SINGAPORE (Dec 18): AJ Kahling, senior market strategist at TD Ameritrade, paces the stage at The Edge Singapore’s year-end global forum as he explains to the audience how his firm is different from all the other US broker-dealers in the market.

“The analogy I give is related to the airline industry. There are a dozen different airlines out there, but they all buy their planes from Boeing Co and Airbus. They all get you from A to B in a plane. The difference is how they do it,” Kahling says. Firms such as TD Ameritrade do not give advice on what to buy or when to buy, but they do provide their clients with useful information. “We talk clients through trading ideas,” Kahling says. “Our differentiators are technology. Our platform was created by traders on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). They saw the future as being people like us, retail investors, trading, because the internet was going to level the playing field and we have all these bells and whistles.”

TD Ameritrade charges a flat price of US$6.95 per online trade and provides its clients with support, including education services, such as webinars, and a trading desk staffed with Monetary Authority of Singapore-licensed representatives. It recently introduced “thinkorswim”, a software that helps customers screen for stocks on the basis of metrics such as price-to-earnings ratios (PERs), dividend yields and price-to-book ratios. It also provides analyst reports on companies.

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