Over the past several months I have seen a lot of members using the ThinkOrSwim platform. I decided to open an account with them for some of my swing trading positions.
I was just looking on the forum and although there are a lot of ToS threads, there wasn't a general thread just about the platform or broker itself (more generic). So I am creating this one.
So far the process of setting up a new account has been very painless and well automated. I needed to talk to support to get one question answered, and they replied via email within seconds.
I wanted to ask you guys what you are paying in commission for equities. I want to make sure I am getting a competitive rate, I know I've read before they are negotiable in that area. If any of you have a specific rep that has helped you please share.
I'm still waiting for my funds to get transferred but while I wait I am starting to play with the platform. A bit of a learning curve, but so far it seems to have everything I could need to do swing trades, and it seems fast and full of features.
Want my help or input? 1) Please don't PM me, instead make a post on the forum. 2) In your post, mention me by typing @Big Mike.
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Platform: Sierra Charts, Investor RT, Ninja Trader
Favorite Instrument: NQ
Posts: 527 since Sep 2009
Thanks: 563 given,
I have done some equity trading with them and just use their standard $5 per side on equity trades. I did get $1.50 per options contract. I have been with them about 6 years and when I asked for a lower rate on futures, they gave me $5 RT, all in.
In my experience, customer service has been fantastic.....Tom Sosnoff, the president, has even answered some of the questions (especially about lowering the rates).
The charts are good but not totally flexible. You can't customize time periods or use range bars; there are a fixed number of tick charts and time periods available....for swing trading, it will be no problem. For futures trading, it has been a bit of a problem.
Extremely good analytics for options....that really is their bread and butter.
One great thing....it is Java based...will run great on your Ubuntu machine. They give instructions on how to load it onto Ubuntu that are so clear, even I could get it to work....you would be amazed at that if you knew my history with computers
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I think there is some ATM-like functionality you can do in the DOM such as tagets and stops/trailing stops, and I think that is now multi-target as well.
If you like listening to things in the background during cash hours there are some audio feeds you can listen to via the Chat tabs. Brad at ShadowTrader is OK.
Once you are funded keep an eye on DOM vs chart data for lags, and TOS vs the included Prophet charts. When TOS data starts to go tits up they usually tell you to switch to Prophet charts while they address the issue.
It is a very feature-rich platform.
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I like TOS real well. Commissions are a bit high for intra day futures, seven dollars round turn, although they rebate $40 per month after 40 trades. There's a comfort in knowing your OCO orders are held server side in case of an internet connection loss. The active trader has the capability of 3 level bracketing i.e multiple orders in increments of one, two or three would be no problem for multi stops and targets. There are eight chat rooms you have access to. You have to ask permission to get into the David Elliot room, they like the Dow mini. The Market Cast chat has Ben Lichtenstein squawking the big S&P pit if your in to that. As far as options TOS is feature rich. Support seems pretty decent, they all will treat you the same.
Papa15, what do you mean by $5 RT all in? Thanks
"The simplicity of the markets is it's greatest disguise"
Last edited by Tmanbone; January 5th, 2011 at 07:00 PM.
Reason: added thought
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I manage a margin account, two of my retirement accounts, and my wife's retirement account on one platform instance. You just have to ask them to link the accounts. For my wife's retirement account she had to sign a discretionary trading authorization for me.
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Broker/Data: Advantage, Trading Technologies, OptionsCity, IQ Feed
Favorite Instrument: CL, NG
Posts: 1,040 since Jul 2010
Thanks: 1,713 given,
Been using TOS for a few years. I feel their platform is getting a lot better however their intraday data is slower than most and filtered. I can't help with regards to stocks or options as I only trade futures. The commissions on Futures can be negotiated based on the volume traded with them. $3/side all in for 250 contracts/month, $2.50 for 500 and $2.00 for 1,000. Once you hit one of these levels, you aren't required to maintain them (as far as I know) to keep those rates. Additionally, as someone already mentioned, they automatically rebate you $39.99 for an "internet rebate". They even send you an email telling you they're doing it and it's like clock work. As for intraday margins, they do 25% of the overnight amount if you have at least $15k with them.
Some other good features include:
- Free access to Ben Lichtenstein's Pit Noise and commentary in the Market Cast chat room which I find helpful when trading ES.
- Very easy to use charts. Very straight forward but as someone else already mentioned, limited to predetermined time and tick intervals. No Range, Renko, P&F, etc. Drawing tools are very easy to use and easily customizable.
- Tons of Custom indicators are abundant and easy to implement.
- Transferring money out of your account is very easy via ACH initiated online rather than dealing with wiring.
- Clearing through Penson. Very important in my opinion to be with a large, well funded custodian.
- Free use of Gainskeeper for consolidated EOY tax reporting information.
- Very easy to use DoM (Active Trader in TOS).
- The ability to zoom in and out on the charts.
I'm sure there's many more but that's kind've my favorites.
Overall, I prefer to use them for swing trades but I guess you could intraday trade with them as well. In fact, I have in the past but it's just that the data is a bit slower than say Zen, IQ Feed or TT. The data through their institutional platform, Thinkpipes is a bit better but it's a very limited platform compared to their retail one. Also, in the event you decide to use floor pivots, just know that they're going to most likely be off a few ticks. They just don't get it either when you tell them they are wrong.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by Private Banker; January 5th, 2011 at 08:58 PM.
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The charting is nice...i like how you can customize your layout with one click....loads are fast....customizing ticks/no ranges/no renko/etc is missing. I always thought their rates on futures are high (i haven't looked lately). Their programming language is pretty limited.
They have great option functionality/search utilities. Spreadhacker is a nice feature. I wish there was better alert functionality/customization. I haven't done multiple accounts so I can't comment on that.