Some desktop users of TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim trading platform were unable to log in for the second straight day as the S&P 500 closed at its highest level ever on Tuesday.
The platform, which is free for anyone who holds one of the bank’s 11 million client accounts, suffered from problems on desktop computers, although it remains functional through a mobile app and on other technology, a spokesperson for the U.S. brokerage firm told Fastinform.
“We are currently experiencing a system issue impacting clients’ ability to connect to the thinkorswim desktop platform,” TD Ameritrade spokesperson Margaret Farrell said. “We are working to address the issue as quickly as possible.”
The timing is particularly inopportune for the broker. Omaha, Nebraska-headquartered TD Ameritrade has seen a surge in retail trading clients during the coronavirus-related economic downturn and subsequent surge in stock prices.
The company added 661,000 gross new funded retail accounts in April through June, and expects to have added 2 million new thinkorswim customers by the end of September, smashing its record of 1.3 million new funded accounts during the 2018 fiscal year.
The platform’s popularity was also fueled by TD Ameritrade’s decision in October of last year to eliminate fees on stock and exchange-traded fund trades. Charles Schwab and E*TRADE Financial also axed trading fees last year after losing younger retail trading customers to Robinhood, which has offered fee-free trading since 2013.
With major online brokerages now operating on an equal playing field in regard to fees, perceived reliability is increasingly important to retail traders.
Users started complaining on Twitter about login issues Monday, with some saying they would close their accounts due to thinkorswim’s technical issues. Many users appeared to still be experiencing issues Tuesday.
Charles Schwab is currently in the process of acquiring TD Ameritrade in a $26 billion stock transaction that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and is expected to close sometime in the second half of 2020. Integration of the two companies will be completed within the next three years, TD Ameritrade interim CEO Steve Boyle told investors in July.
Competing brokerages including Robinhood, Charles Schwab and E*TRADE appeared to be fully operational Tuesday afternoon.
However, Robinhood experienced several major outages in early March as the coronavirus began to roil American markets, but the company’s user base continued to rise as overall retail trading skyrocketed in April and May. The startup said it had raised $200 million on Monday, lifting its valuation to $11.2 billion.
The S&P 500 index closed Tuesday at a record 3,389.79 points, up a little less than a quarter of a percent from the previous day’s close. The performance marked the first all-time high for the index since the coronavirus pandemic first hit the U.S. in March.
--Additional reporting by Patrick Hoff