TD Bank Financial Group is apparently “transitioning out of” its financial advisory business, according to the company. At stake are over 100 advisors and about 100,000 clients, according to unnamed sources close to the company.
The bank reportedly had a meeting Tuesday with the advisory group, principally composed of former Banknorth advisors, to announce that these advisors could apply for a position at TD Ameritrade or TD Bank’s [TD] wealth management division for high-net-worth clients who have over $750,000 in investible assets. A spokeswoman for the company confirmed that these were the choices. “The exact role of the financial advisor will not exist,” said spokesperson Susan Webb.
As for advisors, “our goal is to find local positions for as many advisors as possible," she said.
Either way, one former employee said, “This is a perfect example of Big Bank 101 from 12 years ago.” Transferring clients from wealth management to TD Ameritrade, said the source, is like transferring a bunch of people used to full-service advisory to a discount broker like E-Trade with limited service.
Clients with less than $750,000 to invest will have to elect to go to TD Ameritrade, but if they don’t, they can leave the company, according to Webb.
“The service those clients get today fit nicely in with TD Ameritrade," she said.
Clients with more than $750,000 will be moved from open architecture to mostly proprietary products and discretionary management, according to two former employees who didn’t want to be named. The wealth management group offers private banking, trust services and the Private Investment Council product for Investments.
“This is an unbelievable example of a large bank not understanding the business and making a lot of bad decisions,” said one source. “It was an advice-driven business recognized for good value and with a good reputation and now it’s totally destroyed. The Canadians didn’t want advisors providing advice, just a totally plain vanilla approach. This is a big bank culture that doesn’t care about employees or clients who bought full service and were paying for it.”