Live! From TD Ameritrade Institutional: Advisers have targets on their backs from wirehouses, robo-advisers

Executives announce rollout of update to VEO platform, intern network and a new retirement plan platform

By Liz Skinner

Jan 30, 2014 @ 11:46 am (Updated 3:11 pm) EST

td ameritrade, robo-adviser, wirehouse, intern retirement plan

Registered investment advisers have been key to helping TD Ameritrade reach $600 billion in assets and become more than just an online trading giant, TD Ameritrade's top executives said.

The company gathered $50 billion in net new assets in 2013, three-quarters of which came from registered investment advisers, according to Fred Tomczyk, chief executive of TD Ameritrade Inc. He addressed 3,200 advisers and other attendees at the TD Ameritrade Institutional annual conference in Orlando Thursday.

"RIAs have been an integral part of our transformation," said Mr. Tomczyk, who openly thanked advisers for their business.

The custodian's executives said TD Ameritrade Institutional wants to provide additional resources to help its advisers in an increasingly competitive environment.

"There's a target on your back," said Tom Nally, president of TDAI. "Wirehouses are reinventing themselves to look like you."

He also pointed out the emergence of so-called "robo-advisers" that seek to provide online wealth management services to the middle market.

Even while pointing out that the RIA business has been the fastest-growing channel in wealth management for about five years, Mr. Tomczyk said advisers should keep investing in improvements.

"I urge you never to sit back and not continue to invest and look for ways to make your business better," he said.

Mr. Nally urged advisers to reach out to younger investors, a population many advisers have been slow to embrace because these individuals typically haven't yet attained their wealth.

"You can't wait for the next generation to build assets before you address them," Mr. Nally said.

TD Ameritrade executives promised a rollout beginning this summer of Dashboard, an update to its VEO platform that will allow advisers to log in once and get access to all integrated applications in one view, as well as two other initiatives for advisers.

TD Ameritrade is creating a network, as early as this summer, for financial advisory firms to find interns, in an effort to educate more students about the benefits of the RIA business. The firm hopes the intern network will place hundreds of financial planning students in advisory firms this summer.

"Many students don't know about this great business" and think they have to join RIA competitors to find career growth opportunities, Mr. Nally said. "We need to change this misperception."

The company also introduced a new retirement plan platform for its advisers that could help RIAs attract more of the nation's $24 trillion in retirement assets.

In seeking to boost adviser interest in providing retirement services, Mr. Nally asked, "How many other clients add money to their account every two weeks?"