E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley vs thinkorswim (TOS) – The Battle of the Giants

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Online brokers always look for methods to better serve inexperienced and seasoned investors. Advanced traders can use platforms like thinkorswim, and E*TRADE provided by TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE, respectively. They have certain similarities regarding the information and interfaces they handle and their power, but they are otherwise distinct. A user’s experience can be substantially altered by little changes in features. Therefore, it’s essential to know how they stack up against one another. Essential information regarding thinkorswim and E*TRADE is provided below. 

The similarities between the two services might be more easily stated. TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is a comprehensive trading platform recently acquired by Charles Schwab. Investment industry heavyweights include day trading apps like thinkorswim and E*TRADE. Both allow you to keep tabs on the market and use valuable features, such as charts, for doing so. Moreover, they are both members of the latest generation of no-commission internet brokers. Choices and broker aid are also shared features.

You’ll discover that only thinkorswim offers FX trading (forex). On the other hand, E*TRADE excels in futures contracts.

 

E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley Overview

U.S.-based brokerage organization E*TRADE was founded in 1982. It is governed by the SEC and RAFI (Regulatory Authority for the Financial Industry) (FINRA). E*TRADE is trustworthy since it has been around for decades and is regulated by the best authorities in the United States.

E*TRADE, an early leader in online brokerage, has struggled over the past decade due to its high fees. In October 2019, E*TRADE followed the lead of other brokers by beginning to charge neither initial capital nor commissions for leg trades. Many different types of investments are available through E*TRADE’s three computer-based platforms and two fully functional mobile devices. etrade.com, your primary portal, now features streamlined menus for easier use. Power E*TRADE, after acquiring Options House, purchased, and integrated some of Options House’s functionality into its own platform. It supports live broadcasting and has powerful graphics capabilities.

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E*TRADE is an excellent option for investors of all experience levels. A broker’s expertise comes from years of study and training that help novice clients. This demographic is also likely to appreciate the variety of fee-free investment options. The broker provides many assets, two good trading platforms, and a mobile app. E*TRADE is the only principal online broker to offer commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs (ETFs). In fact, you will learn the truth. E*TRADE will accommodate you regardless of your degree of expertise or prior experience with financial markets.

E*TRADE is an online brokerage that serves retail customers, retirees, and institutional investors. This broker offers various retirement and investment products, including IRAs, brokerage accounts, small business retirement accounts, managed portfolios, and automated portfolios.

Stocks, futures, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, and pre-built portfolios are all available to E*TRADE users. Your account provides you with a wide range of customization choices. Brokerage services, retirement planning, key portfolios, managed portfolios, and online banking are all options for small company owners.

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Options for managed portfolios are available to customers who would want the help of an officer. However, its services distinguish it from other online investment organizations since they enable companies to trade without the intervention of a broker.

Customers with little to no expertise in the financial markets can use E*TRADE’s widely used program for beginning investors and a library of investment information. 

thinkorswim (TOS) Overview

thinkorswim is TD Ameritrade’s advanced trading platform, designed for traders that execute frequent or complicated transactions. Let’s say you don’t need a fully-featured, semi-professional toolbox. You may proceed with confidence at this point. If, on the other hand, your business operates at the cutting edge of the industry, keep reading to find out if thinkorswim is a fit for you.

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is an advanced trading platform with many useful features. The company’s flagship brand will benefit from its addition. In contrast to the retail market that thinkorswim’s leading platform caters to, thinkorswim is tailored to more advanced traders. On this website, you may look up a stock’s current price, bid/ask spread, options chain, and OCO bracket.

thinkorswim

Because of its comprehensive nature, thinkorswim can accommodate trading in all main asset classes. Various financial instruments such as stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, futures, and forex are included in this category. At the time of writing, cryptocurrency trading is not supported. Trading on the thinkorswim platform is possible through TD Ameritrade in three ways: via a desktop client, a web browser, or an in-app interface. The app-based client is not only attractively made but also surprisingly lightweight in comparison to other thinkorswim-like systems. In reality, you don’t want the extraordinary complexity of this platform if you’re only interested in the restricted capabilities of an app.

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E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley vs. thinkorswim (TOS) Service & Feature Comparison

Costs & Fees

Suppose you are interested in using a trading platform. In that case, it’s essential to look out for the four types of fees you’ll typically run into.

Like many other online brokers, E*TRADE does not impose transaction or commission fees on stock and ETF trades. Since the thinkorswim spinoff does away with trading, inactivity, and yearly fees, the two systems are similar. Comparing the prices of options contracts ($50) and bonds ($1) and finding similarities is easy. Suppose you want to use a trading platform, and you’ve noticed that both of them charge $0.65 per options contract. This is a fairly standard rate in the industry. One must be aware of four distinct categories of possible charges here. For frequent investors, E*TRADE reduces this to $0.50.

Margin interest rates are an alternative that costs roughly the same. The spread between thinkorswim’s 7.5 percent and 9.50 percent and E*TRADE’s 5.45 percent and 8.95 percent is wide. thinkorswim’s $2.25 futures contract price is higher than E*TRADE’s $1.50 futures contract price. For example, trading a no-load fund at E*TRADE will cost you $19.99, whereas, at thinkorswim, it would cost you $49.99.

The three-tiered pricing structure of E*TRADE’s Pro platform is a feature and cost that distinguishes it from thinkorswim. Those whose account balance is more than $250,000 are affected. Your own personal $5000 portfolio may be handled by experts for an annual advice charge of 0.3%.

Both brokers may be required to pay additional fees for specialist services.

Account Types

In terms of account options, both brokers provide pretty much everything. Individual and joint taxable accounts, Roth, classic, and rollover Individual Retirement Accounts, SEP, SIMPLE, solo 401(k) plans, and 529 plans are all standard accounts.

thinkorswim users now have access to Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, one of the top robo advisor offerings. If you’re searching for a “set it and forget it” investment strategy, consider one of E*TRADE’s core portfolios.

Education and Research

If you’re just starting in the trading world, one of the most excellent choices is E*TRADE. The brokerage provides a wealth of free tools, including webinars and seminars, to its clients.

More resources on technical analysis, diversified portfolios, options trading methods, and other areas of finance are available. The brokerage also offers on-location events to provide lectures on different trading products, tactics, and new trends.

 

E*TRADE’s investment classes, however, are what truly differentiates it from competing brokerages. Morningstar offers a wide range of investment courses, from those aimed at complete novices to those that teach advanced techniques, such as how to invest in emergency funds or the futures market.

TD Ameritrade is a one-stop shop for information, with resources including articles, webinars, and a questions and answers section. After 30 years online, there’s a ton of content to peruse here. Stocks, strategies, options, emergency savings, retirement planning, and more are covered in videos, quizzes, slideshows, and live online seminars.

thinkorswim also provides in-person training sessions at its offices. Online courses are also available, and you may enroll in them based on whether you are a complete beginner, a serious student, or a seasoned expert in the investment world.

Range of Investments

These two brokerages provide a wide variety of investing options. The amount of available mutual funds is maybe the sole variable.

For your financial needs, E*TRADE provides several options:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Futures

Most active traders will be satisfied with the range of investments available through E*Trade. At the same time, retirees will appreciate the abundance of NTF mutual funds. There are no commission costs for purchasing any of the 4,400 mutual funds offered by E*Trade. In addition, the “All-Star Funds Report” provides information on top-rated mutual funds, such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and no-load mutual funds.

There is no Foreign Exchange (FX), Initial Public Offering (IPO), cryptocurrency, or trading in foreign ADRs (American Depositary Receipts). When compared, how well do you think thinkorswim performs?

The giant brokerage firm offers a wider variety of investing options. The following are the investments available on thinkorswim:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Forex
  • Foreign ADRs
  • IPOs (for approved, qualified accounts)

thinkorswim stands out because it provides access to more than 11,000 low-cost mutual funds, including 4,100 NTF mutual funds. These tools are great for individuals who are just getting started with investing or who are saving for retirement. Though, the fees are slightly more than what you’d pay at E*Trade.

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Robo-Advisors

The difference is pretty noticeable when comparing online brokers via the pricing of the robo adviser service. This is feasible on TD Ameritrade, with TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios for a price of 0.30 percent each year. Here, $5,000 is the bare minimum for opening an account.

Users of E*TRADE’s Core Portfolios get access to the platform’s robo adviser. Similarly, 0.30 percent is added each year as a management charge. One of E*TRADE’s most striking distinctions between E*TRADE and thinkorswim is the low $500 account requirement.

The use of automated financial advisers (robo-advisors) is multiplying. You may have your whole investment portfolio managed by E*TRADE’s robo-advisor service, Core Portfolios, for a 0.3 percent yearly fee. You will need at least $500 to get started.

All professionals count on this as the norm. You may establish a foundation for your investing decision-making by answering some questions about your investment goals and your preferred investment strategy. Your portfolio will be automatically balanced and managed by the AI.

 

Let’s say you’re interested in having AI handle your investments. You can use the TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios service, but you’ll need at least $5,000 to start. The annual management fee charged by the broker amounts to 0.3%.

This robo-advisor stands out from the crowd because of its competitively cheap investing fees, specialized account options, and Morningstar-created portfolios. It’s an excellent choice for those who like to take a hands-off investing approach or care deeply about social justice. A significant negative, though, is the relatively large account minimum.

Trading Technology & Mobile Apps

Both sites and apps are accessible from any computer or mobile device. Aside from the standard E*TRADE Mobile App, there is also the more advanced Power E*TRADE app. The former aims to streamline the trading and investment process, while the latter provides comprehensive details.

Both brokerages’ online platforms are simple to navigate. To novice investors, though, the educational component may be more critical. Both systems are intuitive and provide real-time data streaming and a large variety of configuration options.

E*TRADE and thinkorswim both provide excellent mobile applications with full features. Watchlists, real-time data and news, charts and analysis, and the option to place trade tickets are all features offered by both brokerages’ mobile apps. Any thinkorswim platform may be used to trade the same types of assets. Except for trading bonds under a single name, all of the features mentioned above can be accessed using the E*TRADE mobile app.

With thousands of stocks, futures, bonds, and more available for trading through their mobile app, E*TRADE is an excellent choice for the experienced investor. The program also makes it simple to keep up with the latest happenings in the market with news and analysis sections powered by outlets like CNBC, MarketWatch, and Morningstar.

Traders may use the thinkorswim trading platform from their mobile devices by downloading the trading app. The method is more involved than some alternatives since it is aimed at experienced investors. However, you’ll get better results if you have a more comprehensive range of options. In addition to those mentioned above, you can access multi-touch charts, real-time data and analysis, headlines, and a help desk.

Both E*TRADE Mobile and Power E*TRADE are available as mobile trading apps from E*Trade. You may download them without cost on your Android or iOS device. The essential features of the E*TRADE Mobile app allow for simple account management on the go.

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Customer Service

thinkorswim offers many channels of customer assistance. The community may solve many minor concerns without involving anybody from the administration. The platform features a live chat function with human operators and very smart chatbots. Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Apple Business Chat, and WeChat are just some of the IM platforms on which this chatbot can be found.

Next, we’ll look at E*TRADE and Ameritrade concerning one another in terms of their phone chat service, which is open around the clock and available in English. Spanish and Chinese language support is also available on the website. However, you can only access these choices during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). to 5:00 p.m.

E*TRADE’s online and physical locations provide access to customer service representatives. Email and real-time chats with agents are available online for customers. The platform also features an excellent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, which contains answers to the most common questions.

Like thinkorswim customer service, E*TRADE delivers excellent help to its clients by phone. To simplify matters, E*TRADE provides a dedicated phone line for each possible topic of inquiry. Also, of note (and relevance) is that E*TRADE customers can choose to send in their support requests via snail mail. Although some customers might prefer another method, this one is still available.

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Other Features

It’s worth noting that both options provide full-service brokering for investments. Their user-friendly websites and mobile apps promote individualized investment strategies and financial literacy. Education programs that aim to increase people’s familiarity with finance and investments often have low or no entry barriers for new users.

In terms of the complexity of its online platform, thinkorswim clearly caters more to experienced investors than E*TRADE. Yet, it welcomes novice traders by making available its high-quality investment tools. If you have a balance of $250,000 or more on your E*TRADE account, you can use the Pro platform, which provides access to E*TRADE’s tier-based options. When comparing the company’s browser platform, Power E*TRADE, with its desktop program, E*TRADE Pro, it is essential to note that the latter provides real-time data streaming and charting features.

The desktop, online, and mobile versions of thinkorswim each have their own unique features. The desktop has the most flexible data selection and manipulation possibilities. However, these two characteristics are emphasized by all of them. News, in-depth analysis, and granular Level 2 data are optional extras.

thinkorswim’s comprehensive paper trading mode is a great tool. Simply put, the service enables you to create a fictitious or simulated pre-funded account with a specified quantity of virtual currency. It’s an excellent way for first-time users to get comfortable with the application without taking any serious risks.

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Additionally, remember that, unlike E*TRADE, thinkorswim allows you to invest in foreign currency.

My Preference: E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley Wins Over thinkorswim (TOS)

Both thinkorswim and E*TRADE are solid options for anyone looking for online trading and investment platform. In addition to low, flat prices on transactions and reasonable fees, both also provide first-rate support to their customers. Depending on your trader type, a particular company’s allotment of slots may be more helpful.

In terms of the sheer quantity of tools and trading opportunities, thinkorswim comes in second behind E*TRADE. Their research tools are top-notch; they charge reasonable flat fees and offer excellent freedom to traders of all skill levels.

Commission-wise, though, E*TRADE is a tad better than thinkorswim. It all comes down to the exact base pricing. Even yet, E*Trading’s tier system allows more active investors to profit from the reward benefits provided by the lower trade rates. TD Ameritrade is well recognized as a comprehensive brokerage that caters to all kinds of investors. TD Essential Portfolios has a significantly higher minimum deposit of $5,000 but also provides educational tools, additional investing options, and a good robo-advisor.

FAQ

Is E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley or thinkorswim (TOS) better?

Many variables go into evaluating the pros and downsides of thinkorswim vs. E*TRADE. Those just starting out will benefit more from thinkorswim, while those with more experience may find that E*TRADE is a better fit.
E*TRADE's robo-advisory service requires a smaller opening investment than competitors like Wealthfront and Betterment. It remains true, however, that the administration costs for this service are equivalent across both systems.
Lastly, E*TRADE provides exceptional mobile alternatives (two excellent apps). However, E*TRADE does not provide a desktop app. However, thinkorswim, a desktop tool offered by TD Ameritrade, is often regarded as the best of its kind.

Is E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley a decent place to invest?

Users may access a wealth of resources on the E*TRADE platform. The first benefit is that the equipment is simple to operate. Second, fees are either low or non-existent. Options on E*TRADE are comparable to those on TD Ameritrade in most respects. New and inexperienced traders can benefit significantly from the availability of human-assisted trades and robo-advisors. The firm is notable for its extensive investment asset range and top-notch customer service.

Does E*TRADE or thinkorswim offer a broader range of investment options?

When compared to E*TRADE, thinkorswim provides a wider variety of investing opportunities. Trading Stocks, OTCBB/Pink Sheets, Options, Mutual Funds, Futures, and Forex are all available to clients of thinkorswim.

Does either broker offer banking?

Investors can benefit from online banking, and some brokerages offer clients banking services. TD Ameritrade provides banking services such as checking accounts, debit cards, and credit cards. E*TRADE, on the other hand, E*TRADE provides a broader range of financial services, including mortgage loans and checking and savings accounts.

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