Cutting through the speculation

Insights along the road to integration

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By Joe Martinetto, Senior Executive Vice President And Chief Operating Officer

During periods of uncertainty, speculation tends to run rampant. When Schwab announced last November that we’d entered into a definitive agreement to acquire TD Ameritrade, we knew a period of uncertainty lay ahead. Most industry watchers understand that our ability to address specific questions about the pending transaction is limited. But that hasn’t stopped some industry observers and pundits from speculating.

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"Both firms make client service a top priority, and that will never change. We will make integration decisions with the aim of minimizing client disruption – that will always be our North Star as we plan to bring our companies together."

Joe Martinetto

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That’s why it’s important for us to ensure, wherever possible, that we share facts when we have them. During our Winter Business Update on Feb. 4, my fellow presenters and I, including Walt Bettinger, Bernie Clark, Jonathan Craig and Peter Crawford, made an effort to be clear and forthright about the facts as we know them related to our proposed acquisition of TD Ameritrade and the integration of the two companies that will follow once we receive regulatory and stockholder approvals. We covered a lot of ground during the Business Update, but the question of how we’ll integrate our respective technologies has generated some conversation and speculation in the marketplace -- particularly with regard to how we will integrate our custodial businesses for Independent Registered Investment Advisors.

"We will be as transparent as possible along the way and provide answers when we are able. Our goal is to provide a world-class experience for investors and for the advisors who serve them. Our clients deserve no less."

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The fact is it’s too early to talk about plans for specific platforms. In our presentations, we were clear that where there is material advantage with TD Ameritrade’s platforms would be taken into account, and the open application programming interface (API) approach that TD Ameritrade uses for its RIA business was called out as an example. Both firms make client service a top priority, and that will never change. We will make integration decisions with the aim of minimizing client disruption – that will always be our North Star as we plan to bring our companies together. Through this process, we’ll seek to identify attributes of both firms’ technology platforms that provide clear advantages.

Again, it’s early in the game, and many of these conversations are just beginning. But we will be as transparent as possible along the way and provide answers when we are able. Our goal is to provide a world-class experience for investors and for the advisors who serve them. Our clients deserve no less.

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