Advisers with less than $75 million in assets under management are not being invited to attend TD Ameritrade Institutional's National LINC conference in February — and it's rubbing some of the custodian's RIA clients the wrong way.
TD usually opens its annual conference to any advisers who custody with the firm. But space constraints at the conference venue in San Diego this year and the growing number of advisers on the TD platform forced the firm to institute new criteria to limit the size of the conference.
But some advisers wondered if the decision ran counter to TD's message of supporting young and growing independent advisers. The firm named Kate Healy as managing director of Generation Next in 2017 to oversee the firm's initiatives to support and guide professional development of the next generation of advisers. The firm also has a partnership with the XY Planning Network, which consists of many financial planners with less than $75 million in AUM.
Sherman Wealth president Brad Sherman found out he wouldn't be getting an invitation Wednesday morning and took to social media to complain.
"What happened to supporting next gen?" Mr. Sherman tweeted.
"I found out the same thing," responded Adam Cmejla, founder of Integrated Planning & Wealth Management. "Oh well. It puts them in even more of a utilitarian mindset for me, which by default just commoditizes them even more. Translation: not near the stickiness factor if I ever consider a move."
Mr. Sherman and Mr. Cmejla both made clear that they understood the decision, weren't offended and hadn't even decided yet if they could attend LINC.
"I get it; they have boundaries," Mr. Cmejla said. "Just a bit surprised that it's an 'either you have $75 [million] or we're not going to send you an invite.'"
Senior strategist of institutional communications and public affairs Joseph Giannone said limiting the number of attendees will help the firm invest in the quality of speakers and content.
"Each year, we review the entire event offering and we establish invite criteria in support of our strategy, including the size of the business an advisor has on our platform," Mr. Giannone wrote in an email." For us, two important considerations will always remain front and center. Keeping events cost-effective so we can continue to offer them at no cost to our clients, and preserving an exceptional experience for those attending."
Mr. Giannone said TD will still work with small firms and help them grow. The firm also responded to concerned advisers on Twitter and said it is "looking for new ways to deliver the great content and keynotes to all of our clients, especially those emerging advisors looking to grow."
That won't stop some advisers from being disappointed they'll have to miss the musical guest at the 2019 National LINC conference.
"That explains the reason for the no email and no reply back from my rep, sad!" tweeted financial planner George Papadopoulos. "What happened to loyalty? ... And I really wanted to go see Weezer!"