If your stock makes a big move while you're stuck in traffic, don't worry -- TD Ameritrade lets you buy and sell even when you're on the go. Through several subsidiaries, it provides electronic discount brokerage and related financial services that enable retail investors to trade common and preferred stocks of US companies, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, and foreign currencies. TD Ameritrade also runs the Investools investor education program. In addition to its online offerings, the company provides services through a retail network of more than 100 branches nationwide and more than 4,000 independent investment advisors.
TD Ameritrade remains committed to its core business of discount brokerage and related services. Already a hit with active retail traders, the company is courting the broader market of long-term investors by adding products such as mutual funds and money market accounts, as well as by instituting multimillion-dollar brand-building advertising campaigns. The moves helped TD Ameritrade achieve its highest levels of client assets and activity in fiscal 2010 and again fiscal 2011, growth which translated to higher revenues and earnings. The company has more than $375 billion in client accounts and executes an average of nearly 400,000 trades per day.
Other operations include online brokerage thinkorswim Group, a specialist in options trading and investor education that the company acquired in 2009 for some $600 million in cash and stock. TD Ameritrade's Amerivest product develops portfolios of ETFs and mutual funds for clients based on their investment goals, while TD Ameritrade Corporate Services provides self-directed brokerage services to corporations and their employees, either directly or through a third-party relationship such as a 401(k) plan.
Founder Joe Ricketts retired as chairman in 2008. Ricketts and his family sold some of their interest to Canada-based TD Bank in 2006 when Ameritrade bought that firm's US brokerage operations. TD Bank is now the company's largest shareholder with an approximately 45% stake, and TD Ameritrade has benefitted from referrals from the Canadian firm's US subsidiary, also known as TD Bank.
The Ricketts family still owns nearly 15% of TD Ameritrade. Joe Ricketts' son Tom used proceeds of the sale to TD Bank to help fund his 2009 acquisition of the Chicago Cubs from the Tribune Company. – less