I have written before that I have both an original Ameritrade account and an original Waterhouse account. Ameritrade recently upgraded their web site. This "upgrade" was delayed for about a week with no reason given. Thus far, I'm thoroughly unimpressed with the new site.
So, where's the upgrade? I was expecting things like better online statements, easier to use account history, PDF views for my trade confirmations, and so on. Instead, the changes to the Ameritrade website are mostly cosmetic in nature -- mostly rearranging the menus, and changing the site color to green. I can't see any real improvement in functionality. Some features are either not improved, or even worse than before.
Take for example, the new stock screener. Here is a stock screen that I might put together: find all large cap stocks that are within 10% of their 52-week low. I couldn't figure out how to run this simple screen in the Ameritrade stock screener. Another thing is that the screener is no better than the free stock screens available at Yahoo Finance or MSN Money.
I use Standard and Poors (S&P) stock reports extensively for my personal research. However, the usual S&P reports available at the new Ameritrade site have somehow shrunk from 8 pages to 5 pages. I think that they cut out the three pages that include S&P's Sub-Industry Outlook, Company News, and Analysts' Recommendations from the abbreviated reports. Again, there's no explanation for the change.
As a former Waterhouse customer, I would qualify for Ameritrade APEX twice over based on my Waterhouse account balance. But after talking with Ameritrade customer service representatives about this, they were unwilling to upgrade me to APEX unless I transfer my funds from my original Waterhouse account to a new Ameritrade account. Logically, this is like saying that TD Ameritrade is one company, but you have to transfer your funds from one TD Ameritrade to another TD Ameritrade in order to get APEX access. Huh, what gives?
As a Waterhouse customer, I'm concerned now that Ameritrade will downgrade my account to a lower standard when they finally finish straightening out the mess they made. As I mentioned in my previous post, there are features that I particularly like in my Waterhouse account. Mainly, these features are access to IPOs and the cost basis calculator available through Waterhouse. Ameritrade doesn't keep track of cost basis for you, and instead the refers you to Gainskeeper which costs extra.
Ameritrade SPAM: I know that I am not the first person to write about getting SPAM at my Ameritrade Email address, as it has been reported by other PF bloggers. Like many others, I use a unique Email address for my Ameritrade account. This is accomplished through Yahoo's "AddressGuard" feature. In other words, the only entity that knows my Ameritrade Email address is Ameritrade itself. However, I have been getting spam at this address. Whenever this happens, I change my Email address to a new one, and delete the old Email address. This has happened three times already, as it seems that my Ameritrade Email address has been repeatedly compromised. I think that it is a security issue at the Ameritrade end, and I now have to delete yet another Email address. By contrast, the Email addresses that I use for Waterhouse and E*TRADE have never been compromised.
Ameritrade has been touting such features as Trade Triggers, but I'll tell you that the E*TRADE site has them beat there. However, I think E*TRADE's customer service is worse than Ameritrade's. Nevertheless, I now have a wait-and-see attitude on Ameritrade. But based on what I am seeing, I predict that E*TRADE might end up with a lot more business out of me in the future.
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