful, intuitive and flexible trading platforms to choose from. These are provided free of charge to clients and available via web, desktop and mobile. The platforms boast an array of built in tools and features to suit all different skill levels and requirements of investors.
The platforms contain all the tools you need whether you are considered an active trader or a mid to long term investor, you can research different stocks, enter trades, gain access to real time-quotes, view live-streaming news, manage your portfolio, speak with financial specialists and much more.
TD Ameritrade Web Platform
The web platform runs directly in most modern web browsers without requiring any additional software downloads or installations. It has all of the tools that most investors will need.
TD Ameritrade Web Platform Features:
- No downloads required
- Runs directly in web browser
- User friendly with a fully customisable dock
- Independent third-party research
- Educational resources
- Latest economic news
- Social signals and market sentiment
The thinkorswim trading platform is a professional trading platform that is designed specifically to cater towards the more serious traders.
Thinkorswim Platform Features:
- Professional grade trading platform
- Top of the range tools for conducting analysis and testing strategies
- Market monitoring and scanning to find trade opportunities with specific risk/reward ratios
- thinkManual and various tutorials to help users familiarise themselves with the platform
TD Ameritrade Mobile Trading
The mobile trading platform is ideal for those who need to access and manage their trading account whilst on the go. It is available on Android and iOS compatible devices and can be used from anywhere in the world provided you have an internet connection.
TD Ameritrade Mobile Platform Features:
- Trade whilst on the go from within the palm of your hands
- Access account and manage your investment
- Scan the markets for opportunities
- Set push alert notifications
- Android and iOS devices
The TD Ameritrade free platform has a good selection of useful built in trading tools for assisting with conducting technical analysis, fundamental analysis, portfolio management, etc.
Where this brokerage really shines is the amount of educational resources that they provide. There is a variety of interactive educational courses, articles, training videos and webinars to help improve your trading skills and investment knowledge. In fact, there are around 200 instructional videos, tutorials, and investing publications. In addition to this, you can take advantage of the provided third party research which can help you stay up to date with the latest market movements.
Up to date market research and insights are delivered by independent third-party providers such as Morningstar®, CFRA (formerly S&P Capital IQ), and TheStreet. Clients can gain access to streaming news and level II quotes, market insights and more, when it is suitable for them. This suite of investment research tools can help you when planning and evaluating your investment strategy.
The broker has a fully immersive curriculum with experienced teachers who are happy to walk you through a variety of different investing and trading topics to help you become a more informed investor. The courses are easy to follow in your own time and contain an abundance of relevant information.
The TD Ameritrade Network is a channel dedicated to providing daily market analysis and strategy tips from financial industry professionals.
The brokerage has a wide selection of investment products to diversify your portfolio including tradeable instruments across multiple asset classes such as Stocks, Futures, Mutual Funds, Options, 2,300+ commission-free ETFs, Fixed Income Investments, Cryptocurrency, Certificates of Deposit (CDs) & Bonds. However, they do not offer CFD trading which may put off some traders.
They do not charge commission when trading online exchange-listed U.S. stock, domestic and Canadian ETFs, and options trades, regardless of an investors account size or how many shares they buy. Options trades do incur a $0.65 per contract fee. A $6.95 commission applies to trades of over-the-counter (OTC) stocks which includes stocks not listed on a U.S. exchange.
They claim that 98% of market orders are executed at a price better than the National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO) at the time of routing.
- Stocks – Orders are routed to continuously seek an improvement on price. $0 commission on exchange-listed U.S. stocks. A $6.95 commission applies to online trades of over-the-counter (OTC) stocks (stocks not listed on a U.S. exchange). $5 for phone system and $25 for broker assisted trades
- Options – Complex multi-legged options trades can be executed via the thinkorswim trading platform with $0 commission and $0.65 per options contract fee. $5+ $0.65 for phone system and $25+ $0.65 for broker assisted trades
- ETFs – There are over 2,300+ commission-free domestic and Canadian ETFs from leading providers along with third-party Morningstar research and ratings
- Mutual Funds – View and select from top fund performers in one place that have been selected by Morningstar Investment Management via the Premier List. There are hundreds of no-transaction-fee (NTF) funds from leading fund families
- Futures – Analyse futures with hundreds of free charting studies. $2.25 fee per futures and futures on options contracts (plus exchange & regulatory fees)
- Forex – Keep up to date with the forex market and trade around 70 major, minor and exotic currency pairs via the mobile platform. No commission is charged on forex trading but there are significant spread mark-ups
- Managed Portfolios – Professionally managed portfolios that are specifically designed to meet your individual requirements
- Bonds & CDs – Use the Bond Wizard to quickly find suitable bonds depending on your needs. There is a choice of offerings ranging from simple CDs to the more complex and structured fixed-income investment at competitive pricing
- Annuities – A selection of fixed and variable annuities that are competitively-priced and from highly rated insurance carriers
Whatever your trading style or requirements, TD Ameritrade have a choice of accounts suitable for different types of investors. This includes a standard brokerage account, retirement accounts, saving accounts, managed accounts, speciality accounts and more.
The pricing offered is transparent with no minimum requirements on some accounts. There are no platform, data, maintenance or inactivity fees although service fees, exception fees and commissions do still apply.
- Standard Account – Get access to a range of flexible investment products, platforms, research and tools. Available as individual or joint accounts
- Retirement Accounts – Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or Rollover IRA account for retirement planning
- Education Accounts – Flexible saving for all levels of education
- Speciality Accounts – Includes individual trusts, business partnerships, sole proprietorships and more
- Managed Portfolios – Choose from a variety of different professionally managed portfolios according to your own investment needs
- Margin Trading – A margin account enables clients to borrow from the broker and can increase your securities buying power by up to 50%. Note that trading on margin can be risky
You can talk to a TD Ameritrade expert to see what account would be most suitable for your needs.
The broker has a professional and reliable support team on hand and happy to assist with all of your general, technical and account questions. They respond in a prompt, polite and efficient manner. Customer support is provided via online chat, telephone and email.
TD Ameritrade have a small choice of methods for depositing and withdrawing funds from your trading account. This includes Wire Transfer, Check, Electronic Bank Deposit (ACH), External Securities Transfer and Physical Stock Certificates. It would be considered more convenient for some clients if they offered credit/debit card funding and online payment processors such as PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, etc.
Some fees may be charged when using certain payment methods. The withdrawal time can vary depending on the payment provider and method. Bank transfers may take a few business days to clear whilst some methods can be instant. Please note that some methods may only be available to specific countries and not all are available for both deposit and withdrawal.
Some payment systems may have transaction limits, restrictions, and requirements which are indicated on their respective websites. You may need to verify your account to remove limits on particular methods in some countries. This brokerage strictly does not accept third-party payments. All funds deposited into your trading account must be under the same name as your TD Ameritrade account.
Accounts can only be opened in USD currency which means that currency conversion fees can apply if you are not funding in this currency.
Opening a TD Ameritrade account can take longer than most online brokers due to the fact it is not all done online and does require physical documents to be sent out along with the required identification copies for verification purposes.
There is no minimum deposit required for a standard account but you need a $2,000 account to trade with margin, a $25,000 for day trading and an account between $5,000 – $250,000 for the TD Ameritrade managed accounts.
When you open an account, the broker will ask for your personal information such as name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow them to identify you. You will need to provide a form of identification such as a passport or driver’s license along with a proof of address such as a bank statement or utility bill no more than 3 months old. They may also need to use a third-party for verification purposes. It can take a while for your account to be verified and the opening process to be complete.
TD Ameritrade is predominately a US brokerage offering online trading across a wide variety of investment products with powerful platforms, useful trading tools and an abundance of educational resources. The fees are very competitive and there are account types to suit different investing goals. However, they do not have the best forex trading conditions and do not offer CFDs or the MetaTrader platform. Funding options are also limited and the account opening process takes a while.