TD Ameritrade has continued to move up in most reviewers' rankings since its 2009 acquisition of ThinkOrSwim. The companies are more fully merged; as of July 2011, new ThinkOrSwim and TD Ameritrade customers have the same account with identical features, tools and services. One reviewer writes that TD Ameritrade is "near the top of the cost scale, but you get a lot of bang for the (many) bucks." For those who seek a wide range of financial services and more hands-on attention, reviewers say that Fidelity (*Est. $7.95 per trade) may be a better choice.
SmartMoney magazine's 2012 broker survey and Barron's 2012 annual online broker survey offer the most thorough reviews of TD Ameritrade. Kiplinger.com's 2011 review is useful as well, and J.D. Power and Associates' 2012 self-directed investor satisfaction survey includes TD Ameritrade along with nine other brokers. A pool of subscribers to ConsumerReports.org has also registered their opinions of TD Ameritrade. TopTenReviews.com and Stockbrokers.com have reviews of this broker as well.
This thorough review names the best online brokers in six categories, which makes it ideal for those who want to evaluate their choices based on specific criteria. A rankings chart includes the category ratings for each broker. TD Ameritrade comes in third out of the 10 brokers in the survey, with high ratings for its trading tools, research tools and banking products.
Review: Best and Worst Brokers of 2012, J. Alex Tarquinio, May 16, 2012
For its 2012 rankings, Barron's rates 27 online brokers and shows the results in a table. Short tables also break down the data and list the best brokers for different types of investors. TD Ameritrade is ranked sixth overall, and it is listed as one of the best brokers for long-term investors, frequent traders, novice traders, in-person service and options traders.
Review: Cut the Cord, Theresa W. Carey, March 12, 2012
Kiplinger.com evaluates 14 brokerages by asking staffers to open accounts and take them for a test drive. For 2011, TD Ameritrade is tied with Fidelity for first place in the rankings. Editors write that "with an industry-leading selection of no-fee exchange-traded funds, excellent research offerings and a range of useful tools, TD Ameritrade now makes a great value proposition for long-term investors."
Review: Best Online Brokers for 2011: TD Ameritrade, Elizabeth Ody, Jan. 2011
General information about selecting a broker is provided in this buyers' guide from ConsumerReports.org. Information on how 13 brokers fared in a survey of the site's readership is also provided.
Review: Brokerage Service Buying Guide, Editors of Consumer Reports, March 2012
5. J.D. Power and Associates
More than 3,700 people who make investment decisions without a financial adviser responded to J.D. Power's annual self-directed investor satisfaction survey in 2012. On overall satisfaction, TD Ameritrade earns a top rating of 5 PowerCircle, though it's overall satisfaction score is slightly behind three other brokers with similar ratings.
Review: 2012 Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, June 14, 2012
TopTenReviews.com offers detailed reviews of 16 brokers. The review concludes that TD Ameritrade "offers a good collection of domestic stock opportunities and they have an easy to use fully customizable command center, as well as access to some easy to use research and charting tools."
Review: TD Ameritrade Review, Editors of TopTenReviews.com
This individual review of TD Ameritrade says that of the 24 brokers Stockbrokers.com rated, "TD Ameritrade was rated #1 Overall with 5-stars and Best in Class for Platforms & Tools, Ease-of-Use, Research, Customer Service, Investor Community, Investor Education, Active Trading, and Options Trading. In addition, they also received 2012 Best Web Based Platform with ThinkorSwim winning Best Overall Trading Platform."
Review: TD Ameritrade Review 2012, Editors of Stockbrokers.com