TD Ameritrade TD Ameritrade  

TD Ameritrade is an American online broker based in Omaha, Nebraska. The TD stands for Toronto-Dominion. TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation is the owner of TD Ameritrade Inc. Services offered include common and preferred stocks, futures, ETFs, option trades, mutual funds, fixed income, margin lending, and cash management services.

Current operations

As of September 30, 2015, Ameritrade had 6,621,000 funded customer accounts and client assets of $667.4 billion.

History

TD Ameritrade traces back its lineage to a small investment banking firm and First Omaha Securities, Inc. (later Accutrade) in Omaha, Nebraska. Ameritrade Clearing Inc. was established as a clearing broker in 1983, and by 1987 TransTerra Company became the holding company for Ameritrade, and the company was subsequently known as TransTerra Company.

In 1988, the company introduced the first quote and order entry system via the touch-tone phone.

In 1995, the company acquired K. Aufhauser & Company, Inc. and its WealthWeb, the first firm to offer online securities trading, receiving the first order in August 1994.

In October 1995, Ameritrade acquired All American Brokers. In January 1996, TransTerra's Accutrade launched "Accutrade for Windows," the first online investing system that let individuals partake in program investing and basket trading. By May 1996, TransTerra launched an Internet only broker called eBroker, and by November, TransTerra Company became Ameritrade Holding Corporation.

In March 1997, Ameritrade became a publicly held company, and its IPO opened at $15 per share.

In August 1999, Accutrade (then a division of Ameritrade) acquired The R.J. Forbes Group, Inc. Ameritrade formed Freetrade in November 2000, which provided commission-free equity market orders. Freetrade was later replaced by Ameritrade Izone, which offered $5 equity market orders, though it no longer exists.

In 2001, Ameritrade made two acquisitions: the February acquisition of TradeCast, giving Ameritrade a presence in the business-to-business arena, and the September acquisition of National Discount Brokers Corporation, adding $6.3 billion in client assets.

In 2002, Ameritrade merged with Datek Online Holdings Corporation, and changed commissions to $10.99 from $8 for market orders and $12 for limit and stop orders. Ameritrade purchased Mydiscountbroker.com in June 2003, and client accounts reached 3 million. In 2004, Ameritrade completed the purchase of Bidwell and Company in January, BrokerageAmerica in February, Investex in May and JB Oxford and Company in October. As of August 2007, there were reports suggesting that Ameritrade was engaged in merger talks with E*TRADE.

On January 24, 2006, Ameritrade Holding Corporation acquired TD Waterhouse USA from TD Bank Financial Group. Following the acquisition, it renamed itself TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade is one of the largest online brokerages, with 6.3 million funded client accounts and $663 billion in client assets. Revenue and net income are expected to increase to $1.8 billion and $557 million, respectively. TD Bank now owns 39% of TD Ameritrade, and purchased Ameritrade's Canadian brokerage operations for $60 million cash. As part of the acquisition, Ameritrade investors received a special one-time $6 dividend, funded from Ameritrade borrowings and excess cash contributed to TD Waterhouse USA by TD Bank. TD Bank will limit their ownership of TD Ameritrade to 45% for up to ten years after the acquisition, while founder J. Joseph Ricketts will limit his family's ownership of TD Ameritrade to 29% for ten years after the acquisition. Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia became the CEO of TD Ameritrade.

In 2008, long-time CEO Joe Moglia announced he would be vacating the CEO position in the upcoming fall after seven years to pursue other interests. Fred Tomczyk, the former COO, was named his successor and took over in September 2008. Rumors started that the company was going to move its headquarters out of the Omaha area after Moglia took over the Chairman position from founder and former CEO J. Joseph Ricketts. With the departure of Ricketts, who founded the company in Omaha, the company for the first time in its history had no members from the founding family on its management team, outside of the two that remained on the Board of Directors. Tomczyk further strengthened the rumors when he stated that he would not be moving to Omaha, but rather staying in the New York City area, where he is based. However, those rumors were put to rest when in October 2008 plans were unveiled for the new TD Ameritrade headquarters in Omaha. The new headquarters would consolidate the call center and corporate offices together into one building. The new building was planned for development in the Old Mill area of Omaha, with a scheduled completion date of 2013. Tomcyzk later confirmed that the company considered moving out of the Omaha area, but decided to stay because of the large number of employees based in Omaha.

On January 7, 2009 TD Ameritrade acquired Thinkorswim Group Inc. (NASDAQ:SWIM), including its INVESTools Investor Education division, in a cash and stock deal valued at approximately $606 million. The transaction aimed to advance TD Ameritrade's growth strategy on the trading side of the business.

Awards

The company has received various awards, which are listed on its website.

Controversies

Security breaches

In November 2007, the company reported that hackers gained access to most of its clients' names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers and trading activity. In 2011, the company settled a related class action lawsuit by agreeing to compensate customers that were victim to identity theft.

Auction rate securities scandal

In 2009, TD Ameritrade settled a lawsuit alleging it had marketed auction rate securities as short-term investments. The settlement included a $456 million payment and the buyback of the securities, compensating investors for losses.

Customer losses in reserve money funds

TD Ameritrade recommended for its customers to invest cash holdings in a money fund managed by the Reserve, RYPQX (the Reserve Yield Plus Class R fund), from which TD Ameritrade received fees.

In September 2008, the fund broke the buck and money assets of thousands of TD Ameritrade clients, including many senior citizens, were frozen. For the larger Reserve Primary Fund that also broke the buck, TD Ameritrade said it will reimburse clients for the first 3% loss. Other Reserve funds, such as the Interstate Tax Exempt Fund, were sold by TD Ameritrade, and were caught up in the Primary Fund's failure, leaving investors in these funds without liquidity. However, the Reserve Yield Plus fund previously marketed by the company was not covered by the offer.

Investors alleged a conflict of interest for TD Ameritrade to promote the fund to its clients in the presence of a distribution agreement between The Reserve and TD Ameritrade that earns Ameritrade an undisclosed slice of fee revenue. Fred Tomczyk (TD Ameritrade president) argued that the contract was a standard one and that "an investment firm has to make money in some way." According to the Chicago Tribune article, the distribution agreement clearly was effective: assets in Yield Plus Class R shares sold almost exclusively to TD Ameritrade clients shot from almost nothing in 2006 to $770 million by March of this year, public documents show. Another class dominated by the Omaha firm shot from $2 million to $171 million.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, along with several state regulatory agencies, investigated TD Ameritrade's fund promotion and marketing practices. The company is named in a class action lawsuit for misrepresentation and marketing of the Reserve Yield Plus fund as a money market fund. The Sacramento Bee reported that the SEC filed a civil complaint against Reserve Management, chairman Bruce Bent Sr., and vice chairman and president Bruce Bent II in May 2009. It also reported anticipated investor losses of 8.3%, and TD Ameritrade spokeswoman Kim Hillyer said it will cover up to $50 million of losses in the Primary Fund.

In 2011, the company settled the case and agreed to pay 1.2¢ per share of the fund that was held by its customers.

Sponsorships

The company owns the naming rights to TD Ameritrade Park Omaha for which it pays an average of $1 million a year.

Start Trading

Details

Status
Foundation Year 1971
License NFA ID: 0382533, FINRA, SIPC
Trading Platforms Web Platform, Trade Architect, thinkorswim, TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader App
Reliability Rate AA
Authorised Capital
Brocker Fee 9.99
Exchange Fee
Withdrawal Fee
Minimum Deposit 0
Mobile Trading
Bonuses & Discounts
Seminars, Education
Phone 800-454-9272
Address 200 S 108th Ave. Omaha, NE 68154-2631 United States
Website www.amtd.com, www.tdameritrade.com

User Reviews

   RDE    2016/9/23 13:52   

I was a retail trader with ameritrade with $250k account for 10+ years, in spite of their high fees. AMTD probably most expensive online broker. For example option assignment cost me $ 20.00 .which is usually free at scottrade pro or $5.00 at many other brokers.
It was expensive but tolerable because of mainly Quotetracker accessibility and TOS. Last week they announced they are shutting down QT and I said finally goodbye to Ameritrade.
Moved to IB and looking for good replacement for QT . Temporarily using MT, but MT is still junior league compared to QT.


   keemar    2016/9/23 13:52   

I have been a TD Ameritrade customer since 2006. I was always happy with the client services reps. I have also been very aware of some drawbacks that allow them to pick your pocket even with 'no hidden fees', e.g. a DRIP program where they sit on the cash for several days and only reinvest to 3 significant digits. My impression of them changed decidedly for the worse as I became a more active trader through thinkorswim. I must say the active trader group seems to hate their customers, an impression I got early on and that has reached a point that I am actively shopping for other options.
I will begin with some pros, primarily for investors. Although they did not lower their commissions when every other discount broker did, they did implement an extensive list of NTF ETFs, including many from Vanguard. (Just don't reinvest dividends, since you can easily take the cash and dollar cost average with a brain for free.) They have a decent selection of free 'research' reports, though too many are computer generated and 'social media' type for my taste. Overall I think there are many better and lower cost alternatives out there for long term investors, but their client services group has always been extremely responsive and competent.
For traders, thinkorswim does offer one thing that no one else does - chat rooms, some with live broadcasts. Here is an opportunity for them to keep an ear on the customer and be proactive in solving problems before they begin to lose them customers. Instead the norm seems to be a small group of power-hungry, unmonitored employees (perhaps just one at this point) use their ability to ban users for their own purposes.
The positives on the thinkorswim platform are superb charting capabilities and excellent option analytics. But as a trading platform, it has to be among the worst out there. Data is unreliable even on slow days; I have seen data delays of as much as 80 seconds (running eSignal and Infinity software against futures) during moderate market volatility. Whole periods of past data are known to vanish from the charts mid-day. They choose not to notify their customers when there are known issues, apparently preferring that their angry customers flood twitter with enough complaints to attract the attention of media outlets. The free platform has enough appeal when combined with no/low account balance requirements to keep some small change there but I am aware of several million dollars of outbound transfers from the 100 or so fellow customers I maintain contact with outside the platform.
A final thought on education: for those considering more active trading, thinkorswim offers some good educational opportunities. But beware floor trader experience - it's a different game than the screen. Most of what they do is good and I have learned much, but more recently what I am learning is how biased and wrong a few of their instructors can be. My advice: put a bit of cash there to get the good stuff, but keep the bulk of your funds elsewhere.


Jay    2016/9/23 13:52
Thanks for this. I don't think I can call myself a trader, but I have been buying stock online for a few years and mostly just sitting on my stock picks. My own stock picks have consistently done better than my mutual funds. I was considering opening an account with TD Ameritrade in order to trade globally so I can buy Pink Sheet stocks like Nintendo, Volkswagen, Samsung, etc. The cost of the global trades runs between 29 euros and 99 Australian dollars which I am prepared to stomach, but in chasing down the fess I noticed that if I fail to make a certain number of trades each month I will be charged $20 a month for the account. Have I read the info correctly? Any suggestions for a novice like me who is ready to pay a flat fee to make a limit number of Pink Sheet trades?

   Jonas    2016/9/23 13:52   

Hello,
i am currently with TD Ameritrade, and apart from the high commission it is incredibly annoying that after selling stock they sometimes need 3 days until you can invest with that money again.


Jim    2016/9/23 13:52
Did you not know that it's regular trade settlement rule? Trade date + 3 days later...determines when you can access your cash? Sounds like you have a cash account. Perhaps, you ought to look into margin account so you don't have to wait until settlement.

   rpr    2016/9/23 13:52   

Curious about their #1 Award from Barron's recently.

I don't think their research is that great and the stock screener component is rudimentary at best.

Their commissions are among the highest.

People are nice when you talk to them but that gets them #1?


   mikeskysoldier    2016/9/23 13:52   

Opened account with 25k, got day trading status a few days later, made a lil more than 5k the 1st week, then found my orders were either being back stopped (Unable to place trade for stock lower than selling price, because it was a limit order) )???!?! Then watching trades, supposedly live, trading for more than my sell order, complained and was told their order desk uses a different house to clear their trades. Just one outrageous mistake after another. Cost me thousands the 2d week, so I closed the account, took more than a week for them to wire me my money. SEC isn't doing their job, that's for sure. Allowing the small customer to backstop trades for the powerful I believe.


   tradermessiah    2016/9/23 13:52   

TD Ameritrade has THE most comprehensive and sophisticated plateform of all (Thinkorswim), which is simply a marvel of technology. From allowing you to backtest trades and strategies to beta weighing or even presenting a clear depiction of your probabilities on any given trades or on your total positions, the software is by far the most advanced in the industry. Paradoxically, TD Ameritrade is slowly becoming in my opinion one of the worst brokers out there. Let me explain through 3 points which I have empirically observed:
1/ Their customer service is getting worse and worse over time. If you want to reach them over the phone, the waiting time on average is between 15-20 mins. When you get someone on the line, it’s like they don’t even listen and are limit rude. It’s like they are conditioned to treat the clients a certain way. When you try to contact them for whatever matter via email, the waiting time before you get a reply (if you ever get one) is around 2 working days. And the replies are meager at best. For the commissions you pay, you would expect a better handle of customer relationship but it is far from being the case.
2/ They won’t have your back, quite the contrary they will charge you for bits and grits for whatever reason they deem necessary.
3/ Their fees aren't competitive at all regardless of what they claim. Actually they’re one of the most expensive brokers out there. While I understand that building good technology costs money, I also think that customer relationships are equally important. Building good technology shouldn’t be put before good customer relationships because it’s with the customer that they ultimately do business with. What I’m saying is that they should balance things. But the way it’s happening right now is that even some deep discount brokers out there offer better customer support than TD Ameritrade and while they might not be able to fully invest in technology yet, they are slow gaining market shares because ultimately what people want is clarity and transparency in everything, especially when it comes to money.


   Dan    2016/9/23 13:52   

​I am just another retail investor out in the world and I have been trading a live account for 2+ years trying to develop my own methodology. My learning curve was a bit more pricey then I anticipated, and because of that my account size has reached a level of no more forgiveness. So me being the common sense thinker that I like to be decided not to risk anymore $ in the live account since I am at a critical level of small account size, and my methodology requires more capitol than what's left; however I believe I have found the beginning of my working methodology and wanted to try it in the paper trading account to avoid the real risk just to see if I could prove my concept, but I can't because the paper trading account has all kinds of bugs that make it inaccurate and unusable for practice (Then what's the point of have this paper trading account?). It's crap for some reason. For example, when options expire they don't clear out of your portfolio for a month after the trade has ended instead of being cleared out by the next trading day (TDAmeritrade agent told me a month on the phone) second the quote delay on the paper trading account is 20 minutes!!! Are you kidding me!!?? A shit ton can happen in 20 mins, like miss every opportunity you were hoping to see. TDAmeritrade will probably be the reason I don't fulfill my compassion of being a successful retail investor. TDAmeritrade needs to fix this because it is important and they are not treating it that way, or take the paper trading completely off and loose those customers.

P.S.

I understand that a paper trading market is a pseudo market, but why make a paper trading option if you're not even going to get in the ball park of the real market. Trading is not a game!


   Jim    2016/9/23 13:52   

When I started up a small account with TD, I bought an ETF off the no-commission list. However, I neglected to enroll in the "no-commission ETF" programs, so I was hit with the 9.95 commission. When I spoke to someone over the phone, they said they could not return it, but a message sent via their websites message center resulted in a rebate of the commission. Even though it was my fault, they came through for me. A friend moved his IRA over and was hit with a ridiculous $125 fee from a local broker. TD asked for his statement with the fee and covered the fee. So far, I've been pleased, but I am not a high frequency trader, so I can't comment on that aspect.


   WSanders    2016/9/23 13:52   

New junk fee at TD Ameritrade - $2 for bounced emails.


   alanza    2016/9/23 13:52   

I have had TOS for some time now and I feel it lacks a lot of necessary, but basic information. For example they bought Quote Tracker a few years back which used to be a free charting software, and I have been doing this for over 20 years, and believe me there is no finer charting than Quote Tracker bar non. This software blows TOS right out of the water and TD owns it but does not support it. It is not accurate any more you dont know if its correct, and it leaves you in limbo a lot. Also TD has by far the worst phone support where operators dont even know what they have or what there products do. The left hand does not know what the right hand does for sure. The have an item called Predgio which is a very complicated but simple to use once you figure it out for automated trading, but they have no live classes on this like there all of there other products do, so your very lost with there out dated videos.If I dint know what I was doing when it comes to there software I would change in a heartbeat.


   ranveer    2016/9/23 13:52   

TD AMERITRADE is good but their commisions are way tooooo much.......i switched to IB from TD bec of this...no point paying 2500 dollar in commisons if i can save 2000 dollar with commsions.....


more    2016/9/23 13:52
It is NOT important if you pay in commission $ 9.99 per ttade or 4.99 .. what is important is the speed of the execution and right prices.. If you want to trade the Mutual funds go directly to tem. Being to greedy is not helping you.. I am with TDAmeritrade (before TD Waterhouse) since 1992 and I am fully satisfied! Usually people who are unhappy are the losers who only conceal their own faults!

   Ross    2016/9/23 13:52   

I have used multiple brokers and none have compared to TDAmeritrade. The execution times are very fast when placing a trade. Also the trade pricing is good because the do not charge extra for a lot of shares which is nice for day trading. And the thinkorswim platform is free if you open a account with them which is also a plus. They also have good customer service.


   bjl72    2016/9/23 13:52   

I've been with TD for about 6 months and very unhappy with their service. I generally trade through their website or on my mobile device since I can't access the TS tool during the day. I can't count the number of times that the web site has simply frozen up in the middle of an order. I've had situations where I submitted an order to close a position and I have no idea whether the order was received, executed or lost until I dump out and log back in - maybe a minute or more. Being locked out of your trading account for a minute can be very costly, believe me.

When market activity picks up I get - "Account not available...call a customer service rep." lock out messages at times. Of course that's when you need access the most. My mobile platform drops sync with the server when market activity picks up, again, when you need it the most. I've been left in the blind with 500 contact option trades in play. I frequently have to refresh the screen or dump out of the browser completely (task manager) and log back in. And I know it is not my configuration or the speed of my connection or anything else they try to blame it on. When my browser connection freezes and I simultaneously get a "Lost connection with the server error" in my mobile device, the problem is on their end, not mine. It's clear they haven't invested in the technology needed to properly service their clients. The latest bufu is not being able see my account positions watch list from my mobile platform. I can see every other watch list but not the one I actually need. I sent an e-mail to their support with no reply.

COntinued-__I can't log in through Chrome (my preferred browser). One of their tech guys have told me that there are known issues with IE, and get this - that they have been pressuring Microsoft to address them! Really, they think they have the weight to get Microsoft to adapt their browser to TDs incompetent software engineering capabilities. The truth is it doesn't work well in any browser, or mobile device for that matter.


   Paul    2016/9/23 13:52   

I cannot believe they failed to mention some big cons/flaws with Ameritrade:

1. commission free ETFs you must hold for 30 days or you pay the fees
2. for most Mutual Funds you have to pay and those that are free you have to hold for half a year or you get $50 fee

One great thing about Ameritrade is the ability to have Day+Extended hours trade orders.


   Graham    2016/9/23 13:52   

If a non-US resident, beware - had an account with them for over 12 years and then they asked me to close it as a result of "legal review" they no longer offer accounts to non-US residents in certain (unspecified) foreign jurisdictions, in my case Cyprus. (since when has Cyprus been on the US sanctions list for goodness sake?) Request for clarification met with the usual "cut and paste" response


guest    2016/9/23 13:52
This is due to the patriot act, all firms are now reviewing the residence of account holders and unfortunately if you reside in a non-us country that is subject to SEC review or restriction they could ask for your account to be closed. Its unfortunate that this happens.

   notsure    2016/9/23 13:52   

How come none comments about the "funds available to trade" in TDA. The other day, I sold shares from one of my stocks that I am trading, but it took more three days for the proceeds from the sale to be credited to my account. I asked and I was told that it takes that long to get the proceeds from the sale. So, how can I trade more frequently if I don't receive the proceeds from the sale into my account as quickly as possible. I didn't get any answer for my question.

Most of you talk about customer service, fees etc; but don't you think how you trade is much more important that? Why is there so much delay in crediting the proceeds from the sale into your trading account?


guest    2016/9/23 13:52
whether cash or margin account the trade execution for stock is t + 3, if you go with a margin account they will make your funds available sooner but then you will be trading on margin until your trade actually clears. This is standard in the industry. Hope this helps

fc123    2016/9/23 13:52
Have them change your cash acct to a margin acct and funds will post right away without the 3 days wait for funds to settle

   guest    2016/9/23 13:52   

I guess I must be in the minority here, but I have been with TD Ameritrade for several years and have been very satisfied with the service, free trades for the asking, great customer service from my main contact. I haven't done anything yet with TOS as I haven't seen a need to, but it might be a good idea. All my trades have executed promptly and compared to another brokerage (full service) that I deal with, I have to say that Ameritrade is much better.


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