Joe Moglia, the Ameritrade CEO who engineered the proposed $3 billion merger of his firm with TD Waterhouse, says he plans to get "more aggressive" in pursuing relationships with advisors once the two discount brokers are combined into TD Ameritrade. Singling out Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments as his chief competitors for advisor assets, Moglia says, "I'm not as interested in the custody business. I'm interested in the advisor business."
TD Waterhouse currently has $41 billion in advisor assets, while Ameritrade claims an additional $4.1 billion. In an interview June 30, Moglia, 56, who will become TD Ameritrade's CEO, said that capturing more advisor assets would be part of a strategy he first outlined in 2001, shortly after joining the Omaha-based online broker. At the time, he recalls, "I said that ultimately we need to move to a client segmentation strategy." TD Waterhouse, he adds, "is an asset gatherer and we want to get into that business." Through the TD Waterhouse advisor network and the Canadian-owned firm's separate chain of branch offices, "literally overnight we get into the long-term investor space," Moglia says.
Moglia won't say whether TD Waterhouse Institutional Services President Tom Bradley will be tapped to lead the combined firms' advisor business. However, "one of the reasons we are doing the deal is to tap into" the expertise of Bradley's group, Moglia acknowledges. "I've got to believe we want to capitalize on that."
Moglia also declines to rule out buying financial advisory firms to help build his business. "Anything that would be better [for TD Ameritrade] long term, we'll look at that carefully," he says.