Many of us think that our investment accounts are protected in a similar manner as our savings and checking accounts are insured through the FDIC. But the truth is that our investment accounts are at the mercy of our broker-dealers, and our agreements with these broker-dealers essentially allow them to do anything with our funds at any time, even in so-called “self-directed” trading accounts.
Sure there are regulators such as the SEC and FINRA that purport to provide “Investor Protection”, but the SEC is a government agency and understaffed, and FINRA is a “self-regulating organization” whose dues-paying membership is comprised of the very entities it is supposed to be regulating.
Before you invest your funds with TD Ameritrade or Thinkorswim, ask yourself what you would do if you never saw those funds again. Because there is a very real risk of that actually happening. Read some of the stories at right, and be sure to review the top complaints about TD Ameritrade at:http://www.consumeraffairs.com/finance/ameritrade.html
You will be astonished. These are not isolated incidents; they reveal patterns of greed, fraud and consumer “abuse” unlike anything we have ever seen.