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TD Ameritrade to launch next-gen matchmaking, M&A platform

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Looking for an intern?

TD Ameritrade wants to give you a hand, which is why it is launching a new matchmaking marketplace, dubbed RIA Connect, according to company executives who spoke with Financial Planning at National LINC, an annual conference held for advisors custodying with TD Ameritrade Institutional.

The tool, expected to be launched by June, is intended to help advisors with both scale and succession planning. It will help connect employers to interns and associates looking for a job. It will also help RIAs find buyers and sellers.

“It's a matching service, but for the next-gen,” says Kate Healy, managing director of Generation Next at TD Ameritrade Institutional, which is expected to be acquired by Charles Schwab in the second half of this year.

The tool is coming at a time when industry M&A is at an all-time high, and when an impending wave of advisor retirements has underlined demand for young talent in the wealth management industry. Nearly 48% of CFPs are over the age of 50, according to the CFP Board.

Bringing on young advisors can help attract the next generation of clients during wealth transfers, which all firms report as a top priority, according to a 2020 trends in wealth management report by Refinitiv. The Financial Planning Association and the CFP Board, as well as college universities and other custodians, are building out training programs and job centers.

TD Ameritrade currently has RIA NextGen Career Exchange, on which advisors post job listings and students can upload their resumes. The platform currently hosts about 700 advisors and about 800 student profiles, according to Healy.

But the soon-to-be unveiled platform is “light-years ahead” of this database, Healy says. On it, RIAs can search for potential interns and employees by years of experience, designations, location and degree. Resumes and job postings will expire after about six months so that they don’t get “stale,” she says. In addition, students and young planners will be able to upload videos in an effort to stand out from other applicants.

Additionally, the platform will be anonymous so that advisors and prospects will be able to chat before disclosing their identities. “If you're looking for a job, your boss doesn't know,” Healy says.

The other piece of the new program will connect RIAs to buyers or sellers — introductions members of the institutional sales team are often asked to perform, says Scott Collins, managing director of institutional sales consulting at TD Ameritrade.

“It comes up all the time,” he says. “The RIA Connect online tool will be a great way to help scale that and let people connect and do things on their own.”

RIAs will be able to create profiles of their companies that include geographical location, investment philosophy and value proposition and will be able to search based on those indicators, according to Collins.

“This will allow them to kind of screen out and filter and look for firms that may be a really good match for them,” he says.

While TD Ameritrade won’t be able to see messaging, it will see when people are interacting, according to Healy, and will be able to post materials like its internship guidebook on the platform.

The company will also track matches being made — an improvement over the current system.

“Right now,” Healy quipped, “we just stalk people on LinkedIn.”

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