When I receive emails promoting a product, I typically hit the delete button assuming that it's SPAM.  This time though, the product was for a new discount brokerage offered in Canada, so I had to take a peak.  Note that this is NOT a sponsored post and MDJ is not affiliated with Think or Swim in any way.

When I first heard of Think or Swim, I thought it was a book title.  Do the words "Think or Swim" conjure up images of a discount brokerage to you?

This article will provide a preliminary view of the discount brokerage Think or Swim CanadaAs I don't have an account with them, I can only go by what it stated on their website.  I would be grateful if there are any users of Think or Swim to add their comments.

Trading Platforms

  1. thinkDesktop – a software based trading platform, I assume that it's the same idea as Interactive Brokers.
  2. webBasedTrading – their web based trading platform.
  3. thinkAnywhere – smartphone/pocketpc based trading platform.
  4. thinkMobile – regular cell phone trading for phones with mini browser capabilities.

Commissions/Fees for Trading Stocks (USD)

  • $0.015/share ($5 min) or
  • $9.95 / trade (5000 shares max).
  • No Additional fees for calling trading desk to make trade.

Commissions/Fees for Trading Options (USD)

  • $1.50 / contract with min of $7.50 / trade. 

Datafeeds

  • All live data is free. 

Currency

  • Only USD is accepted with their accounts (What are they thinking?  How can they open a Canadian version of their brokerage without letting Canadians hold their local currency?)

Advantages

  • Ability to call trading desk to make trades at no extra charge.
  • The additional options in trading platforms.  Although I wouldn't trade over my mobile browser, it is a nice option to have.
  • Low commissions.

Downside

  • Cannot hold Canadian currency within a Think or Swim Account.
  • No RRSP's.
  • No Canadian office.  All paperwork/cheques need to be shipped to their head office in Chicago.
  • No mutual funds.

Final Thoughts

As of right now, I don't think that Think or Swim is a particularly good choice as a Canadian discount brokerage.  If you compare them with other discount brokerages that I've reviewed, you'll see that they are lacking in a couple key areas.  The biggest being that the investor cannot hold Canadian cash within the account.

56 Comments

  1. nathan on October 8, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I recently opened an account with Virtual Brokers [ http://www.virtualbrokers.com ]
    When I tried to return my money back from virtual brokers to my own bank I have problem getting my money back. I filled the form on their website which state that within 2 days the money will be return via EFT – the secretary on the phone confirmed it will be done within 2 days. It was not. Later I talked to Peter Wong, one of their Trading Support people (at that time). I was verbally told the money will be in my account in 10 days. It was not. I contacted a manager BBS Securities Inc. [ Virtual Brokers is a branch of this company ], I was told he will look into this … now I’m in contact with investment industry regulatory organization of canada – 416-943-6910
    Is anyone out there had similar problem with Virtual Brokers ? Have you got your money back? What did you do?

  2. greg on January 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I have tos, td tos, td amertrade account when i signed up 1 yr ago they said it would all be intergrated in two months time yeah it still isn`t. I mainly trade frorex and they are not very good in peek times trades get filled any were from the quoted price to 10 pips higher. it changes in seconds and is very unreliable to try to get it at your price. Also the customer service is very bad.
    There usally quick to answer but as for solving any real problem forget it. Heres just a few of the problems i`ve had money go missing not alot five to ten dollars with no explaination and its not commissons or regular fees just gone and does not show it anywhere in the accounts statements or any other accounts page. They lost all of my info, one day i had an account the next its gone then i was told it has not been actived yet ( this is after 8 months of trading) i had to reapply for forex and futures trading they said if i fax it to them they will process it in two days. So i got on chat and told them i have an account already and have done all of this they would not belive me even with al the paper work. I resent everything along with the old forms.and chated back again, and they had my forex account up within 2 hrs but the money had been moved into another account minus 5 dollars. I had to transfer it around and then was told i didn`t have a futures account again then it was, it needs to be funded, this is still going on today. if you have a real problem with them they will give you the run around as they are still doing with my account. And there underwritter pension group they will not even talk to me out of 8 calls and e-mails the only answer i ever got was i dont have an account with them. things really started to go bad when the paper account went crazy. it started out in real time then the best i could get was 6 months behind when i reported it i was told ( as they are connected to my computer) they dont see any problems on are there end must be your computer. (i have it setup on five differnt ones ) then i started getting email alerts about trades from my paper account that i did not make and the alert had a differnt acount# then mine. But this is just the tip of the iceburg i could go on for hours about all trouble and time i had to deal with customer service and getting put off or outright lies or i cant help you you have to try back during regular hours when the real support people are here. easily over 50 times( they say 24hr support nah some support some times and dont expect it to be fixed. other then that it looks really pretty. They are an options company and anything eles is not worth there time is the impression i get from them. Well i hope this helps someone i will not recomend them to anyone.they havent made good on any thing to date just more back pedeling and lies. thank you and good luck in your trades
    greg sg

  3. Trizi on February 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Just heard today from the Toronto Support Desk, that RRSP integration is targeted for release the second half of 2011.

    I just hope TD Waterhouse doesn’t start charging those high fees for people who use it. ThinkorSwim really cared about giving everyone a chance, and lot’s of people State-side who took the training and worked really hard at their trading could start with smaller accounts and make something of themselves.

    For those who are interested you can download the Paper Trading here: it allows you to practice without risking anything. (fake $100k account with access to real-time market-like conditions)

    https://www.thinkorswim.ca/tos/displayPage.tos?webpage=paperMoney

    You can see lots of videos on Youtube.com just type in ThinkorSwim tutorial

    _____________________________________________________________
    Boy am I ever glad I didn’t see #20 response to my #19 post.

    My background is also in very large software implementations, and I have personally been on projects where upwards of 75 people were on staff, and yes these projects have taken a few years. So 100 isn’t a stretch (for me anyway).

    ” … reasons I won’t get into here….” sorry that was me saying that, not him. He went into it, but this is an investor forum and most don’t want to hear “techie-talk”. Anyway, at the time most of the development was being done off-shore. That was 2008 and everything’s changed.

    Now it’s 2011, TD evaluated and bought the company for what they felt was a fair price of $600M, everything slowed down as the 2 integrated, but RRSPs and Canadian money will finally be available.

  4. Trizi on February 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    .53 Greg I trade regular stocks on TOS, and it’s great.

    My guess is these support issues you are having is with TD Waterhouse. I also have a Web account with them and the staff is really “nice”, and really lame.

    Trouble is they make customers wrong for trying to get them to move.

    The more you follow up and ask the more they side-step and ignore.

  5. Rob on June 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Can you search Canadian stocks in TOS charts and if so, what ending should u use? ex , BMO.TO

  6. Pekka Pasivirta on April 12, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Hey folks,
    I have been trading options for years. TOS is the most incredible trading platform for options trading ever. Go to Tasty Trade website, and you will learn why. The guys there have created the Think or Swim platform. They used to be floor traders in Chicago way back when. The website is free, and has tons of info about defined risk trading. I love it and have changed my trading strategy entirely. Of course, for us Canadians, it is great to know that TD owns TD Ameritrade, and as someone commented, we can now easily trade US stocks and options at really great commission rates. US options have great liquidity, and that is what we need as options traders.

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.