At ASPPA, TD Ameritrade Shows Focus on Retirement Space

At ASPPA 401(k) Summit, TDAI looks to partner with advisors entering qualified plan business

When you think of TD Ameritrade, plan sponsors and defined contribution plans don’t typically come to mind, but that’s exactly what Reno Regalbuto and Melissa Rosenbaum are looking to change (at least for advisors of record on qualified plans).

Regalbuto, senior sales manager with the Omaha-based company’s institutional business, and Rosenbaum, program manager for retirement plan services marketing, believe the current market and regulatory environment “is the right place, right time” for advisors in, or looking to get into, the qualified plan business.

“It’s a good time for 401(k) advisors,” Regalbuto (left) said in an interview at ASPPA’s 401(k) Summit in New Orleans on Sunday, referring to fee-disclosure rules and other transparency initiatives. “We’re getting the word out that we are a one-stop-shop for all of their custodial needs. We have a conflict free model (meaning we don’t compete against our advisors) to match them with best-of-breed providers. And we have a vast network of TPAs.”

Regalbuto said his team is seeing advisors who are aware of recent regulatory changes and are exploring the idea of entering the 401(k) business for the first time, as well as advisors experienced in the space looking to grow their business.

“My team acts in a consultative role with these advisors,” he explained. “The advisor might have helped a high-net-worth individual with their personal retirement plan, and the client now realizes this person can help their employees as well. Or the advisor might have done something that touched on the retirement plan space, and they realized what an opportunity it offers. So those are some of the reasons they get in the business.”

Regalbuto added that his group’s focus is typically on the $50 million to $100 million advisor, but he will look for relationships with advisors at any end of the asset spectrum.

“We're flexible and scalable, so we can meet the needs of retirement plan advisors no matter where they might fall,” he said.

Rosenbaum (right) points to both the number of retirement plan sessions offered at TD Ameritrade’s national conference in Orlando in February, as well as the number of attendees in those sessions, as proof of the company’s commitment to the space and its success in getting the word out.

“We offered, and continue to offer, 401(k) education for advisors,” she said. “At the national conference we had sessions on everything from ERISA requirements to plan design to prospecting to what advisors should consider when deciding whether or not to get into the business. Attendance was way up over previous years.”

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