Tornado Investing Platform Review [2022]: Learn to Invest

INVESTING - BROKERAGES & ADVISORS
Tornado is an investing platform designed for all levels of investors. Its educational components help you learn how to invest.
Updated April 22, 2024
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The world of investing can be intimidating, especially to people new to the game. The Tornado investing platform was created to provide tools and resources to get started with investing. The platform offers educational modules to help you learn about investing and lets you practice building a simulated portfolio and trade stocks before you invest actual money.

And, if you are stumped on what stocks to buy, Tornado offers you a glimpse into the portfolios of billionaire investors such as Warren Buffett to provide you with ideas for your portfolio. Learn more in this Tornado review.

Quick Summary

Get paid up to $50 to learn about investing

  • Get up to $1,000 cash to invest when you join
  • Earn up to $50 in rewards by learning how to invest
  • Get news tailored to your stock picks
In this Tornado review

Tornado investing platform basics

Tornado
Minimum investment None
Management fees $7.99 per month
Asset classes
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • ADRs
Account types available
  • Taxable brokerage accounts
  • Simulated accounts
Features
  • Rewards and bonuses
  • Thought Leaders portfolios
  • Community network of investors
  • Portfolio optimization
  • Learning tools
  • Simulated trading accounts
Mobile app iOS and Android
Best for... People who are new to investing and want to learn from and connect with other investors.
Visit Tornado

What is Tornado?

Tornado is a web and mobile investment platform designed to help anyone, from the novice to experienced investor, to buy, sell, or trade individual stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on U.S. stock exchanges.

The platform, originally called Nvstr, was founded in 2015 by Wall Street veterans and hedge fund experts Bernard George and Patrick Aber.

George and Aber created the platform to offer individual investors the tools and resources experienced Wall Street investors have used for years. The platform rebranded to Tornado in July 2021 after a $10 million seed funding round led by baseball great Alex Rodriguez and billionaire entrepreneur Marc Lore.

Besides providing individuals the ability to build their portfolio, Tornado provides users with real-time news “hyper-tailored” to their investments and a community where investors can discuss different stocks and even see what leading investors such as Warren Buffett or Bill Ackman are putting their money behind.

Tornado is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Tornado screenshot

How Tornado works

For a $7.99 monthly subscription fee, you can sign up for a Tornado investing subscription. There is no account minimum.

You can use the Tornado app without a subscription, but you’ll have to pay $4.50 for each trade you make. The membership enables you to make 40 commission-free trades throughout the month. If you go over 40 trades, each additional trade will cost $4.50.

Accounts available

Any U.S. citizen over age 18 can open a taxable brokerage account with Tornado. You are only able to open one brokerage account at a time. Currently, retirement accounts and joint brokerage accounts aren’t available.

Until recently, Tornado offered margin accounts for investors with a minimum account balance of $3,000. However, the company is currently not opening any new margin accounts.

A margin account or loan enables investors to borrow money to buy securities using their investments as collateral. This could be risky. Although a margin account could potentially increase your gains, you also run the risk of larger losses.

Tornado users have access to brokerage accounts and simulated accounts. If you are a novice to investing, a simulated account lets you go through the motions without risking any money. It’s a way to practice buying, selling, and trading accounts before you’re comfortable investing your hard-earned cash with a brokerage account.

What you can trade

The Tornado app enables you to invest in three types of securities traded on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • American Depositary Receipts (ADRs)

You can also purchase fractional shares through Tornado. Fractional shares allow investors to buy a portion of a stock for as little as $5 rather than a whole share.

At this time, Tornado doesn’t support:

Fees

Tornado typically charges $4.50 per trade on the platform. However, if you sign up for its $7.99 monthly subscription, you get 40 trades for free. Those trades don’t carry over month-to-month, and any trades over 40 will cost $4.50. If you plan on making more than one trade per month, the Tornado monthly membership is worth the fee.

There are no fees for opening or closing an account or transferring funds. If you sell a stock or ETF through Tornado, there are small fees charged by the SEC and FINRA. The FINRA fee is $0.000119 per share sold with a maximum of $5.95 per order. The SEC fee is $0.0231 per $1,000 of shares sold.

Portfolio optimization

If you’re not sure how much you should invest in the different stocks you’re interested in, Tornado’s Portfolio Optimizer tool, based on Nobel Prize-winning research, may be helpful.

You pick the stocks and ETFs you want to invest in, the level of risk you’re willing to accept (also known as your risk tolerance), and then the Optimizer will attempt to build a portfolio that maximizes the return on your investment while also meeting your financial goals.

Tornado won’t place trades for you. It’s not a robo-advisor. The one-click Portfolio Optimizer acts more as a “co-pilot,” directing you on how much you should put into each stock to reach your goals. You are still in charge of putting the recommended portfolio into play. And, of course, there are no guaranteed returns, even if you follow the advice of the Optimizer.

Access thought leaders

Tornado gives you access to the portfolio of Warren Buffet and other famous investors so you can get ideas for your own investment decisions.

Tornado’s criteria for whom it considers thought leaders are North American-based investors who have 10 or more years of experience, disclosed assets of at least $1 billion, and own less than 100 equity positions. Tornado only includes holdings that make up 3% or more of the investor’s total disclosed equity portfolio.

Besides Warren Buffett, other thought leaders include:

  • Bill Ackman of Pershing Square
  • Carl Icahn of Icahn Capital
  • David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital
  • Set Klarman of Baupost Group
  • David Tepper of Appaloosa Management

Tornado screenshot of thought leaders

The Tornado app also connects you with a community of other users you can share investment ideas with. You can also reach out to community thought leaders, which are Tornado members who have posted in the community and discussed their investing experience with Tornado. They are compensated for their contributions.

Similar to the way social media works, you can also connect with other investors in the Tornado community and see their portfolios and allocations. You can also read the pros and cons of a particular stock as written by other Tornado members and send messages to your connections to discuss investment strategies.

Research options

Are you a complete beginner when it comes to investing but want to learn the fundamentals? Tornado offers a couple options to help you get started investing in stocks and ETFs.

If you wish to play around with investing without committing any actual money, you could sign up for a Tornado simulated trading account. When you register for a Tornado account, you’ll be asked whether you want to open a live brokerage account or a simulator.

With a simulated account, you can research different stocks and ETFs and even build a mock portfolio. However, because you aren’t committing any money to the portfolio, you also aren’t earning anything if the value of the stock goes up. On the flip side, you also aren’t losing any money if the stock value drops.

Tornado also offers investor education through its Learn and Earn program, which it promotes as a way to improve financial wellness. You’re able to access Learn and Earn if you have a live account or a simulated account, but users with live brokerage accounts could earn up to $50 in rewards just for going through the different education modules. The rewards you earn can be invested immediately or withdrawn after one year.

Tornado screenshot learn and earn program

Tornado also allows you to research potential stock purchases. It uses data from S&P; Capital IQ so you can research various metrics of stocks and ETFs. These metrics allow you to compare companies so you can make an informed decision about what to invest in. If you’re not sure you want to purchase a stock or ETF right away, you can add it to your watchlist to get updates about the stock.

How much can you earn with Tornado?

Investing in the stock market with Tornado, or any of the best brokerage accounts, gives you the potential to earn money, but how much you earn depends on certain factors such as how much you invest, the investment options you choose, and the state of the market as a whole.

Although investing could be lucrative, it could also be risky, especially in a volatile market.

How to open a Tornado account

Opening an account with the Tornado platform is easy, and you don’t even need to commit any money at first. You don’t need a Tornado membership to trade on the platform, but at $4.50 per trade, a membership is more economical if you make more than one trade per month. The membership cost is $7.99 per month and includes 40 commission-free trades.

After you enter your name, email, and create a password, you’ll be asked if you want to open a live brokerage account or a simulated account. You can only open one account, and simulated accounts aren’t eligible for any of Tornado’s rewards and bonus programs.

The system will then ask about your investing experience level. You’ll also have to select your risk level for investing: conservative, moderate, or aggressive.

A conservative level means you want to invest in slow-growth securities that may not have the highest returns but are also more stable. An aggressive risk profile will target securities that have higher returns but are more volatile. You can update your risk profile at any time.

Tornado screenshot of investor profile

You’ll also have to provide:

  • Your birthdate
  • Social Security number
  • Citizenship status

Other questions you’ll be asked include:

  • What are your total investible assets?
  • What is your total annual income?
  • Do you have any disclosures (if you or an immediate family member are):
    • A director, 10% shareholder, or a senior officer of a publicly traded company.
    • Employed by or associated with a member of either a stock exchange or FINRA.
    • A senior military, government, or political official in a non-U.S. country.
  • How much do you think your investments will go up per year (on average)?
  • What would you like to invest in? (Choose as many as you'd like)
    • Growth Stocks
    • Famous Investors
    • Value Stocks
    • Diversified ETFs
    • Popular Stocks
    • Dividend Stocks
    • Energy Sector
    • Financial Sector
    • Tech Sector
    • Healthcare Sector

You’ll then have to read and approve a Client Relationship Summary and Customer Account Agreement and Customer Margin and Short Account Agreement. After that, you can link your bank account or do it at a later time.

Tornado FAQs

Is Tornado legit?

Yes, Tornado is a legitimate mobile trading platform that was established in 2015 by two Wall Street professionals. It has financial backing from baseball legend A-Rod and other investors.

What are the benefits of investing with Tornado?

The benefit of investing with Tornado include:

  • Rewards and bonuses offered for using the platform
  • Access to the portfolios of big-time investors such as Warren Buffett and Bill Ackman
  • Community of other investors to network with and exchange ideas
  • Investing education through Learn and Earn and simulated accounts

What platform is best for investing?

Choosing the best trading platform really depends on your needs and how much you want to spend. If the Tornado investing app doesn’t offer the features you are looking for, there are several other investment platforms that may be a better fit.

Other investment apps to consider

If you're learning how to invest money and you want the ability to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies or options, the Robinhood app may be a better investment app for you. Robinhood is probably the most widely recognized investment platform used by retail investors. There is no monthly charge to use Robinhood and trades on the platform are always commission-free.

For more information on Robinhood, read our full review.

If you are more of an intermediate-level investor, the Webull investment platform may be the best option for you. Webull offers commission-free trades and doesn’t require a minimum deposit for new accounts. Besides investing in stocks, ETFs, and ADRs, Webull users can also put their money in cryptocurrencies and options. The platform also offers traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and rollover IRAs.

For more information on Webull, read our full review.

Author Details

Danielle Letenyei Danielle Letenyei is a professional writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. Her interests include budgeting, travel, credit cards, insurance, and creative side gigs. She hopes her work on these topics can help others navigate the intricate landscape of personal finance.

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