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TD Ameritrade's technology, Veo, wins high praise from advisors so RIABiz took a look

Veo got a head start and has unique third party tools

Author Heather Underwood May 3, 2010 at 6:12 AM
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Jon Patullo: [Advisors] were stoked that Veo was available on a Mac.

Erik Wolfers

Erik Wolfers

June 18, 2010 — 5:19 PM

I just glanced at this article about Veo. I linked to it from Veo.

I started my RIA business from scratch 9 years ago during the last recession when I got out of business school. I went with Schwab but then had to switch to Ameritrade when Schwab upped it’s minimum asset limit to $10M. I’m now well over $10M.

My opinion is that TD Ameritrade’s technology is weak and has always been weak. Veo lacks very basic functionality like the ability to move money out of an IRA without putting a special form on file. End clients also lack the ability to move cash in or out of Ameritrade on the web site they’ve been given. This is really bad.

Veo runs unacceptably slow in Internet Explorer and a lot of basic functionality does not exist in Firefox but that’s what I must use because of the speed in IE. (I’m a Firefox user in general because of it’s incredible superiority to IE but it frustrates me that companies put all the functionality in IE just because more people use it. If people were pushed to use Firefox they’d see how much better it is and then maybe Microsoft would be force to completely re-write IE as they should.) I have to switch to IE to do remedial tasks like move money for a client.

There are things in Veo that simply don’t work and can really cause wasted time and potentially damage client relationships. On Veo when moving money there’s an option to have money move after trades have cleared but this simply doesn’t work so if you select that option, and there’s not enough cash, they just won’t move the money and it could take days before someone catches it and calls just in time to have an infuriated client. Or, you have to monitor the process each and every step of the way, a wonderful waste of time. This kind of things happens regularly with their poorly crafted forms and applications as well but that’s another issue.

Sometimes things are really hard to find in Veo as well. If I want to see the history of cash transfers, or pending transfers, I have to go the “Profile” tab. How that has anything to do with transfers is completely beyond me. God forbid there be a tab called “Transfers.”

Schwab’s basic functionality was better 9 years ago and I would imagine has improved since but I maybe wrong about that.

TD Ameritrade’s commitment to really good technology is far below where I would like it to be and it seems to me their time frame for functionality is 10 years from now instead of 10 weeks. I’ve given lots of thought to moving all my clients’ assets back to Schwab because of Ameritrade’s technology, processes and paperwork.

They do have some good folks working there but because their processes are incompletely formed sometimes you get the wrong information from a well meaning person who’s been poorly trained.

Sorry this has turned into a bit of a review on TDA Inst. but it’s tough for me to separate the tech from the whole deal.

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