After running TD Ameritrade’s RIA custody business for over a decade, Tom Bradley is being promoted to run retail distribution at the giant discount brokerage, and that could be good news for RIAs.
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Bradley is well-liked by RIAs. He’s a New York kind of guy, a street-fighter, and very down to earth. He will be missed by investment advisors. But he may actually wind up helping RIAs quite a bit while running TD's retail business.
Having spent a big part of his career working with RIAs, my guess is that Bradley is likely to find ways to find ways to help advisors in his new position.
Bradley, in running the retail business, is going to make a lot o decisions that affect advisors.
Should TD’s retail division start offering private client services, providing advice to high-net-worth individuals, as Schwab does?
How can the retail branches offer a better referral program for advisors?
Should TDAI start an advisor franchise business?
What advice will TD online retail apps provide and will TD's online retail investors be pitched on meeting with an RIA?
Maybe I’m being naïve. Bradley could turn out to run retail ruthlessly without any care for advisors. But I’ve been impressed by the corporate culture at TD Ameritrade.
Culture differentiates TDAI from the other custodians. TD is less corporate and more open than other custodians. TDAI opening its application program interface to RIA vendors is an example of how this cultural value manifests itself. (Tell me if you think I’m wrong.) As a result, Bradley in his new post could find new opportunities where TD’s retail and institutional businesses both win.
Discount brokerages like TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and Fidelity are increasingly going to compete for the mass-affluent and high-net-worth investment clients targeted by RIAs.
Bradley, who has been trained to think like an investment advisor for the last two decades and who has deep roots in this segment of the financial advice business, can be an advocate for RIAs even as he seeks to grow TD's retail discount brokerage services with the same intensity he devoted to TDAI.