Ameritrade: Dialing for Business?

File this one under astonishing:

I get an email from a client on the Asset management side (We work primarily through TD Waterhouse, but also via Schwab).

Anyway, a new client writes:

"I got a phone call from an Ameritrade person asking what I was thinking about doing with the cash in my accounts. I said that I would be working with a money manager and that I understood the paperwork had been sent to them. (He replied that there was no indication of that on his end).

Incidently, I though it was interesting that Ameritrade was looking to generate business – I’ve never had that with a discount broker before . . ."

Now that is pretty amazing. I can’t ever recall hearing that a discount broker was dialing for dollars.

(Anyone else ever have that happen? Please inform us in comments)


Update: September 16, 2006 10:44am

More of the same:

Schwab Daily Trades Fall

Charles Schwab Corp., the biggest discount broker by number of customer accounts, said its customers retreated from the markets in August at a faster pace than they did at rival discount brokerage firms TD Ameritrade Holding and E*Trade Financial.

The company, which has 6.8 million active client accounts, said average daily trades by paying customers fell 11% in August from July to 190,800 trades, the second straight month of declines. E*Trade earlier said its customers’ revenue trades were down 7.5% from July, while Ameritrade reported a 7.7% month-to-month decline. Schwab Chief Financial Officer Christopher Dodds said trading has picked up in September amid more confidence.

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Grodge commented on Sep 12

    I have had a TD Waterhouse acct (Now TD Ameritrade) for almost a decade, and have never been approached like that. And I have had upwards of six figures in cash much of the time and often for long periods of time.

    Occasionally they will have some kid call to ask if I need any “planning” help, but never an outright solicitation.

  2. rob commented on Sep 12

    Etrade recently called me when I had a CD mature (not an Etrade Bank CD). Guy said he just wanted me to know it had matured but he was probably trolling.

  3. Minmex commented on Sep 12

    I’ve been at Scottrade for a little over a year and have received no calls or soliciting. Maybe that’s because I’m just a small fish though…

  4. pc commented on Sep 12

    I used to get calls once or twice a year from TD Waterhouse asking me if I needed help investing the cash in my account. Since the merger with Ameritrade I’ve switched to Fidelity (better rates on MM accounts and lower trading fees) and have not received any calls from a Fidelity representative.

  5. on the injured list commented on Sep 12

    Praise the stars I’ve had a big influx of cash. Almost like playing monopoly where a distant relative left me a home and oil/gas interest. Two accounts were affected and I got calls from each. I also get repeated calls to solicit 401k rollover. Question: For a discount broker, how do they make money with a large account if the trades are meager 8dollars and few and far between?

  6. Alex Khenkin commented on Sep 12

    Well, they can lend your cash to a margin player and pocket the difference… To the point – I’ve never been approached by a discounter in the years I’ve been at it.
    Small Investor Chronicles

  7. awp commented on Sep 12

    I used to have an account with Schwab that contained mid-six figures worth of cash & equiv. They called me at least once every other month trying to sell services & mutual funds. This went on for a couple years.

  8. noname commented on Sep 12

    boy, looks like another bad news is good news day. what’s up with that?

  9. Jdamon commented on Sep 12

    noname, wouldn’t you say energy and commodity prices in a freefall will be good for the economy? I have a feeling that people are finally starting to realize the drop in energy/commodities is real. Should help offset the slowdown in growth people have been fearing lately.

  10. wcw commented on Sep 12

    E-Trade called me when I fired them (they bought BrownCo and, literally immediately, pissed me off with awful service), and that’s the only call I’ve ever had, even carrying high cash positions.

  11. BDG123 commented on Sep 12

    I’ve probably been called by Schwab thirty times in the last year. Now, what started it was I clicked on a Ken Tower link and it asked me to fill in a little personal information but………….I mean COME ON! To be fair, once I actually picked up the phone and told them to take me off of their call list, they left me alone. But until that point they called nonstop.

  12. Dimiter commented on Sep 12 bought ameritrade for something. Can it be they are feeling the sqeeze and deperate to improve profitability ?

  13. financialrx commented on Sep 12

    What I hear from clients via bank brokers is even worse: pushing annuities as if they’re CD’s (one client was quoted a “rate” on a variable annuity- which the rep got from trailing 12 month performance).

    Anyhoo, BR’s experience reminded me of this article this summer (discount brokers cutting fees and commissions):

  14. Cherry commented on Sep 12

    Damon, why would they “feel” good about it? As I have said several times, the energy whining is overhyped. It hasn’t effected “inflation”, it hasn’t bothered people when it comes to “spending”. That is because there has been no Oil “shock”, nothing more than a correction to the deflated Oil prices of the 90’s.

    The market is about at its top(my call has been for a record, then a fast drop), nowhere to go but down. Reality stones the ignorent

  15. ray commented on Sep 12

    Merrill is doing the same thing. I have rec’d several calls from them over the last 6 months.

  16. Royce commented on Sep 12

    I have a lot of cash sitting in Schwab right now (I imagine most of the readers of this blog are pretty cash heavy), but so far no calls.

  17. beechdriver commented on Sep 12

    I’ve had 6 figure cash in TD Treasury MM for couple of years. Never heard from them/

  18. Smokefoot commented on Sep 12

    Ameritrade did this to me recently – the guy said that I was to call him if I had any questions about my account, but he didn’t discuss my large cash balance.

  19. Bob A commented on Sep 12

    Schwab’s used to call regularly since the 90’s, if you consider them a discount broker. Closed that out a few years back. Had Scottrade for a couple years. Only time they called was to ask why I had just closed the account (extremely slow executions, software that didn’t work).

  20. Whammer commented on Sep 12

    Hey Barry, I think your tag line at CK Asset Management should read “Growing Capital. Protecting Principal.” instead of “Growing Capital. Protecting Principle.”

    Unless you are really trying to protect some principle of investing or something, which is possible I suppose, but not what I think you mean.

    Oh, and BTW, there is no link on the “Investment Services” page where you say “click here to see accredited investor qualification”

  21. BDG123 commented on Sep 12

    Especially when the ignorant are calling people ingorent and claiming oil has had no effect on global consumers and when they called for a 3000 point drop by October and when they blamed it all on zionists.

  22. NWB commented on Sep 12

    I have a small account with TD Ameritrade (started with TD Waterhouse for Roth IRAs). I went in to speak to one of their account managers and mentioned I might be rolling over a 401K(not very big). He’s called me twice in the past few months and leaves me a voicemail with his extension about completing the rollover into my account. However, he doesn’t know I’ve decided to roll it into my current employer’s plan instead. I wasn’t expecting him to follow-up.

  23. there they go again commented on Sep 12

    I would assume more attentive service is the direction they would go. They drained some milk out of the old style broker’s buckets, now they are looking to skim some cream.

    I’ve found banks exceeding aggressive in trying to convert cash into really lousy mutual funds.

    As you’re bothered by the ARM boilers this bothers me because they could be very persuasive with individuals who have socked away ten thousand or so.

    While I’m a mildly active investor I think all moral people need to stress that there are advantages to the Vanguard scheme of cost averaging a regular amount into a index for the long term.

    If someone with a chunk of money and without the inclination to learn the games asked me what to do I would tell them to put it into a decent paying online mm account and schedule monthly withdrawals into a Vanguard or some other fund for 3 or 4 years.

  24. phil commented on Sep 12

    how “ignorent” is it to misspell ignorant, geez some people-

  25. Eventhorizon commented on Sep 12

    The reason for the call is that TD Ameritrade recently introduced some options for how you deploy your cash while it is sitting in your account. You can collect simple interest daily, or you can have your cash swept into an FDIC money market deposit account each day. There are also some state-based interest earning opportunities they can set you up with.

    Just seems like good customer service to me. We are a service economy now, right? LOL.

  26. larry commented on Sep 13

    no calls from Firstrade about large 5 digits cash positions for 6 months and more.

  27. Steve C commented on Sep 13

    Fidelity doesn’t call me when I have a large cash account, but often when I call them for a routine account question they will pop the question: “Mr. C., I notice that you have a significant cash account. Have you considered putting some funds to work in our XYZ fund?”
    A real nuisance.

  28. Cherry commented on Sep 13

    Ignor”a”nt, geez, Phil, ever heard of a typo?

    and again………ever heard of a Oil correction? That is what has happened. OPEC has the floor at 60$ for Oil outside a credit collapse causing a deflationary spiral. So we are getting a modest 10-15$ correction, nah, impossible.

    I cannot understand why a “intellectual” like yourself BD CAN’T figure that out. The Oil execs are right and America can’t stand it. When prices get to 100-150$ then cry me a river. But now ain’t it.

  29. adam commented on Sep 13

    I got a call from my local TD Ameritrade office saying that the high end customers would henceforth be working through an office in Texas rather than the local office.

    All that I was told was that the Texas group consisted of their most experienced account people, and that they wanted to make sure that everything went smoothly for me.

    I asked if this was a fee-based financial advisory office, and they said no. Seems ok, although I haven’t called the new guys yet.

    That said, I kind of liked my old guys. They did a great job.

  30. Abs commented on Sep 13

    Interesting … I’m with Ameritrade and have not received any phone calls. I have about 25% position in cash right now … on a low 6 digit portfolio.

    Oddly enough — this is my 2nd time with “TD” … I started the account with TD Waterhouse, then moved to BrownCo when TD Waterhouse wouldn’t lower commissions. When BrownCo got bought by ETrade, I decided to move to Ameritrade, and quickly thereafter they bought TD Waterhouse’s US operations ….

    I loved BrownCo … $5 market, $10 limit.

  31. bill commented on Sep 14


  32. Finquest commented on Sep 19

    Check out SogoInvest for a newer, much lower cost take. $1 trades, real-time, limit, market. I’ve been on for a little bit and love it.

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