Ameritrade sign on a door (Image: Shutterstock)

TD Ameritrade Institutional has updated its new RIAConnect technology to expand the gender-identity options for Next Gen and other advisors looking for M&A and different business partnerships.

The platform, rolled out Monday, drew the attention of advisor Cait Howerton, who said on Twitter the next day: “Exciting to see #RIAConnect for #NexGen Advisors being offered by @TDA4advisors, but it was disappointing to see the only gender options made available within the intake were male + female. Gender isn’t binary, @TDA4advisors.”

Kate Healy, head of GenNext efforts for TD’s RIA business, responded in a tweet: “Thanks for picking up on that – we missed that for sure. We will work to update the gender fields.”

By Thursday, the change had been made. “Hi Cait, we want everyone to be included in the excitement for #RIAConnect, so we’ve utilized your tweets to make that happen. Thank you for bringing this to our attention!” the firm said on Twitter.

One Move Down, More to Go

Howerton, who works mainly as a financial coach and is also active in Financial Planning Associations PridePlanners’ Knowledge Circle and the Center for Financial Planning’s Women’s Initiative (or WIN) Council, says she’s pleased with TD Ameritrade’s “fast turnaround.”

“I was very satisfied,” she said in an interview with ThinkAdvisor on Friday. “They did not respond with defensiveness but instead with listening, compassion and straightaway action.”

Such responsiveness is important to further the industry’s diversity and inclusion. “Lots of my friends don’t feel particularly invited into our field over gender expression, so little touches along way matter. These small acts can provide big returns,” Howerton, CFP, explained. 

“TDAI has proven its responsiveness and is being a leader in this work,” she added. “I hope other financial organizations can model themselves after them.”

For professional groups like the CFP Board, “One request I have is that they survey those in the field around gender identity and sexual orientation,” Howerton said. “If we could get these metrics, we could see if members of the LGBTQ+ community are adequately represented in the field.” 

For its part, TD Ameritrade noted that it “agreed to enable a broader range of gender options by which people could self-identify, [since] …. our core values have long included a high regard for diversity and inclusion,” according to a statement.