25k needed to trade in ThinkorSwim?

Lukhy11

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2019 Donor
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Hi, I have a TD Direct account in Canada and using thinkorswim for my trading my question is today I tried to buy an option on SPX I got a message that said rejected: option trading is not allowed on this account. Any other Canadian’s having this problem? I asked support and they said that I need 25k in account to be able to trade US options going forward even though I’ve been with them over 10yrs.
 

rad14733

Well-known member
VIP
Option trading is not automatically available in Thinkorswim by default... You have to login to tdameritrade.com > Client Services > General and click Enable next to Option Trading... With a cash account, which is all I will ever trade, you can day trade as many instruments as you can with your available cash balance... I wasted a lot of profit when I first started because I wasn't initially aware that I didn't have to hold my trades overnight so as not to be in violation of the Pattern Day Trading rule... If you want to day trade on margin you need to maintain the $25,000 minimum as federally required... When I called about trading options they simply walked me through what I stated above, but they are very helpful if you've never called them... Hope this helps...

Edited to add: You would also receive a similar error trying to trade options on the tdameritrade.com site if the setting is disabled...
 
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Lukhy11

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2019 Donor
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@rad14733 This is a Canadian TD Account we don’t have that option to select or disable option trading but I’ve been trading options using thinkorswim for over 10yrs never got that message about no option trading in this account
 

rad14733

Well-known member
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@rad14733 This is a Canadian TD Account we don’t have that option to select or disable option trading but I’ve been trading options using thinkorswim for over 10yrs never got that message about no option trading in this account
Please keep us posted on what you discover from TD Ameritrade... I've observed several quirks with the platform after updates...
 

Lukhy11

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2019 Donor
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Hi members I just went to TD bank and asked about the problem I was having trading options in my thinkorswim platform TD said any Canadian’s using thinkorswim must have 25K minimum in account to be able to trade US options as of Jul 17th, you can trade stocks but not options.
 

stellar0645

New member
@Lukhy11: Thanks for the official update from TDA... Bummer that they made that change... :(
The $25,000 limit was bad enough for options trading but It gets worse. I'm a Canadian TD and TOS client. Last fall I withdrew my $25,000 in ETFs plus some cash so the balance was zero. Without any notice, they deactivated the account.

In March of this year, TOS decided to refuse any new Canadian accounts. This rule apparently also applies to reactivating existing accounts, with or without any balance. Again, done with no notice.

So, yesterday, trying to add some cash to the account, I discovered that I no longer have a TOS account or ever will again. Of course, had I known about the March policy change, I would have made sure that the account was active.

This has to be one of the worst examples of customer service I have ever encountered. Presumably, this directive is coming from Chuck Schwab to the Canadian cousins who are told to bend over and get used to it.

Curious if any other Canadians have had this same heartwarming experience? I have escalated the ticket and await a call from a supervisor but not holding my breath.

Thanks . . . . .
 

RickAns

Active member
Sorry to hear about that, hope you get it sorted. As mentioned TDA is now under the new Schwab umbrella so it might be their new policy.

I would think even a standard bank checking or savings account the company would be tempted to deactivate someone for having zero funds and no activity for almost a year, or some extended amount of time. They have no idea if you will ever come back. So it makes it in their interest to reduce the number of null accounts that may never be used again. It does make sense even though it could be an inconvenience to someone returning. For example if one does not use a credit card for several years they will deactivate and close down the account due to inactivity.
 

rad14733

Well-known member
VIP
@stellar0645 Sorry to hear about your issue but I'm sure there are underlying reasons for what has transpired... I'm assuming that it has more to do with international logistics or market-share than TD-Ameritrade of Charles Schwab having a personal vendetta for Canadians... Business models and international finance regulations change over time and this type of situation is quite common in the grand scheme of things... I know that doesn't make your situation any less disappointing but times change and we have no choice but to change with them... Good luck and keep us updated should you learn anything regarding your situation...
 

MerryDay

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Staff
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@stellar0645 Charles Schwab taking over TD-Ameritrade is creating disruptions, whether they will be catastrophic remains to be seen. Schwab has given lip-service to the whole "nothing is going to change", "you are valued clients" because what else are they going to say, "you guys are so screwed?" That would have us rats fleeing the sinking ship, taking our financial assets with us.

In my area, they closed the TD-Ameritrade offices. The few times I have had to go to a Schwab office for various things like a wire transfer which was time-sensitive; they screwed it up so bad. They are not familiar w/ TD-Ameritrade forms or with dealing with TD-Ameritrade departments (whose manpower has been greatly reduced). The glimpses that I have gotten to how this 'merger' is going has not given me a 'warm and fuzzy'. There is definitely no love lost amongst the Schwab employees for TD-Ameritrade or nor do they feel any great need to accommodate TD-Ameritrade clients.

I love TOS. Right now, I am hanging on waiting to see if there comes an outcome in a format that I can live with. But knowing that might not be the case, I have slowly been migrating my studies and strategies to TradeStation.

As @rad14733 stated, times are a changing. They may have done you a service, you might not want to be on the Titanic that we are riding on at the moment. It will be rough seas ahead. We can hope for the best, but it behooves us to prepare for the worst.
Just IMHO. Good luck to you.
 
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stellar0645

New member
@stellar0645 Charles Schwab taking over TD-Ameritrade is creating disruptions, whether they will be catastrophic remains to be seen. Schwab has given lip-service to the whole "nothing is going to change", "you are valued clients because what else are they going to say, "you guys are so screwed?" That would have us rats fleeing the sinking ship, taking our financial assets with us.

In my area, they closed the TD-Ameritrade offices. The few times I have had to go to a Schwab office for various things like a wire transfer which was time-sensitive; they screwed it up so bad. They are not familiar w/ TD-Ameritrade forms or with dealing with TD-Ameritrade departments (whose manpower has been greatly reduced). The glimpses that I have gotten to how this 'merger' is going has not given me a 'warm and fuzzy'. There is definitely no love lost amongst the Schwab employees for TD-Ameritrade or nor do they feel any great need to accommodate TD-Ameritrade clients.

I love TOS. Right now, I am hanging on waiting to see if there comes an outcome in a format that I can live with. But knowing that might not be the case, I have slowly been migrating my studies and strategies to TradeStation.

As @rad14733 stated, times are a changing. They may have done you a service, you might not want to be on the Titanic that we are riding on at the moment. It will be rough seas ahead. We can hope for the best, but it behooves us to prepare for the worst.
Just IMHO. Good luck to you.
Right, thanks for the condolences and observations. I'm OK with changing rules as things evolve but without any warning or recourse? This is disrespectful in the extreme. Not just moving the goalposts but removing them entirely - without warning!

Given my experiences and the gloomy but realistic Titanic-style outlook from MerryDay, the future doesn't bode well. What kind of business model is not accepting any new Canadian accounts? Hard not to feel a sense of discrimination. Set $ or trading volume limits, whatever, but based on citizenship? Without warning? Someone needs an ethics refresher.

Anyway, how does TradeStation compare to ToS? Is it programmable? Thanks very much . . . .
 

Slippage

Well-known member
@stellar0645 TradeStation does have EasyLanguage for custom studies to be programmed in. I've barely touched it but the language reference is a lot bigger than ThinkScript's and looks promising.

TradeStation has some cool features, like being able to nest OCO orders inside OCO orders in such a way that you can enter just one complex order (and save it as a template) that takes profit at some target and automatically moves your stop to breakeven, then takes profit at a second target and sets a trailing stop on the rest. Cool stuff. It has a text-to-voice alert system so it speaks when orders execute but it's not detailed enough to be useful. "Order filled" vs "TSLA limit order filled". Maybe there's some options you can turn on for that. I didn't spend much time in there.

I don't like the way its scans work. There's two layers to it. First you build a "symbol universe" using whatever scan criteria. Then you use Radar Screen to put real-time filters on it. You have to re-run the scan manually or on a schedule (when the software is open) and then point Radar Screen to the new scan results each time. It's not difficult but WTF. Tedious steps we shouldn't have to deal with.

Being a native Windows application instead of written in Java like TOS I had expected TradeStation to perform better than TOS but it doesn't.

TradeStation's "Matrix" is nicer than TOS's Active Trader. Very similar but looks nicer and has more features.

TradeStation has a lot of webinar videos on YouTube showing off the platform. That might be a good place for you to start. Look in the playlists.
 

rad14733

Well-known member
VIP
@stellar0645 I'd advise you to do some research because from the quick research I did the problem isn't actually TD-Ameritrade at all but, rather, the Canadian government and banking industry... Placing blame on TD-Ameritrade without doing ample research is crying sour grapes for no good reason...
 

stellar0645

New member
Right, thanks for the condolences and observations. I'm OK with changing rules as things evolve but without any warning or recourse? This is disrespectful in the extreme. Not just moving the goalposts but removing them entirely - without warning!

Given my experiences and the gloomy but realistic Titanic-style outlook from MerryDay, the future doesn't bode well. What kind of business model is not accepting any new Canadian accounts? Hard not to feel a sense of discrimination. Set $ or trading volume limits, whatever, but based on citizenship? Without warning? Someone needs an ethics refresher.

Anyway, how does TradeStation compare to ToS? Is it programmable? Thanks very much . . . .
@stellar0645 TradeStation does have EasyLanguage for custom studies to be programmed in. I've barely touched it but the language reference is a lot bigger than ThinkScript's and looks promising.

TradeStation has some cool features, like being able to nest OCO orders inside OCO orders in such a way that you can enter just one complex order (and save it as a template) that takes profit at some target and automatically moves your stop to breakeven, then takes profit at a second target and sets a trailing stop on the rest. Cool stuff. It has a text-to-voice alert system so it speaks when orders execute but it's not detailed enough to be useful. "Order filled" vs "TSLA limit order filled". Maybe there's some options you can turn on for that. I didn't spend much time in there.

I don't like the way its scans work. There's two layers to it. First you build a "symbol universe" using whatever scan criteria. Then you use Radar Screen to put real-time filters on it. You have to re-run the scan manually or on a schedule (when the software is open) and then point Radar Screen to the new scan results each time. It's not difficult but WTF. Tedious steps we shouldn't have to deal with.

Being a native Windows application instead of written in Java like TOS I had expected TradeStation to perform better than TOS but it doesn't.

TradeStation's "Matrix" is nicer than TOS's Active Trader. Very similar but looks nicer and has more features.

TradeStation has a lot of webinar videos on YouTube showing off the platform. That might be a good place for you to start. Look in the playlists.
OK, thanks very much for that background. It sounds like a viable alternative. The programmability is appealing. Thanks again . . .
 

stellar0645

New member
@stellar0645 I'd advise you to do some research because from the quick research I did the problem isn't actually TD-Ameritrade at all but, rather, the Canadian government and banking industry... Placing blame on TD-Ameritrade without doing ample research is crying sour grapes for no good reason...
Thanks, but I did quite a bit of research but TD Direct Investing, the Canadian "agent" for TD-Ameritrade was not overly helpful. From what I could learn and experienced:
  1. The problem appears to be quite clearly TD-Ameritrade:
  2. TD-DI leases ToS from TD-AT/Charles Schwab
  3. CS bought TD-AT and ToS
  4. the new TD-AT/CS decided to not accept new Canadian clients, without notice
  5. the new TD-AT/CS decided to not renew inactive clients, without notice
  6. I found no involvement of the "Canadian government", what is your information?
  7. I found no involvement of the banking industry other than TD Direct Investing silently complying with the directives from CS/TD-AT, what is your information?
  8. I believe I have very good reasons to cry sour grapes - TD-DI and CS/TD-AT cancelled my exiting account without cause, with no notice and no recourse. They refer to it as a "business decision" (not a Canadian government or banking industry decision) which they think makes the blindsiding ethically OK. Would you agree?
 
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rad14733

Well-known member
VIP
@stellar0645 From what I found it has to do with regulatory decisions but, regardless, businesses can make whatever decisions they want and they have no obligation to advise everyone of such decisions... Their decisions don't have to be negotiable or open for debate... Our only option is to accept their decisions, whether we like them or not... Trust me, over the years I've had the rug pulled out from under me a time or three myself, and one was far more everyday life impacting than not being allowed to return to using an inactive trading account... At this point you have two choices, continue to fixate on what you feel is an injustice, which it wasn't for the reasons I've mentioned, or simply move on in another direction... Life isn't always fair and all we can do is make the best of our time on the top-side... I'm sorry you are in the position you are but there is nothing that these forums can do other than suggest other trading platforms and brokers...
 

stellar0645

New member
@stellar0645 From what I found it has to do with regulatory decisions but, regardless, businesses can make whatever decisions they want and they have no obligation to advise everyone of such decisions... Their decisions don't have to be negotiable or open for debate... Our only option is to accept their decisions, whether we like them or not... Trust me, over the years I've had the rug pulled out from under me a time or three myself, and one was far more everyday life impacting than not being allowed to return to using an inactive trading account... At this point you have two choices, continue to fixate on what you feel is an injustice, which it wasn't for the reasons I've mentioned, or simply move on in another direction... Life isn't always fair and all we can do is make the best of our time on the top-side... I'm sorry you are in the position you are but there is nothing that these forums can do other than suggest other trading platforms and brokers...
Well, rad, thanks for all the life lessons that I never would have thought up on my own.

Fixate? Say what? I came here with 2 questions:
  • have any Canadians had a similar experience?
  • what is a good replacement product for ToS?
I got a very helpful and polite answer to one of them.

What I didn't ask is:
  • have you ever been screwed over and how you coped with it
  • what these forums can do regarding my problem
  • for a sermon on how to cope with life and its disappointments
Still waiting for those references to the Canadian government and the banking industry, I'm devastated that my search results don't match yours.

Here's some advice for you - stick to the topic. And thanks to MerryDay and Slippage who were actually helpful while being polite.
 

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