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Industry Spotlight > Mergers and Acquisitions

Schwab-TD Ameritrade Integration Still on Track: Executive

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The integration of TD Ameritrade’s technology into the Schwab Advisor Center platform remains on track to be completed by mid-fall 2023, according to an executive. That’s within the 36-month merger timeline cited by Charles Schwab when it finalized the $26 billion deal in October 2020,

Meanwhile, what Schwab is “starting to see right now is a real engagement from Ameritrade advisors to really want to understand the platform that they will be moving toward,” said Alison Dooher, managing director of Digital Advisor Solutions at Schwab Advisor Services, in an interview Tuesday.

Schwab also launched a program called Jump Start in the first quarter of 2022 that lets TD Ameritrade advisors to “choose to open new accounts on the Schwab platform,” Dooher explained.

Jump Start is “not for converting existing clients but it can be used for that next new client that they’re growing into their practice and to onboard them directly out to the Schwab platform, giving their practice an advance view and more time to really get used to the Schwab platform that they’ll be moving to,” she said.

Schwab is “starting to see an uptick of [TD] advisors really wanting to take advantage of this,” the executive explained. “The summertime has probably provided a little space for folks to consider making this move” if they hadn’t done so already, she pointed out.

“We expect that that is likely going to accelerate with more interest as time passes” and the integration is finalized, Dooher said.

Schwab also offers a technology adoption dashboard to advisors that she said “gives them a pretty granular view into their practice about how, across the users at their firm, they’re actually getting work done with Schwab in the most efficient way.”

Meanwhile, educating advisors on the tools that are available to them is important and might help them avoid some of the pitfalls they face, including “rework,” Dooher said, adding: “You will hear this messaging just more and more prevalent as we continue to talk to advisors around planning ahead for the ultimate integration upcoming.”

But “integration’s not the only thing on the advisors’ minds” now. They are also “really keenly focused on driving adoption and more efficient processes within their own firms” and Schwab is out to find more ways to help them do that, she noted.

In addition to the focus on digital tools education, she said third-party integrations also play a key role.

“That’s why you’ll see things across our roadmap that are really intended to … provide end-to-end solutions,” Dooher explained. “We think, for example, Portfolio Connect for Ameritrade advisors could offer a portfolio management solution for particularly those who are single custody” focused, she added.

As “part of our internal preparation for the integration” to be completed and to “ensure that that goes smoothly,” she also said, “we’re engaging not just advisors, but also the third-party vendors who serve those advisors well in advance so that they are prepared for the switch to occur and for data flows to keep moving seamlessly.”

A positive sign for Schwab is “one of the great things that we hear from advisors, and particularly the top-performing advisors, is that they’re really leaning into digital workflows and digital capabilities across their firm,” she told ThinkAdvisor.

As a result, “they’re getting time back that they want to spend with clients in a more value-add way [and getting] up to 20% of time back on an annual basis,” she said, calling that a “big lift.”


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