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TD Ameritrade Launches Futures and FX Trading

Online discount brokerage firm TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. has launched futures and foreign exchange trading capabilities to clients, as growth in derivatives and FX trading has outpaced stock activity this year.

The trading capabilities are now available via the company’s thinkorswim platform, and join the recently introduced complex options functionality on a single, integrated platform.

TD Ameritrade, one of the top three US online brokerages by assets, acquired retail options brokerage thinkorswim in June 2009 for $606 million to boost its presence in the active trader market.

All of TD Ameritrade’s 5.6 million customers will now be able to trade the products through the platform.

The company says it has seen participation in futures and forex markets rise 60% over the past year on its thinkorswim platform, which already offered the markets, outstripping volume growth in share trading. Introducing the products to all of TD Ameritrade’s customers completes a key goal behind the thinkorswim deal.

Self-directed investors can now place multi-leg options trades quickly and simply, the company says. While intended for more experienced investors, the strategies are designed to minimise capital exposure and, in many cases, define trade risk. TD Ameritrade’s new single-click strategy choices include butterfly spreads, calendars, diagonals, iron condors, straddles and customised spreads.

To help clients better understand how these products work and discover whether or not they are right for their individual trading strategies, TD Ameritrade’s trading team has developed tutorials, webinars and in-person educational events across the US.

“Our mission is to provide the trading platform of choice for active traders and investors,” says Steven Quirk, senior vice president, trader group for TD Ameritrade. “Frequent enhancements to our technology and product offerings, particularly the launch of futures and forex, are vital to that mission. Access to these markets through thinkorswim from TD Ameritrade significantly furthers the development efforts toward a single integrated platform, and gives traders and investors more opportunities to diversify a portfolio or trading strategy.”

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