TD Ameritrade launches fintech competition with $100,000 in prizes

Firm turns to crowdsourcing in hopes of injecting some outside innovation into the adviser technology marketplace

Jul 16, 2018 @ 1:30 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

TD Ameritrade Institutional is looking outside the industry for help keeping pace in the accelerating adviser technology race.

On Monday, the firm kicked off Innovation Quest, a crowdsourced fintech competition distributing $100,000 in prizes for technology ideas designed for registered investment advisers.

The competition is open to students, entrepreneurs, technology companies, investment advisers and any other adult living in the U.S. Entries will be judged on how the idea adds value to the lives of RIAs or their clients.

Three finalists will receive $25,000 each to develop their ideas and will be flown to TD's annual RIA conference in February for a final, in-person presentation. The winner receives an additional $25,000.

The competition is congruous with TD's overall approach to adviser technology: creating an open-architecture framework that supports a wide range of technology and allows advisers to pick and choose the products they want.

(More: TD Ameritrade urges advisers to adopt its next-generation Veo One platform)

TD Ameritrade Institutional managing director of product management, Jim Dario, said the company recognizes that good ideas can come from anywhere.

"The RIA industry needs a healthy dose of innovation," Mr. Dario said in a statement. "With this competition, the possibilities are endless. I'm excited to learn where the market's future-thinkers will take us and see their vision for the next generation of this industry."

With that in mind, TD isn't limiting the competition to any particular category. Ideas are welcomed for adviser efficiency, cybersecurity, financial planning, client experience and new digital ways to deliver advice.

"We hope to open the floodgates on the creativity that's driving fintech innovation and get behind ideas that can transform the way RIAs do business,' Mr. Dario said.

Interested applicants can submit entries online until Sept. 15.

TD isn't the only firm trying outside-the-box strategies to improve fintech innovation. SEI Advisor Network recently gathered 25 of its leading advisers for a "design-a-thon" to develop new technology that would be more easily adopted. The XY Planning Network also holds an annual fintech competition.

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