The Norbert Gambit is an excellent method for converting currency cheaply at discount brokers but some clients of TD Waterhouse have found gambitting with stocks in an investment account involves delays. A friend of mine purchased RIM on the TSX and hoped to sell RIMM on NASDAQ only to be told be TDW that he has to wait for the initial buy to settle (3 days) and a further 2 days before the journaled shares showed up in the US Dollar side of the account. My friend turned out to be lucky – RIM gained 10 percent during the wait but seeing how often RIM trades down these days, the story could have turned out differently. Now, thanks to the efforts of a Canadian Money Forum member who wishes to remain anonymous, all TD Waterhouse clients can implement instant gambits in their investment accounts. The member was also kind enough to put together the following post on how TD Waterhouse clients can make gambitting work for them.
TD Waterhouse representatives say they are ready now to execute the sell sides of instant stock gambitting pairs for all clients with every size of non-registered account [Note: Gambits can be done in TD Waterhouse RRSP accounts without the assistance of a representative].
Gambit trades are more complicated for a TDW licensed representative to handle than other kinds of trades. It’s helpful, therefore, for a client to understand the steps that are involved, not only from the client’s side of things but also from the broker’s.
Here are some hints:
- TD Waterhouse clients should expect to pay the full agent-handled commission for the gambit sell side. [Note: Trades placed over the phone are charged a minimum commission of $43. If you’d rather wait for the trades to settle and pay WebBroker commissions, you can still gambit with DLR/DLR.U.]
- Gambitting clients should prepare but not send the opening buy order, which will be an online order.
- Next, contact a licensed representative by phone & make sure he or she understands what you want to do. Because more general representatives than before are now handling gambit trades, some representatives are fairly new at this practice, so a gambit client should be prepared to wait patiently if a rep needs to check with his team manager.
- Client should send the buy order only when the agent confirms that he’s ready to do the sell order in the opposite currency.
- As soon as the buy is filled, the agent will enter the sell order out of the opposite currency account. Initially, his system will block this order, just as investor’s online TDW trading platform will block it. However, the representative will be able to override this block and force the order.
- At the same time, the representative will be sending a special manual journal request to the credit department alerting them that this trade, unusual though it may look, is nevertheless bona fide because the stock has indeed been purchased and is awaiting journal.
- Notice that *NO* trades are ever placed through a short account. The gambit sell is executed upon a margin or cash account, not a short account. The result will be a virtual “short,” but it is not a real short in the technical sense of the industry. It does not get entered into the broker’s short records.
- If there is sufficient margin in the margin account where the stock has been sold, investor may carry on to immediately purchase other securities. However, if gambit stock has been sold out of a cash account, the proceeds may not be used or withdrawn until the journalling of the stock has been accomplished, which will not be until 3-5 days later.
- My own approach has always been to prepare everything & then contact a licensed representative. If i observe that trouble might develop for one reason or another, then i am always prepared to cheerfully abort the attempt. This is the reason for having the buy order ready but not sending it in until the agent is lined up. A gambit halted early like this is harmless, because no positions have been initiated. Investor should try later on the same day or else on the next day, with a different agent.
It’s important to keep in mind that, for the first time, TD Waterhouse is offering gambit sell trades to all customers on a goodwill basis. Retaining that goodwill is important. As easily and quickly as it has opened the sluice gates, the big green could close down all gambitting permanently, if it finds that staff are having to spend too much time dealing with individual clients.