TD Ameritrade says trading impacted by Trump's tweets

First-quarter volume was up 11%, in part because of president-elect's frequent social media activity

Jan 18, 2017 @ 12:04 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

TD Ameritrade Holdings Corp. saw its fiscal-year first-quarter average daily trading volume climb 11% over the same period last year, and at least part of that activity is being attributed to President-elect Donald Trump.

During a Wednesday morning earnings call about the quarter ended Dec. 31, Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey referenced the social media activity of the incoming president as something that could continue to drive trading volume, which reached a daily average of approximately 487,000 during the recent quarter.

One analyst joked during the Q&A session that while brokerages have always been “asset sensitive, they are now also becoming Twitter sensitive.”

Mr. Hockey also referenced the Department of Labor's pending fiduciary rule as being a catalyst to increased breakaway brokerage representative activity.

“The breakaway process is a multiyear process, and the DOL rule has probably spurred on some of those discussions with brokers,” he said. “Our sense is that the rule has probably been a catalyst.”

As the acquisition of Scottrade Financial Services continues to grind forward, Mr. Hockey also reaffirmed Ameritrade's commitment to most of the combined branch offices. After the transaction closes, Ameritrade will have 600 branches — 500 Scottrade offices and 100 Ameritrade branches — that it plans on trimming to 450.

“In a world where Amazon is opening its own distribution stores, we find it best to integrate high tech with high touch,” he said.

TD Ameritrade spokesman Joseph Giannone, said the branches are not staffed by registered investment advisers and that they are “not much different than a bank branch,” but added that the branches have been an important part of asset gathering and bringing clients into the fold.

The earnings report for Ameritrade's fiscal-year first quarter, ended Dec. 31, showed $19 billion in new client assets, representing a 10% annualized growth rate.

Ameritrade (AMDT) shares were trading around $46.11 at mid-day Wednesday, up 52 cents a share for the day.

The company reported first-quarter net income of $216 million, or 41 cents per diluted share, representing a 5% increase from the same period last year.

Net revenues during the quarter hit a record $859 million, 57% of which was asset based.

Client assets reached a record $797 billion, up 15% from a year ago.

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