Several brokerage firms are allowing up to 25 free trades if purchasing one of their select group of ETFs. I checked Fidelity Brokerage and the list includes ETFs that correspond to our TSP funds, i.e.
AGG for F fund,
IVV for C fund.
IWO for S fund (or a couple other similar ETFs),
EFA for I fund,
The 25 free trades is not so much better than our TSP rules BUT then you can do additional trades for a relatively nominal fee -$8-$10- This is what many of us had asked TSP to consider when they were changing the rules and limiting our trades. I still hold a big grudge on that decision by the TSP board.
With Fidelity, looks like if you transfer $100,000 from TSP to a traditional IRA there, you get 200 free trades. Not sure if there is a time limit on when this expires but this is definitely something I'm going to do further investigation on. Though I've heard the website for Fidelity is not always reliable and maybe not user friendly - I don't want my trades hampered or delayed so I need to investigate further. [although I have found the new TSP website rather cumbersome to log into so not sure if there is a huge difference..]
Apparently, Vanguard and other major brokers including Schwab have enticing options for "commission-free" in addition to unlimited trades with added fees of $8 to $10 per trade when you exceed commission-free trade limit.
Lots to investigate but seems to me that TSP is not the only good option for those of us who are retired and could transfer our whole balance somewhere that wouldn't keep us in a jail of only two trades per month with no options for more trades even if we are willing to pay. I'm not going to go to Zecco Brokerage since I researched that a while back and heard some very negative things. Even BAnk of America's reputation isn't that great but Vanguard or Fidelity or even Schwab seem like they wouldn't be too risky.
The other issue is that if economy/stock market changes, these companies could probably easily eliminate these "25 commision free trade" policies but I don't think we would be any worse off than we are with TSP limit of 24 commission free trades. Of course there are probably some type of fees to do the transfer into and out of these IRA's so don't want to get stuck because I would be required to pay a big fee to move away.
Anyway, I'm kind of excited. I have a strategy that sometimes requires 4 or 5 trades per month according to my tracking I've done recently. So this would fit nicely. Oh, and did I mention, because these are ETFs, the requirement that we buy and sell only at close of business would no longer apply with Vanguard, Fidelity or Schwab, etc. ETFs can be bought and sold during the middle of the day or whenever just like regular equities.