Finding a great platform for stock trading might not automatically make you rich, but it does go a long way towards helping you make better trades and encourage you to monitor the markets more closely.
TD Ameritrade is one of the US’s biggest discount brokers, and is open to Singapore investors. TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim trading platform, which enables you to invest in US equities, has been touted as a great platform for amateur traders.
Participants voted thinkorswim “Most Preferred Platform” at INVEST Fair 2015 and 2016. So, is it all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s find out.
Minimum to open TD Ameritrade account
You will need to make an initial deposit of at least USD3,500. Your deposit must be made in US dollars by cheque deposit, telegraphic transfer from your bank or by transferring cash from an account with another broker.
In addition, the NYSE and NASD requires pattern day traders to maintain a minimum equity of at least USD25,000.
Minimum balance to keep a TD Ameritrade account
Once your account is open, your account value must, for 12 months, be at least equal to your initial deposit (ie. USD3,500) minus any losses due to trading or market volatility or margin debit balances, or you might be charged additional fees.
thinkorswim app features
thinkorswim is a platform for Singapore-based investors who wish to trade US equities. The huge time difference between Singapore and the US makes platforms that let you trade round the clock more valuable. thinkorswim enables you trade in US markets 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, preprogramming your buy or sell orders for the next morning.
The platform has both a desktop and a mobile app, so you can trade from the comfort of home or while on the go.
As with many trading apps, thinkorswim also gives you access to research, fundamental data and educational resources that enable you to refine your strategy and pick your stocks more easily. Some features include advanced interactive charting, third party research reports, trade scanners, a market heatmap and a probability analysis tool. You also have access to in-app chat support if you run into any problems.
For newbie traders, there is also a trade simulator that enables you to execute mock trades with $100,00 worth of play money.
TD Ameritrade thinkorswim commission and fees
The platform charges the following fees:
- Stocks: USD10.65 per trade flat fee
- Options: USD0.81 per contract + US10.65 (waived when you buy to close any short individual or single leg option for USD0.05 or less)
- Futures and futures options: USD2.41 per contract + exchange and regulatory fees
Their stock trading fee of USD10.65 per trade is quite high for those who are making smaller trades of $20,000 or less. On the other hand, if you are making large trades, the fees can actually work out to be cheaper than what many brokers are charging.
This makes the platform more suitable for traders with more cash who intend to make larger trades.
What can you do with TD Ameritrade thinkorswim?
The main draw of TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is that it offers Singapore investors the chance to trade American stocks and ETFs.
That means you can invest in big American tech companies like Google, Apple or Amazon. Technology stocks tend to be more volatile but also offer more potential for growth as well as the chance to capitalise on market volatility to make money.
Cons of thinkorswim
As mentioned earlier, thinkorswim is a relatively expensive platform to use for small-time stock traders who intend to make smaller trades. You are also subject to transfer fees when transferring money from another brokerage unless you transfer at least USD3,500 each time.
The platform’s interface is highly customisable, which is great for experienced traders but comes with a steep learning curve for newbies.
Overall, it looks like thinkorswim is ideal for more experienced traders with enough cash to make the fees worth it.
Have you ever traded with TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim? Share your reviews in the comments!