It’s official – Thinkorswim Canada (part of TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage) is now accepting new Canadian accounts. For the moment, this service will allow TD Waterhouse discount brokerage clients to trade US equities and options and only through a US Dollar margin account.
Several discount brokerages have been rolling out new platforms recently including Scotia iTrade’s FlightDesk, and Questrade’s IQ, but from a features perspective, the Thinkorswim platform will be a genuine challenge for other Canadian discount brokerages to compete with. Aside from being incredibly well-reviewed and designed, one of the biggest features that Thinkorswim will offer is the robust order type support for both stocks and options. In addition to stop orders, Thinkorswim also supports conditional orders (also known as bracket orders), ladder orders and multi-leg orders. The image (right) was taken from the Thinkorswim Canada section of the TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage page (click here to see the full page) in reference to the order types available on the platform.
There are three versions of the software platform – mobile, web-based and desktop. The web-based platform uses Flash (take note Mac/iPad users) and the desktop version uses Java 2, so while the web-based version might be a bit of a pain for Mac users, the desktop version should be compatible with PC’s & Mac’s.
The data fees associated with the platform appear to be waived until April of 2013 for all users, and starting in April of 2013 if you make 10 of fewer trades per quarter you will be billed $29/month. Thinkorswim customer support provided the following info on commission rates:
Commission is $9.99 flat fee for stock trading and $9.99 base fee plus $1.25 per contract for option trading. Exercise and assignment of options is $15 flat fee. We also allow the buyback of short option positions that are valued at 5 cents or less free of charge...Please note we do have a minimum equity and trade requirement of $10,000 and 30 trades per quarter.
The commission rates quoted are in line with TD Waterhouse discount brokerage’s fees for active traders, and it is important to note the minimum equity and trade requirements associated with the account. If you fall below the stated minimums there might be some flexibility on keeping you on the thinkorswim platform but there is also the risk you will get “downgraded” to the WebBroker platform.
For more information on thinkorswim Canada, you can check out their webpage here.