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TD Ameritrade’s Sales Chief Vows to Keep Pounding Fiduciary ‘Advocacy Drum’

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“My first responsibility,” says Peter Dorsey, the new head of sales at TD Ameritrade Institutional, “is to continue the strong momentum” at the RIA custodian, to “make sure the pipeline” of new advisors coming to TDAI remains full, but also to “pound on the advocacy drum,” particularly on a fiduciary duty for all advice-givers.

When asked in an interview Thursday whether he would focus his efforts on attracting new advisors to the TDAI platform or increasing the custodial wallet share of RIAs already custodying some client assets with TD, Dorsey said his efforts would be “across the board.” He then highlighted two related areas where TD is seeing growth: attracting breakaway brokers and the rise in “tuck-in” acquisitions by existing RIA firms. 

Peter Dorsey of TD Ameritrade Instl.On breakaways, Dorsey (left) noted that in TD’s last fiscal year, it welcomed 340 breakaway brokers to its RIA ranks; in the first quarter of TD Ameritrade’s 2012 fiscal year, “we brought in 100 breakaway brokers,” That represents, respectively, a 20% jump from FY 2010 to 2011, and a 14% rise in first-quarter breakaways.

As for tuck-ins, Dorsey said that about 25% of those breakaway brokers have joined existing RIA firms that custody with TDAI. “Brokers have more choice than ever,” Dorsey argued, and said that those brokers realize that “the fiduciary model is probably at the top of the list when it comes to why they’re getting new clients.” Those breakaways are attracted to a model that features increased transparency for end clients, without “‘house’ or proprietary products.” He noted that there are “a lot of good advisors in the wirehouses” but especially for those who are more entrepreneurial, those breakers are “seeking the stability and control of the RIA model.”

Tom Nally, president of TD Ameritrade Instl.In his new position, Dorsey replaces Tom Nally (left), who assumed the presidency of TD Ameritrade Institutional following Tom Bradley’s move to head TD Ameritrade’s retail operations. A former Bear Stearns broker, Dorsey also was an executive at Fidelity’s RIA custody business before joining TD Ameritrade seven years ago. While he is currently working in Orange County, Calif.—his previous position was as head of TDAI sales in its western region—over the next few months he will be “transitioning” to TD offices in San Diego.


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