Charles Schwab is still sorting out which third-party integrations currently used by advisors at TD Ameritrade will be incorporated into the combined single offering the firm eventually provides to advisors. But it is certain that not all of TD Ameritrade’s current third-party integrations will make their way over to the amalgamated platform.
This conclusion and some of the details leading up to it and other technology-related aspects of Schwab's acquisition of TD Ameritrade were discussed on a technology conference call hosted by company executives for the media Thursday.
The decision to cut or keep third-party integrations presently on TD Ameritrade’s platform will depend on advisor engagement and how deeply integrated and active those third parties are, according to Andrew Salesky, SVP of digital advisor solutions at Schwab.
“It's not as if we are going to duplicate every feature, necessarily,” he said. “We are looking at those features that are most highly utilized, valued by clients and ensuring those are included.” Some integrations, deemed to be lacking in value, won’t be included on the post-combination advisor platform.
Collectively Schwab and TD Ameritrade did an adequate job of getting the integrations they needed on one platform or the other, said Salesky. “Both firms have been very aggressive in our expansion of APIs and data capabilities,” he added. “There are some gaps to close, but we don't view them as being significant.”
Schwab currently tallies around 160 third-party integrations and TD Ameritrade currently has around 180 third-party integrations, according to Kartik Srinivasan, senior managing director of third-party integration at Schwab. “We're reconciling that list against who Schwab integrates with. And we expect to bring a lot of the vendors over that TD Ameritrade is currently integrating with,” he said.
The master foundation for third-party integrations will be based on Schwab architecture, but executives are already trying to avoid pitting the labels of Schwab Advisor Center against TD Ameritrade’s Veo One. “We want to get away from the names of the two platforms and really focus on the capabilities that we’re going to be able to take advantage of, now that we’re able to get under the hood,” said Salesky.
As the combination moves forward, some personnel changes have already gone into effect. Last week, an employee memo noted that TDAI President Tom Nally and seven other executives would be leaving the firm.
However, TD Ameritrade Institutional tech lead Jon Patullo, formerly managing director of institutional technology solutions at TDAI, will be staying on at Schwab at least through the annual Schwab IMPACT conference, to be held virtually this year. Patullo is now a part of Salesky’s leadership team, according to the latter.
Rounding out the tech updates, Salesky indicated that “guided workflows”—in lieu of digitized paper—continue to be a top priority for the firm. Last year, Schwab executives outlined the challenges of digitizing the “long tail” of little-used forms, an issue that’s gained urgency in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Underscoring the importance of moving to new workflows, the use of DocuSign doubled over the past six months, said Lauren Wilkinson, VP of digital custody and wealth management.
“[Digitizing workflows] was a top priority for us, pre-crisis, and the crisis has validated the importance of that effort,” said Salesky.