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TD Ameritrade to launch robo-adviser in late 2016

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TD Ameritrade to launch robo-adviser in late 2016

In abreak with past strategy, TDAmeritrade Holding Corp. plans to launch an online investmentmanagement platform, or robo-adviser, later in 2016.

PresidentTim Hockey said the company would launch a "fully digital, or robo,version" of its existing Amerivest platform in the first part of fiscal2017, which begins Oct. 1, 2016. Hockey will succeed Frederic Tomczyk as CEOupon Tomczyk's retirement, which is expected later this year.

"Essentially,we see ourselves as offering a pretty broad continuum … from self-directed allthe way to advisory platforms" including a robo option, Hockey said. Therewill be a more granular pricing structure that reflects that continuum ofservices offered, he added later in the call.

DuringTD Ameritrade's third-quarter call in 2015, Tomczyk was about offering a fullrobo-adviser. "We still think that using the combination of a person witha digital channel … is the right combination" for most people, he said atthe time.

Hockeywas reluctant to offer more details about the platform but noted that moreinformation would be provided in October during the company's next earningscall.

Theincoming CEO also described the Department of Labor's Conflict of InterestFinal Rule for retirement advisers as a "new era in financialservices" and a once-in-a-generation opportunity. He noted that TDAmeritrade would invest to prepare for and take advantage of the marketdislocation the fiduciary rule would create.

Hedid admit, however, that uncertainty over how the rule would impact specificproduct sales would pressure margins throughout the industry. That pressurewill continue as advisers and companies work to understand how regulators andinvestors view the concept of "best interest" once the rule isimplemented.