TD Ameritrade has shed workers over the past year, with employee compensation and benefits costs down nearly 25 percent as layoffs hit hard in some parts of the company.
But the company’s Omaha headquarters continues to grow, TD Ameritrade’s chief executive said in an interview with The World-Herald on Wednesday after the brokerage reported record revenue that beat Wall Street expectations.
As the company in 2018 worked to integrate the former Scottrade into its own operations, it trimmed duplicate positions. TD Ameritrade bought St. Louis rival Scottrade for $2.7 billion in the fall of 2017. President and Chief Executive Tim Hockey has said the acquisition is “paying off beautifully” for TD Ameritrade, but he said Wednesday that in the process of combining the two companies, TD Ameritrade had looked to save expenses, “which unfortunately meant people lost their jobs.”
Those job losses were centered in St. Louis, where Scottrade employed more than 2,500 people; TD Ameritrade has slimmed down that workforce to around 1,200.
In Omaha, the figures are more rosy, with 2,300 full-time employees at the moment, up by about 125 from this same time last year, according to a spokeswoman. And Hockey said there are opportunities for that workforce to grow.
The company reported this week a record $1.52 billion in revenue for its most recent quarter, up 21 percent over the same period last year.
Among the drivers for the earnings: trading volume, which was up 28 percent over the same period last year. A lot of that trading volume came from investor uncertainty over ongoing trade spats between the U.S. and its trading partners, discussion over the path of interest rates, geopolitical concerns like Brexit and worry over whether a recession could be coming.
“People are asking themselves more questions” in recent months, Hockey said. That leads to more trading as investors place bets on whether markets or a particular asset will go this way or that.
So long as there’s not a sustained slowdown, that kind of volatility is good for TD Ameritrade, which makes its money in part from every time a client presses the button to make a trade.
The company reported that clients made around 928,000 trades a day in the most recent quarter, a 28 percent increase over the same quarter last year. Of those trades, more are being made on mobile devices, too — a big focus for the company: around 240,000 a day, up 50 percent from last year.
During the quarter, the company also got back on track to double-digit growth rates when it comes to new assets coming in from clients — about $32 billion in the most recent quarter, which makes for an annualized growth rate of 10 percent.
That had dipped to 8 percent in the previous quarter as the company saw some higher attrition, with some former Scottrade clients taking their investment portfolios elsewhere in the wake of the TD Ameritrade tie-up.
Since then the figure has seen a “real nice turnaround,” Hockey said, something he’s “thrilled with.”
The company’s stock is up around 12.5 percent so far this year, compared with a 5.25 percent rise in the broader stock market.
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