Why I hate conferences but I still go to them
During the last week of January, Rick, Andrew and I all headed to Orlando, Florida for the TD Ameritrade Institutional annual conference. For three days we attended informative sessions on cutting-edge technologies, heard from notable economists and business thinkers, and met many of our current vendors to ask questions.
It’s really boring.
I’m an outdoorsy kinda guy and I always like to keep moving. For me, being holed up in a hotel ballroom for three days is like spending three days in the dentist office. But every few years, we make the time for the important stuff including stepping back from our business, reevaluating our processes and systems, and talking to our peers at other firms. Those parts always makes it worthwhile.
It’s also an opportunity for validation of our business, too.
I went to a number of technology sessions and was surprised to hear some presenters still saying, “You need to go paperless” or “You should really use electronic document signing systems.” We’ve been on those paths for years and have found many (but not all) of our clients prefer the ease and speed of signing their documents electronically. It also cuts down on errors and eliminates waiting for paper documents to arrive in the mail.
We came away with a lot of great ideas to improve the experience for our clients, too. We may test out some of those ideas and others we will continue to watch and think about.
Of course, one of the biggest topics was Schwab’s announcement of a definitive agreement to acquire TD Ameritrade. Some people have worried that this might be a big concern because our clients would be forced to re-sign all of their documents. Fortunately, CEO Tom Nally assured us that resigning would not be necessary for the vast majority of client accounts (yes, there could be a handful of exceptions for certain complex accounts).
More important is that TD is considered by many to have more advanced systems and technology than Schwab. We’ll see what happens, but it’s going to be about three years before changes, if any, will be implemented.
We’ll keep you posted.
Questions about TD Ameritrade? Give us a call. We’re here to help.
Lyman H. Jackson
Photo: Lyman Jackson, Rick Fingerman and Andrew Holmes after dinner at Cuba Libre during the 2020 TD Ameritrade annual conference in Orlando, FL.
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