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.