TD Ameritrade Institutional Draws Breakaway Brokers at Record Pace

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Fiduciary duty, competitive fees motivate investors to choose the RIA model, brokers follow in their footsteps

“Advisors want to take control of their destiny when it comes to running their own businesses and serving their clients,” said Pete Dorsey, managing director of sales, TD Ameritrade Institutional.

TD Ameritrade Institutional attracted a record-breaking 120 breakaway brokers to its platform for independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) in the third quarter of fiscal 2012, a nearly 50 percent increase from the same time last year. A total of 324 breakaway brokers have joined TD Ameritrade Institutional in fiscal 2012, a 23 percent increase from fiscal 2011. In addition to advisor flows, client assets continue a steady movement to the independent advice channel. RIAs report a majority (57 percent) of their new assets are coming from traditional full-commission firms, according to the latest TD Ameritrade Institutional Advisor Index Survey.

“Advisors want to take control of their destiny when it comes to running their own businesses and serving their clients,” said Pete Dorsey, managing director of sales, TD Ameritrade Institutional. “Volatile times call for objective advice, and investors are increasingly seeking out RIAs to deliver independent advice and act as fiduciaries. Brokers leaving full-commission firms today recognize the trend, and are choosing to follow in their clients’ footsteps.”

Fiduciary duty and competitive fees top the list of reasons why investors are attracted to the RIA model, according to the latest survey results. Advisors also noted dissatisfaction with full-commission brokerage firms as a reason new clients choose the RIA model.

“Pending regulatory change also weighs heavily on the minds of advisors today,” adds Dorsey. Regulatory change is a top business concern (40 percent) among RIAs according to the survey.

“Uncertainty around the regulatory environment is certainly nothing new,” said Dorsey. “The discussion in the industry is much louder than it has been in the past. Brokers that have been considering breaking away are listening and deciding now is the time to break away before they are faced with tackling new regulation.”    

The “tuck in” trend for breakaway brokers choosing to join an existing firm holds steady. Twenty-seven percent of new breakaway brokers joining the TD Ameritrade Institutional platform in fiscal 2012 have chosen to join an existing independent RIA, down slightly (3 percent) from last year.

“Many advisors are good at managing money and working to improve the financial lives of their clients, but not every advisor is interested in the operational side of running a practice,” said Dorsey. “Brokers that choose to join an existing firm walk into a business that has an established back-office system and support, and that can be a very attractive option for some advisors. It really just depends on what works best for the advisor and their clients.”

Visit to learn about starting or joining an independent RIA. For more information about transition support, visit or call (800) 444-6100.

About TD Ameritrade Institutional
TD Ameritrade Institutional is a leading provider of comprehensive brokerage and custody services to over 4,000 fee-based, independent registered investment advisors and their clients. Our advanced technology platform, coupled with personal support from our dedicated service teams, allows investment advisors to run their practices more efficiently and effectively while optimizing time with clients.

About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
Millions of investors and independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) have turned to TD Ameritrade’s (NYSE: AMTD) technology, people and education to help make investing and trading easier to understand and do. Online or over the phone. In a branch or with an independent RIA. First-timer or sophisticated trader. Our clients want to take control, and we help them decide how - bringing Wall Street to Main Street for more than 36 years. An official sponsor of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, TD Ameritrade has time and again been recognized as a leader in investment services. Please visit the TD Ameritrade’s newsroom or for more information.

Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA ( /SIPC ( /NFA (

TD Ameritrade Institutional is a division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., a brokerage subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation.



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Jessica Taylor
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