Saturday, February 16, 2008

TD Ameritrade Izone finally has GainsKeeper

In case you didn't know, Izone is TD Ameritrade's super secret, uber discount brokerage. If you are willing to give up phone/office support (and live with email only support), use electronic statements, and give up the streamer suite (free with Apex), you get lower commissions. Stocks are $5 per trade and options are $5 a trade and $0.75 per contract.

One of the things Apex had but Izone did not was GainsKeeper (GainsKeeper is a tax lot tracking package). This made Izone incredibly painful to use. You tend to do more trade when they are cheaper and it is a pain to sort out option trades at the end of the year since they don't come on the 1099 like stock trades do.

After my complaining about the lack of good options functionality, they listen and gave all Izone users GainsKeeper (just kidding, I wish I had that sort of clout...). So now there is pretty much no reason to use Apex over Izone. That doesn't mean I am recommendation Ameritrade but if you are going to use Ameritrade anyways, Izone is a better deal than Apex.

Ameritrade's real-time streaming tools do not yet support streaming options data. The options trading features are incredibly limited (it is difficult to do complex spreads and whatnot). And most importantly, their margin calculation is horrible. The margin calculations are not real-time and update at the end of the day. They also miscalculate margin requirements for certain transactions. See Last minute juggling of SIRF and BBBY for an example.

Ameritrade is a decent brokerage for most people starting out, but you'll soon outgrow it if you get fancy with your derivatives.

1 comment:

Yitz said...

It looks like they killed izone. www.izone.com now bounces to www.tdameritrade.com