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Is Thinkorswim a good Platform for Futures Trading?


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Is Thinkorswim a good Platform for Futures Trading?

  #31 (permalink)
Pismo Beach CA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TOS, IB, Fidelity for 'swing' trades
Trading: ES, NQ, IBB, IWM, NG
 
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ddouglas View Post
I feel differently about this. Consider that there is no cost for the platform, data, historical data, account maintenance, exchange-fees, etc.

IB, Mirus & many other firms charge a handful of regular fees for these things, which add up quickly.

I run CTS in Sierra Chart as my primary system - which adds up to $50/mo minimum (and well worth it!). But still, that's $600/year before I place a single trade. Ninja is MUCH more expensive, and it only goes up from there.

TDA's round-trip comm is $7 v. a typical average of $5&change for Velocity, Mirus, IB, & many others of that class. So what you're looking at is approx $1.50-2.00 savings/RT, but $60/mo for platform (if you want Ninja, anyways), $25 & up for data, $25+ if you don't trade enough, $30 to wire $$ in, $30 to wire out, plus many other little costs - just depending on what you want, & how often you trade.

If you consider all the costs, add them up, & divide it out across your trades, TDA/ToS is actually much cheaper if you don't turn alot of volume.

Which makes it ideal for a backup account, or for a lower-volume trader that doesn't want alot of headache & monthy overhead.

Not to mention that your unused funds can be swept automatically into an FDIC account at TD Bank if you want . .

Hey, you ignored my mostly positives about them and the fact I'm moving to them as my primary brokerage.

Yes, the commissions are not a big deal if you don't do a lot of volume but they will be a significant factor if you do - they add up. I am a hybrid day/'swing' trader so they will be a factor for me, depending. I was able to negotiate the equities commissions down a bit; on the smaller 100/200 share trades, it will be more than IB, on the larger # of shares, it will be less.

But you mentioned all of the value-add they provide, which they do. Ironically, they are still faced with the balancing act of commissions and bringing more trading volume in Vs. standing pat with their comish and watching people use their platform 'for free', with minimal trading over there.

And from a company 'safety' standpoint there's something comforting about knowing that TD Ameritrade has more of a 'stodgy' and less active trading investor customer attached to it than IB does. 2:1 equities leverage instead of 4:1 overnight, $3500 instead of $1700 maintenance for the NQ during the day .... those (slightly) less risky numbers are actually a plus to me. And IB still has, I think, a 1.5% overnight margin charge? That low rate makes me a little nervous in the big picture. After 2008, I take nothing for granted any more.

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  #32 (permalink)
New York, NY
 
 
Posts: 47 since Oct 2011
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heywally View Post
Hey, you ignored my mostly positives about them and the fact I'm moving to them as my primary brokerage.

I wasn't jumping on you at all . . didn't mean for you to take it that way. Just using your comment as a jumping-off point to put some numbers to the actual costs, so a true apples-to-apples commission comparison could be made.

I continually seem to hear "TDA is too expensive for futures trading" from people who are paying $5.50 per round-trip, and have never added up all the numbers. (not that you were one of them - I just wanted to point this out).

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  #33 (permalink)
Pismo Beach CA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TOS, IB, Fidelity for 'swing' trades
Trading: ES, NQ, IBB, IWM, NG
 
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Posts: 160 since Apr 2010
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ddouglas View Post
I wasn't jumping on you at all . . didn't mean for you to take it that way. Just using your comment as a jumping-off point to put some numbers to the actual costs, so a true apples-to-apples commission comparison could be made.

I continually seem to hear "TDA is too expensive for futures trading" from people who are paying $5.50 per round-trip, and have never added up all the numbers. (not that you were one of them - I just wanted to point this out).

Sorry, I thought the smiley face would indicate no offense taken - at all!

You made some good points about TOS. I've pulled back on the futures trading, using the contracts more as the heavy weaponry after the bigger selling has played out, preferring not to scalp them (whatever that is to me at the time) but they offered me $5 round trip if I did 400 e-mini contracts per month, which I'm not right now. The default is $7 round trip at TOS. My guess is that if someone was doing heavier volume, they might come down more.

And yes, 5.50 round trip Vs. an IB at 4.20 is not very much unless you are trading large volume, in which case you'd probably have a better deal somewhere else anyway.

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  #34 (permalink)
Prospect, KY. USA
 
Experience: None
Platform: Sierra Chart
Broker: Infinity
Trading: /CL
 
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ddouglas View Post
Care to throw in a fact, personal experience, or something useful?

If you've had a bad experience, let's hear it.

Platform is known to lock up, java errors, memory etc

Trading futes, not good

Bill

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  #35 (permalink)
New York, NY
 
 
Posts: 47 since Oct 2011
Thanks: 49 given, 70 received

I have, in fact, heard this from other people too, but have not experienced it myself.

There have been a ton of software changes as they tried to finalize the ToS integration - which was known to cause a ton of issues. I certainly hope that they're past all that - but only time will tell.

Any heavy-duty ToS users on this forum that can update us on how this is coming along?

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  #36 (permalink)
Pismo Beach CA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TOS, IB, Fidelity for 'swing' trades
Trading: ES, NQ, IBB, IWM, NG
 
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Posts: 160 since Apr 2010
Thanks: 80 given, 89 received


ddouglas View Post
I have, in fact, heard this from other people too, but have not experienced it myself.

There have been a ton of software changes as they tried to finalize the ToS integration - which was known to cause a ton of issues. I certainly hope that they're past all that - but only time will tell.

Any heavy-duty ToS users on this forum that can update us on how this is coming along?

I'll provide some updates, now that I'm using TOS as my main platform. Don't know if I'm a heavy user but I'll be running it on both a new Win 7 PC with two displays and plenty of memory and a MAC Air - running multiple linked charts with scanning, watch lists, position management, audio news. Virtually no options stuff though ....

"The Future Ain't what it used to be"
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  #37 (permalink)
Des Moines, Iowa
 
Experience: None
Platform: Ninja, TOS
Broker: AMP/CQG, TOS
Trading: CL, TF, GC
 
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Posts: 1,644 since Feb 2011
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the only time it ever becomes a problem is when you have loads and loads of intensive indicators on many many charts.. even then those issues have mostly been sorted out.. i hardly use TOS anymore but it wasnt because of that it was because NT allowed me to do things i was able to do with TOS.. i was also able to get lower commissions outside of TOS and i even had a lower 'negotiated' price there..

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  #38 (permalink)
Pismo Beach CA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TOS, IB, Fidelity for 'swing' trades
Trading: ES, NQ, IBB, IWM, NG
 
heywally's Avatar
 
Posts: 160 since Apr 2010
Thanks: 80 given, 89 received


madLyfe View Post
the only time it ever becomes a problem is when you have loads and loads of intensive indicators on many many charts.. even then those issues have mostly been sorted out.. i hardly use TOS anymore but it wasnt because of that it was because NT allowed me to do things i was able to do with TOS.. i was also able to get lower commissions outside of TOS and i even had a lower 'negotiated' price there..

Yea, I probably won't have a problem as I don't use indicators, other than a MA on a few longer term charts I use for a multi time frame view. But TOS definitely won't be appropriate for some kind of trading styles.

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  #39 (permalink)
Legendary Market Wizard
Portland, OR
 
Experience: None
 
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Posts: 1,905 since Mar 2011
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Penson is out of ToS (all in TDA) Feb. 13th! Nice V-Day present if you ask me.

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  #40 (permalink)
Pismo Beach CA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TOS, IB, Fidelity for 'swing' trades
Trading: ES, NQ, IBB, IWM, NG
 
heywally's Avatar
 
Posts: 160 since Apr 2010
Thanks: 80 given, 89 received



Massive l View Post
Penson is out of ToS (all in TDA) Feb. 13th! Nice V-Day present if you ask me.

Definitely a good thing IMO. I think that in general, people don't pay enough attention to the financial health of their broker, even though they all have 'insurance'.

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