It is the IA members’ recommendation for our followers is to close/transfer away your TD Ameritrade accounts. This is entirely influenced by TD Ameritrade’s decision to eliminate Investools and not carry over the features to Think or Swim. Investools was everything that an expert or novice analyst needed, all in one place for a few hundred dollars per year, and TD Ameritrade killed it.
TD Ameritrade’s management must have realized that they were going to anger and lose a portion of their Investools clients. Even though the Investools platform was a premium paid-for service, apparently the projected loss of clients was not enough to justify the cost of maintaining two platforms.
As a matter of principle, it is our recommendation to not support that decision by leaving TD Ameritrade. Force the free market to work by finding the next closest analytical toolset. We will keep you posted as we find alternatives. Maybe keep a tiny account open with TD Ameritrade. Put your large portfolio elsewhere where they value their customers’ needs.
It was first announced some months ago that Investools was being discontinued. For clarification, we called client services. Both companies verbally agreed that, yes, Investools was being shut-down but they assured us the tools were being moved over to Think or Swim. The catch was that the only way to access the tools was to have a TD Ameritrade account. I personally rolled over two of my accounts that were eligible.
To our shock and surprise, the Investools tools were not moved over. The resulting conversations with TD Ameritrade can be summarized as them explaining that there was some misunderstanding that resulted in us being told the tools were being moved. To me, it looks like the truth was fudged, just so they could open as many accounts as possible. Their excuse that, “The people you spoke with probably meant that we have some tools that you’ll find useful in analysis.” No duh. All online brokers have at least some basic analysis tools.
As a side note, my personal client services manager was helpful, pleasant, and professional during the whole sign-up process, but most of the misinformation had already happened before him.
After the Oct 1 transition, in a move showing good customer service, I was assigned a knowledgeable platform education coach. I was optimistic that it would shorten the learning curve of finding comparable tools on the new platform. Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when we mutually discovered that most of the tools, except a tiny portion, do not exist on TD Ameritrade or Think or Swim.
So many critical features are gone that it makes our analysis nearly impossible. Even if it’s partially possible, that fractional analysis would take 40 hours instead of four per month based on what we can tell are missing.
That loss equals thousands of dollars lost per account per month…. personally a devastatingly large amount per year lost as it stands now compared to the performance of an account that matches the major indexes. It’s possible that we’ll suffer only partial loses if we return to analyzing with archaic tools requiring between 10 and 40 hours per month. Finding that amount of time in one’s life doesn’t come without loss of other streams of income and large personal sacrifice.
A TD Ameritrade employee tried to be sympathetic to the pain of a learning curve on a new platform. He likened it to a learning curve before things get back to normal. Not in this case. This is not a matter of finding where tools have been shuffled around or work a little differently at TD Ameritrade… this is flat out not being able to do accurate or efficient fundamental analysis on stocks because the tools do not exist on TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade decided to cut these tools. So Investools clients should decide to leave TD Ameritrade.
At the end of this post is the summary table of the coaching call and research into the features used by this club. Screenshots comparisons are provided as are available. Some features were not discussed so further research is required to find TD Ameritrade equivalents if they exist. (But most of those undetermined features are very basic data that can be found on any platform, free or paid.)
In conclusion, yes, change is inevitable. Basic economic principles dictate that were there is demand, there will be someone that comes along that fills the need. Hopefully, there’s a comparable product that exists now or will be created in the future. This change wasn’t the death of a platform that failed; TD Ameritrade acquired and then killed a competing platform. TD Ameritrade’s management made that choice. Now make your choice to voice dissatisfaction and leave.