Ally Invest – review of a universal banking broker. Feedback from traders

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Ally Invest Review – Is This Broker Worth it For Day Trading?

Ally Invest Review
  • Commissions

Summary

Ally Invest Review is a relatively new entrant into the on-line discount brokerage world, and offers very simple technology to use for day traders and other high volume accounts. Discover if it could be a viable option for you.

About Ally Invest

Ally Invest is a recent entrant into the on-line discount brokerage world. Ally Financial purchased TradeKing in 2020, and the broker was born. While it doesn’t offer a lot of advanced technology, Ally Invest does provide some good benefits for day traders and other high-volume accounts. Learn more in our Ally Invest review.

Ally Invest Pricing

Commissions

Ally Invest charges $4.95 for stock and ETF trades, which similar to other discount brokers like ETRADE and TD Ameritrade. There is a $1 discount for active traders and large accounts. The minimums are thirty trades every three months or $100,000 in assets. The brokerage firm does not offer any ETF’s commission-free.

Options

Derivative contracts at Ally Invest are 65¢ each plus the base charge mentioned above. Active traders and large accounts receive a 15¢ discount. Assignments cost $4.95, while exercises are charged $9.95.

Forex

Ally Invest is one of the few online discount securities brokers to also offer currency trading. A separate account must be opened, a slight nuisance that TD Ameritrade customers don’t have to go through. Ally is compensated through bid-ask spreads, so it doesn’t charge commissions for fx trading. Its most recent spread on EUR/USD was 1.9, and GBP/JPY was at 4.4.

Account Requirements

There are no account fees at Ally Invest. Furthermore, an account can be opened with any deposit or no deposit at all. There are no trading minimums at Ally.

Software Fees

Ally Invest doesn’t have the best trading tools, as we shall see in this Ally Invest review, but the broker-dealer doesn’t charge anything for its software, either.

Trading Platforms

Ally Invest LIVE

Although orders can be submitted through simple web pages at Ally, most traders will probably want to use the broker’s browser-based trading system. Called Ally Invest LIVE, the program is free to use, which is a good thing, because it’s not a very robust platform.

LIVE is divided into tiles, which makes navigation pretty straightforward. Each tile has a specific theme, such as account balance, orders, funds transfer, or quotes. Within the quote tile, a drop-down menu allows for more possibilities, such as charting and option chains.

What I didn’t like about the platform’s option chains was the lack of strategies. Only calls and puts are available. Nevertheless, entering a derivative order was simple by clicking on a bid or ask price and then using the broker’s user-friendly ticket.

I found the trading ticket convenient and comprehensible. Clicking on ‘QuickTrade’ at the top of the platform or selecting ‘Trade’ on the quote tile produces the trade ticket on the right-hand side of the screen.

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I enjoyed using LIVE’s charting program when going through the Ally Invest review, although it has somewhat of an elementary feel to it. Large red and green candlesticks show price history, which has a maximum of just five years. Five other chart styles are available. There are several drawing tools and roughly 90 technical indicators. A chart can be detached and displayed full screen. Personally, I prefer TradingView charts.

It’s worth mentioning that while having very similar commissions to TradeStation, Ally’s software offerings are much weaker.

Forex Platform

A discrete platform is used to trade forex at Ally. It seems strange that Ally would offer a desktop platform for currencies but not one for securities. In any case, I thought the forex platform had many useful features. Dealing boxes make order entry quick and easy. Charting comes with several technical studies and drawing tools. Forex news is shown in a separate window, and a watchlist can be created.

Mobile Trading

The Ally Invest mobile app is the same platform that Ally Bank customers use. After logging in, any financial account can be selected. I felt the charting system on the investment side was underdeveloped. Mutual funds cannot be traded, either, and the platform does not offer any video news. On the positive side, there is a check deposit feature, and the app is easy to use.

Ally’s mobile platform pales in comparison to more sophisticated mobile platforms like TD Ameritrade‘s Thinkorswim mobile app.

Research Tools

Only minimal information is on the Ally website, and even less on the broker’s app. The website hosts short articles on a variety of investment topics, such as margin and order routing. There are a few educational videos. Stock reports are available free of charge from CFRA only. By contrast, Fidelity offers reports from no less than 13 analysts.

Customer Service

A customer service agent can be reached anytime of the day or night, including weekends. These hours are more generous than TradeStation and Robinhood, both of whom offer more limited hours. The Ally website also has an on-line chat feature, which is very useful.

On the flip side, Ally Invest doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar locations, which may be a slight inconvenience for some traders. There is an Ally Invest global phone number for customers who are temporarily outside the U.S. The brokerage house does not offer service in any foreign languages, something that Schwab and Firstrade do offer.

Executions and Routes

Ally Invest does not offer direct-routing for orders. The brokerage firm chooses where to send orders and is compensated for some of these decisions.

Shorting Stocks

Taking short positions on equities is permissible in a margin account at Ally Invest. For stocks above $5, the initial maintenance requirement is 50% of market value plus the proceeds from the sale.

Type of Trader Ally Invest Is Best For

Investors who execute trades with a large number of shares will benefit from Ally’s low commission schedule. Clients who are interested in portfolio management can use Ally’s robo-advisory service. Below are the pros and cons we found in the Ally Invest Review.

  • Ally’s commission schedule is lower than E*Trade, Fidelity, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade.
  • A securities account can be linked to one of Ally’s competitive bank accounts.
  • Ally’s transaction fee for mutual funds is only $9.95, and the broker does not charge a short-term redemption fee for any fund.
  • Ally’s robo-advisory service requires just $2,500 and charges a low 0.35%.
  • Because Ally works as an introducing broker to Wedbush Futures, traders who want to invest in commodities can do so.

…and Cons

  • The lack of a desktop platform will be a deal breaker for many active traders.
  • The broker’s website is underdeveloped and doesn’t have much material on it.
  • Ally does not offer any no-load, no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Judgment

Ally Invest provides budget trading with minimal technology. Traders who need robust software will have to go elsewhere.

Warrior Trading Blog

Summary

As a discount broker, Ally Invest charges affordable fees which are much lower than for renowned brokers. In addition, traders have access to 24/7 support via phone, email and chat. If you’re shopping for a solid discount broker, they are definitely worth checking out!

Ally Invest is a discount brokerage arm of Ally Financial. Before being acquired by Ally Financial in 2020, TradeKing was an independent online broker and had been in operation for a decade.

Today, Ally Invest is an active investment arm of Ally Financial with a focus on providing a streamlined web based trading platform that enables traders to trade in a wide variety of financial instruments. Apart from stocks, traders have the opportunity of trading ETFs, mutual funds, futures, Forex and Options from their Ally Invest account.

As one of the most affordable broker, Ally Invest stands out from other brokers thanks to its user friendly platform, wealth of trading tools and access to investment professionals.

In our comprehensive Ally Invest review, we will reveal to you the products/services offered, trading/brokerage fees and why Ally Invest is a brokerage firm you should consider.

Ally Invest Features, Products and Services

Self Directed Trading

Ally Invest is a leading financial services company providing trading and investment services to businesses, consumers and corporate clients. Self-Directed Trading is one of its services. Suitable for a hands-on trader or investor, the Self Directed Trading account enables traders to invest in the following products:

Stocks
Options
Bonds
ETFs
Futures
Forex Mutual Funds

Aside from access to in-depth research and market analysis tools that enable traders to support different types of investment strategies, traders enjoy the lowest trading fees with no hidden fees.

To get started, new users must open an account. Start by clicking “Open Account” from the Self-Directed Trading section. From the web page presented to you, select one of the following options:

I’m new to Ally
I already have an Ally Bank Invest Account

As a new user, check “I’m new to Ally”, fill in your first name, last name and email address. Click “Register” to submit the details to Ally Invest and a welcome email will be sent to your account immediately. Click on the link provided in your welcome email to activate your account and proceed with providing more data in your profile.

Now that you have opened an account, you will be required to fund it. At the moment, there is no minimum amount required by Ally Invest to fund and start trading.

Managed Portfolios

Traders and investors can get to enjoy a tailored investment approach that is carefully managed by a team of investment specialists. From the start, you get to enjoy low advisory fees thanks to Ally Invest affordable and straightforward pricing.

Once you open an account, you can invest and build your portfolio while keeping your costs low. The best news is that there is no extra charge needed when re-balancing your portfolio.

Traders and investors also get to enjoy 24/7 support. Since users are looking for fast answers in regards to their portfolios, investment specialists are on standby to help you learn more about your investment options and new investment products.

Although Managed Portfolio is run by a group of investment professionals, they do so using intelligent tools. As a result, access to your account and portfolio is available at anytime to enable you see how your investment is growing as well as track your goals.

Here is how Managed Portfolio works:

It all starts when traders and investors select an approach. From there onwards, Ally Invest investment specialists will take it over. They will evaluate thousands of low cost ETFs that include bonds and stocks to find a financial instrument(s) that fits your investment goals.

Now, you can access your portfolio to deposit funds or to make changes to your investment goals. To help your portfolio grow, Ally Invest investment specialists will monitor your account on a regular basis to ensure everything stays on track.

Ally Invest Web Trader

As an investment arm of Ally Financial, Ally Invest provides an intuitive web trader with a wealth of tools designed for hands-on traders. To access the web trader, users need an account. If you select Self-Directed Trading option, you will be required to register for an account and fund it.

As said earlier in the Self Directed Trading section, no minimum amount is required to begin trading. The web trader is a powerful platform with a wealth of useful tools to help traders make informed decisions. Simply put, traders have access to everything they need to explore available opportunities, gain insight and build their portfolio.

Available tools include:

Streaming charts – traders can view six chart types with 90 chart studies and drawing tools. In addition, they can use charts to analyze the performance of different financial instruments such as ETFs, indices and stocks among others.

Stock watchlist – this tool enables traders to create their own watchlist which allows them to stay on top of market performance. With a custom watchlist, traders can view market data and also find a specific symbol.

Profit/Loss graph – traders have the option of crunching numbers using the profit/loss calculator. As a result, they will get to understand the potential of a financial instrument before investing.

Probability calculator – The tool utilizes implied volatility to help traders determine the likelihood of attaining certain targets.

Research and market data – this tool allows you to access market news, stats and detailed metrics on companies you are interested in.

Traders and investors will also have access to company quotes, high/low prices, news, peer performance and dividend dates.

Option chains – the web trader comes with an intuitive interface that provides a great desktop and mobile experience. In addition, it allows traders to view what financial instruments are available clearly.

Ally Invest Account Protection

Where money is involved, there is the probability of identity and financial theft. To prevent such incidences, Ally Invest is a member of Securities Investor Protection Corporation. As a result, all accounts up to $500,000 per client are protected as defined in SIPC rules.

While SIPC protects your funds in case Ally Invest ends up failing, it does not provide protection against losses incurred on investment during trading.

Apex Clearing firm is owned by Ally Financial and has purchased additional insurance policy via a group of London Underwriters. This insurance policy is meant to supplement SIPC protection and becomes available to customers in the event that SIPC protection limits gets exhausted. The insurance policy provides protection for securities and funds up to $150 million.

Just like SIPC protection, this insurance policy does not provide protection in case losses are incurred on investment during trading.

Ally Invest Fees

As a hands-on trader, Ally Invest offers you the opportunity of opening a Self-Directed Trading account. The standard pricing for trading stock and ETF trades is $4.95 and for option trading, you will be charged 65 cents per contract + $4.95 base. For Volume/Balance Pricing with $100,000+ average daily balance and more than 30 trades per quarter, traders are charged as follows:

Stock and ETF trades – $3.95
Option Trades – 50 cents per contract + $3.95 base.

For Managed Portfolio account holders with an account balance of $2,500, Ally Invest charges a monthly fee of $0.62 and an annual advisory fee of 0.30%. To help you estimate your monthly fee on Managed Portfolio services, Ally Invest has provided an intuitive calculator. Composed of a slider, users can estimate their monthly fee from a minimum of @$2,500 to a maximum of $5,000,000.

Here is the pricing structure for other financial instruments:

Futures- $0.45 per contract
Mutual funds – $9.95 for no-load funds
Forex – Bid-Ask spread cost
Bonds – $1 per bond with a minimum of $10
Penny stocks – fee + $0.01 per share
CDs – 1 year CDs beginning at 1.35%

Final Thoughts

As a member of FINRA and SIPC, Ally Invest provides protection to all its clients. In addition, it has taken measures to protect its client’s data by providing a special security key for new or different devices and password protecting the web platform.

As a discount broker, Ally Invest charges affordable fees which are much lower than for renowned brokers. In addition, traders have access to 24/7 support via phone, email and chat. As a result, they can keep track of their portfolios as well as their goals.

Although Ally Invest has worked hard to provide the best trading tools and environment, it falls short in a few areas. For starters, it does not offer backtesting, auto trading, order routing and international trading.

Secondly, its web trader does not seem to be competitive because it lacks numerous functionalities that can help advanced traders make the best trading decisions. Lastly, its mobile application offers the same tools as its web trader and also lacks advanced tools like option analytics.

Overall, Ally Invest is a great platform for traders who are focused on options and stock trading. It is also favorable for traders concerned about lowering their trading costs.

From time to time we refer third-party products or services to you. We may receive compensation from those third parties whose products or services we refer, however, our reviews and recommendations are independent of any compensation we may receive. There is no obligation for you to interact or transact with these third parties.

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Warrior Trading may publish testimonials or descriptions of past performance but these results are NOT typical, are not indicative of future results or performance, and are not intended to be a representation, warranty or guarantee that similar results will be obtained by you.

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Your results may differ materially from those expressed or utilized by Warrior Trading due to a number of factors. We do not track the typical results of our current or past students. As a provider of educational courses, we do not have access to the personal trading accounts or brokerage statements of our customers.

Available research data suggests that most day traders are NOT profitable.

In a research paper published in 2020 titled “Do Day Traders Rationally Learn About Their Ability?”, professors from the University of California studied 3.7 billion trades from the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992-2006 and found that only 9.81% of day trading volume was generated by predictably profitable traders and that these predictably profitable traders constitute less than 3% of all day traders on an average day.

In a 2005 article published in the Journal of Applied Finance titled “The Profitability of Active Stock Traders” professors at the University of Oxford and the University College Dublin found that out of 1,146 brokerage accounts day trading the U.S. markets between March 8, 2000 and June 13, 2000, only 50% were profitable with an average net profit of $16,619.

In a 2003 article published in the Financial Analysts Journal titled “The Profitability of Day Traders”, professors at the University of Texas found that out of 334 brokerage accounts day trading the U.S. markets between February 1998 and October 1999, only 35% were profitable and only 14% generated profits in excess of than $10,000.

The range of results in these three studies exemplify the challenge of determining a definitive success rate for day traders. At a minimum, these studies indicate at least 50% of aspiring day traders will not be profitable. This reiterates that consistently making money trading stocks is not easy. Day Trading is a high risk activity and can result in the loss of your entire investment. Any trade or investment is at your own risk.

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This does not represent our full Disclaimer. Please read our complete disclaimer.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad & Lee, Yong-Ill & Liu, Yu-Jane & Odean, Terrance. (2020). Do Day Traders Rationally Learn About Their Ability?. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2535636

Garvey, Ryan and Murphy, Anthony, The Profitability of Active Stock Traders. Journal of Applied Finance , Vol. 15, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=908615

Douglas J. Jordan & J. David Diltz (2003) The Profitability of Day Traders, Financial Analysts Journal, 59:6, 85-94, DOI: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2469/faj.v59.n6.2578

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Ally Invest Review

A few years ago, I moved a Traditional and Roth IRA account from ETrade to Ally Invest (formerly known as “TradeKing” at the time, prior to being acquired by Ally Bank). I had long been a fan of TradeKing as a great online broker option for a number of reasons, and with the change, I wanted to share my first impressions and give a first-look Ally Invest review after my account migration. Was the acquisition and transition a good move for former TradeKing customers and new investors? Read on to find the answer…

Having held discount broker accounts with ETrade, Vanguard, Fidelity, Ally Invest, Scottrade, Fidelity, Schwab, and a few others, I have a little more experience in this area than I’d probably like to, so hopefully this review provides some useful discount broker comparisons and commentary.

What is Ally Invest?

Ally Invest is the online discount brokerage arm of Ally Bank (the 20th largest bank in the U.S., with over $160 billion in assets). Ally Invest was formerly TradeKing, prior to Ally Bank purchasing it (in 2020) and re-launching it (in 2020).

In summary, Ally Invest has a low fee trading structure, no maintenance/inactivity fees, and strong customer service with 24/7 support.

You can trade stocks, bonds, funds, options and other equities through Ally Invest. I’ll get into what types of accounts you may want to consider opening or moving to Ally Invest in a bit.

Trading Fees:

Let’s cut right to what most of us care about the most when it comes to investing online with a discount broker – the fees. Here are Ally Invest’s fees:

  • Stocks: $4.95 ($3.95 per equity trade for users who make 30 or more trades in the prior calendar quarter and/or maintain an average daily balance of more than $100,000 in the prior calendar quarter).
  • Bonds: $1 per bond (minimum $10)
  • Mutual Funds: $9.95 Purchases/Sales
  • Options: $0.65 per contract (+$4.95 base trade). Price decreases to $0.50 per contract (+$3.95 base) for users who make 30 or more trades in the prior calendar quarter and/or maintain an average daily balance of more than $100,000 in the prior calendar quarter.

Aside from purchasing house brand mutual funds or ETF’s (i.e. buying Schwab ETF’s from Schwab), these fees are among the lowest in the industry.

The $9.95 to initially buy into mutual funds it is lower than many I have seen (and significantly lower than E-Trade at $19.99 and Vanguard at $35). If you prefer ETF’s over funds, that’s not really an issue – but you can more cheaply trade Schwab, and Vanguard branded ETF’s (and mutual funds) directly with those brokers, if that is your objective.

Here is a complete list of Ally Invest fees.

Other Fees:

Ally Invest excels in this area, much like Ally Bank. Whereas some discount brokers try to nickel and dime you with hidden account maintenance or inactivity fees and IRA custodial fees, Ally Invest does not. There are no monthly or annual maintenance or account fees for both taxable accounts and IRA’s.

Minimum Balances:

Ally Invest has no minimum balance requirement for their self-directed accounts. This is a key factor for someone just getting into investing for the first time, who might not have a lot of money to put into an account right from the get go. You will need at least $2,500 to start investing in an “Ally Invest Managed Portfolio”.

What About Ally Invest Features?

Ally’s user interface, at this time, is virtually identical to TradeKing’s, with a few minor cosmetic changes (different colors and branding, primarily). If you’re not familiar with those features, the breadth and depth has always been great – far exceeding any other brokers I’ve used. They include:

  • ETF, mutual fund, and stock screeners and navigators
  • Portfolio back testing (very cool!)
  • Social network (over 200,000 members discuss investing)
  • Profit and loss calculators
  • Tax manager tool
  • API
  • Educational resources, including multiple live webinars every month
  • Technical analysis and charts
  • Ally invest LIVE
  • iPhone & Android apps for mobile investing

How is Ally Invest’s Customer Service?

TradeKing’s customer service was top notch. Barron’s rated it as 4/4 stars from 2007 through 2020 – the best of any online broker.

I want to confirm, but I would imagine that most, if not all, of TradeKing’s customer service staff was retained in the transition to Ally. One big upgrade is that Ally Invest offers 24/7 customer support. Most other brokers operate M-F and have skeleton support on the weekends (typically when people actually have time to call in for help), if at all.

You can reach Ally Invest’s customer service at 1-855-880-2559 or by email at [email protected] . They also offer chat support.

Bonus: Ally Banking Services

One nice thing about being an Ally customer is that they offer a full suite of banking services in addition to their new investment platform. This includes home loans, auto loans, debit/credit cards, checking accounts, online savings accounts, money market accounts, CD’s, and other bank related services. Kiplinger Magazine recently rated Ally Bank as the “best bank for millennials” and the “best internet bank”.

Final Thoughts:

The 4 biggest changes from the purchase and re-brand of TradeKing to Ally Invest that I have noticed thus far are:

  1. No more maintenance fee for a low balance or inactivity
  2. Expanded customer service hours to 24/7 support
  3. Discounted stock/options pricing for high volume or high account balances
  4. Added banking features from Ally Bank

All positives. As a former TradeKing and current Ally Invest customer, I’m very pleased with the transition thus far.

Ally Invest is one of the few discount brokers I continue to use at the moment, so obviously, I like them. Great service, account security, low trading fees, and no hidden “gotcha” fees to screw you over. I’d recommend using them for both a regular post-tax investment account and a retirement account for everything but broker-branded (i.e. Vanguard, Schwab) ETF’s and mutual funds. Disclosure: Ally Invest happens to have an affiliate program, so some of the links in this post are affiliate links, but this is not a paid or sponsored post, and I am an actual Ally Invest customer who recommends them based on my experience with their service.

Ally Invest Review

Ally Invest Review Summary

Ally Invest (formerly “TradeKing”) has now been around for over a decade and remains one of the cheapest discount brokers out there for equity trading and mutual fund buying/selling. They wouldn’t be my first choice for Vanguard and Schwab branded ETF and mutual fund investing, but are a top choice for non-ETF equities (stocks/bonds) and non-Vanguard and Schwab mutual funds and ETF’s.

The prices are low, and there are no hidden fees. Beyond pricing, Ally Invest customer service has always been top-notch, their tools have been solid, and their security features are very good.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Ally Invest for beginner investors or experienced amateur investors.

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8 Comments

While it seems like a good deal, what’s the incentive of giving them any money vs just investing in passive Vanguard ETFs, through vanguard.com? No fee to buy Vanguard ETFs through Vanguard, and very low expense ratios, especially if you have enough to use their Admiral Shares.

A few things:
1. At lower balance levels, Vanguard charges an annual maintenance fee. Ally Invest does not.
2. As highlighted, if there are any non-Vanguard mutual/index funds or ETF’s you want to invest in.
3. Any stock/option investing (if you’re in to that sort of thing).
4. There are some very nice research/social features that Vanguard does not have.

Fees are waived at Vanguard if you sign up for e-delivery of statements.

Great product for power traders it would appear … might have to give it a test drive soon!

Like you, I also was a Trade King customer before they merged with Ally. I actually find Ally’s website to be somewhat an improvement over Trade King’s in the following areas:

Easier to log into my account. (Don’t have to go through the security questions every time.)

Since I have more than one account, I get a summary of ALL my accounts and the current balance on the first page. I also get a summary of each account and the balance in each one. I don’t recall Trade King offering this feature.

Moving from one account to another is very simple. With Trade King I would have to re-enter my user name and password every time I moved from one account to another,

For research, I still prefer Schwab’s set-up. (maybe it’s because I haven’t taken time to learn all of Ally’s features.)

I also wish Ally would put in a feature where I can have the dividends on my stocks automatically reinvested. (This is very easy to do with Schwab).

Schwab recently lowered their stock trading fees to the same rate as Ally, (their option fees are a bit more.) I personally like the fact that Schwab has physical offices conveniently close to where I live, and for this reason, I would choose them over Ally for a person just learning how to invest.

For a more sophisticated investor who frequently writes covered calls and spreads, my preference is Ally.

It appears ally just slapped on an up-front ally login requirement to access tradeking (TK), which is to only show who is the boss between TK and ally. From the day they got together there has been no material improvement in TK’s investment functionality. Absolutely none. What happens now is an investment account holder cannot set his/her own ally online idle time, so if you are working in TK screen and wanted to get back to the ally site to see your overall value from all your investment account then you’d have to login ally again, This happens when you have been in TK site for only 10-15 minutes; greatly, I mean greatly, inconvenience an account holder’s time, and as far as I can see, it doesn’t help anything. With TK one can set the online idle time much longer which is good. So is this longer idle time with other brokers. … Instead of forcing owner of ally multiple investment accounts to go through re-login many times during a trading day, it would be a great service to account holders if either allow ally account online idle time longer or just separate the logins for the two entities, TK and Ally,

A problem but with the TK site is their charting software. If one wants to see multiple stock charts in one session, what happens is after the first one one enters another symbol to see another stock chart, hitting the enter button the charting software changes to snapshot without you wanting to go there. This random happening is wasting investor’s time and very annoying. It seems the software knows better and forces you to go to snapshot, which maybe (software knows better,) but that’s precisely not what you want to do at that moment. I notice it randomly goes from chart to snapshot but never the other way around. I had voiced this glitch in TK software, but nothing has been done. This is another very annoying feature with Ally/TK.

I Use both Ally and Schwab. Schwab’s trading prices are now $4,95 per trade (the same as Ally), unless you have $100,000 or more in investments with Ally, the n the trades are $3.95. I have over $100,000 in my IRA Accounts so I keep it with Ally but I have other accounts with Schwab outside my IRA that I seldom trade.

I personally like Schwab’s research site and I like the fact I can select whether or not to reinvest the dividends online. (With Ally you have to call customer service to set up this feature), I also like the fact that there are several Schwab offices in my area so if I have a question or I want to do a rollover, I can go in person and have a representative help me.

Schwab may be slightly higher on fees, but they really come through on service.

I should mention that I write a lot of options on my Ally accounts and I love their software support (and fees). I have not written any options on my Schwab account, I will be looking into this area in a few months.

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