TD Ameritrade Institutional launched its national conference in San Diego on February 8 with an address from TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia. Speaking to a packed hall including an estimated 1,500 RIAs, Moglia outlined the company's long-range growth strategy, which includes a number of initiatives designed to help TD Ameritrade build its market share among long-term investors and RIAs. He stressed that at TD Ameritrade, growth comes only after asking, "How does it benefit our clients, our shareholders, our partners, and associates?"
Stressing that RIAs are both clients and partners, Moglia said that TD Ameritrade will do everything it can to deserve their business. "The only reason anyone in this room should do business with us is because it's in your best interest." Moglia also opened himself up to a robust round of questioning from the audience.
Among the advisors' concerns were that by targeting the long-term investor, TD Ameritrade would be in conflict with RIAs who are also after those clients. Moglia assured the audience that the company would only be looking to serve those in the "mass affluent" demographic who want to use the company's tools to do it themselves, not the high-net-worth client who wants or needs an advisor to do it for them. Another advisor concern was the lack of trading discounts for RIAs, which the company announced at the conference will be addressed in a new pricing structure scheduled to go into effect in May along with the completion of its conversion to the Ameritrade clearing platform.
Moglia was followed by TD Ameritrade Institutional President Tom Bradley who covered a range of topics including the growth in assets custodied with the firm by RIAs and its continued opposition to the SEC's broker/dealer exemption. Bradley also unveiled a new consumer ad campaign designed to increase awareness of the RIA model, which kicked of with a half-page ad in The Wall Street Journal.
Concurrent with the conference, TD Ameritrade also announced an expansion of its managed accounts platform to take place in stages throughout this year. The company has contracted with Capital Market Consultants, a company that specializes in open-architecture investment management, to design, implement, and maintain its managed accounts platform. In addition, TD Ameritrade Institutional will roll out a Unified Managed Account option that incorporates separately managed accounts, exchange traded funds, and mutual funds in one account registration. An Overlay Portfolio Manager coordinates the account's investment management and tax optimization, while taking into account the client's customization requirements. Advisors can select from model portfolios created by CMC in an overlay capacity or use their own proprietary models. The company will continue to offer its existing Managed Asset Program in conjunction with Envestnet Asset Management and will soon be a custodial option for advisors using FundQuest Inc. as well.