From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
thinkorswim Group Inc.
IndustryInvestor Education and Online Brokerage
FoundedEducation division (Investools) in 1983 as Telescan, Inc.
HeadquartersNew York with offices in Chicago, IL, Draper, UT, and Palo Alto, CA
Key people
Lee Barba, CEO
Ida Kane, SVP/CFO
Paul Helbling, SVP/CAO
Tim Knight, SVP Technology
Dale Ainge, SVP Student Acquisition
Scott Sheridan, EVP, Thinkorswim Group Inc
Tom Sosnoff, EVP, Thinkorswim Group Inc
Peter Santori, SVP and General Counsel
ProductsInvestor education and online brokerage
RevenueIncrease $318 million USD (2007)
ParentTD Ameritrade

Thinkorswim (often stylized and officially branded as "thinkorswim", lacking capitalization) is a software product by TD Ameritrade that offers tools and educational services for online investing. It is geared for self-directed stock, options and futures traders. It was previously offered by ThinkorSwim Group, Inc., which was purchased by TD Ameritrade in 2009.

TD Ameritrade provides services for self-directed option traders and institutional users who invest in equities, exchange-traded funds, futures, mutual funds and bonds.

Thinkorswim provides investor education and services for self-directed investors including trading tools and analytics. It offers a range of investor education products in a variety of interactive delivery formats, including instructor-led synchronous and asynchronous online courses, in-person workshops, one-on-one and one-to-many online coaching programs and telephone, live-chat and email support. Thinkorswim is used in conjunction with trades of equity securities, fixed income, index products, options, futures, other derivatives and foreign exchange. The Thinkorswim software is provided free for account holders of TD Ameritrade and trades via the TD Ameritrade platform cost $6.95 each.[1]


Thinkorswim, Inc. was formed through multiple company mergers and acquisitions:

  • In 1982, Telescan, a provider of stock charting and screening tools, was founded by Dr. Richard Carlin in Houston, Texas.[2]
  • Also in 1997, Online Investors Advantage, an investor education company, was founded.[3]
  • In 1999, Thinkorswim, Inc. was founded as an online brokerage specializing in options.[4]
  • In 2000, an international investor education company, ZiaSun, acquired Online Investors Advantage.[5]
  • in 2000, Lee Barba started as CEO with Telescan.[6]
  • On December 6, 2001, ZiaSun merged with Telescan to form Investools.[7][8]
  • In January 2005, Investools purchased Prophet Financial Systems, Inc. and embarked on a re-architecture of the Investor Toolbox. Prophet's founder, Tim Knight, was made the Senior Vice President of Technology. In May, Investools common stock was listed on NASDAQ in May 2006 and added to the Russell 3000, 2000 and Microcap indexes on June 30.
  • In January 2006, Thinkorswim acquired Arrowhead Solutions, a privately held, institutional sell-side trade order management system provider.
  • In September 2006, Investools announced a merger with Thinkorswim. In February 2007, the company completed the merger with Thinkorswim and its ticker symbol was changed to SWIM. In June 2008, the group adopted the name of its brokerage subsidiary, Thinkorswim, for its corporate identity, changing the listed holding company's name from Investools, Inc. to Thinkorswim Group Inc.[9] New York investment banking firm Paragon Capital Partners, led by David Adler and Michael Levy, initiated this transaction, and acted as INVESTools' financial advisor in connection with the proposed merger and with respect to the financing of this transaction. (link to press release) At the time of the transaction, Thinkorswim had been a portfolio investment of Technology Crossover Ventures. [link to press release][10]
  • Revenue for 2007 was a record $318 million, including the operations of Thinkorswim from February 15, 2007. Client assets were almost $2.6 billion at December 31, 2007.
  • In May 2008, the company announced that it was cooperating with an informal U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into presentations used during sales meetings.[11]
  • In January 2009, TD Ameritrade Holdings Inc. acquired Thinkorswim Group Inc. (including its INVESTools division) in a cash and stock deal valued around $606 million.[12]

S.E.C. investigation & penalties[edit]

On 12/10/2009 the Securities And Exchange commission began an investigation into Investools' (purchased by thinkorswim) use of misleading sales practices in which 2 named defendants Michael J. Drew ("Drew") and Eben D. Miller ("Miller") were giving trading workshops under the guise of being full-time investors by trade, having made their fortunes in this manner as well as assuring students they would achieve the same results by following the Investools method.[13] Among the allegations by the S.E.C. "Investools Did Not Prevent its Speakers from Misleading Investors about a Survey of its Customers' Trading Success"[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ TD Ameritrade: Pricing
  2. ^ Derek J. HOGGETT and Investa, Inc, Appellants, v. David L. BROWN, individually;  David L. Brown, Trustee;  Richard K. Carlin; Roger C. Wadsworth; W.K. Group Holdings; D.B. Technology, Inc., f/k/a, Max Ret, Inc., successor in interest to, D.B. Technology, Inc.; Scott Brown; AND Jeff Brown, Appellees
  3. ^ PRNewswire, April 17, 2001, Solana Beach, California.
  4. ^ "Tom Sosnoff Tom Sosnoff: A Q&A with the $600 million man behind Thinkorswim". Daily Finance. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
  5. ^ "ZiaSun Technologies Subsidiary Online Investors Advantage (OIA) Launches New Investing Website" (Press release). PRNewswire. March 14, 2000.
  6. ^ "Highly Sought-After CEO Lee Barba Joins Telescan to Lead Internet Company's Global Expansion" (Press release). PRNewswire. February 29, 2000.
  7. ^ "ZiaSun, Telescan to merge, creating INVESTools Inc". Deseret News. May 4, 2001.
  8. ^ "Telescan, ZiaSun to merge". Houston Business Journal. May 3, 2001.
  9. ^ "Press release: thinkorswim Group Inc. Name Change Effective Today". thinkorswim. 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  10. ^ Archived 2011-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Nair, Dinesh; Vinu Pilakkott (2008-05-01). "Investools says SEC conducts informal inquiry". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  12. ^ Ortega, Edgar (2000-01-08). " Article: TD Ameritrade Buys Thinkorswim to Expand in Options (Update4)". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  13. ^ a b

External links[edit]