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More Than Ever, Brokers Are Keen to Join the Independence Movement, New Survey Commissioned by TD Ameritrade Institutional Finds

January 30, 2020

Control, Compensation and Clients Remain Top Motivators For Going Independent

ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The independent registered investment advisor (RIA) channel, with its potential for greater control, a better quality of life and the opportunity to better serve investors, continues to inspire wirehouse and independent brokers to switch sides, according to a survey of RIAs and prospective breakaways conducted for TD Ameritrade Institutional1.

According to the TD Ameritrade Institutional 2020 Break Away to Independence Survey, 55 percent of potential breakaway brokers – those at national, regional firms or independent broker-dealers considering a move to independence within three years – say they will make their move within the next 12 months. That’s up 11 percentage points from the 44 percent expressing the same sentiment in the spring 2019 survey.

And nearly half of these potential breakaways, 47 percent, feel even more strongly about switching to independence now than they did last spring.

The RIA model offers brokers the opportunity to increase their compensation as the owners of their own practice. Three out of four breakaways anticipate better compensation as RIAs as compared with their current firms, and yet pay is not the only motivator. Prospective breakaways also have expectations of greater control over their own business and their own destiny.

Brokers say they have several reasons to consider leaving their firms and making the switch, but those most commonly cited include regulatory and pricing pressures. Forty-four percent of brokers said they were not satisfied with their compensation, up from 33 percent in the spring last year.

And while there are hurdles to be cleared – including the time and effort to complete a transition – the overwhelming numbers of advisors who previously made the leap have a reassuring message for potential breakaways: going independent is well worth the effort.

Consider that 80 percent of RIAs said their quality of life is better than before, 75 percent said the transition to independence was easier than expected, 72 percent said the technology is better and 70 percent said separating from their employer’s brand actually helped their own bottom line.

RIA participants in the survey are on average 51 years old, work 41 hours per week and oversee $214 million in client assets. Brokers in the survey, also 51 years of age on average, work 44 hours a week on average and oversee about $95 million in assets.

“Time and again, brokers who make the move to the independent RIA channel tell us their biggest regret is they didn’t switch sooner. Advisors also don’t need to feel as if they are on their own during the process: TD Ameritrade Institutional offers a full suite of services to make the transition as smooth as possible,” said Scott Collins, managing director at TD Ameritrade Institutional who oversees recruiting of brokers to become new RIA clients. “There’s never been a better time to make the move. Indeed, the biggest risk to your business may be staying put.”

Download theTD Ameritrade Institutional 2020 Break Away to Independence Survey to see more highlights and insights. TD Ameritrade Institutional also invites brokers to visit the online Exploring Your Independence Business Evaluator at https://www.exploringyourindependence.com/#/splash.

About the Survey

The TD Ameritrade Institutional 2020 Break Away to Independence Survey was developed to help understand what motivates professionals at full-service broker-dealers and independent broker dealers to consider making the transition to the independent RIA channel. The research firm Escalent, on behalf of TD Ameritrade Institutional, in October and November 2019 conducted an online survey with 349 independent RIAs and 100 brokers who said they might go independent within two to three years. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 5.8%.

TD Ameritrade Institutional and Escalent are separate and unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and policies.

About TD Ameritrade Institutional

TD Ameritrade Institutional empowers more than 7,000 independent registered investment advisors to transform the lives of their clients. It provides powerful technology and resources that help simplify running a business and let advisors spend more time doing what matters most — serving their clients. Through meaningful innovation, steadfast advocacy and unwavering service, TD Ameritrade Institutional supports RIAs as they build businesses that positively impact their clients and communities. TD Ameritrade Institutional is a division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a brokerage subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.

About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

TD Ameritrade provides investing services and education to more than 12 million client accounts totaling approximately $1.4 trillion in assets, and custodial services to more than 7,000 registered investment advisors. We are a leader in U.S. retail trading, executing an average of approximately 1 million trades per day for our clients, more than a quarter of which come from mobile devices. We have a proud history of innovation, dating back to our start in 1975, and today our team of 10,000-strong is committed to carrying it forward. Together, we are leveraging the latest in cutting edge technologies and one-on-one client care to transform lives, and investing, for the better. Learn more by visiting TD Ameritrade’s newsroom at www.amtd.com, or read our stories at Fresh Accounts.

Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA (www.FINRA.org) / SIPC (www.SIPC.org).

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

Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

BI# 1281111

Media Contact:
Joseph A. Giannone
Communications + Public Affairs
T: 201-369-8705

Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation

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