UPDATE 06/01/2011 – I am still waiting to hear from TD Ameritrade . The Old COO has been fired and replaced with a new COO but nobody from TD Ameritrade has contacted me about their company policy to make me whole . Recently the SEC has reminded Broker Dealers that they will be heald responsible for tech glitches See Sec To Brokers – Execs On Hook For Operational Glitches/
UPDATE 11/18/2010 – The Compliance Department is refusing to do anything . JEFF PLUMMER and other TD AMERITRADE Employees are refusing to acknowledge their company policy . The Original article which was on wsj.com has been removed by somebody and other links to the article online are being removed . Basically, TD Ameritrade is supplying bad quotes and when you go to them with it they refer you to their client agreement but there are Fed Securities Laws that say that can do that . SEND THIS SITE to James Reilly- Managing Director, Chief Compliance Officer at TD Ameritrade.
Finra Rule -It shall be deemed inconsistent with Rules 2010, 2020 and 5210 for a member, for itself or for any other person, to publish or circulate or to cause to be published or circulated, by any means whatsoever, any quotation for any security without having reasonable cause to believe that such quotation is a bona fide quotation, is not fictitious and is not published or circulated or caused to be published or circulated for any fraudulent, deceptive or manipulative purpose.
See Other Sec laws here http://stockmarketloss.wordpress.com/td-ameritrade-and-sec-laws-and-finra-rules/
TD Ameritrade knowingly supplied me wrong quotes for months but TD AMERITRADE HAS REFUSED TO “MAKE ME WHOLE” BY HONORING THEIR POLICY. The people I communicated with at TD Ameritrade have refused to acknowledge this policy. Nobody seems to want to discuss this policy . I hope I can get some answers from TD Ameritrade . To see screen shots and the original letter I sent to them go here http://dearameritrade.wordpress.com/
If you know anybody at TD Ameritrade forward this blog to them ! I have been trying to reach the Chief Compliance Officer Lisa Henoch but no luck yet Thanks .
If you knew the quotes that your broker was supplying to you were wrong and that you would lose all your money would you make trading decisions based on those quotes ? The answer is NO only a fool would, but TD Ameritrade was providing quotes that they knew were wrong but did not alert or notify customers about this problem and when I brought it to their attention I was told that they were not obligated to notify customers because their client agreement says that they don’t guarantee their software . As a trader – Unless you have 2 quote feeds and you are comparing your TD Ameritrade quotes with quotes from another provider it is almost impossible for you to figure out that your quotes are WRONG so if your quote provider doesn’t tell you the quotes are bad you will keep trading until you are wiped out and that’s what happened to me .
My name is Uzoma and I had been a Client of TD Ameritrade for over 10 Years . I trade options for a living . In April 2010 my options Level 2 quotes broke and for over one month I unknowingly traded with the bad quotes . This caused me to lose $120,000. The level 2 quotes which are supposed to be real time were not real time and in fact lagged the real time by about 2 to 3 minutes . When I found out in May that my extensive loses were due to the faulty level 2 quotes . I contacted TD Ameritrade and asked them to make me whole as per their Company Policy. I first spoke to an Analyst – Tommie Richardson who told me that even though they were aware of the Streaming Quote issues TD Ameritrade doesn’t compensate anybody for losses . I asked her why they did not notify their clients about the problem since they were aware of the potential for loses and she said they were not required to notify anyone because they don’t guarantee their software just like their client agreement says .I tried to explain to her that what she was saying made no sense because they know that people will lose all their money by trading with the wrong quotes, but she stuck to her argument that they don’t guarantee their software will work all the time just like the client agreement says (See No 7 of Client Agreement) . I told her about their Company Policy that says they will make people whole for loses that are caused by technology issues and she said she had never heard of it . Why would anybody in their right senses trade with quotes that are wrong ? Anybody trading with inaccurate quotes is guaranteed to lose all their money .
I then worked my way up to Jeff Plummer (TD Ameritrade Compliance Manager) . I sent a letter to him explaining the lagging quote issue as well as my conversation with Tommie Richardson and he told me he would assign his Top Analyst to research the issue and get back to me in 15 business days . After 3 weeks I got A Letter in the mail telling me that even though TD Ameritrade was aware of the lagging Level 2 Quote problems NO COMPENSATION WOULD BE FORTH COMING . He purposely ignored the reference I made to their company policy and told me that I signed the client agreement . To confirm Tommie Richardsons argument that TD Ameritrade did not have to notify clients or even fix the Lagging Quotes Problem – my level 2 quotes stayed broken from the day I notified TD Ameritrade in May till the day they Forcibly Terminated my account in September . Nobody contacted me about fixing the problem and after 4 months when I sent the Compliance Manager Jeff Plummer an email asking him why the level 2 problem had not been fixed after 4 months, 2 days later I got a letter from Lynda Krueger Hoffman saying that TD Ameritrade had terminated my account . I guess so that I won’t be able to keep asking them why they had not fixed the problem . I WOULD LIKE TO GET SOME ANSWERS FROM TD AMERITRADE EXECUTIVES about what exactly their policy is. – Send this blog to any contacts you know at TD AMERITRADE if you would like to get answers too .
Something is wrong here . Somebody is either lying or doesn’t know their own policy . COO Dave Kelly says that TD Ameritrade has to take some responsibility for these tech issues but yet the analysts are saying something else .Tommie Richardson of TD Ameritrade admits that their software has problems that they know about but they are letting people keep trading with the bad quotes only to say that their client agreement covers them from doing anything about it . Tommie Richardson did not make a mistake when she said that they did not have to do anything about it because when a message was sent to TD Ameritrade telling them about the wrong quotes and asking why clients were still allowed to trade with this bad data, another Analyst – Daniel Pilmaier, Senior Research Analyst, Office of the President said that even though the problem was identified as an issue originating from their quote provider “We would not intentionally deter clients from trading by removing the capability to” WTF ???? So, basically they are just sitting in their offices watching people lose money and when people realize what is going on their (TD Ameritrade’s) defense is that the client signed the client agreement . People open accounts with broker dealers to make money NOT to lose money ! If I did not find out about these quote problems by myself I would have borrowed money to wire into my account and lost it all too. What about someone that opens a new account and doesn’t know the quotes are bad ?
TD Ameritrades actions speak louder than words . When I contacted the compliance manager Jeff Plummer, I expected him to tell me that Tommie Richardson’s response to me was wrong but after 3 weeks of him assigning his best analyst to research the case he basically sided with her by saying that they were aware of the problem and would not give me any money .
Lagging level 2 option quotes that are wrong every single minute of everyday for 4 months ARE 100% Unacceptable ESPECIALLY when TD Ameritrade knows about the problem but insists that their Client Agreement is an excuse for them not to do ANYTHING. Basically somebody is sitting in their office watching people lose all their money and they don’t see anything wrong with it . People wire money into Ameritrade to MAKE MONEY and not LOSE MONEY . Why would anybody use Ameritrade if they know that when there is a problem Ameritrade will sit by and watch them go bankrupt only to tell the client that they signed the Client Agreement .
This makes no sense because there are SEC Laws that govern the way Broker Dealers operate . Broker dealers can’t just provide wrong quotes to customers so that customers can keep trading and making them commissions while they the customers keep losing money . Why would anyone try to make money trading with bad quotes and why would any broker knowingly let people trade with bad quotes ?
Chief Operating Officer Dave Kelly (an executive who has over 20 years experience) had an interview with Dow Jones and talked about the company policy that says that they will make clients whole for loses they sustained due to the tech issues . Dave Kelly knows his Company Policy very well and he knows his Company’s technology very well but I can’t seem to get anybody else at the company to even discuss this policy . Dave Kelly talked about taking responsibility for the tech issues and he talked about compensating the clients affected by the tech issues . He could have just said that the clients have signed a CLIENT AGREEMENT but he did not say that because he knows that he is bound by SEC Laws . These tech issues are well known to TD Ameritrade . I have sent several letters to Jeff Plummer (TD Ameritrade Compliance Manager) and he has REFUSED to apply this company policy to me . In fact he has not acknowledged the policy, and in his responses to me he has deliberately avoided mentioning this policy.
As a matter of fact – When I realized that Jeff Plummer and Tommie Richardson had avoided acknowledging their company policy, I sent a complaint to the SEC and FINRA with the link to the WSJ (Wallstreet Journal) article that had the interview which DAVE KELLY gave Dow Jones but I was shocked when the link to the article on the WSJ vanished . The article with the interview was gone but fortunately I had made lots of screen shots plus some other sites like Fox Business had also carried the the article . You can draw your own conclusion about what you think happened .
If you know anybody at TD Ameritrade forward this blog to them so that this issue can be clarified . I would like my $120,000 back per their policy . Thank You !
TD AMERITRADE’S POLICY – This policy has been in existence for many many years and COO David Kelly repeated it in June 2010 during an interview .
In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday, Kelley, who is also head of technology for TD Ameritrade, said the company “has to take some responsibility” for website, server, and streaming-quote issues that affected brokerage clients on three separate days over the past three weeks.
“I don’t want to push [these problems] off on other people…these events almost never happen, but in the end it’s our problem.”
Kelley said the Omaha, Neb., company’s policy is to “make clients whole for whatever inconvenience they encountered” on days when they experienced a service disruption.
Ameritrade has offered to compensate some investors financially for monetary losses during the technology issues, while offering others free trades on a “case-by-case” basis.
- In May 2010 TD Ameritrade Clients locked out for 80 Minutes “We are also working with clients impacted by the issue individually to make sure that they are treated appropriately,” spokeswoman Kim Hillyer said.
- In October 2006 during an Earnings Conference Call CFO Bill Gerber said As you can see, expenses before advertising were $255 million for the quarter. The primary difference was in other expense, which was $8 million higher, predominantly as a result of a stock split where we received inaccurate information from a third party, which ultimately resulted in our clients being short shares of the company that split. As an accommodation to those clients who acted on this information, we made them whole, costing us $6 million.
- According to A 1999 Sec filling by Ameritrade – See Page 13 In September 1998, we became subject to a putative class action lawsuit resulting from systems failures and delays. In addition,from time to time, we reimburse our customers for losses incurred in connection with systems failures and delays. During the quarter ended December 31, 1998, we paid $3.1 million to customers for execution price adjustments as a result of systems failures and delays.
SECURITY & EXCHANGE COMMISSION/FINRA - I have listed a few duties rules and laws below. There is no way a broker dealer is allowed to supply bad quotes especially when it is a known issue . Jeff Plummer, Tommie Richardson and Daniel Pilmaier who are all registered brokers should know the SEC rules and laws as part of their jobs .
- The obligation to maintain operational capability is not new. The securities laws have always required firms to handle customer transactions properly, whether manually or electronically. It is a violation of the antifraud provisions of the securities laws for a broker-dealer to accept orders without having sufficient personnel and facilities to properly execute securities transactions. See, Securities Exchange Act Release No. 8363 (July 29, 1968), 33 FR 11150.Click here to read on SEC’s website
- Firms should also use every reasonable effort to notify customers of operational difficulties. In addition, to assist in monitoring and planning for systems disruptions, firms should consider maintaining records of capacity evaluations and system slowdowns and outages, including details on the cause and impact of the problem. Click here to read on SEC’s website
- The “antifraud” provisions prohibit misstatements or misleading omissions of material facts, and fraudulent or manipulative acts and practices, in connection with the purchase or sale of securities. Broker-dealers owe their customers a duty of fair dealing. This fundamental duty derives from the Act’s antifraud provisions mentioned above. Under the so-called “shingle” theory, by virtue of engaging in the brokerage profession (e.g., hanging out the broker-dealer’s business sign, or “shingle”), a broker-dealer represents to its customers that it will deal fairly with them, consistent with the standards of the profession. Based on this important representation, the SEC, through interpretive statements and enforcement actions, and the courts, through case law, have set forth over time certain duties for broker-dealers. These include the duties to execute orders promptly, disclose certain material information (i.e., information the customer would consider important as an investor), charge prices reasonably related to the prevailing market, and fully disclose any conflict of interest. Click here to read on SEC’s Site
- Duty of Best Execution – Broker Dealers have a duty of Best Execution . A Broker Dealer cannot honor their duty of Best Execution if the quotes being displayed on your screen are wrong . A traders order will never get filled at the best bid or ask price because they are looking at the wrong quotes Click here to read about the duty of Best Execution on FINRA website …………. S.E.C. Rule 15c1-2 prohibits “any act, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person.” Under the commission’s view, the best execution duty derives from common law agency principles that require an agent to put the principal’s interests ahead of its own, so a violation of that obligation operates as a fraud.
- Section 29(b) of the Securities Exchange Act permits a party to a contract to seek its rescission if performance of the contract “involves the violation of or the continuance of any relationship or practice in violation of,” any provision of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Federal law – 15 USC §78cc(a) (“Any condition, stipulation, or provision binding any person to waive compliance with any provision of this chapter or of any rule or regulation thereunder, or of any rule of an exchange required thereby shall be void.”)
- FINRA Prohibited Conduct: Failing to use reasonable diligence to see that a customer’s order is executed at the best possible price, given prevailing market conditions. Read on FINRA Site
- FINRA Rules of Fair Practice impose the following standard upon brokers: “A member, in the conduct of his business, shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade. ” This standard, along with other FINRA rules, is legally enforceable and is the standard on which investors are supposed to depend.
THE SERVICE DISRUPTION
Trading is a risky business . Trading Options is even riskier . Trading options with Delayed level 2 Quotes is Suicide . An active trader can not make money with lagging real-time quotes . I don’t know if I need to elaborate or explain how you can lose money but here is one way – lets say you want to get out of a position and you are trying to sell into the Bid of $2.00, your level 2 quotes show you a $2 bid so you sell at $2 but nothing happens so you wait and wait and wait , meanwhile the real time price is $1.75 . By the time your screen shows you $1.75 and you change your order, the real price may be $1.40 and so u keep chasing the option down not knowing why your order is not getting filled . You may also buy an option for $.80 when the real price is $.60 so that you lose almost 30% as soon as you buy . This is why a lot of times clients orders don’t get filled even though they believe that they may have tried to buy or sell at the bid and they may see the price on their screen going below their bid and nothing happens . The order probably did not go through because the bid/ask quote they used to put in their order is not the REAL TIME Quote.
I started noticing problems with Command Center on April 16 2010 this was a Friday and it was options expiration . It was also the day that Goldman Sachs was charged with Fraud by the SEC . The market was dropping but some of my streamer quotes had frozen and some of the quotes were just flat-out wrong, I was watching CNBC and I could see that the indexes were dropping but my streamer was frozen . I was basically trading blind . I really could not do much that day but I thought it was my computer or internet connection that was causing the problems .
As the days went by I eventually called Tech Support, the lines were usually busy but I was able to get through on a couple of occasions . I complained about the problems I was having with the quotes freezing and sometimes having totally wrong random quotes displayed . I was told to reinstall my Java and that it may be my ISP . I even asked if other people were calling in and they basically said No. I just could not figure out what was happening and even though I had called TD Ameritrade a few times nobody told me what the real problem was. By the time (1 month later) I realized what the bigger problem was I had already lost over $100,000 I noticed that in addition to the other streamer problems like the quotes freezing or other website problems like not being able to log in , my level 2 option quotes were 2 to 3 minutes behind my level 2 stock quotes . I tried to call Tech Support but the lines were busy so I sent a message .
I did not get any reply from this message but I eventually called Tech Support again and someone suggested I use Think Or Swim . When I downloaded Think Or Swim I discovered that (To MY HORROR) the quotes I was getting from Command Center Streamer were wrong compared to Think Or Swim Quotes and that was the Primary reason for my loses . They knew the quotes were wrong but they just let me keep trading .
Before I knew about the lagging quotes I had considered borrowing $50,000 to wire into my account and keep trading . I would have lost all that money too because of this quote problem . The quote problem was never fixed . 4 months later when I asked Jeff Plummer why nobody ever contacted me about fixing the level 2 quote issue and why in August the issue had not been fixed, they shut my account down . They even shut down my wife’s account and told me not to bother ever applying to TD Ameritrade again . My opinion is they couldn’t fix the quote problem or did not want to fix it so they terminated my account so that I won’t be able to access Command center and the level 2 quotes ? How can anyone make money with a platform like this ? This is not an outage that lasted minutes or hours . This lasted for months ! If I did not figure out that my quotes were bad I may have deposited more money into my account and ended with more loses . The fact that they knew about the problem and refused to fix it baffles me .
I lost my income and my capital and the opportunity to make money and grow my capital . I have bills piled up and accumulating interest and late fees .
I trade for a living . This is how I make money to pay bills . This year 2010 from January to April before I got wiped out by the TD Ameritrade glitch I paid myself an average of $6,500 a month . I made over $100,000 in the first 3.5 months of the year – Jan, Feb, March and half of April . I have not made any money in the last 4/5 months because I have no money since I got wiped out by TD Ameritrade . I have also asked TD Ameritrade for $120,000 which is part of my capital that I lost due to a Software glitch that they were aware of and refused to do anything about . People trade to make money and not to lose money . To see my account balances go to the original letter I wrote TD Ameritrade .
An Outage/Glitch that lasts months is very very unacceptable . I would expect TD Ameritrade to do the right thing and take responsibility for this Glitch just like the COO Dave Kelly said . No active trader can make money with a system that delivers wrong quotes every minute of every single day for months .
I would like TD Ameritrade to honor their company policy and make me whole by at least giving me back my $120,000, because this loss was preventable . TD Ameritrade knew about the lagging quotes and did nothing to prevent their clients from losing money . If clients had been notified about the bad quotes they could have minimized their loses . Broker Dealers are bound by SEC laws and rules .
The Client Agreement that Jeff Plummer uses as an excuse to not be liable for the lagging quotes is meant to be used when their are unforeseen technology issues like server failure or Network failure, hurricanes etc .. but not for well known technology issues that they did nothing about . According to Section 29(b) of the Securities Exchange Act - the Client Agreement becomes void if a broker dealer violates sec laws . TD Ameritrade violated several SEC Anti fraud provisions that I listed above . The SEC Laws and FINRA Rules are superior to TD Ameritrades Client Agreement . In other words you can’t break the law and then try to protect yourself by saying that a client signed your agreement . That would be like putting a sign on a taxi that says NOT LIABLE FOR ACCIDENTS THAT OCCUR IF A DRIVER IS DRUNK .
I don’t want to deal with Jeff Plummer ( TD Ameritrade Compliance Manager ) anymore because he seems to be playing games . I have sent him over 10 mails asking him about making me whole per TD Ameritrades Company policy but he has NEVER acknowledged the policy or mentioned it in his correspondence . This is a policy that TD Ameritrades COO talked about with DOW JONES .
I have sent 2 emails and 2 mails by courier to LISA HENOCH Chief Compliance Officer of TD Ameritrade but I am yet to hear from her . I want her to intervene in this case because I don’t have any confidence in the way Jeff Plummer is handling this case . If you know Lisa Henoch or any other executive at TD Ameritrade I would like you to forward this blog to them . All I want is for SOMEBODY to apply the company policy to me !