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Industry Spotlight > RIAs

TD Ameritrade Launches 4 Initiatives at National Conference

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TD Ameritrade Institutional’s renamed national conference kicked off on Thursday morning in San Diego with a first for an advisor conference. A packed roomful of attendees (3,300 registrants, TDAI said) using pairs of thunder sticks or drumsticks to play along with a drum line on stage that spelled out ‘LINC,’ the conference’s new name. The attendees enthusiastically participated.

So it was appropriate when TDAI President Tom Nally began his welcoming speech by saying the drumbeat opening was “like an RIA pep rally.”

Nally kept in the spirit by first denigrating wirehouses — “their executives want to downplay your success” — while praising the RIA channel as the “only one to gain numbers,” though he hastened to say that said channel included independent broker-dealer reps and “hybrid” advisors in its ranks.

Nally announced four new initiatives to the assembled RIAs in the audience.

Grants and Scholarships

Following up on his request to have all the advisors in the audience under the age of 30 to stand up — there were about 35 of them — Nally said “we’ve got work to do to promote diversity” and add to the ranks of younger advisors and those studying to be advisors. Only 6% of advisors, he lamented, are under 30.

TD is putting its diversity money where its mouth is by providing two new scholarships for university financial planning students. It’s also providing university grants, notably to Texas A&M University, to develop what Nally called a “top-tier financial planning program” at A&M, including endowing a TD Ameritrade chair, being filled by A&M’s Nathan Harness.

Secondly, on Thursday the company launched the RIA NextGen Career Exchange, a free job and resume posting site for both RIA firms and persons seeking jobs in the industry. Nally mentioned that 500 RIA firms are participating in TD’s existing intern program.

Technology and Trusts

Nally also announced an upgrade to its Veo Open Access technology platform. Now called Veo One, the upgrade features responsive design for optimal viewing on any device and will allow for a single sign-on to access the applications on Veo. The user interface is customizable by the functions of the user and the tools she uses on Veo. “If someone’s a trader,” said Jon Patullo of TD Ameritrade, “they’ll see trader tools.” Veo One has been beta tested since late last year by some TD-affiliated RIA firms using five different applications—DocuSign, Laser App Anywhere, MoneyGuidePro, Orion Advisor Services and Redtail Technologies.

TD promised that more applications will be placed onto Veo One this year, incuding Black Diamond, eMoney Advisor, Finance Logix, Junxure, Laserfiche, Morningstar and Nally said that Veo One, TD’s free-to-its-advisors iRebal rebalancing application and, TD’s advisor client web portal, “will be the triple threat of technology that advisors need.” Further, he said embedding iRebal into Veo “has been a game changer.”

TD Ameritrade also announced that it has entered into a partnership with National Advisors Trust Co. (NATCO), the advisor-founded, nationally chartered trust company, to form Advisors Private Wealth Trust (APWT). Available now, APWT is a corporate trustee offering for RIAs who custody with TD Ameritrade, which will make it easier for those advisors to continue to manage clients’ money in trusts following the death of the primary trustee. The trust solution will allow RIAs to be both “offensive and defensive” in attracting and retaining assets in client trusts.

Regarding its advocacy efforts for RIAs, Nally said the company has had “10 years of advocacy against the broker-dealer exemption” while also supporting the Financial Planning Association’s lawsuit against the SEC. While he admitted that there was “a limited appetite for action in these areas” currently in Washington, Nally vowed that TD Ameritrade would stay ‘focused and vigilant” on advocating for the fiduciary standard.

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