thinkorswim SPX commissions

tom

Well-known member
Administrator
I could have sworn I was paying $1.24 for SPX options but I checked my statement and all of the trades were $1.30.

Today, I had 25 orders with 35 fills and a total of 238 contracts traded which was $309.40 of commissions. (I grossed +$3,018.00 and netted +$2615.78 after commissions) using $22,160 of Reg-T margin or +11.80% on margin.

I thought it was a good day to ask for some help with the commissions. The rep looked at my account and said the broker fee was $0.65 but he would lower it to $0.50. I still have to pay the other fees of course, but that takes the all in rate from $1.30 to $1.15. Trading a vertical uses four contracts to open and close it. 4x$1.15 = $4.60 so you only need a nickle of price improvement and you won't lose on the trade.

If I trade 238 contracts the same way tomorrow, the commissions will be $273.70, or $35.70 less and more for me to keep.

It's worth asking if you can get a reduction in the broker rate.

I also asked if someone could contact me about an Aeromir Group Rate at thinkorswim. I had one a long time ago and I'm going to try to get a new one setup. They will contact me tomorrow.
 

DaveN

Member
Hi @tom, Thanks for the information! I'm sure this will be helpful for many on these forums. Even better if you can get a reduced commission for the group as a whole. It's much appreciated!

Something for many to consider is that brokers will generally look at your previous trading volumes and dollars on deposit. That's why negotiating as a group can yield good discounts.

To reiterate Tom's point: it's always worth asking. If have a balance in your accounts and you are making trades regularly, by all means, ask. I'll add that it's better to ask through a relationship rather than the Help/Chat function in ToS. If that's available, it can help.
 
Schwab doesn't pass on the SPX Exchange Fees and charges .65 per contract. The merger is supposed to happen some time in 2023 and at that point if they keep the Schwab pricing we'll get a much better deal. However, I have not been able to get anyone at Schwab to definitively commit to keeping the current pricing.
 

DaveN

Member
Yes, the burning question. I'm able to trade SPX and RUT options in both my Brokerage and IRA accounts with TDA, but in my SCHW accounts, it's prohibited in my IRA. I expect that SCHW has tighter risk policies and they will apply the most conservative rules from each brokerage during the merge.

I was thrilled to learn that ToS would continue, and not some hybridized version of Street Smart Edge.

I'm hoping alongside of you that SCHW will continue to NOT pass through exchange and other fees. Since ToS/TDA passes these through, I'm thinking that when they consider the pros and cons, that the dollars and cents will prevail in the comparison. I hope I'm wrong.
 

srk

Member
do any brokers allow spread option trading on business retirement accounts (defined benefit plans and keogh) ?

most of them are allowing spreads without margin in the IRA accounts
 

DaveN

Member
I don't have specific experience with business accounts held with brokers for trading, but I can offer my perspectives overall. I hope others can chime in too.

IBKR seems to be quite flexible and accomodating, with trading policies that make sense. I've found TDA to be very good at considering then permitting broader trading priveleges. TastyTrade seems to do so as well, but I'm a fan of direct access routing of the former two, not so much Tasty. E*Trade maybe, but with the merger with Morgan Stanley (edited, from JPM), I'm not really sure.
 
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tom

Well-known member
Administrator
Quick update. I checked my broker statement yesterday and confirmed that my commissions were reduced to $0.50 on the TDA side.

1672408630765.png

The highlighted row shows the Commissions & Fees from the broker were $1.00 for a vertical spread, so $0.50 per contract. The Misc. Fees were $1.18 so a total of $2.18 for two contracts or $1.09 per contract total.

At this rate, opening and closing a vertical spread with a $0.05gross profit (x 100 shares) would be $5 - $4.36 commissions = +$0.64
 

status1

Well-known member
I could have sworn I was paying $1.24 for SPX options but I checked my statement and all of the trades were $1.30.
Were those all weekly trades ? Last time I checked the $1.24 is for the weekly The monthly is a little higher because TD has a tiered SPX fee structure based on monthly/weekly and <> $1 but if you can get the commission lower that is a good deal
 

status1

Well-known member
I expect that SCHW has tighter risk policies and they will apply the most conservative rules from each brokerage during the merge
I hope that does not happen or at least keep whatever policy was at TD grandfathered in and only apply the stricter policy for new accounts otherwise I could imagine charging full margin on the short spread in case of a BWB like most other brokerages so you will be limited to smaller qty bwb trades
but with the merger with JPM, I'm not really sure.
Who is merging with JPM ? I did not hear anything about that
 

status1

Well-known member
Morgan Stanley, yes that is the one merged with Etrade
I doubt they will make any changes for the better They already sold the backend business to someone else
 

DaveN

Member
Morgan Stanley, yes that is the one merged with Etrade
I doubt they will make any changes for the better They already sold the backend business to someone else
I liked E*Trade overall, and selling the backend may not be so bad.

My experience with them was generally good with trading, but ugh, administration, not so much. I opted for the program where I lend out shares I own for an added revenue stream (FPL, Fully-Paid Lending?). But it was terrible, always only a couple of shares at a time. They'd generate a paper statement and mail me for each transaction. That was five to seven separate letters per day in the mailbox?? Yikes! I couldn't make it stop, or at least made electronic. After five tries with different support people, it couldn't be fixed. So I moved accounts out of there.

That may be an area where Morgan Stanley can actually improve them....
 

tom

Well-known member
Administrator
Were those all weekly trades ? Last time I checked the $1.24 is for the weekly The monthly is a little higher because TD has a tiered SPX fee structure based on monthly/weekly and <> $1 but if you can get the commission lower that is a good deal
Yes.. they were all 0DTE trades
 

status1

Well-known member
Yes.. they were all 0DTE trades
In that case it might be the Reg fee that was increased
As of Nov I was still paying $1.24 and even now if I set up a trade and look at the commission it's still $1.23 plus the Reg fee of $0.01 but that is not shown when you looks at the misc fees so you would have to look on the confirmation page and see how much is the Reg Fee

I read somewhere that they increased the fees "On Saturday, May 14, fees increased from $5.10 to $22.90 per million dollars on the sale of securities." but I am not sure how that works out for 1 lot
I am just guessing that TD is just passing through the fees now
 
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