It was a bad first fiscal quarter for TD Bank Financial Group, with rising loan losses in Argentina and shaky telecom companies pushing net income down 14.9%. But amid the darkening credit picture, TD Waterhouse Institutional Services, the independent advisor arm of the Canadian bank’s U.S. discount broker, is emerging as one of the group’s success stories.
At Partnership 2002, TD Waterhouse Institutional’s annual conference held in Orlando starting on Feb. 20, President J. Thomas Bradley Jr. unveiled two new partnerships to enhance services to advisors and maintained that asset inflows have remained robust despite the weak U.S. equity market.
In an interview with Investment Advisor, Bradley, a 16-year veteran of the firm, disclosed that assets controlled by advisors climbed about 35% over the past year, to $16 billion, and now comprise 16% of TD Waterhouse’s total U.S. assets. Indeed, assets coming from advisors now make up a third of all new inflows into the discount broker, Bradley said. While most of TD Waterhouse Institutional’s advisor clients still rely on more than one custodian, Bradley noted that he has been steadily winnowing out smaller advisor accounts. As a result, TD Waterhouse has slashed the number of advisors it serves by a third over the past year, to around 2,000. “We have refocused on advisors with $25 million-plus, $50 million plus [in client assets],” Bradley says.