SAN DIEGO -- Next-generation advisors, next-gen clients and next-gen technology are at the heart of TD Ameritrade's newest programs for advisors.
"We surveyed millennials, and those with the most wealth prefer to work with someone like them," Tom Nally, president of TD Ameritrade Institutional, warned advisors during a keynote kicking off TDAI's national conference.
In an effort to meet the needs of such next-gen clients and the advisors who will serve them, Nally announced an expansion of the firm's educational programs for new advisors, evolutions in its VEO technology platform and a new trust offering aimed at keeping clients' children connected to their existing advisor.
NEXT GEN ADVISORS
In addition to 10 existing scholarships -- which award $5,000 each to students pursuing a bachelor's degree in financial planning -- TDAI announced a pair of new scholarships aimed at more "diverse" candidates. That's a reflection, Nally seemed to suggest, of Gen Y's more diverse population.
Perhaps more pertinent for advisors is a new job and resume posting site aimed at matching RIAs with job seekers. The launch of the site comes on the heels of the CFP Board's recent introduction of a similar job board and career center, but with one key difference. While the CFP Board site will charge employers $350 per 30-day job posting, the TDAI site will be free for both advisors -- even those who don't custody with TDAI -- and job seekers.
The CFP Board said it welcomes the new offering from TDAI, and that its career center is targeted "more specifically" toward bringing new planners into the profession. Additionally, the board said it charges a fee for posting because "as a non-profit organization we seek to cover our costs to run the platform. And that platform is supported solely by employers posting jobs, not job seekers."
TDAI also announced additional grants to academic institutions, including a multiyear sponsorship of Texas A&M University to help develop its financial planning program.
OTHER NEW PROGRAMS
A separate effort that aims more directly at retaining next-gen clients -- specifically clients' heirs -- is a new trust platform for RIAs who custody with TDAI.
"As the generational wealth transfer plays out, trusts will play a starring role," Nally told attendees. "We want to make sure you have an offensive and defensive strategy when it comes to the next generation of investors."
The new service, called Advisors Private Wealth Trust, will be a corporate trustee offering that helps RIAs avoid trust companies that may compete with advisors themselves, the company said.
Separately, TDAI rolled out the next iteration of its Veo advisor technology platform. Dubbed Veo One, the platform is aimed at integrating advisors' various Veo-friendly apps on a single platform.
A few advisors are already working on an early version of the platform, which includes Docusign, Laser App Anywhere, MoneyGuidePro, Orion portfolio management and Redtail CRM, the company said. It pledged that by year-end the list of participating apps would include Black Diamond, eMoneyAdvisor, Finance Logix, Junxure, Laserfishce, Morningstar and Salesforce.com.
NO TIES ON STAGE
The atmosphere in the morning keynote was relaxed, with neither Nally nor TD Ameritrade CEO Fred Tomczyk wearing ties on the podium.
But while TDAI was highlighting positive growth -- 63% of RIAs surveyed by the company added clients over the previous six months, according to a recent survey the firm released this morning -- Tomczyk cautioned that the coming year might be "choppy."
"We've had a six-year bull market," he said -- "and we've never had seven years in a row of the market going up."
"As the Fed unwinds, I can't see there being a stable, bullish market," he added. "I think it's going to be choppy."
Yet even wobbly markets may be good for advisors. "People don't walk into the [advisor's] office and say, 'Hey, I want to beat the S&P by 5%,'" said Nally. "They say: 'Is my family going to be OK?'"
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