I have been practicing day trading for the past six months on TD’s Active Trader demo platform and finally decided to open up a real cash account. While opening up the account was not difficult, it did require a number of steps to be performed before actually having access to the platform. You can’t sign up to the Active Trader platform directly: you must have a TD Discount Brokerage account before. There are a number of reasons TD does this, and I will detail them later on.
First thing’s first, you must create a TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage account. This is free, but it will take up to 2 weeks for the application to go through. In my case, I found out that TD contacted my bank for authorization and validity purposes.
Once your Discount Brokerage account is created and ready to be used, you must then call the Active Trader team via telephone to register. They will ask you a few questions to make sure the platform is for you. From what I recall, they asked me questions such as my experience level, if I have tried the demo platform, how much will I be transferring to TD and if I have any proof of executing 150 trades in a quarter. The latter question is a bit important, as TD will charge you platform fees if you trade 30 times or less per month (I think a 99$ fee per month). Also, the actual trading fees will vary, from 7 to 10 dollars depending on your volume. They expect you to trade at least once a day.
In my case, whether I was getting charged 7 or 10 dollars per trade did not matter, as my current discount brokerage account at my primary bank charges me 28$ per trade! The savings here are obvious if I go with TD. Among other reasons, I chose TD because their trading platform is highly customizable (you can put in your own values for MACD, EMA, RSI and Stochastic charts).
For those who have not tried the Active Trader platform yet, I highly recommend a demo/dummy account. For about two weeks, you can play with the platform and see if it’s right for you. Compare it to the other financial institutions offerings, such as RBC, NBC and BMO. In my mind, TD’s Active Trader is the best out there, and I can’t wait to start my real trades in January!