Broker and Brokerage Information Exchange

We have lots (a really lot) of messaging that deals with various brokers and what is allowed/not allowed by them in terms of buying/selling new issues on the Over The Counter (OTC) markets and many other issues.

For instance some brokers allow pretty much any transaction. I personally like eTrade as I have never had a trade rejected by them–while I have an account with Fidelity it restricts my ability to buy Fixed-to-Floating rate issues.

This area is for an exchange of information on all the various brokers–good, bad and otherwise.

Like all the various discussion pages if folks could ‘stay to topic’ the page will be more valuable to all, but staying to point.

If you want to start a new thread go to the bottom of the page and do a comment–instead of a reply.

481 thoughts on “Broker and Brokerage Information Exchange”

  1. Fidelity now allows allows F-T-F purchases without a phone call. A warning box now appears before the buy is finalized. I may be late on this but it was new to me as of 4/18.

  2. Just a heads up….

    Just found out that Fido’s (1099-Div) & Charles Schwab’s (1099-B) got amended for the THIRD time on 4/13/22 & 4/14/22.

    I checked their database on 4/15/22 to match their source docs to the latest changes which all lined up to late March amended info I had.

    I think they made these changes in the Delorean in their “Back to the Future” trickery because they weren’t in the computer on 4/15.

    I think next year, I’ll just file an extension so I don’t have to do any amending. The changes mean I will actually have less tax, but I don’t think I will change the return. I’ll recalculate the difference and see if it is worth it though.

    1. I’ve received 4 corrected 1099-DIV from Fidelity (so far), the last one was late yesterday 4/18 just a few hours after I sent in an amended return via TurboTax thinking the 3rd was the last change. Latest change showed $120 less capitol gain distributions. I’m not going to do another another amended return.

    2. A 1099B being amended by itself this late is really surprising.
      Are you sure it wasn’t amended because the distributions on the security were not changed as well?
      can you post the tickers or other identifier of the securities that were changed?

      1. Justin, one account just got its 8th 1099-*** so far this season. The same brokerage, which shall remain nameless, issued a revised 1099 in August a few years ago. And they do a HORRIBLE job detailing which exact line item drove the change. They give you a haystack and you are supposed to find the needle. This is a fairly complex account with thousands of transactions each year. Not to mention that what they report on 1099’s does not perfectly match what they export to tax programs like TurboTax, H&R Block etc.

        I have not kept track of exactly which 1099-DIV, INT,B,Misc,OID changes each time. You might be correct that the -B does not change after the initial release.

        You would think that how all of the transactions are reported would be straightforward, but we see plenty of comments on III about how they are NOT 100% accurate.

        1. My favorite 1099-B issue so far this tax season was from a different brokerage than I mentioned in the previous post. One of the large brokerages often discussed around here. One account had a reasonably sized bond that matured in 2021. The brokerage could not determine the basis, so they set it to ZERO. If you blindly imported the brokerage data into a tax program, it also did not flag an error. The program just assumes whatever the brokerage data provides is accurate. The difference in tax between a zero basis and the correct basis was material, so luckily it was caught and corrected. Motto of the story is that you need to check and at least make sure the data imported into your tax program is sane.

          1. That is an import issue. part of the import should be “cost not reported to IRS” and the tax software knows to get a verification.

        2. This year, the two issuers that raised everyone’s ire were Textainer Preferred’s and American software common stock, where they issued corrections of their previous breakdown published in April.

        3. As far as the 8 corrections, chalk that up to 4 interrelated factors.
          1. Huge number of securities in the account
          2. Timing of issuer releases
          3. Luck
          4. The broker’s correction schedule

          Now, generally, #1 is not something you can do anything about, but #2 is fairly predictable for about 90% of securities where they issue the updated information at the same time year over year.
          Cant do much about #3. You can have accounts with only 20 securities get 8 corrections just because of dumb luck that year.
          #4 is where you get the real disparity. I’ll give you an example.
          Two siblings inherit identical portfolios but put them in different brokers, A and B.
          A does “predictive printing” with increasing thresholds on an account level with $0 for February 15, $25 for March 1, $50 for March 15, and $100 for April 1 and later, whereas B does a weekly correction cycle with a threshold of 0.
          With broker A, you will likely get 1 or maybe 2 corrections and small corrections are bypassed.
          With B, you could literally get 9 or 10 corrections (one every week from 2/15 to 4/1), even of tiny amounts. (based on 8 corrections, that sounds like that broker does exactly that)
          And 26 USC 6721 gives brokers the ability to not issue corrections less than $100 unless the investor requests corrections of any amount. >0 (which is why they are allowed to do option A)

          Search for the 2nd instance of the phrase “safe harbor”

          1. Justin, thanks for the education on why/when/where brokerages issue new 1099’s. It likely explains the difference between brokerages. I am guessing that the 8 1099 brokerage puts out a revised version with ANY change, i.e. they are not using the $100 rule.

            The 8 1099 brokerage just put out a new one today. I am not even going to look at them until August, probably not a productive use of time. BTW, the August change from a few years ago was significant. Way more than $100.

            1. My experience with Fidelity over the years has been the initial 1099 in late Feb / early March and then a revised 1099 in late March

              Then a third corrected 1099 in September or October (always in my favor)

              Now that could be totally dependent on my holdings but its been a consistent pattern for me. I file my taxes in early April based on the 2nd 1099 and submit an amended return in October after getting the last corrected 1099 which usually nets me a nice steak dinner for two

              1. the corrections in October and later are usually fiscal year corporations that have return of capital, where the first 3 payments are known in January but the 4th isn’t known until the next year. Qualcomm used to do this, and there are a few others that may still do it, like Vector Group. OPPprA’s breakdown to June tells me that they are on a fiscal year and that the last 2 payments could get corrected sometime in August to October 2022.

      2. Hi Justin,

        The 1099-B that was mentioned is from Schwab. The change looks to be in an OPP/PRA sale. The differences appear to be about $2.73 total.

        The Fido one is more complicated, but it seems like the original Box 1 number was bit too high and has been allocated to a few other boxes.

    3. couldn’t get to bottom of the page so decided to just reply. This a complaint about “Edward Jones” ! have had problems with buy restricted issues for several years but they reached a new low this week I tried to buy Entergy Arkansas EAI, investment grade mortgage Bond, as part of my “self constructed annuity” in my Roth, was buy restricted. I asked my broker? about a prefer I’ve been Watching ALP-Q, DITTO does anyone restrict preffered stock? this Jones crap has become untenable. opinions please Thanks

  3. In the inbox today:

    Dear Vanguard Client,

    Beginning April 28, 2022, Vanguard will no longer accept purchases and transfers in of most over-the-counter (OTC) securities. This change allows us to better support a targeted, enduring suite of products and services rooted in Vanguard’s time-tested investment philosophy and built to help secure the long-term success of investors.

    According to our records, you either currently hold at least one of these restricted securities in your portfolio or have traded them in the past.

    What does this mean for the securities I hold?

    You can continue to hold and sell your positions in these securities. You can also make additional purchases of a small selection of global American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). Here’s how you can determine if you hold an ADR that won’t be restricted.

    All three of the following criteria must apply to the ADR:

    Consists of a five-letter ticker symbol that ends in “Y.” This confirms it’s traded OTC.
    Has a market capitalization of over $300 million (in U.S. dollars). Market capitalization is the total market value of a company’s outstanding shares.
    Belongs to the top three tiers of the OTC markets (Pink Current, OTCQB, and OTCQX). These markets are up to date with disclosures and listing requirements.
    Learn more about the OTC markets and individual securities at

    Thank you for investing with Vanguard.

  4. A little off topic, but important investment lesson(s) from UBS selling Puerto Rico GO muni bonds/funds to PR locals. UBS not only HEAVILY recommended locals buy them, but also pushed some investors to leverage them with borrowed money. Worked until PR went equivalent to bankrupt. About 4,000 arbitration cases have been filed with FINRA. Four takeaways from long read:

    1) Brokers did NOT understand the risks of both the bonds and/or the use of leverage. UBS doc recommended no more than 10% allocation, but local brokers advised higher in some cases.

    2) Customers did not understand the risks, particularly with the uninsured bonds.

    3) UBS management at some point realized PR was in trouble, but local brokers were still pushing bonds to customers.

    4) FINRA is letting some brokers expunge the arbitration claims from their records, so potential new customers will not be able to see them. Individual claims do NOT always aggregate at the top brokerage level.

    Life investing lessons for all of us.

    More details, might require a free registration:

  5. So vanguard’s inability to deal with $1000 issues, that seemed fixed, is in fact not fixed. They sent to Energy Transfer that I had 5000 shares of series H, instead of 5. Luckily ET’s rep saw the problem and had the correct $ amount in their system at least, so they changed the k-1 while I was on the phone, but that is a huge error by vanguard. I spoke to their fixed income specialist and he’s going to look into it and call me tomorrow. 😑

  6. Anyone have experience trading preferreds baby bonds with eTrade? Positive or Negative. MS buying them is a likely positive I guess ? Do they have restrictions against purchase of Fix-to-Floats like Fidelity?

    They have some decent promos going right now and was considering moving an old IRA there.

    1. I have noticed no change to speak of with E* since MS bought them. The only significant issue I’ve had tradings pfds or baby bonds was with issues caught by Rule 15c2-11, but my direct experience and from what I’ve heard, the same was true of other brokers as well. I have experienced no issues trading Fix-Floats at E*.

  7. First 1099 company screw up of 2021…
    Atlantica Yield come on down and you are the first contestant on the “How to piss off your shareholders”…

    They are issuing a 1099 that is non-qualified and return of capital.
    To be a little fair, they have never issued a 1099 before that had dividends on it, all the prior years were 100% ROC.
    So if anyone wants to challenge this characterization, contact them here at and don’t bother calling your broker. Your broker is just reporting what they were told to report.
    Or if the non-qualified is accurate, they must be considered a PFIC.

    “Subject to certain exceptions for short-term and hedged positions, dividends received by certain non-corporate U.S. Holders of shares generally will be subject to U.S. federal income taxation at rates lower than those applicable to other ordinary income if the dividends are “qualified dividends.” Distributions received by a U.S. Holder on shares will be qualified dividends if: (i) shares are readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States (such as NASDAQ Global Select Market, which we have applied for the shares to be listed on) and (ii) Abengoa Yield was not, for the year prior to the year in which the dividends are paid, and is not, for the year in which the dividends are paid, a PFIC.”

  8. IMBIL – 12.21 interest payment whackyness

    Fido has made a wacky entry on my account for the interest that was supposed to be paid 12.31.21.

    I couldn’t tie the number back to the shares I own so I tried the chat function and hoped they would put in a ticket for the back office. After about 20 minutes of “Is this a stock or a bond?” on the chat, they gave up and set me to the bond trading desk.

    Bond guy was an aye hole who new “everything” about bonds and kept calling IMBIL a preferred. I said “wrong” look at the prospectus. “Oh no, I can’t be bothered with that”. I started getting testy then he handed me off to the Preferred Stock trader.

    At least this dude listened and didn’t argue. The call took around 45 mins and they said they really didn’t have any idea when the record or ex-date was. They “thought” it was the 15th of December (record date).

    I called IMBIL IR only to find that the company they hired no longer works for IMBIL! So now I have a message in to IMedia to find out what the freegin’ record/ex-date was.

    Anyhow, if anyone owns this turd and knows the record and ex-date it would be appreciated if you could share. If not, I’ll post whatever IR says.

    1. Wow–glad I don’t own this one–my patience would not tolerate bs stuff from fido–my acct would be on the way elsewhere.

    2. You would think this interest payment would be slightly higher than the rest because it is for 92 days, not 90 days with a record date of 12/15.
      But it appears they paid it for 90 days like all the rest.
      25*.0850/360*90 or 0.53124993 per share.
      And I wouldn’t bother calling on a publicly traded issue because if yours is screwed up, so is everybody else’s.
      I would only call if it was some illiquid thing like the Ocean Spray’s.

    3. NWGG – p S-31 –
      “will bear cash interest from September 28, 2021 at an annual rate of 8.50%, payable quarterly in arrears on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31 of each year, beginning on December 31, 2021, and at maturity, and the interest payable on each interest payment date will be paid to holders of record of the Notes at the close of business on March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15 of each year, as the case may be, immediately preceding the applicable interest payment date;”

      I’m surprised your know-it-all bond guy didn’t say it wasn’t payable because the “dividend hadn’t been declared.”

      1. Thanks 2WR & friends. Much appreciated.

        What was even funnier about the “Bond Guy” was that he said “Only bonds have CUSIPS this has a symbol”.

        When I told him that this had a symbol and a CUSIP, I could hear the steam coming out of his ears over the phone. Toot toot!

  9. re FIDELITY Fixed to Floating trading ‘problem;’– well I took the plunge yet again yesterday holding for 20 minutes to talk to the fixed income specialist desk— now holding 2 F-t-F issues I wanted to put stink bids to add if, in light of market interest rate volatility, they came down in price.

    Got a nice young man who spouted the usual spiel about their nonsense that people don’t know what they are buying (!) – and they have to ‘warn’ us about the floating feature. As Tim points out on the header to this page and many know, you can only place a trade to close these- although you can sneak in at issue time which is the first ludicrous thing — otherwise you just have to call in every limit orders, no buy orders online– call in/wait for rep/go thru the nonsense and talk to them.

    I said there was buzz about this changing.. he said they get MANY calls ( and I guess complaints!) about this issue and are ‘aware’…but no changes immenent.

    So I asked to talk to a supv. Woman got on, explained again and said you people allow crazy day trades in everything else including volatile issues like 2X, 3X ETN’s, crypto etc… and relatively conservative F-t-F pfds/bb bonds- NO.. it is ridiculous and I want your assurance you will bring this to the attention of the trading committees. She said she understood and would do so and agreed there were many calls on this issue and for trades for the ‘explanation’ they have to give, tying them up.

    Anyway I will believe it when I see it but tried… my reasons were 1) I have no intention of shifting 3 a/c to other brokers just for this and 2) w interest rates in flux timely market/limit orders should be available to take advantage of price swings and opportunities for us here who have FIDO.
    (( Grid– do not think you are the main complainer! I guess I take that mantle for now!! Oh don’t even get me started on SA! ) Best to all .. we’ll see if it changes. Bea

    1. Bea, It makes one think, “With friends like these, who needs enemies”. They “protect us” from all sorts of very high quality issues and yet as you said, let you buy total dangerous crap…Oh and dont forget the Freddie and Fannie preferreds. You can buy them by the bushel load anywhere…Oh but the govt took them over and divi has been suspended over a decade and may never pay again…..

    2. Bea – I think the answers you were fed come from Page 3 of the Pat Answers Fidelity textbook provided to all phone jockeys. It’s chapter 1: how to patronize anyone who asks… we’re all talking to the wrong people… gotta get to their lawyers….

  10. for any holders of SPNT preferred B, there is a question on whether it is qualified or non-qualified this year.
    It seems the parent company may be considered a PFIC for 2021, so it may not be a qualified dividend.

  11. Fidelity’s Treatment on Special Year-end Dividend on CET –

    I’m curious if anyone else has experienced something like this: I bot into CET at Fidelity on Nov 10 in advance of the ex-div date for special yearend 12/22 div payment of 3.55/share. EVERY PRESS RELEASE issued by CET regarding this dividend instructed that the default treatment for it would be REINVESTMENT in shares and you would have to choose by Dec 2 if you wanted to receive the dividend in cash instead. I, therefore, did nothing expecting this would result in my reinvesting the dividend @ 40.05/share as per the press release HOWEVER, Fidelity overrode these instructions and paid this to me in cash instead of reinvesting it in shares because I had not chosen internally to elect dividend reinvestment. I do now see where Fidelity’s Corporate Actions notification does say that that’s what they were going to do, but given the very clear and concise instructions from CET, I didn’t read Fidelity’s fine print, thinking all it was going to say was regurgitation of the info I took pride in knowing on my own in advance re how CET was going to treat the dividend. Is this worth fighting or am I just screwed after the fact from being able to do what I intended to do?

    1. I am not following.
      Are you saying Fidelity turned off your reinvestment option without telling you? The fund could announce they are paying it in wine discounts instead of cash but what they announce is only relevant to the shareholders on their books and not the ones held in what is known as “street name”, with one exception, and that is when the REIT or fund indicates that there will be a cap on the cash paid, which changes it in 2 ways.
      1. Everyone is defaulted to 100% stock,
      2. all cash elections have to be submitted
      3. Proration will occur if the cash election exceeds the cap

      As to CET, here is the announcement.

      “Stockholders who own their shares in brokerage accounts should make the election through their broker”

      The dividend is payable December 22, 2021 to stockholders of record
      November 15, 2021. The distribution will be paid in additional shares of stock unless stockholders elect to receive the distribution in cash. The cut-off date for election of cash is December 2, 2021 (the “Cut-Off Date”). Stockholders who own their shares in brokerage accounts should make the election with their broker.

      1. Justin – No, Fidelity did not turn off my chosen reinvestment option. I apparently had to have changed Fidelity”s pre-chosen setting for all stocks (which is to take dividends in cash) to have received this dividend by way of the company’s chosen setting of receiving it in shares. So the way I look at it, they changed CET’s reinvestment choice….. I suppose I just have to accept responsibility for not having changed Fidelity’s default setting, but I thought CET’s instructions for the dividend would take precedent since CET made such a big deal of what you had to do to take the dividend in cash….. Lesson learned I suppose.

        1. The issuer’s notice is only for investors who hold their shares at the transfer agent, and not in street name, that is why they always have “contact your broker” because the issuer has 0 visibility into any shares held by brokers.
          and my caveat about the cash/stock election ceiling, brokers can be burned very badly if they don’t follow those rules because the big brokers can easily pay out cash dividends in excess of even what the entire cash payment the company makes in total, and they would have to scramble and sell the stock they have received to cover the difference.
          I only know of it occurring once, and the losses were in the millions for the broker because they sold the stock at a price much lower than it was valued when it was paid and they had to eat the loss. If they had tried to make the client’s eat it, all it would have done is led to a class action by each affected client, and the end result would be that they would eat the loss, and also eat a bunch of legal fees on top of it.

          1. Yeah, a lot of brokers including TDA and Fidelity elect cash by default for dividends regardless of what the company default is. If you want stock, you have to ask them specifically. I guess most people would rather have cash (including myself nearly always), so they figure they’re doing the best on averages by their clients..

            1. Hi Xerty, there is a non-obvious case where we use automatic reinvestment and that is for small accounts. Say you have a $2k ROTH IRA for a teenager just starting out. Even if you allocate it to all ETF’s, the dividend payouts are very small. We have had several payouts of less than $1 recently. Not many attractive investments are <$1/share, so automatic reinvestment solves that problem.

              Before there were commission free trades, it was an even larger problem. Are you going to wait until you build up say $25 to buy one share of a preferred?

              Bottom line is we use automatic dividend reinvestment in many accounts, both small and large.

              Thanks and happy holidays to all III'ers!


        2. FWIW, I got burned a bit recently after having to move all of my Fido workplace retirement BrokerageLink funds to an IRA, then learning a bit late I’d have to change each one to “re-invest” instead of receiving cash (the default). I had a fair number of CEFs, BDCs, etc. But, when you do that, there’s a box to check if you also want all future investments in that account to be re-invested, so that should be the default on all new securities I buy, I think. If I had used that prior to the transfers, I think it would have prevented the need for changing each one individually.

          1. CR, a few more points on dividend reinvestments:

            1) Fidelity sets the default to “do NOT reinvest” and you have to go through a few screens to set each one individually TO reinvest. They do NOT allow reinvestment on ANY preferreds. Have yet to get a good answer whey they don’t allow it. Probably another nanny state thing. Fido does the reinvestments the same day the dividend is paid.

            2) Schwab also sets the default to “do NOT reinvest” but they make it very easy to change. On the main portfolio page beside each ticker is a click box you can set. They let you reinvest dividends on most preferreds, but do NOT allow it on baby bonds/terms. Not clear why they won’t allow it on babys because the software implementation can’t tell whether a $25 exchange traded issue is a preferred or a baby. Schwab will not allow it on any of the Pink Sheet issues best I can tell, even if they are “Pink Current Info.” You sure would NOT want them to do it on “Pink No Info” issues that likely would get horrible fill prices. Schwab does the reinvestments the next trading day @ ~ 10.00 AM NYSE time, like clockwork. You can identify the trades after the fact.

            1. I’ll bet the reason they don’t allow reinvestment on the preferreds is that the preferred space is riddled with low volume (and low ownership inside Fidelity on dividend reinvestment for other securities in the account), which makes the processing of a reinvested dividend very labor intensive to reconcile the cash and purchases of the shares, which is why they block the asset class entirely.. Think of all the preferred securities that go weeks between trades that Gridbird owns. If he put them on dividend reinvestment, his broker would be protesting outside his house….

            2. Actually Tex

              1. It is very easy on Fidelity to set up reinvestment of dividends for all holdings in your account. You DO NOT have to do it issue by issue. You can change the default “do not reinvest” to “reinvest” for all easily. That is how I have my account set up

              2. I then can go in and edit an individual security to “not reinvest” if I choose (which I have done on a few occasions)

              3. Yes, no automatic dividend reinvestment on preferreds at Fidelity given many are low volume issues,

  12. Had a GTC order for EBBNF that got a partial fill earlier this week (Fidelity platform). I noticed a $75 “commissions/fees” charge. Was informed that this was a fee for a foreign issue that was passed through. Had not seen that before. Bought EBBGF at TD earlier this year – there was a $6.95 commission, but no other foreign issue fees. Never anything with the the Brookfield issues.
    Cancelled what was left of the GTC order.

  13. Over on the Canadian Discussion page, on 10 dec, Joel A wrote about a new pfd from Canadian Utilities ( “CU.PR.J began trading today. (description) / DBRS 2high credit rating”

    Anyone here familiar enough w IBKR to tell me how to view a quote for that issue? They’re convention is ” PR”. So WFC-L is WFC PRL. But “CU PRJ” doesn’t find anything.

    I’m obviously an IBKR newbie, looking for any pointers (and missing Bob-in-DE’s input at this moment).

    1. That’s the NYSE standard that IB uses for things like WFC PRL, etc, with a space.

      For Canada, they use periods so CU.PR.J is correct, but IB just doesn’t have it listed in their system yet. You can find the rest of the CU prefs that way if you want them – C,F,G,H,I.

    2. I don’t know if it’s applicable to CU PRJ but Interactive Brokers is slow to make new issues available for trading. When in doubt, call them.

  14. Heh, my vanguard account shows the accurate value of my $1000 par preferred! Guess they finally fixed their display issue.

    1. HOO-rah! Finally! I’d sure love to sit in on the post-mortem of that bug fix. Only took ’em 9 months… and that’s just how long I’ve been tracking it. No idea how long it’s actually been around.

  15. Another contestant in the “Best Brokerage” to use beauty pageant. Often times an III’er provides feedback on various brokerages that either do something well or more commonly do something poorly. Best I can tell, there is no single winner amongst all of the brokerages. Oftentimes an III poster will talk about using multiple brokerages for various reasons.

    I guess we needed another brokerage, since all of the existing ones have quirks. So what I describe as a group of celebrity investors decided to start a new brokerage called “” It appears to be geared towards people that trade on their smartphones, kind of like Robinhood. addresses the main criticism of Robinhood and says they do NOT accept payment for order flow, aka PFOF. This is the setup where your brokerage literally sells all of the orders it receives to a “wholesaler” typically Citadel or Virtu. They usually pay the brokerage a fraction of a cent per share on stock trades. PFOF provides the majority of income for Robinhood.

    Since offers free trades like every other brokerage and does NOT accept PFOF, how do they make money? One of their income sources is “tipping.” When you place an order, there is a screen that allows you to add a tip to the trade. The example they show adds 25 cents to the trade. Seems like a pretty unique setup to me.

    There is an added wrinkle to PFOF. The SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has been critical of PFOF and might ban it. If the SEC bans it, it will be a major hit to Robinhood and to a lesser extent most of the other brokerages with the exception of Fidelity. Not clear how Robinhood would be profitable without PFOF, of course profits seem optional for many listed companies these days.

    As part of not accepting PFOF, does provide some good data showing their customers receive better pricing on trades compared to brokerages that DO accept PFOF. You can understand that on high volume issues that trade with narrow bid/ask spreads. Not so clear what it would mean for our lower liquidity issues that trade with wider spreads. My pure guess is that it MIGHT mean you get more orders filled, since the wholesaler is not trying to collect their penny per share.

    We do NOT have any accounts at, nor are we invested in it or receive any compensation as an “influencer.” We do NOT plan to open any accounts there since our hands are full dealing with a gazillion other issues. But if some III’er wants to take the plunge and report back, maybe gets crowned the new winner and receives the tiara.

    Link to how makes money:

    BTW, totally different topic, stock exchanges are starting to make changes that could impact III’ers, but it will take several years to implement.

    1. Interesting. There is always a catch. Read the not so fine print:


  16. TDA and the RIV dividend and rights issue:

    Today was dividend day for RIV. TDA paid the dividend on the shares I owned prior to receiving the shares I acquired in their recent rights offering, but they did NOT PAY DIVIDEND ON THE SHARES ACQUIRED IN THE RIGHTS OFFERING… This is clearly wrong as per which says, “Shares of common stock issued pursuant to the Rights Offering will be record date shares for the purposes of the Fund’s November 2021 distribution payable.”

    If others own RIV at other brokers, could you please post whether or not your broker got it right and if you own at TDA, best you check the numbers – most likely the same thing happened to you.. To date I have heard that Pershing got it right as did ML Edge..

    BTW, the response I got from TDA couldn’t be more helpful…. HAHAHA… ‘We’ll start an inquiry that will take a month of Sundays to complete, do you want us to send the report by snail mail or put it in your online Inbox?’ They didn’t even make a call to the backoffice to confirm why the dividend on the rights offering shares wasn’t paid. I should have just asked why didn’t I receive the correct amount of dividend instead of telling them why I thought I had not…….

  17. Royal Capital Ltd. is a Bangladesh-based stock brokerage firm that provides fully integrated equity trading services to its clients. The company was founded in 1996 and since its founding, it has emerged as one of the largest, most respected, and technologically advanced stockbrokers in Bangladesh. The company is accelerating digital transformation by adopting enhanced online trading platforms, contactless payment systems such as mobile banking, online fund transfer, and online BO account opening. Royal Capital is rated A+ by world-renowned credit rating agency CRISIL for its financial position, and flexibility, accounting quality, operating efficiency, competence, and Integrity. Our reputation thrives on our track record of honesty.

  18. Has anyone else tried Fidelity’s new ‘dividend view’ inside the Accounts tab?
    It shows the ex-div date for each position, the pay-date, current yield, as well as the % of the account each position occupies. This is a big improvement over the old look…very useful!

    1. And, it is sortable by ex date and by yield! A very useful tool if you like to be aware of x-dates. It works for Baby Bonds but not for other types of bonds.

      1. Fidelity scores points with this new ‘dividend view’ accounts page, but their reporting functions are still archaic. I’d like to see them produce something like the ‘expected investment income’ report that Merrill Edge has. A ‘dividend view’ for watch lists would also be nice.

  19. Any opinion of which broker is best among the giants. Schwab, Fidelity Etc. I currently have Merrill but they seem to restrict etfs and have a delay for new preferreds..

    I have tried to by a few etfs like SCHY and DIVO. I can not at Merrill. Not sure why I can’t buy SCHY?


    Thank you

    1. Sometimes the giants are not the best. The smaller ones can be quite useful. But if I had to pick a giant it would be TD Ameritrade. Next would be Ally or Interactive Brokers.

    2. David, brokerages are kind of like spouses. All of them have some positive aspects and all of them have some quirks. Understand that we III’ers represent a teeny, tiny percentage of investors, certainly less than 1% based on some of the individual preferred stocks we buy. For the other 99%, probably any of the major brokerages would be fine. A lot of times it comes down to what you are used to. So if you are planning on investing in “mainstream” stocks and ETF’s, pick any of them. If you want to get IPO issues like we talk about around here, that is a different constraint. If you want to consistently be able to talk to a human with short wait times, that is another constraint. If you want to have a margin account that consistently borrows money, yet another. If you want to do automated trading, yet another. Do you want a fancy “trading platform” that many brokerages offer or just plan to use a web interface or smartphone app?

      So it is up to each investor to decide what they are looking for in order to find the best match. And like I said, if you are only interested in conventional stocks and ETF’s, pretty much all of them will work for you.

    3. As someone else noted, all brokers have their own individual quirks. It depends on what your needs are.

      Over the years I have had accounts with all of them, including many that no longer are around. Shoot back in the tech IPO heyday, I probably had a dozen or more accounts with different brokers to gain access to free money tech IPOs.

      These days my needs and focus are much different. I now use Fidelity for everything – regular account, rollover IRA and I manage my daughter’s retirement accounts all on Fidelity as well.

      You should be fine with any of them unless you have very specific needs in which case learn the quirks of each

    1. No, but I was able to get some free trades thrown my way by a chat agent. He admitted that he didn’t know if they would actually work. I haven’t made a trade yet.

    2. If you want to trade Canadian stocks, Fidelity’s platform worked very easily for me, without assistance.

    3. Is anyone using a broker that still offers free OTC trades? I’ve been looking into it this week with Schwab’s new fee. Any feedback would be appreciated.

      My review so far:
      Tradestation – I funded an account just to see their trading system. Unfortunately, like every other broker that I’ve looked at recently, their quotes don’t match up to Schwab – for reasons I don’t understand, Schwab often shows better bid/ask prices than Fidelity, TD, etc., but never worse. So I was thinking I could use Tradestation to trade, but rely on Schwab for quotes. This would be a pain in the butt, so I’m not sure it’s worth it, but I do a considerable amount of OTC trading.

      Firstrade – I emailed to find out if they have Limited Margin in IRAs and the Rep that responded didn’t seem to know what that is and answered a different question instead.

      eOption – Never heard of them before, but I guess they’ve been around for a while.

  20. Just wondering if any others incur this problem: In my TDA account, I am not allowed to trade preferred shares pre or post market hours. but, because other brokerage firms do allow trades of this type , I am at a disadvantage because others are trading when I cannot ( and it costs me money ). Simple example is HCDIP getting crushed after hours on 10/4, because they priced their secondary, when I could not trade. Advice or suggestions would be appreciated. ( Am I doing
    something wrong ? )

    1. I do trade preferreds at TDA in extended hours, and don’t pay for it-I’m not aware I did anything special to be able to. The bid/ask is often prohibitive, but I have gotten fills. OTC cannot be traded in extended hours, though. And my TDA employer ira account doesn’t allow it.

    2. Sorry, I should have deleted my comment.
      I realize it is only 5 character OTC symbols that
      cannot be traded after hours on TDA.
      If I had been up and at em, I would have been
      able to trade HDCIP after hours.
      My error and my small loss. Thanks

      1. Howard , I tried to snag it pre market on TD and it disallowed the trade. I didnt try to use my other 2. But I doubt Vanguard would allow it either.

  21. Anyone know how to take advantage of the LAND Preferred DRIP where you can buy shares at $22.75 under the initial offering. On MyIPO they only offer shares at $25.

    1. Shares purchased through myIPO can be transferred to the transfer agent for subsequent dividend reinvestment. Contact Michael Warren at Cambria Capital, LLC, 801-456-2337 or He can send you an authorization form to fill out, get notarized, and return to him. He has been very helpful. It appears to me from reading the info on myIPO that the DRIP only applies to reinvested dividends. Maybe your interpretation will be different.

      1. I have just gone through this process. Yes, Michael Warren has been helpful. You can email the notarized form, to move shares to the transfer agent which is Computershare. Side note: when I was in the business, we had to have the original form with the raised seal. The raised seal was discontinued years ago.

        **NOTE** MyIpo whacked me for $25 to transfer the shares.

        1. When you move these to Computershares, do you then actually open up an account there and hold them under that account name???? Thus all the rules set up to owning LAND B shares stay in effect there and all future dividends are dripped at 22.75?? What happens when the shares ultimately become listed? Do you then have to move them out to another account somewhere else if you wanted to trade them? All of a sudden, maybe the idea of buying LAND preferred thru MyIPO should be back on the table…

          1. I have an account already with Computershare that contains various securities. I reinvest dividends and have the ability to buy or sell shares, depending upon the plan agreement (including fees) between Computershare and the individual companies. I have, in fact, transferred several stocks from Computershare to TDA without a problem. I would not think that you would have to move shares, once listed, elsewhere since Computershare is in business to allow investors to buy and sell shares and reinvest dividends. They make money off of this. I would look at all of the materials from LAND.

        2. I hope you questioned the $25 charge. Nothing was either verbally or in writing communicated to me about such a charge. Of course, I haven’t returned the form yet. Thanks for the heads up.

          1. I questioned the charge, and the answer came back that the charge is imposed by Folio (JP MORGAN) and will not be waived. Mike Warren (nice guy) said it was clearly stated in the description – and I checked and it says

            “*At this time, My IPO does not offer the ability for investors to participate in the dividend reinvestment plan instead of a cash dividend.”

            I think they added that bit to the website after I invested, but I have no way to prove it.

            JPMorgan will get my $25 and my accompanying ill will.

    2. Just a reminder that in life there is no free lunch, and to warn people the discount is likely taxed as dividend income, so you are surprised when your 1099DIV shows up and it is far higher than the dividend amount.

      1. Hmmm… I am checking on this. Here’s what I’d expect:

        – dividend issued (taxable event)
        – shares are then purchased at $22.75 using the dividend just issued (*not* a taxable event)
        – those new shares have a basis of $22.75, so if later sold above that price, the difference would be a taxable capital gain

        To have the dividend reinvestment purchase also be a taxable event, I assume that would mean the cost basis of the newly-purchased shares would then be $25 (similar to the way employee stock purchase discounts are treated)? So:

        – dividend issued (taxable event)
        – shares are then purchased at $22.75, which is also a taxable event, incurring $2.25/share ‘income’
        – those new shares would have a basis of $25

        Anyway, I’m asking my broker to check with LAND. I’ll report back.

  22. Good news. I’m told that later this year or early 2022 FIDO will allow opening trades on fixed to floating preferreds. Bout time.

      1. If Hank’s experience is anywhere similar to what I’ve had, he’s probably managed to get a rep trained to say it’s coming just to get you off the phone feeling encouraged… Hank – here’s an experiment for you: try innocently to make that call again and assuming you don’t talk to the same person, see if you get the same answer…….I’d say the odds are 50-50. The only consistency I’ve heard is each jockey saying they agree with you that they don’t like the limitation either…

    1. I agree with 2WR. I’ve been told many times they are working on a fix. This over many years. Not holding my breath.

    2. And BAM. Just like that. Can no longer buy ABRFP (now ABRPRF for Fido users) nor NRZPRD. I was able to buy in, but no longer.

      Does Fido view reset rate preferreds as risky, or is something else going on? In a rising rate environment, I’d think these would be a good bet.

  23. I have initiated a transfer on of one of my accounts from one broker to another. The ACAT has run into problems with the transfer of three securities: AATRL, SLMNP, and WTREP. Anyone have experience with similar matters?

    1. Not directly, but for WTREP I speculate it may be that the issue is now delisted. I hold a position w E*TRADE, and they now list the position in my portfolio by its CUSIP with a zero value.

      1. That’s as my WTREP shows up in the current account.
        It gets stranger. Now they say they will accept transfer of those 3, including WTREP, but not KTBA. Makes no sense.

  24. How good is Schwab at not deducting Canadian taxes on securities held in a US IRA? Thanks.

    1. I think you may be asking the wrong question.

      The US brokers don’t decide whether to withhold – the Canadian custodians do. They deduct the withholding amount and send it to Revenue Canada before sending the remainder to the US broker to pay to you.

      The real question is whether Schwab will go fight with the Canadian custodian when they get it wrong. The answer to that is generally “NO”.

      So, as long as the stock you own has a good custodian who gets withholding right, schwab is fine. If your stock has a lazy/inept/etc. custodian in Canada that withholds when it shouldn’t, Schwab is not much help. I went through this a few years ago on a couple of preferreds. Schwab had lots of excuses why they couldn’t help, but ultimately wouldn’t lift a finger to go fight with the custodian on my behalf.
      I eventually got someone who agreed that there shouldn’t have been any withholding, but they basically said it was my problem and they would do nothing to help. But – if I managed to get the custodian to fix things, Schwab would pay me the revised amount the custodian sends to them (thanks for nothing).

      I gave up after a couple of quarters and just quit trying to have those preferreds in an IRA.

        1. Tim W…unfortunately my experience with Schwab is similar to Private. I have held CNUTF and FORFF in my IRA’s at Schwab and they always withhold the 15% tax and I could not get them to change.

  25. Has anyone had experience with Schwabs share lending program?
    I transferred shares of UPST to them in June to take advantage of the ridiculously high rates they were paying. I have requested a daily accrual accounting but they are….hesitant to provide it. In the year 2021, I would think this is a matter of a few keystrokes to provide. All they give is a daily update on the interest rate, and a monthly total. It is less than I expected based on my rough estimate.

    1. Furcal, the current rate for lending shares is ~0.5% annually on a non-Schwab platform I checked. Schwab probably splits it with you 50%/50%, so you would get 0.25% per year. Trading today @ ~ $200/share, so you should receive about 14 cents per day per 100 shares loaned out. Gonna take a while to earn a steak dinner on this one. . .

      1. Tex, thanks, I am familiar with the program.
        Back in June the rate was higher for a few weeks prior to the lock up expiration. What I am looking for is the daily accrual accounting.

  26. Does anyone have more clarity on when various brokers will stop allowing bids on Pink No Information securities? TD had said mid-August, while Schwab said late August.

    I would expect buy side liquidity to drop incrementally as each broker adds the restrictions, which means if you have accounts at one of the late movers (Schwab compared to TD, as an example), you may have the opportunity to be one of the last retail bidders and could have one last shot at some low ball purchases.

    1. I had to call inept Ally to clarify a small problem. You know, the kind where you try to sell something and it says you dont own the issue even though the shares are clearly in the account…Anyhow, I asked the rep there and she said there are no restrictions presently and no restrictions are planned. Of course that could change tomorrow. Or she could no nothing and be wrong. I dont assume anything with those cats. TD is well known.. Vanguard has not notified
      me of anything, but they long ago choked off most of that stuff making it almost irrelevant.

    2. Looks like Schwab has cut off buying of Pink No Information as of today. Can no longer place bids on the LTS bonds.

      TD is still allowing bids, but that probably won’t last much longer.

      1. I have a tiny position in LTSH at Schwab. Schwab is still showing quotes (400 shares traded by someone today). But as Karma stated, no buy orders are being accepted. I should say no NEW buy orders because I have a limit order placed a few weeks ago still showing as active. No position at Fidelity….I see they are not accepting buy orders.

        1. Ha, good point! I have a couple limit orders still open, too. It will be interesting to see if they come through and cancel those or not.

          I would think the quotes should still be there for another month until the SEC rule officially kicks in. You can sell, of course.

          I still don’t know how the “expert market” is supposed to work after that. What I’ve read implies that even retail investors can still place limit orders somehow, you just won’t be able to see any quotes. But if all the brokers say that we can’t enter buy orders, I don’t know if there will actually be anything we can do.

          1. Karma, I got notice 8/18 TD has extended deadline in trading these securities and they still trade there.
            We previously communicated that ahead of the regulatory enforcement date, we will only accept orders to liquidate impacted positions (i.e. no new buy orders) starting August 13, 2021. With the fluid nature of the situation and to better align our efforts across the combined company, we have adjusted the date for restricting the securities to on or after September 3, 2021. After the amendment officially goes into effect on September 28, 2021, it may be more difficult to liquidate these securities. Quoting and market liquidity may also be very limited.

          2. >I still don’t know how the “expert market” is supposed to work after that. What I’ve read implies that even retail investors can still place limit orders somehow, you just won’t be able to see any quotes. But if all the brokers say that we can’t enter buy orders, I don’t know if there will actually be anything we can do.

            -Expert market – SEC nixed this, not on their agenda anytime soon.
            -It would have allowed accredited investors to post & see quotes
            -Retail brokers don’t seem psyched to allow trading so imagine this will be relegated to full service brokers.
            – AS IS: Anyone that has a broker that will facilitate access will be able to trade however, there will not be any publicly disseminated quotes. So you’ll be blindly submitting a limit order without seeing an order book.

            1. As is typical, they have made it worse in every way and increased the chances that people will make mistakes, get screwed by having an illiquid market, have poorer access to pricing data etc…

              The most frightening combination of words in the English language remains, “We are from the government, and we are here to help.”

          3. Someone just came in with a dump on some LTS notes. One of my limit orders that Schwab left open was filled at $18.92 on LTSL.

              1. Justin, I don’t think so. It’s not like it’s an illegal trade or anything. Schwab restricted new buys but left open buys outstanding. There is still almost a month left until the actual restrictions are required. I expect they will cancel open orders at that point.

  27. tdA charges $6.95 commission on OTC trades. This is now added to all of the newly changed issues. If you trade in multiple small increments you’d better be aware of the charges. They are not prominently displayed.

    1. Martin – FWIW a long time ago, before free trades, I managed to talk TDA down to 4.95/trade and that still stands for me today on the charged trades….I am assigned to the Private Client group or something like that but it’s not because I’m an extremely big hitter or especially active trader, but I mention it now because who knows, maybe commissions will once again via this backdoor way become important again…

  28. Email from Schwab today.

    “On September 28, 2021, new amendments adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) go into effect to enhance investor protection and improve issuer transparency. These amendments restrict the ability of market makers to publish quotations for those companies that have not made required current financial and company information available to regulators and investors.

    Ahead of the regulatory enforcement date, Schwab will only accept orders to liquidate positions (i.e. no new buy orders) starting in late August 2021. Please note: After the amendment officially goes into effect on September 28, 2021 it may be more difficult to liquidate these securities. Quoting and market liquidity may also be very limited.”

    CNUTF is the only listed security although I also own CUTLF which are both Canadian Utilities. I suspect other OTC symbols will soon become restricted.

    1. Another case where the implementation of the new Rule is problematic. These two issues are identical from a regulatory point of view yet one is black-listed and one is not.

      CU is a 20-billion dollar company (utility) whose finances are readily available at the company’s website and at it’s own country’s version of the SEC. Whether or not CU’s securities were the intended target of the new Rule, this is an example of what, in practice, will get caught up in the silliness.

      The new SEC rule, all 297 pages of it, is poorly conceived, poorly written, and will be poorly implemented. That’s my call.

      Are you feeling protected yet?

      1. Total waste of time, and money.

        Schwab was very good at opening OTC symbols. I suspect those days are gone.

      2. On that list, and along the same lines, is BKFAF, which trades in Toronto as (I think) BAM.PR.B. It’s a preferred issued by giant Brookfield.

        I have a short-term gain in that position at Schwab. I could just sell it and re-buy on the Toronto at IBKR but I hate to pay the tax man.

        What do you all think, is there any chance I could get them to swap it into the otherwise mostly useless Schwab Global account? What’s the over-under on how many hours I’d have to spend on the phone to get someone who knew what I was talking about?

        1. Mike – I’ll take a knowledgeable stab at this.

          Clearly Brookfield does not belong on the banned list. They are SEC reporting and trade on the NYSE. The situation you describe arises because the BAM preferreds are not SEC registered (some exceptions). You are correct about this being BAM.PR.B. You can find the prospectus at SEDAR. For no good reason, some of the BAM preferred are Pink OK and some are Pink not OK.

          I am inclined to believe that misclassifications of major issuers like BAM and ENB will get straightened out on OTC in the end and they will end up as Pink OK. But I may be wrong. You may end up with an untradable security. Pays like clockwork but you can’t sell it.

          I do not believe that you can migrate from the OTC ticker to the TSX ticker without it counting as a sale for tax purposes. I know that IBKR won’t accept the transfer of “F” OTC tickers.

          Regarding IBKR, if you want to be a serious buyer of Canadian preferred or other Canadian equities (especially those without NYSE tickers) you should do it through IBKR. By “serious” I mean probably 100k plus; otherwise it isn’t worth the time.

          To buy Canadian issues at IBKR you need to first buy CA$, which you can do easily at IBKR. Then you buy. It is truly a multi currency account which American are generally not very familiar with.

          If you really want global go to IBKR. You can buy almost any major exchange in the world but you do so in local currency.

          1. Thanks Bob. I’m inclined to take my chances and let them ride, but any further buys will be at IBKR. I do have the Lite account even though the amount I have in Canadian preferreds is far from the $100k “serious” mark. More like “comical”!

            1. I am holding CNUTF. Same issue decent capital gains and nice dividend (5.6% at the price I brought it at). I suspect CNUTF will be called in Sept 2022 and replaced with a fixed rate reset (4.5% fixed rate coupon).

              It reports enough to Schwab to be a qualified dividend. Dumb to be on the list. I suspect Bob is correct, they will fix issues like BAM, Emera, and Canadian Utilities

    2. Oddball Stocks says it is covering this regulatory change in it’s subscription newsletter. I have never paid for the newsletter, but I’ve followed the blog for a number of years and the author is very savvy and, as you might guess be the blog’s name, has his universe of stocks being significantly impacted by the change. So I’m going to bet that he is digging into this topic more than any of us and probably has some good input (but as I said, I’ve never subscribed so I don’t know for sure). But for those who want to understand these changes to the best of their ability, maybe it would be worth the price.

  29. IMHO Schwab has really gone down hill since reg TD merger . The main thing I see is that if you call for service. They used to be great knowledgable etc. Now you call you get “hold On’ ” I will check”. The reps that answer now are dumb as dirt, and seemed very confused. Im really think of moving back to Fido.

    1. Max
      I think the issue is the combined entity looking to save money. I feel like TD service has significantly as well.

  30. Who gets my vote?

    I bought a bunch of METCL today. My efforts began at about 830 AM, when I saw the issue had made its way onto NASDAQ. I would have bought all my shares at Vanguard if possible but Vanguard didn’t recognize the ticker. TDA did, as did IBKR, but I held off to see if Vanguard would get it up on the platform.

    They didn’t, so at 9:15 I entered pre market orders at two separate IBKR accounts and a TDA account, all at the same time/price. The two IBKR orders executed immediately. I paid $1.00 per 100 shares for the privileged. That’s $1.00 per $2,500.00 in face value.

    The TDA order sat there until market opening and then executed. For the delayed execution I paid a flat $6.95 fee. Why I was charged the fee I’m not sure (this should be commission free I believe) but I’m not going to call TDA over $6.95. I think they depend on that.

    I still wanted additional shares but those had to be bought at Vanguard, as they were headed to qualified accounts held there. By this time Vanguard had the issue up on the platform but you had to call to do the trade. Not going to spend an hour on the phone with Vanguard, sorry. Been there done that too many times.

    By about 10:30 Vanguard was allowing buys without the phone call, but the price had gone up 30 cents/share. I bought anyway. The additional cost was an order of magnitude more than the combined commissions at IBKR and TDA.

    So, for this one, my vote and the trophy hands down goes to IBKR. Saved me time, money and aggravation. More money coming out of Vanguard and headed to IBKR.

    1. FWIW, Bob – I bot METCL @ TDA at about 9:50AM yesterday and was not charged anything.

      1. Same here, 2WR. TD actually had the issue loaded Monday so I entered bid then, but it quickly jumped right over the 25.10 bid next day, so I reloaded at 25.30 to hit. This doesnt seem like a 2WR purchase… Boredom creeping in and need a bit of excitement? 🙂

        1. Grid – It hits the 2wr screen primarily due to its 5 year maturity…… Dicey perhaps, but not 9% dicey imho. So bot at same prx you did but with hopes like Bob that I overpaid and could add more lower.. darn! up 1.8% complaints complaints complaints…

          1. Well I feel better now you bought it. I should have sold everything and just bought up the float. I mean your so conservative, you wont buy a bond from a company, unless they have zero debt! 🙂

          2. It was inherently hard to predict a price path for METCL. Small company, short operating history, no other outstanding issues, no good comps, and so forth. I would not be surprised to see this trade at 30 at some point, or 20. So I just let ‘er rip. In 5 years I’ll either be sipping Dom Perignon or Two Buck Chuck.

            In the last 6 months I have erred on the side of caution too many times so if I like an issue I’m in big and fast these days.

            1. Bob, it doesnt matter as the world is coming to an end anyways. Our Phoenix baby bond just cleared $18 today. The dead are rising from the grave.

              1. Vanguard still has Phoenix marked at my original acquisition cost. I would buy more if it dropped under 14.

              1. Glad we’ve got somebody else fueling the QVC coffers too, micahc. This vicious cycle of buying QRTEP solely to have the divvies pay for wifey’s purchases is killing me. At least we get some good food out of it sometimes…. but I’d be happy to have yo mamas purchases take over for mine…. lol

                1. Would feel blessed to receive an assorted bag of mixed nuts. She sticks mainly in the nick knack lane.

                  Loves Christmas. Will become Santa’s elf next week as I start the yearly pilgrimage to the basement bringing up her treasures. Has to have them all.

                  1. Ah yes, Christmas in July – all day every day, the true $pirit of Chri$tma$…. You must be from the South…I can’t even begin to count the number of truly dedicated Christmas stuff storage rooms we’ve seen when we go to estate sales in TN…fully dedicated and not closet sized either…

  31. Here’s another email response to sort thru with TDA, this time having to do with the miniscule amount of BMTX I received from CUBI when it was spunoff via a SPAC in January….. Trying to get the restrictions removed that I thought had to do with a lockup period and nothing else… They’re trying to say it has something to do with Rule 144… Say what???????????????? To their credit, I’ve received this from TDA. I’ve received no responses from Fidelity where I also have shares acquired the same way. I’m awaiting further input/clarification from BMTX.

    Dear ,

    We have received your request to remove the restriction on shares of BM Technologies Inc. in this account. The certificate is marked with a restriction under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 144, prohibiting the sale, or other transfer of ownership, of the security, until the legend is removed. This email includes the needed forms as attachments and contains information on the removal process.

    The following documentation is needed in order to complete this request:

    –Rule 144 Non-Affiliate Packet
    –Minimum Account Requirements ($250 in available funds)

    Please complete the necessary forms and return the originals to a TD Ameritrade branch or send them by mail to the address below. Please do not email or fax these documents, as originals are required.

    TD Ameritrade
    Attn: Cage/Restricted
    P.O. Box 2760
    Omaha, NE 68103-2760

    or for express delivery

    TD Ameritrade
    Attn: Cage/Restricted
    200 South 108th Ave.
    Omaha, NE 68154-2631.

    What you need to know:

    — We are providing forms and information on the document requirements for Rule 144, since it is one of the more common stock restrictions. If your securities are restricted under another rule, please contact a TD Ameritrade Restricted Stock Specialist at 888-723-8504, option 7, for further information.

    — TD Ameritrade provides short-term (30 days) safekeeping for clients to provide the documents needed to complete a deposit.

    — The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations vary based on your Affiliate status with the Issuing Company of this stock. If you are an Affiliate of the Issuer, please contact the Restricted Stock & Safekeeping Department at the number above, so we can provide alternate paperwork. (If you are not certain of your status, please feel free to call us for more information.)

    — Non-affiliated clients must have at least $250.00 in available funds in the account, above the value of the restricted shares, to process the removal. Fees charged to TD Ameritrade (“Pass Through” fees) may also be assessed to your account. These fees may vary in amount. If funds are not available in the accounts, you will be contacted to deposit additional funds. Fees involved in the removal process are not credited or refunded. Please determine if the value of the stock is equal to or greater than your expenses in removing the restriction.

    Below are detailed instructions:

    — Restricted Stock Handling Guidelines, Non-Affiliate – This document is a reference and fact sheet for you to review and keep. Please review it thoroughly, and feel free to contact the Restricted Stock & Safekeeping Department with any questions.

    — Rule 144 Client Pledge, Non-Affiliate – This document must be completed by all shareholders listed on the certificate. Please read each statement carefully and answer each to the best of your knowledge unless directed to leave blank by the Issuer’s attorney. Please return it to the address listed at the top of the form.

    — Restricted-Stock Questionnaire – This document will assist TD Ameritrade in processing your securities quickly and efficiently, in accordance with SEC regulations, by providing use with important information. Please complete it in its entirety and mail it back, along with the Rule 144 Client Pledge, to the address listed above. Investor Relations for the Issuing Company can usually provide the name and phone number (voice/fax) for the attorney; should Investor Relations tell you there is a blanket legal opinion on file, you can write “blanket on file” on the Corporate Counsel line of the questionnaire.

    TD Ameritrade requires that your account have at least $250.00 in cash in the account to meet the minimum account requirements. The minimum requirements do not include pass through fees that may be charged from the transfer agent or attorney. We will notify you if additional funding is required to proceed.

    Please keep in mind that these documents are only for use in clearing a security under SEC Rule 144. If your security is restricted in a way other than SEC Rule 144, please contact us for alternate paperwork. If you have any questions, please reply to this email or call a Restricted Stock Specialist at 888-723-8504, option 7. weekdays, excluding market holidays, between 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM Eastern, if you have other questions.

    Thank you for choosing TD Ameritrade.

    Caleb Miner
    Asset Clearing Services
    TD Ameritrade Clearing

    1. Doesn’t ring true with me. No way it should be 144 and even the lock up sounds wrong. Lock ups are founders. I’ve acquired shares in spin offs many times and I don’t recall a one that had any trading restrictions.

      1. That is boilerplate. They received a non registered security, which happens a lot with no -US spin-offs. Most of the time they just sell the shares in the home market and get cash. Not sure why this is different, but it is.

        1. BMTX had filed a registration statement and all the entities involved were U.S. No reason for TDA to mess this up.

          I just got Bermudian shares spun off from a Canadian company in my U.S.-based Vanguard account and had zero issues.

          1. Yes, but TDA is not alone. I received shares at Fidelity too. They still only identify the shares as CUSIP, not symbol and have heard no response from them yet.

        1. Justin – Thanks for the reminder. I had read that way back when but had forgotten the details….. HOWEVER, BMTX’s CFO declared that “the restriction was lifted on July 1st.” Based on conditions in your link, I suspect that they qualified to be lifted based on “(iii) the date on which the closing sale price of the common stock of BMT equals or exceeds $12.00 per share (as adjusted, in certain circumstances) for any 20 trading days within any 30 trading day period beginning at least 150 days following the closing.” So what’s that to do with Rule 144 as TDA is claiming??? I believe TDA’s sending me unnecessary forms to fill out that will do nothing to lift the restriction. Somebody internally or whereever needs to do something…

          Thanks again for the reminder…

          1. the 144a is boilerplate language they use for all restrictions, but the trading restriction lift from the market price is something that the transfer agent should be sending through DTC to all participants that the previous “legend” has been removed from the shares. Unfortunately, even though the restriction was lifted automatically, TDA will probably charge you a restricted fee to remove it.

  32. Don’t know if this has been posted before, but got this notice yesterday from TDA:

    On September 28, 2021, new amendments adopted by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) go into effect to enhance investor protection and improve issuer transparency. These amendments restrict the ability of market makers to publish quotations for those companies that have not made required current financial and company information available to regulators and investors.

    Ahead of the regulatory enforcement date, we will only accept orders to liquidate positions (i.e. no new buy orders) starting August 13, 2021. After the amendment officially goes into effect on September 28, 2021, it may be more difficult to liquidate these securities. Quoting and market liquidity may also be very limited.

    What this means for your account(s).

    You are receiving this notification because you currently hold one or more of the impacted securities in your account. We’re including the list below but be aware that it may not include all of your impacted securities. There is also a chance that the impacted companies could come into compliance with the regulatory requirements ahead of this date and be removed from the list. For a current list of all securities (which is subject to change), please visit


    To be candid, I don’t really see how this is enhancing my “protection.”

    1. NH – you’re in need of an attitude adjustment. You need protection, even if you don’t know it. Why, ENB is a small outfit. Oh, wait, it has an enterprise value of a couple hundred billion. Scratch that argument.

      But it’s not an SEC reporter, it didn’t just do a US$1.5 billion SEC registered issue.

      Geez, guess it did. But, still, you need protection. I’m from the government and I’m here to help!

      1. Bob, its “protection” with assistance from “computer screened” criteria without a lick of common sense added to the procedures. Who needs logic and common sense when the computer can do all of that?

      2. Bob, here is government at its finest…It creates a regulatory enforcement that bans buying of a security whose genesis was from the government creating it in the first place… AGRIP is on the TD “no no” list, despite its birth from legislation. Oh, and also being recognized as one of the 50 safest banks in the entire world. If this wasnt true, it couldnt be made up.
        President Theodore Roosevelt planted the seeds of the Farm Credit System in 1908, when he appointed a Country Life Commission to address the problems facing a predominantly rural population. The commission documented a lack of adequate agricultural credit, where a farmer could readily secure loans on fair terms. Its findings led to additional government studies, which included extensive analysis of other nations’ rural credit systems. Lawmakers chose a cooperative credit structure based on 12 Federal Land Banks, using $125 million in government seed money but financed by private capital from investors.

        1. Grid – one can go online today and “invest” in funeral homes, some guy named Joe fixing up his basement, dilapidated real estate, and a lemonade stand. All with the SEC’s blessing.

          But try to invest in some of the largest financial and industrial companies in the world and the SEC will shut you down.

          1. If some desk jockey with just a modest cranial capacity from OTC went through that TD list, within an hour many of the “offensive” issues could be culled from the hit list. But that would take too much effort.

      3. Which is unsurprising, since those issues are all pink sheets and should be bought and sold in their home market.
        And this list is preliminary, I expect a not insignificant number to get removed from the list as challenges to particular issues come in.

        1. Justin, the regs are totally fine with these entities to trade Pink going forward. For example huge common stock market cap internationals Nestle and Daimler trade on Pink sheets. They just got things incorrect such as listing many Enbridge preferreds as pink sheet current and a few of them as not current which they cant be both.
          Surely, as you mentioned, some of these will get corrected in time though. Its just ironic how they spew videos and info to tell people to get current and knowledgable on the new regs, but are totally clueless on cleaning their own house up first.

    2. Man that is some long list

      Just took a VERY quick glance and I saw names from Brookfield, Canadian Utilities, Toronto Dominion Bank then a ton of Ishares issues, JP Morgan, a bunh of Vanguard issues plus names mentioned here like IPWLG, IPWLO , Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, Ocean Spray

  33. Interactive Brokers is doing away with its month low activity fee. Was $10 per month unless you generated $10 or more in commissions in a month of had a 100k balance. Now, if you want to try IBKR starting with a small balance it’s a bit cheaper to do so.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up, Bob. So I guess this means I can move from Lite to ‘regular’ for no additional cost?

      1. Bur – rather than give you my interpretation I just reproduce the notice:

        Dear Client,

        While many of our clients actively trade or maintain substantial equity in their account, we have decided to eliminate our monthly inactivity fee so there are no impediments to maintaining an account with IBKR.

        Effective July 1, 2021, you will no longer be charged USD 10 for not maintaining a minimum balance or transaction activity for account U********. This change will be reflected in your August 2021 account statement.

        Our decision to remove inactivity fees aligns us with industry standards and reflects our ongoing commitment to provide clients with low-cost trading solutions.

        1. I like how they put such a marvelous spin on it.

          Look at their sentence:

          “Our decision to remove inactivity fees aligns us with industry standards and reflects our ongoing commitment to provide clients with low-cost trading solutions.”

          Should be:

          ” we admit that we have NOT been aligned to industry standards from the get go, and are now forced to change as customers start to realize we are screwing them up & down. This reflects our admission that we have been gouging our hapless customers with nuisance fees all this time notwithstanding our stated commitments to provide low cost trading. We were seeing lots of departures and so we were forced to do this to survive. We don’t give a crap about our customers but we sure need their business.”

          1. Inspy – and I thought I got cynical at times!

            Price is what you pay; value is what you get (hey, I just thought of that!). Of the 4 U.S. brokerages I use IBKR is my favorite. That’s based on my criteria. Assets at IBKR have grown substantially since I began with them 2 years ago, while others have shrunk. Most of that is asset movement, not appreciation, although I’ve had plenty of that, too.

            I am voting with my feet.

            1. Bob – it’s those ‘market data fees’ and clunky platform that made me relocate away in 2012 – along with the horrendous FX platform that I traded on for a year or more – man that was terrible. I only used it because it spared me from having to open a separate FX broker account, but after I did transition to Oanda (FX) I realized I was literally overpaying thousands in spreads.
              The Pro is excellent for active equity traders, and you have mentioned that you’ve had access to foreign issues and early OTC preferreds (on Pro or Lite?), which is good.

              1. Fredson – things have changed. IBKR is fantastic for foreign exchange trading. I can buy any amount of FX, any currency pair, in 5 seconds, right off the brokerage platform. The pricing is institutional for trades of US$20k and above. The spread for major pairs will be a few pips.

                Getting quotes is the same as it used to be. You can “trick” the system into giving you live bid/ask without paying for them by pretending to enter a new order. But truth is I get my market data elsewhere. Freerealtime has great charts and will give you the last 30 trades. I will use Vanguard for quotes, too, and TDA for Level II, and FINRA for bonds.

                During the trading day, if I’m at my desk, I will have them all open at the same time.

                For foreign, you have access to most exchanges in the world. One thing they don’t trade is US OTC grey market issues, so no temp ticker trading.

                IBKR doesn’t have funds, doesn’t manage money, doesn’t do underwriting. They only do brokerage, so they work hard at it. That is my perception.

  34. My statement from Fidelity is showing the SCE Trust VI 5.00% Trust Preference Shares (SCE-L) dividends as non-qualified. This site lists them (and the others) as qualified. Which is correct?


    1. SCE-L dividends are qualified. If this is a recent acquisition you may not have met the holding period yet. If it’s not new it is an error. In my experience such errors are almost always corrected by the time you get a 1099. It’s only the 1099 that matters. If that’s in error you want it fixed.

      1. OK Yes, recent purchase.

        Looking at my YTD report I see they also have AGM, EQH, and AHL preferred dividends listed as non-qualified however on last years 1099 they end up properly listed as qualified. So there you have it – they should get it straight by the time YE tax docs are issued.


  35. IBKR continues to do good things …

    Couple of examples. One, they run great webinars. From beginning level material to expert topics, from macro, to nitty gritty trading subjects ….

    Two, they make tax time much easier by providing cap gains trading detail as a PDF separate from the rest of the 1099. (For Form 8949.) Just attach the whole document; no need to parse it like I have to do with other brokerage statements. A great time saver.

    Phone support may be mediocre but IBKR puts a lot of thought into every aspect of their brokerage platform and they do a lot of things that none of my other brokers do.

    They send me emails when an issue I own is about to flip from short term to long term. Acts as a reminder to sell if you want a short term loss or not to sell if you want to hold until a gain goes long term. Nobody else does that.

  36. What is everybody’s list of annoyances with their broker tax statement that their:
    1. Broker does wrong (other than a certain broker getting qualified dividends wrong, I already know about that ha)
    2. wish they had been warned about it before the statement
    3. An Explanation would be nice to have

    Both regular accounts and 1099R/5498’s.

    1. E*TRADE never correctly reports fractional share values (which I have a lot of because I DRIP a bunch of holdings), and then contradicts itself between a) the initial transaction, b) the portfolio holdings, and c) the 1099.

      I once spent 15 minutes on the phone stepping a rep through the issue, got them to acknowledge it and promise to file a support case, which (of course) disappeared into a black hole. Admittedly I’m talking pennies (thousandths and ten thousandths of shares), so I never bothered to follow up. But it still gripes my a**.

      Vanguard and TDA hit it right on the money.

  37. I mentioned a few weeks back that Schwab sometimes shows a tighter (but never wider) bid/ask spread than TD and Fidelity. You can see this at the moment with GMLPF. TD and Fidelity show 23.40/23.50 right now while Schwab shows 23.40/23.41.

    P.S. Watch out if you’ve traded GMLPP at TD. Now that it’s OTC, there is a $6.95 transaction fee!

  38. Any opinions on this? Got this today from ETrade
    New rules will affect your ability to buy and sell “Pink No Information” securities, including at E*TRADE

    On September 28, 2021, new requirements take effect that will impact the market for—and value of—certain “over-the-counter (OTC) securities” you currently hold or have held in the past. The new rules apply to “Pink No Information” OTC securities of companies that fail to publicly report and keep current financial and other company information and will restrict the ability of U.S. brokers, like E*TRADE from making these products generally available.

    Some background on the new requirements

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently adopted amendments to SEC Rule 15c2-11 governing the submission and publication of OTC quotations. These amendments will prohibit broker-dealers from submitting or publicly disseminating bid/ask quotations for OTC securities of issuers that do not meet enhanced information filing requirements.

    Securities of issuers that make the required information publicly available by the deadline in the rule should not be affected.

    What these changes mean for you

    Starting September 28, 2021, you will no longer be able to buy or sell “Pink No Information” OTC securities through E*TRADE. Other restrictions related to the purchase of these securities may apply sooner. Please keep in mind that the upcoming changes will negatively affect the value of any “Pink No Information” OTC securities you hold now or in the future.

    1. I wonder if there exists a Master List of all OTC ” Pink no information ” securities, so we can see if any of our holdings fall into that category?

      1. On you can use the stock screener, select for market = pink, type = preferred, and USA issue (in my case), then sort by market until pink-no-information is at the top.

      2. You can produce such a list at

        Vanguard banned pink no info issues a couple years ago.

        1. Thanks for doing the Spreadsheet, Bur. I was also able to obtain the info from the OTC website, but yours is more compact.

          Does the restriction coming on September also include “No pink information” Common Stocks as well? OTC website says there are about 5400 of these.

          1. Inspy, I don’t know. I should add that to create that spreadsheet I simply followed Farwell’s spec; I don’t claim that what I posted accurately captures the list of pfds which will have trading restricted.

            Also, note there’s a lot of discussion about this issue over on Reader Initiated Alerts.

  39. Not sure if this is the right area but I saw some institutional comments. In any case, is there a decent quality source people use for basic features of institutional prefs / bonds i.e. quantum but for the institutional space? FINRA is typically missing call dates/floating coupons, same for IB and Schwab, ETrade/Tradeweb is ok but it only shows maybe 10% of the population at any one time.

    1. re: institutionals

      You can go to Bloomberg or Eikon (Reuters) but you will pay richly for the privilege.

      Personally, I do my own spreadsheet for those issues in which I have an interest. The FINRA bond site can help in identifying issues of interest and provide pricing information. You can build your own watch list at FINRA, too, for current price information.

      For terms, I almost always go to the FWP for the issues I follow. FINRA links to the 424 but the FWP is much easier to follow, and provides the CUSIP.

      Be sure you understand the terms of the issues of interest as there are meaningful differences between institutionals and exchange traded issues.

      If you’re going to be serious about trading institutionals I recommend IBKR. Better availability and better pricing than other platforms, although I also hear good things about Fidelity’s bond platform. I also buy through Vanguard but only if it’s buy and hold forever as spreads are not tight enough for my liking.

      1. thanks mcg, Bob. Was hoping to avoid Bloomy/Reuters as I no longer have access.

        Not all cusips have a prospectus linked from FINRA e.g. 174610AH8 from Citizens Financial etc. In fact, I couldn’t find complete details about that issue anywhere.

        1. 174610AH8

          I loosely follow the issue and it is one of the few for which I could not find a prospectus. It probably was issued by a predecessor company. But look through other SEC filings and you will find terms.

          Info I have is it went to floating as of Apr 6 at 3mL+3.96% and trading right about par, so about a 4% yld on a callable floater. Wish I’d bought it (and many others) a year ago when it traded down to 65.

          CFG had, if I recall correctly, has a total of 4 preferred on the institutional list.

            1. Good research! Appears that at one point they were issued as 144A securities and later registered.

  40. In the ongoing saga of getting-to-know-IBKR… In addition to a $1/bond commission (expected), IBKR is charging me a varying amoung of “Misc Fees”. Anyone know what these could possibly be?

    These Misc Fees seem to have no relation to volume (I was charged a few bucks more in ‘Misc Fees’ for a *smaller* order).

    I’ve never seen these fees with other brokers, though I’m not complaining: I’ve never been able to place a limit order on bonds with other brokers the way I can w IBKR.

    1. Bur asked: “Anyone know what these could possibly be?”

      Bur, the “miscellaneous” fee is just another form of commission for bond trades. You have to add these two together to get the actual commission that was charged. And you never know in advance exactly how much you will be charged for any bond trade. The reason for this is that IB uses many different bond trading exchanges to place your trade. It seems that they do NOT all charge the same amount and IB just reflects the actual charges. In general the maximum you will be charged is $1.5 per bond on buys. However it can be larger for small quantities of corporates and/or CD.s Say you have a buy order for 25 ($25,000) corporates and only get filled on 2 ($2,000) In that case you might get charged up to ~ $4 per bond. Getting fills this small are NOT the norm when you have an open order to buy a larger quantity but it does happen. . . Not bad, not good, just another quirk you have to deal with.

  41. BMTX – Does anyone else own BMTX at Fidelity from the original spinout from CUBI????? To this day Fidelity is still identifying it only as 232CNT014 and not by symbol BMTX. To the best of my knowledge I still cannot sell it at Fidelity if I wanted to… Call to Fidelity ends up with a line of crap about them still waiting for the info to come from the company. Yeah, right! Pick up the phone and find out why 3 months after the rest of the world has it identified as BMTX you are still waiting on the company…. Having owned CUBI at both TDA and Fidelity, I know TDA got the info to take care of this months ago. Keep waiting for Godot, Fidelity… don’t do anything proactive…. grrrrrrrrrrr… Anybody else still own “232CNT014” at Fidelity?

    1. Can you sell it by replacing the symbol with the Cusip #? If not ask the phone rep to do that, sometimes it works but not all reps know that.

      1. Martin – I’ve not toyed with it at all because the amounts are small and I planned to take a wait and see attitude on the position anyway to see if they can make something out of this fintech…. But it does bug me that it’s still not shown properly or valued at all in my account… After the fact I began to wonder whether or not there’s a lock up period for those who acquired this directly via that CUBI spinoff, but nevertheless, it makes no sense that TDA has my position there properly identified as BMTX and Fidelity doesn’t… Also in the back of my head, I keep betting myself that within a few days time Fidelity will have miraculously fixed this despite their excuse making blaming the problem on external forces… We’ll see.

    2. 2wr: It’s times like that I wish they’d offer a pay-as-you-go support option with one of their web engineers. You just know that 5 minutes on the phone with one of those folks would lead to an ‘aha’ and a bug fix in short order. Although I’m probably underestimating the size of their bug stack…

  42. I moved my portfolio of mostly Canadian preferreds from Schwab to Fidelity after Schwab refused to correctly classify them as qualified dividends and feedback from this board indicated that Fidelity didn’t have the same problem. That was incorrect information, Fidelity misclassified them all, except for one small holding in a Brookfield preferred issue. I did a write-up of IRS regulations which clearly allow for qualified treatment and submitted a spreadsheet showing the results. My CPA is going to report them as classified on my tax return. Fidelity’s service team told me I could pound sand. I then reached out to their private client support service team, which is at least being polite enough to read the regulations that I sent them. Hoping for the best.

    1. TW my first hand experience is that Schwab misclassified 100% of Cdn pref dividends. Vanguard got them 100% right as did IBKR and TDA. No experience with Fidelity on the subject.

      Vanguard got the withholding on one Cdn pref wrong initially but corrected after some persistence on my part.

      Go where you are treated best.

    2. Tim, I’ve had experience with this issue at Fidelity. Well. not Canadian preferreds…but other preferreds that were reported by Fidelity as non qualified when I knew they were qualified. I too was told to pound sand by customer service. Actually, they flat out lied to me and said they had verified the info from the company’s website. I asked for a link…no response. I eventually got it solved with an email from the CFO at the company verifying that the dividends were qualified. Situation resolved by the TAX department…Call them, not the regular service group. Rep there actually listened. Good luck.

      1. Thanks, I’ll let you know how it turns out. They’ve said it will take a while to address it. Better a slow “yes” than a quick “no”

    3. Fidelity has taken up Schwab’s position asserting via a servicing processor that Canadian Preferred issues must be registered with the US Treasury department as equities for their dividends to be treated as QDI. IRS regulations do not include this requirement, under IRS Publication 550. Disappointing. Any moron with a computer terminal can look up (for example) the Bank of Montreal’s investor relations information and see that their preferred stocks are equities. If I can get the exact treasury department filing repository I’m willing to ask my issuers to make such a filing. Other suggestions welcome.

      1. Stop beating your head against the wall. Vanguard, IBKR and TDA (for now) get the taxes right. Don’t be Don Quixote, just move.

  43. C Schwab Baloney

    I haven’t got my 3/31 LTSL payment. Of course LTSA came in just fine. Hear is what Schwab said after two chats and four useless reps;

    I do apologize, it appears that the payment for LTSL has not arrived yet. We will only post payments to your account once they arrive from the respective company, but not before. Typically the payment will arrive on the payable date or soon afterwards, but it appears this one is late. We will post it to your account as soon as it arrives, most likely later today or over the weekend, or you could reach out to our Fixed Income specialists directly at 800-626-4600 for more information on this

    What a crock….they were a day late last month giving me my CPTLA payment because it was a “weekend”. No weekend this time and more buffoonery. Aaarrrggghhh

    1. It wasn’t just Schwab. That is what happens with delisted securities. They get paid by wire instead of automated and the payments can get lost for a few days.

  44. Sticking my toe in the water with IBKR and I have a quick survey question for you IBKR clients: which of their platforms do you use?

    I have an IBKR Lite account. I’m on a Mac using Chrome. I finally learned (after finding that phone is useless (no one ever answers) and spending almost two hours with crap chat technology and support reps with widely varying knowledge) that I can’t use the their “Client Portal” for the paper account. Instead I am forced to download and install Trader Workstation.

    Is that others’ experience as well?

    1. a) could not locate “bottom” for posting new item after massive scrolling. Anyway, vanguard is having big tech troubles. Most trades ex 4 stock/etf have to be via phone. I made an on line trade whose purchase price not “right” and a commission charge of $25. which should have been zero. Online ? page says answer in up to 7 days. Think care is needed.

      3/29 @ 11:15

    2. Can’t help with that, but would love to know in a few months if you’re happy. I have way too much under the schwab umbrella now with the TDA buyout (multiple accounts that used to be with different companies) and am considerint Etrade and ibkr as the next ones to open. Not comfortable having that many eggs in one basket, and not looking for app only platforms.

    3. This isn’t exactly timely but ……

      No brokerage is perfect and that includes IBKR. If you need a lot of telephone support IBKR isn’t the best. I find that I can get the answer to almost any question online. Sometimes just by searching in your browser. If it’s an account specific question I use messenger in Portal. Get an answer within 24 hours. In 2 years I have called support exactly twice and probably didn’t need to.

      I get my calls to Vanguard answered in 5 seconds but then I can’t buy Canadian issues, institutional issues, and lots of other thing that I can through IBKR. Want issues traded in Singapore or an Irish ETF or a Guernsey royalty trust? Try getting that on Vanguard.

      A lite account gets you Portal or TWS but not Web Trader, which is too bad because it’s my favorite. A standard account will get you all 3 platforms but comes with a 10$ monthly fee if you don’t have 100k in the account or don’t generate 10$ in monthly commissions. I have over 100k in my 2 IBKR accounts so no limitations You do pay commissions but then most of what I buy at IBKR is either unbuyable from other brokers or comes with a commission. At the end of the day my IBKR accounts cost me zero incrementally. The money I save on institutional issues at IBKR overwhelms any fees that I might pay.

      1. IBKR is my top pick hands down for great features. But as others have noted, there is no effective or timely support and the products have a steep learning curve. I use TWS in Mosaic view, and I’m still learning new ways to use the many algos.

        1. IMO IBKR is not a good choice for probably 99%+ of investors. Maybe folks that read III posts fall into the 1% where it is a good choice. An extreme example would be an investor that wants to spend one hour per year on their investments just to rebalance would NOT be well served on IBKR. At the other extreme is an investor that spends 10 hours a day investing might be well served on IBKR. And the 10 hour a day investor better need a feature(s) where IBKR has a clear advantage over other brokerages. If that investor can get everything he/she wants on Fido,Schwab, Etrade, Vanguard etc they would be better served there. Brokerages are like spouses, they all have quirks. It is just a matter of finding what works best for each investor.

          In addition to the steep learning curve for Trader Work Station that Qniform mentioned, it is VERY easy to “fat finger” a trade on IBKR. There are less “guardrails” or “bumpers” compared to other brokerages. You might consider this a good feature or a bad bug, just depends on your approach. If you want to buy a preferred for $25.00 but accidentally type $52.00, you just bought your full order quantity. Depending on the quantity, the last share you just bought MIGHT be as high as $52. Maybe you can “bust” the trade, but maybe you can’t, it just depends. Say you bought some shares at $26.00 and some at $27.00, they probably would NOT bust the trade. If most of the shares were @ $52.00, they would attempt to bust the trade, but you are never guaranteed it will be busted.

          Just understand which brokerage best fits your needs and understand a perfect match might not exist.

          1. the clearly erroneous guidelines are pretty straightforward so they’ll likely bust all trades above the threshold reference price

      2. Bob, qniform, Tex–thanks for your perspectives and the sanity check. I am attracted to IBKR by the promise of lower-cost fixed-income trading and access to more investment vehicles (EIX is a good example for starters: nice to be able to trade it directly rather than calling a bond desk). I think my eyes are pretty wide open. Definitely just testing the water for now. We’ll see how it goes.

  45. Recently I noticed on E*trade, the cost basis no longer matched the actual trade on some securities. I wrote support and they said they had readjusted the cost basis to subtract dividends reclassified as RoC. What surprised me was that a preferred, CMO-E was readjusted as well. Since preferreds have a face value redemption, I thought RoC did not apply. Am I wrong? Also some of the computation appeared to be off.

    1. CMO is a REIT, so if they paid out more than they made it would be ROC (even on the pfd’s) which deducts your purchase price basis. Most if not all REIT pfd’s are like that (In addition to a few other categories). The good news is the ROC adjusted basis can’t go below zero (at least that’s what my tax dude told me)

  46. It’s that time of year again (tax time) and Schwab has once again displayed their ineptitude. Every year they incorrectly report qualified dividends as non-qualified. At least this year they didn’t claim a MLP distribution was a non-qualified dividend as in past years. This year they reported TNP-C, GLOP-C and the since renamed Seaspan preferred as non-qualified. It is one thing to make an error but something else when they display an attitude when requesting they correct their error. Another brokerage firm I use has never made such errors. Case in point, last year I held TNP-C in both firms. Schwab got it wrong and the other firm got it right. I contacted Schwab about this years errors and got the typical response, “I’ll pass it on”. Going on past years experience, it will be weeks and more emails before I see a corrected tax package.
    One has to wonder how many hundreds of thousands dollars in tax is collected in error. I’ll wager that most people who use a tax accountant overpay their tax because the accountant does not question the brokerage supplied 1099.

      1. Good luck getting Schwab to fix it. Please let us know if they do. Not holding breath.

    1. Received a corrected 1099 from Schwab. They corrected the errors noted in my previous post. Wonder how many tax preparers, if any, question brokerage supplied 1099’s?

      P.S. Saw today (not an official IRS announcement, but close enough) that April tax deadline has been extended one month.

  47. In the “You have got to be kidding me”….
    From the release.
    “Holders are urged to check their 2020 tax statements received from brokerage firms in order to ensure that the cash distribution information reported on such statements conforms to the information reported herein”

    Here is the subject of the press release. Note the date of the accountants signature at the bottom….

  48. Anyone noticing problems with TDA today ?
    They have a banner posted saying they are having problems posting customer accounts correctly and information may not be accurate.
    I also noticed when looking at the Chart for IPLDP the 3 yr wasn’t showing correctly

  49. A cautionary tale –
    My wife has been trying since the beginning of the year to transfer a BNY/Mellon Roth IRA to her E-trade Roth IRA. BNY/Mellon has been slow and uncooperative every step of the way. When Etrade was called in to help, they got the same stall as we did, with BNY/Mellon eventually insisting Etrade submit BNY’s special forms – by mail.

    After all this, BNY/Mellon finally descended two days ago to suddenly requiring a mailed, signed authorization from my wife (first time this is mentioned!)

    I would never leave money with them again. Although they seem to be trustees for billions and billions of dollars, I found them untrustworthy with my wife’s pittance of a Roth IRA.

  50. Opportunity is knocking!

    IBKR now has a page set up to facilitate investments in hedge funds. You can’t invest directly off the platform but many of the funds provide documents and a subscription agreement from the IBKR platform.

    So, paying 2% annually and 20% of profits isn’t just for the big boys any more; you, too, can get in on the deal. So, if your Game Stop short blew up on you you have a chance at redemption.

    Line forms to the left.

  51. TD withdrew NGHCO shares yesterday. Got the $25 principal per share, but dividend credit was only 3.9 cents per share instead of the 9.375 cents that it should have been. Anyone else have this problem?

    1. nhcoast. Rec’d .093@ from Fido and .039@ from TD. Did you call TD. If not, I’ll call today. Txs.

  52. Not sure of what to make of this headline…
    Interactive Brokers client margin loan balance $40.8 bln at end of Jan., up 49% from a year ago

    IBKR clients are generally not the ones who borrow on margin like that…

      1. IBKR was by far the most open about what they were doing, when, and why. I don’t like to see intermediaries interfering in markets but I conclude IBKR did what they did for the reason they stated. They were protecting themselves from over margined customers and not trying to protect any particular client or client group. IBKR, unlike some other brokers, did not treat “retail” differently from “institutional”.

        Unfortunately, in protecting themselves they also helped the shorts. But as I said, I am convinced this was not the intent, just an unavoidable consequence. IBKR lifted the restrictions very promptly. None of this you can buy one share BS that you saw from RH.

        I also note that unlike Robinhood, IBKR does not sell order flow. The practice benefits the broker at the expense of the investor and creates a conflict for the broker.

        1. Yes, IBKR does sell order flow under their lite offering. The clearing collateral issues were street wide, undercollaterized clearing firms had to restrict trading in order to not exponentially increase their capital requirements going into the next settlement day. Unfortunate how it played out, but thats the risk of working with discount brokers that use undercollaterized clearing firms to increase margins.

          Which brokers treated institutional different than retail? Also, note that brokers can use multiple clearing firms which can cause different treatment across client accts

          1. It will be interesting to see RobinHood CEO Vlad Tenev explain this to the House Finance committee. chaired by Maxine Waters. They have scheduled a hearing for February 18th. Maybe congress can pass a new law that says brokerages cannot limit trading . Might legislate PI= 3.0 at the same time, just to simplify things.

  53. Does anyone know what is going on at Fidelity? This past week when a put in a Preferred Stock Symbol, an example – Ford Series “C” I get the following message: “Sorry, no results were found for ‘fprc’, please try a new search!” Yet the Symbol in my positions is still FPRC. I am only using Ford as an example. I seems to be happening with all the Preferred Symbols I put in.

    1. The search function is garbage at Fidelity. I find that I often have to spell the name of the company and let Fidelity’s computer populate the symbol(s). Sometimes when there are many issues, they don’t all fit on the dang drop down suggestions. Again, spelling the whole stupid thing usually works.

    2. I get around that by pretending to buy something else, then change the stock symbol in the buy menu.
      If it’s research you’re looking for, I do that at some other site.

  54. Fidelity’s nanny state just banned the purchase of LMICL, and I presume LIMBL too. I’ve been trading it for 5 months for multiple small but steady profits, over 10% APY with low risk.
    Time to take that money somewhere else.

    1. I own both LMICL and LIMBL at Fidelity and what it says now seems as though what they’re doing goes beyond just Legg Mason: “Opening transactions for Pink Sheets (without information) are not permitted because of the risks associated with these securities and all microcap securities.” You could be right, Martin – it might be time to move… I wonder if my Nanny will let me?

      1. Then Fidelity is catching up with Vanguard. Vanguard banned trading in all but a few categories of OTC issues. They won’t trade certain issues of such fly by night outfits as BNS, BCE and SLF.

        TDA will trade almost anything but the commissions can add up.

  55. This is sort of off-topic, but the CEO of IBKR said something interesting on CNBC.
    All of IBKR customers are now net short in position. This can’t be good for the markets.
    Question and answer start at 2 minutes in the video linked below.

    “A fantastically unusual thing happened among our customers about a week ago. Our customers are traditionally long the market. A week ago it has changed: our customers tend to be on the selling side of options and there is such demand for out of the money options that our customers became sellers so they overwrite their long position in stocks, and it’s usually about Tesla, Amazon and Apple – that’s where most of the action seems to be. So the Robinhood folks are long these options, and IB customers are short these options. It’s a very interesting situation, it has never happened in our history that our customers as a whole were net short the market. But as of yesterday. that is the case.”

  56. I contacted about buying Canadian preferred stocks and this was their reply: “OTC stocks with 5 letter stock symbols ending in ‘F’ are charged a $50 foreign settlement fee in addition to the normal commission rate.” Just thought you would like to know. Will stick with TDA.

    1. Ally is not a good place to trade preferred stocks. Don’t be surprised if you try to sell and get a warning message that you don’t own it.

  57. TDAM Comment and warning:
    I just got off the phone with TD Tech. I have built extensive, categorized Pref Watchlists on their tool; QDI, IG, Banks, REIT, nonIG, CN OTCs, etc.
    Over last weekend all but five (of the least used lists by the way) of the lists were deleted and one was duped fourteen times. Somebody flipped a button in tech and whooooopppps!
    Whatever happened, I could suddenly delete the dupes, but ALL THE REST were PERMANENTLY DELETED.
    Their tech can NOT RECOVER. I am in mourning.
    ******Lesson: Use the EXPORT DATA on the gear icon, use EXCEL to Save, which I am told is the best fit. Periodically delete the old and just export the new data when I groom the lists.
    Lesson hard learned…JA

      1. 2wr, I do not use TorSwim. Just a regular account.
        I keep about nine account linked there so I can do only one logon.
        I love the Combined Positions Watchlist which combines all linked accounts and positions into one global view.
        The Watchlists which I organized from many sources and mental constructs are washed.
        I suppose this gives me an opp to have a fresh view of my whole construct and (neurosis speaking) it may be a blessing in some disguise? Maybe it just happened too.
        The Watchlists seemed to be available in whichever account I was in.
        Also, I have migrated about 25% of our funds to IBKR and have been digging in on their screens and tools. I would think there is prob a Global View Linking there too. Want to be ready if Schwab ends up being a vacate scenario.
        Thank God for Tim and Yuriy’s resource as a known go to source too.

        1. Boy, there’s so much I can relate to in your reply, Joel… I love your sentence, “I suppose this gives me an opp to have a fresh view of my whole construct and (neurosis speaking) it may be a blessing in some disguise,” because sometimes I think the same way…. I’ve got a ton of watchlists, 7 pages of them, on TOS, and yet in the back of my head when I go thru them, I can’t help but think why am I watching all this crap” It’s the wrong things to be watching and I’d probably benefit from a complete scrapping and starting all over… Yet I don’t. And BTW, I mentioned TOS because in it, you have an ability to save your save your workspace so that if anything goes wrong and TOS all of a sudden opens up in a format that’s not of your design (It’s happened!), you can choose to revert to the saved format. Somehow, it does that reversion normally without losing any additions to lists you may have made since the last save, so that comes in handy. Not sure it would have saved you, but it does give some backup peace of mind.

          Also, as you mention neurosis, I could mention paranoia…. You speak of using a Combined Position Watchlist at TDAM… As convenient as that sounds, I am paranoic about consolidating account info across various brokers in a single place… It just seems to me that that’s an invitation to hacking. I’m so cynical about this that I won’t even give Norton 360 all my various info so they can protect me from the dark web like they want… to do that, you have to begin by trusting Norton 100%. To quote Dan Carvey as H.W., “not gonna do it.”

          1. “Wouldn’t be prudent.” –Dana Carvey

            I keep 4 simple watchlists on ToS: Ute qdi, other qdi, non-qdi, and CEFs. It has worked well this year. Or I have just been lucky.

            I am up a bit, but I don’t care about that. Only income–which has increased ~12% YoY. Not as well as many, I would assume, but I’ll take it. Nothing fancy or exciting. KISS is my motto at this point; not trying to maximize anything anymore.

            Looking forward to next year (except for Schwab taking over my holdings again) when I hope to trade less and increase my income even more.

            Life is a bitch & then, well, you know.


            1. Camroc – “Well isn’t that special” – D.C…….. You know, I’ve never really quite understood what the meaning is when someone says something like “I’m up a bit but I don’t care” [if I’m up or down] because my income is up 12%. I don’t understood it when the HDO crowd swears by it nor do I now either… How do you measure “income” to say it’s up 12% and then once you do, still not be concerned about whether or not your investment portfolios’ net worth is up or down at the same time? Are you measuring it by estimating how much higher your reportable income is going to be this year vs last and, if so, how can that be a good thing if at the same time your portfolios total values are up just “a bit?” I think I have an SA dialog in the back of my head between Pendy and shall we say an “anonymous” but griddy source when saying this, with P justifying his investment in XOM at 80 as being a good thing because it increased [or generated his expected] income even though XOM went from 80 to 30 immediately thereafter. I’m guessing from some of your prior posts that you’re a person fortunate enough to not need to take much out of your investment portfolios to live so how’s it a good thing to have “income” up without concern for the overall portfolio’s value?

              If this is not the proper forum for an answer, I’d love to have a better understanding of your philosophy if you’re willing to share and I can be PM’d via SA. To me, whether or not it is measured by “income” or “appreciation,” what matters is an ability to increase net worth of the portfolio because I don’t need to withdraw much income from my portfolio to cover day to day living expenses and feel good knowing if I have a growing asset base I should be better prepared for the inevitable emergencies that come with age, aka “old age.” And yes, I do tend to focus on achieving that growing base thru the more conservative approach of focusing more on div and interest bearing vehicles moreso than vehicles expected to appreciate but I do have both. BTW, personally I’m probably not far off from your same performance numbers this year though to be honest, I’ve only ballparked them to date and haven’t a clue to what degree “income” is either up or down..

              1. Sorry to have alarmed you with my flippancy, 2wr. But I really do not worry much about being up or down in the market. Here are a few things about me:

                1. I don’t follow Pendy & his gang. Nor do I read when Grid and others take them to task. In fact, I asked Grid why he bothers doing that and he said he’s really just trying to warn others. Now that’s truly noble & altruistic, much like the nobility of what he gives away gratis here and elsewhere. I have profited greatly from his wisdom and bow to the light within him.

                2. I was down greatly during the March swoon. For example, I watched my overloaded EPD drop from the high 20s all the way to 10.27 and I never flinched. In fact, I bought a lot more of it until the yield dropped back below 11% again. Imagine that. Ten percent was no longer good enough for me. lol

                3. At one point during those darkest days, my portfolio was down almost 40% and I didn’t panic. So being back to 1 or 2% over last year at this time seems pretty pretty pretty good to me. As I said, I’ll take it, but I’m really only interested in income because I’m ancient and only hold things I believe will pay me for the rest of my days.

                4. I also made almost six figures trading this year: Illiquids for beaten-down quality liquids and back again. I stayed on the high ground and never once followed Grid into the weeds where he is very agile. A man’s gotta know his limitations.

                5. My portfolio, the one I SWAN with: MLPs 35%, Illiquid preferreds 40%, CEFs 13%, old treasuries with floored 4+% yields 10%, and the rest in miscellaneous REITs and foreign common stocks. I believe it will last me out.

                6. I have led an exciting and satisfying life, a real adventure, I tell ya. I’ve been ‘ever direction’ as my pappy once said on one of my rare visits home. And I’ve ended up in my dotage debt-free, with decent healthcare and more than enough income to support my wants and needs. I live in a comfortable house in a nice town and drive decent but not showy cars. I don’t try to impress anybody. My only real vice now is drinking very good wine, which I do almost every day. And Lou Gehrig thought he was the luckiest man alive. Ha!

                “Woodrow, it’s been quite a party.” –Augustus McCrae

                1. Only here on III could I ever expect to receive such a wonderful response to an esoteric question….. Many thanks, Camroc…

                  Sometimes when I take life’s downs and ups too seriously, I try to keep in mind the sage words of John Popper:

                  “Sit at the pier watch the sun go down
                  Another lost little boy in a big old town
                  I want to laugh I want to cry
                  But no matter how hard I try
                  It won’t mean a thing in a hundred years”

                2. Camroc – good philosophy. I am along the same lines. I used to worry more about the portfolio value but now my main focus is income.

                  I do think it is part of human nature to focus on the overall portfolio value but over the years, I have focused less and less on that. Like most people, my portfolio value dropped this spring but even while it did, my projected dividend income really did not change and now the overall portfolio is a bit higher than before.

                  Now I am 59 and retired early a few years ago and part of what helps me with this philosophy is how I structured my overall portfolio. I did not want to worry about ups and downs in the market before my wife and I started drawing social security. So besides my investments, I committed an amount in CDs and online money markets to basically fund living expenses til I reach 65. And my wife was still working part time (she just retired a few weeks ago). So I don’t need to draw the dividend income hopefully for another 5-6 years.

                  Not worrying about the portfolio value allows me to take the long view on things. Everything in my portfolio earns a dividend. I am probably 40% preferreds, with the other 60% split among REITs, a handful of MLPs, Common stock of long time Dividend Payors and a few BDCs. Like you and others, I took advantage of the spring crash, selling some things that held up and buying ones that were oversold – not only on the preferred side but also the common side.

                  My goal has always been to craft a portfolio to generate sufficient income to live off without having to sell investments. If one can do that, you really learn not to focus on the portfolio value

                  But everyone is different

                  1. great discusssion from all of you, have some of all the assets that have been discussed in our accounts mlp’s, reits, taxable bonds, Canadian dividend commons, prefferreds, cef’s, fixed annuity in retirement accounts,US stock qualified dividends, and triple tax free muni’s in our taxable accounts and right now a lot of cash, since cd’s and short treasuries are a mute issue. the only thing I’ve ever been concern with was “cash flow” an SWAN. This portfolio has changed some over my “semi”to then full retirement starting with taking two company pensions early at 55 and SS early at 62. Just getting old now 72 but wouldn’t change a thing but my birth certificate. been folllowing “III” for about a year, bunch of great folks!!! thanks to all

              2. 2WR, If my words of caution helped some with Pendy, that is great. But mostly I did because it because he is pi$$ poor investor and mostly an arrogant POS. If he knew half as much as he thought he did it would actually be twice as much as he really does know. I liked poking the pig. He has me blocked off so I cant reach him anymore. SA likes protecting the “Mario Mendoza” investor hacks of the world if it nets them a buck.

        2. Joel, IBKR has a function to import a ticker list from a text or csv file into a tab on Trader Workstation. If you maintain your watch lists in an excel or text file, you never have to worry if IBKR somehow deleted your lists. Separate from that, IBKR lets you back up your settings to your local box. So even if they deleted your entire setup, you could restore it from the local copy. Trader Workstation automatically saves the last 7 days of setups, so even if you did not manually save a copy, you have some ability to recover.

          Unfortunately the stock ticker import function has been broken for the last few software releases, but you can still manually enter them into a tab. Yes, it is a pain, but you should only have to do it once. (I have notified them that their software developers broke this function.)

          I only mention this since you already have an IBKR account. It is not a sufficient reason for anyone else to open an IBKR account. Like all brokerages, there are pluses and minuses.

          1. I wondered why importing tickers didn’t work. Hopefully the software guys at IB fix that soon.

            In addition to the backup of your IB TWS settings, which is stored both locally and with IB, you can also export each page/watchlist as a text file via

            File->Import/Export->Export Page Content

            I do this from time to time just in case my settings files get corrupted and I don’t notice until the week’s backups have been overwritten.

            The above will save both the tickers on a page as well as any other formulas, notes, etc, you might have made. I have a lot of notes like that, so I sometimes search for a ticker in the exported text files to get all the context (for Mac/Linux users, grep -C10 -i TICKER FILE.csv).

  58. I know IBKR had software problems yesterday. I got a nice email this AM telling me why they are SOOOO SORRY. No problem.
    I have need to talk to a broker today, before I am gone until next week.
    Their queue is answered after a half hour wait, then qualified and immediately transferred, with out any hesitation to “someone who can help you”. They don’t even want to say , ‘this is Mr Broker by name.”
    I have now been on hold for over one hour with a simple question. It would have taken less than one minute to resolve, but the management over there does not set behavioral guideline for their employees.
    While waiting I emailed a detailed complaint to them as well. I will be interested in their reply…if any.
    I have had issues with IBKR being a bunch of goombas in a swagger krewe, but this last interaction is completely unprofessional and what is to be expected if you do business with them.
    Like DE-Bob has suggested, paper trade their account until you have good command of it. It can be retained even if you have an account and can be toggled over to for ‘practice and understanding’.
    A report from real, factual experience with them…AGAIN!
    Tim’s site here is a good group-learn exercise. JA

    1. Joel – that was the first outage in my year+ at IBKR. But the timing was certainly terrible.

      Use the secure email system for questions. Rarely is anything urgent and they do answer the emails within 24 hours.

  59. Good evening,

    I am looking to open an account at a new broker since I got tired of Fidelity not letting me purchase some things (fixed to floating preferreds for instance) without having to call them, which I don’t want to do. Funny enough they have no problem if I purchase them when they trade on a temporary ticker, but not afterwards.

    Any recommendations? Moving the IRA out of Fidelity would be a hassle due to size, but at least a portion of the taxable account where I can buy these few things that Fidelity is “protecting” me from. I just don’t want to open an account at Schwab or TDA, etc. and find they also will not let me do this.

    Thanks in advance,


    1. Generally speaking, Schwab and TD will let you buy these and most any other preferred you want. I’m sure there are exceptions. One thing to watch out for with TD is that they do still have $6.95 transaction fees on OTC securities, so if you trade any of those, be aware. And, of course, TD will be merged into Schwab in the next 18-24 months, so factor that in if you want. I have a captive account at TD, otherwise I wouldn’t have much there – but I would keep an account open just to have the Thinkorswim quote streamer.

      1. Thank you for the info. Would “grey ticker” preferreds be considered OTC? I have had OTCs purchased through Fidelity and that is generally not an issue, but I am not sure what the status of grey ticker preferreds is. I will double check with TD.

        Thanks again!

        1. Miguel, Greys are part of the OTC. But they are the “bastard” area of it. You will be flying blind being no bid or ask spreads are posted, and pricing can be hard to nail down. Greys are subject to $6.95 fee too, provided of course a transaction even occurs.

          1. Thank you. That is what is funny about Fidelity. I can (have) buy fixed-to-floating preferreds when they come out with their temporary tickers, and pay no commission. But once the permanent ticker comes online, I can only sell them, and cannot purchase more of what I already have. It makes no sense whatsoever. But I guess it does not have to.

            In any case, I can then have an account at TD to buy fixed-to-floaters and keep mine at Fidelity for other things (such as temporary tickers) or other investments. The limitation on Fix-to-Float that Fidelity imposes is frustrating; it works pretty well otherwise for everything else I need.


            1. Hi, Miguel
              I’ve had same frustrations with Fid, but haven’t left (I’ve had an account since the late 70’s when I first had some cash and MMs were paying ~ 15% IIRC, and they have my workplace retirement account, so easy to move funds, do a Roth conversion, etc.).
              FWIW I’ve used Wells Fargo Advisors (again mostly for historical reasons, including 100 free trades/yr when everyone else charged $8, then 5, etc., before free) to buy F-F or BBs, although I dislike navigating their website. If you leave your holdings page, eg, to place order, when you go back, it defaults to their format, even if you’ve set up a custom format, and prices reverts to 15 min delay, so you have to re-update. Never set up an IRA, so BBs or REIT preferreds taxed at non-qualified rate.
              Now using Vanguard, as my old mutual fund IRA there was quickly converted to a brokerage account. Able to buy BBs and F-F without difficulty so far.

              1. Vanguard may be another option, yes. Anybody has any experiences (good or otherwise) with Interactive Brokers? BTW, thanks for all the help.

  60. Another reason to watch UBTI …………..

    Unrelated Business Taxable Income is generated by many partnerships and MLPs. It’s a bad thing and an especially bad thing when it happens in a qualified account (IRA). If you go over $1,000 a return has to be filed and tax paid, notwithstanding that it may be in an IRA.

    In the case of an IRA, custodians, not investors, are responsible for filing the return. They don’t like doing it. Some brokers won’t let you put MLPs in an IRA. Others charge punitive fees. This is Vanguard new policy:

    “Master limited partnerships (MLPs) in an IRA. Vanguard Fiduciary Trust Company (VFTC), the custodian for IRAs held at Vanguard Brokerage Services (VBS), is responsible for IRS Form 990-T tax filings for MLPs. VFTC will begin charging a $300 fee per account for these filings.** VBS will facilitate collection of the fee by deducting the fee amount from a client’s brokerage account when a filing is required.”

    The solution is simple: don’t put things that generate lots of UBTI in a qualified account. The amount of UBTI generated can almost always be predicted in advance from information provided on a company’s website.

    1. The IRS has been stepping up enforcement in this area and broker’s are responding accordingly.

  61. Schwab did right by me. They had trading system problems on the busy morning of Nov 9 when I was trying to liquidate my REITs that had gone up 25% in one day. Many trades couldn’t complete but one $25,000 trade got sold twice. Didn’t want to cover the sale because wasn’t sure it really happened and couldn’t get thru phone lines for 4 hours and by them price had gone up 10% more. They told me to cover and dispute and today 2+ weeks later they credited my account for the $2500 loss. Can’t imagine how many millions of losses they had to cover on that day since they told me they usually can handle disputes in 24 hours.

  62. Merrill edge unavailable?

    I get that msg trying to login. Is it me, or is it @ Merrill?

      1. Merrill has been down for more than 2hrs. No explanation to be found thus far… Typical Merrill.

  63. RE: IBKR

    Also worth a mention that IBKR gives you a fully functional monopoly money account with a million dollars. You can test drive all the features before you put in real money.

    I still use the paper account, to try things I have not done before to be sure I understand how the platform will behave before I use real $.

    I don’t know what other brokerages have something similar but I know that Vanguard doesn’t.

    1. Bob – since you seem to be familiar with IBKR functionality, can you shed some light on their pricing? I have looked at the info on their website but I am confused.

      The Trader Workstation system looks powerful and is one of the biggest draws for me but I am unsure if it’s worth what appears to be extra fees for some basics like real-time data, book depth, news etc. I use Fidelity and TOS now which don’t carry those extra charges. Aside from commission to trade stocks/bonds/equities, what additional monthly charges would one incur for getting some plain vanilla streaming info?

      I am willing to pay something extra to be able to use their powerful TW system, I just don’t how much in additional fees/services I would have to subscribe to in order to get real time actionable data from it.

      1. Kapios, for IB Pro, assuming you are not a professional investor, the minimum you will pay is $10/month. But that fee is waived if you make enough trades each month. If you want Level 2 data from different exchanges, that costs ~ $1/2 per exchange. If you want to buy bonds or CUSIP based preferreds, you have to pay $1/month. If you want bond/preferred ratings it will set you back $3/month. You can get a reasonable group of data for ~ $16 total, with $10 of it waived if you make enough trades.

        You will have to fill out a questionnaire each year to certify you are not a professional money manager. That roughly means that you do NOT get paid for managing anyone else’s money.

        Link to their ala carte pricing:

        1. Tex, I had looked at their pricing maybe over a year ago now, and I recall that the minimums were waived if your account was above a certain size but I can not find that in their current pricing. Did they do away with that?

          So, it looks like it would be less than $20 per non-active month, with some months being less than that, depending on trading? My trading tends to be lumpy – that’s why I’m trying to figure out what the “fixed” cost would be.

          In reading thru the TWS online info it seems that there is a unit count of streaming info for tickers on watchlists/graphs etc. for which you pay for above a certain threshold. Is that right? If I’m watching a bunch of futures/options/equity tickers over the day across a couple of monitors over a 10 hour period does that add up? That’s what’s giving me pause.

          1. Kapios, I think the fee waiver is based on how much trading commissions you generate each month, independent of account size. To get the $10 snapshot bundle fee waived you need $30/month in commissions. For stocks that would be about 6,000 shares. For bonds or $1,000 preferreds, that would be <= 30 bonds. (Since you never know exactly how much you will pay per bond trade, it could be less.)

            The streaming fees are capped per month at low rates, $1.50 for NYSE, $1.50 for NASDAQ.

            I have not heard of anyone that got charged an outrageous amount for any data on IB. So I think your guess of ~$20 in fees on a low trade volume month is a reasonable assumption.

      2. Tex has replied and he has more details than I do.

        I don’t pay for any data packages and I don’t use TWS. For what I do I don’t need them.

        For my trading, I “coax” live bid/ask and volumes from the system by clicking on “new order” on an existing order. One click. Other information I pick up from other sources: FINRA, the TSX, etc. It is sufficient for my needs but perhaps not yours.

        Tex has it right in that the pricing structure favors high balances and active trading. For Pro anyway. Lite is “free” for bread and butter things.

  64. IBKR after a year + of experience …

    Bottom line I like it and I’m keeping it. For some of what I want to do there is no reasonable alternative or no alternative. For you, it may or may not make sense.

    The basics. 3 trading platforms, from least to most complex, 1) Portal, 2) WebTrader, and 3) Trader Workstation. Plus they have a separate mobile platform. I do all of my trading through WebTrader and only use Portal for administrative functions but it does have good trading functionality.

    I have zero experience with Trader Workstation and have only used the mobile platform as a market monitor when I’m on the go and not for trading. My take is that 99% of III readers would be fine with either Portal or WebTrader as their trading platform.

    2 pricing plans, Pro and Lite. Pro gives you a few more capabilities but not many. Pro charges commissions (albeit low), and gives you better margin rates and higher interest on cash balances. Lite gives you commission free trading on U.S. exchange listed stocks and ETFs and a thousand+ OEFs. You pay commissions on just about everything else (as with other brokers) but, again, rates are good. My sense is that Lite would serve the needs of 90% of III readers.

    The bad. Very little from my perspective but this is my list:

    The platforms are “quirky” compared to those of most other brokerages. Not a biggy for me but takes some getting used to the look and feel. Once you’re used to it, it’s great.

    Telephone support is not their strength. Waits can be lengthy and the support person you reach may not be in the U.S. But they do know their stuff. I don’t know if the phone support gets better with a bigger account (as it does at Vanguard, for example).

    Offsetting the weak telephone support is a robust online help system and a very responsive email inquiry system. The amount of online help is extraordinary and will answer just about any question you may have, other than account specific questions of course, for which I use the email system. You just have to look for it.

    If you are the type that needs a lot of telephone support, IBKR is not for you.

    No OTC trading. If it’s U.S. issues you’re buying on the OTC you won’t be able to buy them on IBKR (this includes new preferred trading on temporary OTC tickers). But if it’s foreign issues with “F” tickers you’re after, then you can buy them on their native exchanges, as described below.

    And that’s it.

    The good. A long list:

    Access to trading markets. This is the key one for me. IBKR gives you DIRECT access to trade almost any major exchange in the world (and quite a few non-exchange products, too). London, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, Toronto, whatever you want to trade. Like Vanguard’s extensive suite of Irish-based unit trusts? You can’t buy them at Vanguard (if you live in the U.S.) but you can buy them at IBKR.

    For me, the initial attraction was the ability to trade Canadian preferred directly on the TSX. If you are at all serious about trading Canadian preferred you should be doing it through IBKR. You can buy 100% of the market, not just the 20% or so with U.S. OTC tickers. And you will have no problems with off-limit tickers (Vanguard, for example, will only trade about a quarter of the available tickers), no execution problems, and no foreign trading fees.

    IBKR also gives you access to most Capital Securities, meaning bonds and preferred that are not exchange traded. Not by calling the bond desk, not at the bond dealers take-it-or-leave-it ask price, but at a limit price that you input online.

    You like BK (Bank of New York Mellon) preferred? Well, you’re SOL because their one and only exchange traded issue has been called for December 20th. But they do have 5 non-exchange listed issues that can be bought through IBKR.

    Easy currency and currency futures transactions. If you’re going to trade foreign securities you’ll want to buy foreign currency in most cases. IBKR makes it very easy and you get institutional rates on anything above US$25,000. Anything less is an “odd-lot” and may get you slightly less favorable rate. Even if what you want to do is just old-fashioned currency speculation, you can trade in and out at IBKR at very tight spreads and low commissions.

    If you want to hedge currency exposure with currency futures, it’s also done on the trading platform and is very easy to do.

    Execution. Never had a single execution issue.

    Lots of online seminars and videos. Good if you are new to IBKR or new to some aspect of trading.

    No tax treatment errors. Not on QDI issues, not on foreign securities, not one.

    Ease of trading. Very fast to enter orders, especially repeat orders, as you might do buying an issue 100 shares at a time all day long. Many of the trading defaults (number of shares, warnings, etc.) can be custom set.

    Outstanding statements. Incredibly detailed statements and the ability to customize just about any aspect of a statement.

    Low margin rates. By far the lowest among retail brokers, but not as low as institutional brokers.

    The trading platforms never crash. At least not when I’ve been on. Never slow; never down.

    Strong “back office” on the platform. IBKR has all the usual administrative functions available online and few more that are rarely seen. One can convert from Pro to Lite (or vice versa) online.

    You get notified when positions are about to go from short term to long term. Very useful feature for tax based trading (i.e. taking losses before they go long term, or waiting on gains until they do).

    So, that’s my take. I have 2 IBKR accounts, using 1 for Canadian trading only (makes the book keeping easier for me) and a 2nd account for everything else. Both are Pro accounts but I’m planning to convert the everything else account to LITE soon as it will lower costs a bit. (Pro or Lite I would still pay commissions on the Canadian trades so there is no advantage to LITE there.) I’ve not transferred any positions from other brokerages to IBKR but as cash becomes available that’s where it’s going.

    1. Very helpful, Bob… Thanks very much for posting.. I’ve been wondering about the buzz on IBKR and your summary pretty much seems to tell the story. Regarding bonds, when you say, “IBKR also gives you access to most Capital Securities, meaning bonds and preferred that are not exchange traded. Not by calling the bond desk, not at the bond dealers take-it-or-leave-it ask price, but at a limit price that you input online,” you’re saying you can set your own bid price or offered price on essentially any bond that’s being offered within their system? Can you do something like set a bid for 25k but with a minimum of 2k that you’d accept as an example? That’s one of my pet peeves with the Fidelity platform – you cannot set a minimum amount on either your bid or offer amount.

      1. 2wr – on the buy side you input whatever price you want, and quantity. Bids may be rejected as not being enough shares. I have been able to make buys for as few as 5 ($1,000) shares, so it’s not like you have to be trading institutional quantities.

        I have only made 1 sale of a capital issue on IBKR and that was for 10 shares and it took a couple of days to execute all 10 because I had a high price on it. Beyond that I don’t know the rules on selling.

      2. 2WR, a few other points on IB’s bond platform:

        1) You cannot set a minimum quantity. For example on a corporate bond where the minimum was set at the IPO time at 2 aka $2,000 face, you can get filled anywhere from 2 up to your order size.

        2) The selling bond dealer might set a higher minimum quantity than was specified in the IPO. There are quite a few corporates that had 1 or 2 minimum specified at IPO, but the dealer specifies a minimum order size of 200 or 250. So IB requires the 200 or 250 to place the order.

        3) You never know exactly what the commission will be until after the order is filled. The most extreme case is you get filled for one bond and pay a $8 commission, which is ~0.8%. For ~ 25 bonds, the commission is typically 0.1% to 0.15%. For >=100, the commission is typically 0.05%. The variable that you cannot control is who the selling dealer is. Each dealer seems to have a different commission schedule with IB.

        4) You never know exactly what the margin percentage is if you are buying on margin. IB will show you what the margin percentage is when you first place the order. That percentage is only applicable to the quantity you ordered. This is more of an issue on munis than corporates. The higher the quantity you buy, the higher the margin percentage might be. It is complicated and IB does not publicly disclose the algorithm they use to calculate the margin requirement. In an extreme muni case, you might buy 5 bonds and have a 33% margin which increases to ~ 100% when you buy say 100. Part of IB’s calculation is what percentage of the issue you are buying. So if you buy a very small percentage of the float, your margin rate will be stable. This is less of an issue on large corporate offerings unless you are dealing with say >=$ 1 million order sizes. IB can and does change the margin requirements with minimal notice and you have no recourse. Broadly speaking they increased all corporate and muni margin rates since the March 2020 sell off. In an extreme case, you can get an electronic margin call where they automatically start selling positions WITHOUT your input before today’s close.

        Not good, not bad, just a few quirks you should aware of before you get married.

        1. Thanks for the added color, Tex….. It sounds to me as though there’s no advantage for bond trading at IBKR vs trading at Fidelity with the possible exception of it being easier to locate non-listed preferreds…. At Fidelity I do like knowing exactly what I’m going to be charged no matter what the size ($1/bond but I think there’s a minimum and I know there’s a maximum) but I do not like the inflexibility of setting a bid or offer amount…. I understand what you’re saying about IPO amounts but I’m talking about bidding (or offering) in the secondary… I want to be able to say, for example, I’m bidding for 50k on an issue, but if there’s a seller out there for say 11k only, that I will accept those 11 at my bid…. You can’t do that at Fidelity but if I understand you correctly, I can’t do that at IBKR either.

          1. Let’s use an example: 857477AQ6

            If you go to Vanguard, TDA or Schwab, it can’t be bought on the platform. You may be able to buy it by calling the bond desk, but you’ll be given a dealer ask price and it will be take-it-or-leave-it. And it’s effectively fill-or-kill; you can’t leave a bid.

            AT IBKR I can buy it on the platform. It will show ask and quantity, bid and quantity, and last and quantity. If I check at FINRA I can see the whole trading history.

            I then input any price and quantity I want. After that, it fills or doesn’t fill like any exchange traded issue. If you’re prepared to be patient you can get filled much close to the bid than the ask. Same as buying exchange listed preferred. You can’t specify a minimum quantity.

            On this particular issue I expect I could buy it for about for at least 1% less at IBKR than at the bond desk at Vanguard. And without sitting on the phone for 30 minutes.

          2. 2WR, I will contrast Fidelity and IBKR for a 50 piece ($50,000 face) bond order in the secondary market:

            1) Fidelity allows you to place a “fill or kill” or “day” order to buy for any bonds they are showing for sale. In general you are allowed to put in a lower bid price than the ask price. Fidelity has “bumpers” or “guard rails” that limit how far below the ask price you can go. If the ask price is 101, Fidelity requires your bid price to be ~>=97.3. If you put in a bid price > the ask price, Fidelity will NOT let the order be placed.

            If your order is to buy 50 pieces, Fidelity makes the order minimum and maximum 50 pieces. So if someone wants to sell say 10 pieces at your bid price, the order will NOT be filled.

            2) IB allows you to place a “Fill or Kill”, a “Day” or a “Good till Cancelled” buy order. This is a MAJOR difference compared to Fidelity, Schwab, etc where you CANNOT place a GTC bond order. IB lets you put in any bid price you want, regardless of the ask price. The risk is that you fat finger a buy price. Say there are 50 bonds offered at 101 and you want to enter a 99 bid, but type in 999. You just bought them at 101. So IB does NOT have bumpers like Fidelity.

            If your buy order is for 50 pieces, IB will allow it to be filled at any quantity from the minimum up to 50. The minimum might be 1 or 2 for corporates and is typically 5 for munis. You never know for sure how many will get filled until the order goes through. On munis, it is common for IB to show 2X to 3X the bonds available than are real. If IB shows 30, there might be 10, 15 or 30 available. You don’t know until it gets filled. This is less of a problem on corporates.

            IB in general will let you place corporate bond buy orders even if none are listed for sale. Fidelity will NOT let you do this. And since you can place a GTC order at IB, this is a difference. In general, IB will NOT let you place a muni bond buy order if none are showing for sale, which is the same as Fidelity.

            Hope this helps.

              1. Bob, I just tried the State Street Cusip you provided. Fidelity does not show any offered up and therefore will NOT let you place an order. IB shows 80 bid @ 99.244 and 200 ask @ 100.5. IB will let you enter an order for quantity of 1 on up. This issue might be on the Fidelity “forbidden, we have to save you from yourself” list which is why they don’t offer it you. Not sure.

                1. This may not be the best day to be asking a question like that of Fidelity, Bob, at least not if everyone else is having the same problem I am experiencing…. When I attempt to find all bonds for a specific company name, system is telling me “System unavailable at this time. Please try again later or call Fidelity at 800-544-6666.” It would allow me to find your Cusip # 857477AQ6, but it does not show any inventory. That may be solely because of their “system unavailable” problem… Anyone else having the same problem??? I have not called the desk and will just wait to see if problem is resolve by tomorrow.

                2. Tex – ty for the info. This is State Street we are talking about. A-rated debt, BBB-rated preferred. A Low risk non-bank bank. F2F, but then almost all institutional preferred are F2F. Agribank, Cobank and NTRS are the only higher rated preferred (all BBB+) in the banking world.

                  I’ll be interested to see if anyone finds it on Fidelity but I am 100% certain I can buy it at IBKR, at a price I name. Without a phone call. I used this one CUSIP as an example but there are hundreds in the same boat, meaning generally not available at most brokerages but readily available at IBKR.

                  Tell ’em Bob sent you, and I deserve a kickback!

              2. Bob – I just noticed in the details of your State Street 857477AQ6 that it’s a floating rate issue….. That probably seals the deal of not ever being able to buy it online at Fidelity without having to call as their Nanny state mentality normally wants to save you from your own assumed inability to know what you’re buying if a bond floats.

                1. 2wr – then I’ll give you 2 others, both fixed rate bonds:

                  74348Y6V8 can’t be bought online at Vanguard or TDA, but at IBKR you can buy and name your own price.

                  21871NAA9 is buyable online at Vanguard at 83.00 (no choice) or at TDA at 82.41 (best price) or at IBKR at whatever you input. The bid/ask is 81.50/82.275, and last sale at 81.41. I’m guessing I could get it at 81.50, that being 1.50 under Vanguard or 0.91 under TDA.

                  1. It’s 5:37 right now and I see the Corecivic issue available at Fido @ 82.301 theoretically….. (you can’t buy afterhours) . No luck on the Prospect issue…

            1. IB also lets you do OPG orders, which means in essence to execute as close to the market opening as possible (subject to your limit). In other words, they go to the front of the cue, ahead of day, fok, or gtc orders.

              I have been using them on the equity side.

  65. TDA Merger with Schwab.

    Have an issue with FOREIGN TAX WITHHELD from a dividend of a Mexico based company (KCDMY) in my IRA. TDA withheld ~10-15% from this dividend payment for the first time after owning the stock for years.

    Complained on email and got a computer generated response.

    I’ve been a very long time customer of TDA and love the TOS platform but I fear I’ll not be happy with this merger.

    Is anyone else having similar issues?

    1. Dear valued client,

      Received a reply (below) and sounds like I’ll be unable to appeal. Are others having similar experiences recently?

      I’d be happy to explain.

      We are not able to reverse this charge, because it is not charged by TD Ameritrade. It is a pass through fee, charged by the transfer agent who handles the dividends for that stock. A foreign tax withholding fee is charged at the discretion of the company, and will not necessarily be applied to every dividend. It may be applied for every diviend, or it may be applied only once a year.

      1. Oh, yeah, they didn’t do what they could have done. They are supposed to tell the clearing agent after the record date how many shares are held by retirement accounts so they don’t get charged the foreign tax as the treaty allows for an exemption.
        The system for brokers to do it is outlined here:

        What you should ask them is whether this is a permanent change as a result of the merger, or a one-off.

    2. I don’t know the answer but what you’re getting from TDA is not sufficient.

      The answer lies in the US-Mexico tax convention. It is NOT at the discretion of the paying agent. If the convention says no withholding then it’s no withholding. But TDA won’t do the work for you. If you can show them there should be no withholding they will get the paying agent to back off.

      I’ve been through exactly this issue with Vanguard albeit on a Canadian issue held in a Roth. Turns out the paying agent was JPM.

    3. Greg, is this a case of your having benefited in the past from TDA not applying the rule correctly?

      Having a refined hatred for Foreign Tax Withholding but not having direct experience w MX companies, I looked and found, which asserts that “A [Mexican] company that distributes dividends … to a nonresident or
      to a resident individual must withhold a 10% tax….” So it may be that someone in the TDA back office finally started applying the rule correctly?

      Also, is the holding in a taxable account? If so, you can claim it back at tax time (apologies in advance if you already knew that).

  66. Can anyone with a Schwab account tell me if they allow online OTCbb/ pink/ gray, etc trading, and if so, are they charging a commission if the company traded is a foreign entity; examples BREUF, DREUF, which are Canadian.

    1. Howard – I can’t answer your question but I can tell you Schwab won’t get the taxes right on BREUF. It should produce a qualified dividend but Schwab will list as non-qualified. DREUF is a REIT.

      What you will loose financially by Schwab not reporting QDI correctly will overwhelm whatever you pay in commissions. Many investors pay zero taxes or close to zero on QDI income while paying 20%+ on ordinary income.

      If you’re going to invest in foreign QDI issues go anywhere but Schwab.

  67. Schwab-TDA-ThinkorSwim update

    “As all necessary approvals of the proposed acquisition have now been received, Schwab expects to close the transaction on Oct. 6, subject to the customary closing conditions set forth in the merger agreement,” it said in a statement late Wednesday.

    The Fed released its statement on the deal at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Moments later, former TD Ameritrade Institutional executive Dani Fava tweeted: “It’s official – ⁦@TDAmeritrade has become ⁦@CharlesSchwab.” (Fava is now head of strategic development at Envestnet).

    The full integration of the two firms — which announced the transaction 10 months ago — should take 18 to 36 months to complete after the deal officially closes. This means the technology tie-up and related efforts won’t be done until April 2022 at the earliest and by October 2023 at the latest.

    Until then, Schwab and TD Ameritrade will operate as separate businesses.

    1. I never had a big Schwab account and what I had I have been draining ever since the problem with tax treatment of dividends. The other brokerages I deal with got the tax treatment right most of the time and when they got it wrong they corrected the problem. They took my calls, researched the issue, and fixed the mistake, none of which Schwab did.

      I do not look upon the acquisition of TDA by Schwab as a positive. I use TDA because they allow the trading of certain OTC issues that other brokerages do not. TDA also get taxes right. If TDA gets Schwabbed I will have no reason to do business with them. One of the things I don’t think Schwab took account of when they did the acquisition of TDA were the accounts they would loose as a result of the acquisition.

      I would be doing ten times the business with TDA that I do presently if not for the overhang of the Schwab acquisition.

    1. Speaking of brokerages, you reminded me Dave, my TD rep told me Schwab was going to “leave us alone” for another 18 months or so.. The longer the better in my mind.

      1. Yeah, I asked my TD guy about that, a few months ago. At the time, he had no idea what was going to happen. I’m not familiar with the Schwab platform, but I like the TD platform quite well, and am hoping they don’t bungle it up too much — or maybe they’ll make it even better.

  68. Anybody having problems with merril Lynch website?

    Can’t login and the customer service was very useful as they are with other customers but can call me back in “more than 3 hours”.

  69. Is there anyone with a Charles Schwab account that could send me a ‘refer a friend’ code? The code is needed to get the $500 new account promotion. Is there a way to get private messages on this board?

  70. Forbes has a nice writeup on how Robinhood makes money and was the first brokerage to offer commission free trading. “Payment for Order Flow” accounts for 70% of their revenues. This is where large algorithmic trading firms like Citadel and Virtu pay brokerages for their orders. They pay Robinhood 1.7 cent/share for their stock orders, which is higher than other brokerages receive. Obviously Citadel and Virtu think it is profitable to buy the orders from Robinhood. I am guessing you would have less limit orders filled for the low liquidity preferreds we discuss around here. But Robinhood probably works fine for high liquidity issues like the FAANGS.

    Robinhood has added 3 million new customers this year, far more than the other brokerages. It has 13 million customers, close to Schwab’s 14 million. The tone of the article is negative on Robinhood. Personally I do NOT have a Robinhood account, but if you are considering opening one, the article is worthwhile.


  71. The Charles Schwab Corporation (“Schwab”) today announced it plans to integrate the award-winning thinkorswim® and thinkpipes® trading platforms, education and tools into its trader offerings for retail and independent advisor clients following its acquisition of TD Ameritrade.

    “Our plan to adopt the thinkorswim suite of products and educational resources reflects its status as one of the strongest retail active trader platforms in the industry,” said Barry Metzger, Senior Vice President of Trading Services at Charles Schwab. “For users of Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge® platforms, there is no change. As we look ahead, we intend to thoughtfully combine the great capabilities, tools and service at both firms to provide a unified, world-class trading experience for clients.”

    1. This should have been the press release….

      Charles Schwab Announces Plan to Rename thinkorswim Trading Platforms to sinkorswim(mostly sink) as Part of TD Ameritrade Integration

      SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Charles Schwab Corporation (“Schwab”) today announced it plans to rename the award-losing thinkorswim® to sinkorswim(mostly sink) following its acquisition of TD Ameritrade and numerous outages of the platform.

      “Our plan to rename the thinkorswim suite of products and educational resources reflects its status as one of the most volume challenged retail active trader platforms in the industry,” said Barry Metzger, Senior Vice President of Trading Services at Charles Schwab. “For users of Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge® platforms, there is no change. As we look ahead, we intend to thoughtfully combine the great capabilities, tools and service at both firms to provide a unified, third-world-class trading experience for clients.”

  72. Schwab’s “Street Smart Edge”….

    Account details screen shows I am up $68 today…bar at the top shows I am up only $38. My “position dollar value” is less than my “total account value” by a whopping $3,000…. And my positive cash balance is not included in the former, but supposedly is included in the latter.

    Schwab says this has something to do with current prices vs. liquidation value. I say pick one and stick to it.

    1. Yes, very confusing to say the least. These variations in value seem to have worsened with the last upgrade of StreetSmartEdge.

      1. Yes….now my “today’s change” is plus 2623 while my account details day change is plus $397…maddening. I don’t think the Schwab system is set up for securities with wide spreads.

  73. Buried in a New York Times story about RobinHood was this:

    Robinhood’s website has also gone down more often than those of its rivals — 47 times since March for Robinhood and 10 times for Schwab — according to a Times analysis of data from, which tracks website reliability. In March, the site was down for almost two days, just as stock prices were gyrating because of the coronavirus pandemic. Robinhood’s customers were unable to make trades to blunt the damage to their accounts.
    . . .
    Plaintiffs who have sued over the outage said Robinhood had done little to respond to their losses. Unlike other brokers, the company has no phone number for customers to call

    Tex comment: Not a pretty picture for RobinHood or Schwab on outages, but at least at Schwab you can call somebody and vent your frustration. They will not be able to get the platform back up but will be sympathetic.

    Link to full article:

  74. Anybody own Great Ajax (symbol AJXA) notes in a taxable account?
    they had multiple 2018 and 2019 deemed (non-cash) dividends which my broker just got around to posting, so I just got a corrected 2018 form and will also be getting a 2019 corrected form with this and the First energy dividends.

  75. First Energy just reclassified their last 2 dividends of last year out of nowhere.
    So anyone who owns it in a taxable account may get a corrected 1099 soon.
    Silver lining is it went from 100% dividends to part ROC for one and all ROC for the other.