From the February 2010 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

February 1, 2010

Upgrades

TD Ameritrade Institutional says advisors have embraced the firm's Roadmap Program, an online set of tools created by Minneapolis-based ActiFi that enable RIA firms to develop a customized plan for achieving their highest-priority goals. In the year since the program was launched, 700 of the 4,000 advisory firms that custody assets with TD have received 2,349 Roadmaps. The participating firms "doubled the number of new accounts or added four times as many assets compared to the six months prior to starting the program."...Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), well known in the RIA community for its academic research-based investment strategies, is expanding distribution of its asset management capabilities to the independent broker/dealer world. The firm hired John Blood, formerly of Commonwealth Financial, "to develop strategic relationships...with select independent broker/dealers."

. . .iShares introduced a suite of six municipal bond ETFs with a planned end-date. Each of the funds within the iShares Muni Series holds a basket of AMT-free, investment grade, noncallable, national municipal bonds that mature in a targeted year. When each fund reaches its planned distribution date, it will distribute substantially all of its net assets to then-current investors

...Vanguard introduced in late December its first actively managed equity fund--Vanguard Explorer Value Fund--that invests primarily in small- to mid-capitalization U.S. value stocks...Investment advisors who custody assets with TD Ameritrade will now have access to an enhanced FDIC Insured Deposit Account (IDA). By adding another bank to the account, TD Ameritrade effectively doubled the FDIC coverage for deposits in the account to $500,000

...While tax-free municipal debt issuance won't match 2009 levels, it will be higher, and taxable muni issuance will sharply rise in 2010, according to a forecast from The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)...Laserfiche, the document management software provider, presented one of its Run Smarter Awards to Cambridge Financial Group, an RIA firm based in Columbus, hio, that has AUM of about $1 billion.

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