Brokerage firms and bonuses discussion

Brokerage firms and bonuses discussion


If you like trading and aren’t wild about TDA buying Scottrade, Schwab wants your business. Trade free for as many years as you were at Scottrade:


14 years of free trades here I come! :slight_smile:
For a total savings of about $600 :cold_sweat:


If their execution weren’t the worst of the major retail brokers, I might be tempted. As it is, no thanks.


Talked to an advisor on a cold call that I received and mentioned about my taxable account at IB. They offered $250 for over $100k in (which is pretty pathetic) but also offered to look at reducing margin rates (which would be much much better). I get the free trades through Preferred Rewards but mentioned my 3:1 leverage thanks to portfolio margin (although I keep meaning to deleverage, or use similar strategies with options like synthetic longs or call spreads, but ME charges normal commissions on those). They would see what they can do. When I was with Optionshouse and they had 4% or less margin rates I was content to use them for a buy and hold strategy, even though IB was in the 2’s, but I am not paying 7.125% in margin interest when IB charges under 3% on a balance from $100-$500k.


At those asset levels, you’re not likely to get a competitive negotiated margin rate, but good luck. IB is really just a lot better for the average margin user, and you need a lot of assets and/or trading activity to get most retail brokers to give even matching rates. Almost nobody is willing to beat them.


That’s what the rep seemed to imply. At some point I will deleverage, but it would be nice if ME gave away free options trades (or at least covered the base rate and just charged the per contract fee) since I could move my strategies towards options rather than buying the stocks because interest is so cheap.


I noticed CREF had new bonuses for both IRA and regular accounts.

Below is the schedule. The most attractive feature seems to be a short holding periods, with the terms and conditions saying:
"This Bonus Offer is valid only if you open a new IRA or fund an existing IRA between August 18, 2017 and January 31, 2018. To meet the Terms and Conditions of the offer, all required funds must be rolled over to your new or existing account, as the case may be, and remain in the account through January 31, 2018 (the “Qualifying Period”). "

Bonus Required amount
1000 500,000
600 150,000
200 50,000


Scottrade seems to allow a bonus every quarter. It’s too bad I didn’t realize this sooner, as this is the last quarter I think before they merge into TDA in Q1 sometime. I got about a 0.2% bonus for my recent transfer, as well as some free trades.


My understanding is that they will keep offering bonuses until the accounts are merged. I gather your idea is to try for another bonuses after having received one? Why?



Just talked to local Scottrade office, and Ameritrade has said after Friday they are not to open new accounts, but refer customers to Ameritrade, which has a similar offer.

Also, they have been told all transfers for existing promotions must be finished by Dec. 22.


The cool thing about Fidelity bonuses is that they weren’t limited to new customers. Existing customers could sign up as long as they brought in new money. You can always open the account, cash out your reward points and then still fund the account for bonuses later (assuming they offer the bonuses the same way). This is the first year in a long time I haven’t signed up for a bonus for my Christmas bonus.


Ally is offering $200 signup bonus or 90 days of free trading for $25 k transfer. Not too exciting , but here is the link:


The attractiveness here is the small minimum for the bonus.

One problem is that the offer appears to exclude those that had been customer’s of Trade King (a predecessor firm) and still have accounts.

The terms say:
"By participating in the $200 cash bonus offer, you agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions.This offer is valid for one new individual or joint account opened by 1/31/2018, funded with at least $25,000 within 15 days of account opening, and that executes at least 3 trades within 90 days of account funding.ACAT forms must be received within 15 days of opening new account.New accounts are eligible for this special offer when opening a new Ally Invest account and funding with a minimum of $25,000 within 15 days with funds from outside Ally Invest Securities, LLC.The minimum funds of $25,000 must remain in the account (minus any trading losses) for a minimum of 90 days from date of funding account.You must apply for this promotional offer by clicking through this page to our online application and opening an account. New accounts receive cash credit within 10 business days of meeting promotion requirements. Bonus is not available for withdrawal for 120 days after it is awarded to your account. Must complete a first-time ACATS account transfer of $2,500 or more to receive a Transfer Fee Credit of up $150 to cover the outgoing transfer fee from your current brokerage firm. Credit will be deposited to your account within 30 days of receipt of evidence of charge. This transfer reimbursement offer does not apply to Termination Fees or Maintenance Fees.Not valid for any retirement or ERISA qualified accounts.Offer is not transferable.Open to US residents only. Excludes current Ally Invest Securities, LLC account holders. Excludes former Ally Invest Securities, LLC (formerly TradeKing Securities LLC) account holders who have closed their accounts within the past 90 days.Ally Invest can modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.Individuals that reside in apartment complexes or units that share a similar address may be subject to a manual payout. Other restrictions may apply. This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business.If you believe you have met the requirements and should have received the promotion please reach out to us at or 1-855-880-2559. "


I called Ally Investing and they did have a record of an old account. They offered free trades, but not the cash bonus.

I closed the old inactive account, on the possibility a similar offer might emerge in the future, and I would be eligible.

Others with old unused accounts might wish to do the same.


Tried Ally Investing a few years ago, before they acquired Tradeking, and they were a massive headache. Everything by paper and they take forever. No way to contact them directly either, as the front line banking service representatives deal with all customer calls. The phone folks just leave a note for the Investing back office as they themselves have no capability/authority with the investment side. Took me a week to hear back each time, once by snail mail (!!!), two weeks after the call.

By the time my ACAT transfer finally went through, it had taken almost two months and exceeded their bonus deadline, so they wouldn’t pay the bonus, despite the delays being due to their incompetence. After a decade+ of bonuses, pretty certain Ally has been the only firm that didn’t honor the bonus.

Caveat emptor.


long time TD user. barely made any trades last 4-5 years and I moved to Merrill. interface is bahh but their margin rate, even after negotiation is one of the worst!

Opened Schwab accounts and haven’t used StreetSmart but their interface is ok. Margin rate was one of best!


thinking about TIAA for my next transfer. Anybody had experience with them?


TIAA-CREF is a good firm with some nice accounts, including a unique Real Estate One. They have a newer brokerage option which means you can bring brokerage accounts over without having to liquidate them.

I took their transfer offer. I had to open a new account to qualify rather than bring assets into existing account.

I considered a consolidation, but the only way they could do it would require liquidating one account and moving cash which would have left me out of the market for couple of days (and also would have possibly created a frequent trading fee on the fund liquidated).


How is TIAA’s interface for trading individual stocks?


Ameritrade apparently makes you eligible for new bonuses every calendar year, so I am considering a transfer to them for this year. I was told this required opening a new account rather than merely adding to an existing one.

Ameritrade’s offers are at