TD Ameritrade remains committed to helping its RIA partners keep growing their business -- although Tom Bradley suspects the big drivers are already stacked in favor of the fee-based model.
The president of TDA's institutional business notes that RIA assets have expanded by 45% since 2005 while the wirehouses have grown their AUM by barely 6% over the same period.
That's not so much boosterism as recognition that the wirehouses have little room left to expand on a relative basis. Just those four behemoth firms account for about 40% of all American AUM, so it takes billions of new dollars to move their needle much.
However, the more nimble RIA channel can capture new money more efficiently. Bradley names younger investors and women as obvious growth markets.
He's also convinced that the SEC can stay on as the RIA regulator if it simply outsources its audits to third-party firms.
As he says, "FINRA went ballistic" to hear that an arrangement like that would be vastly cheaper than moving RIAs to the self-regulatory framework.