Skip Schweiss exit from TD Ameritrade means the RIA custody business lost its most visible corporate-paid advocate -- for the moment
TD's now ex-managing director of advisor advocacy is set to become the FPA president, but most peers agree the 58-year-old is poised to 'write his ticket' with another custodian or national RIA
Brooke's Note: The sense of loss is real when a well-known and respected RIA executive leaves. They are a reassuring part of the fabric of our village. But what we have come to see in this burgeoning sector of the financial services world is that the executive's dislocation is rarely long-lived. Often they get a promotion in their reincarnation. Skip Schweiss is at an industry nexus. He connects to RIA advocacy and the coming merger of TD Ameritrade and Schwab. So it brings both of those sub-theaters of change into focus and makes us wonder what his exit forecasts in each -- a fair amount it appears. Is RIA advocacy from a broker-dealer now an atavistic curiosity as custodians become fee-based advisors mostly under FINRA laws? Are executives who perform services beyond meat-and-potatoes custody operations in a zero-fee, low interest rate environment going extinct at mega-mega custodians? The concern is there as Skip Schweiss departs on the heels of Dani Fava. Selfishly, I hope Skip's back soon in a position of influence but not before he enjoys a deserved break.
Skip Schweiss is out at TD Ameritrade Institutional and, yes, read everything into it about the coming merger and what his exit foretells, say friends across the industry.
Charles Schwab Corp.'s dealmakers are bound to scrutinize any job deemed remotely non-essential, redundant or providing intangible value as the focus errs toward getting the deal done in streamlined fashion, they add.
The Omaha, Neb.-based TD Ameritrade Institutional paid Schweiss's salary, but the 58-year-old managing director of retirement plan services and advisor advocacy at carried the RIA business along with him. See: At MarketCounsel, a Ron Rhoades-Skip Schweiss exchange reveals new DOL-rule threat -- a Trump-led compromise creating a mutant strain of the reg that benefits no one
Someone whose value to a corporation is so abstract may be less likely to survive the merger ax, says Tim Welsh, president of Nexus Strategy.
Dani Fava, who led innovation for TD Ameritrade, left the firm, July 15. See: Envestnet nabs Dani Fava to cross-pollinate semi-autonomous units and reap 'financial wellness' as the end product
"Many more executives will exit," he says.
Merger economics foretold that outcome as the San Francisco broker takes control, says MacKillop, who knows Schweiss well. The two just climbed a mountain last weekend.
"This is not a negative reflection on Schwab but a recognition that these kinds of transactions always generate movement. And, of course, to make the merger work financially, Schwab needs to reduce headcount."
TD spokesman Joseph Giannone acknowledged the merger's impact. "It's not uncommon during these kinds of transactions to see employees depart."
Schwab administers $4 trillion and TD Ameritrade has about $1.5 trillion, which includes assets from a combined 10,000 RIAs. See: Reported Schwab-TD merger is a 'blockbuster' combo that creates a 10,000-RIA, $2-trillion custody juggernaut and may signal long-expected industry shakeout.
The Schwab merger might have given Schweiss a needed break to decide what's next on his path, MacKillop says.
"I think the Schwab and TD Ameritrade merger gave him a chance to step off the treadmill and assess how he wants to spend the rest of his career," MacKillop says.
On his Twitter feed, Schweiss now describes himself this way: "When not being a husband, father, son, or brother, I like to ski, hike and road bike. Enjoy policy more than politics. Funemployed at the moment."
MacKillop says it's true that Schweiss will be in the driver's seat.
"He would certainly be a great catch for a firm that wants to up their game in the custody business, but he has qualities that would make him a great catch for a much broader universe of firms," MacKillop says.
"First, he knows and understands the advisor world as well as anyone," he adds.
"Second, he is universally known and respected throughout the industry. Third, his ethical make-up and moral compass raise the trustworthiness of any firm he works with."
Chuck Schwab reveals Part B, doubling-down on Walt Bettinger by making him co-chair, a day after Part A -- wagering $15 billion from the Schwab corporate treasury on the CEO's future leadership
The 84 year-old founder's elevation of his 61-year-old protege may foretell bigger fireworks from Rick Wurster who recently took over many of Bettinger's CEO duties, one executive recruiter says.
July 30, 2022 – 12:41 AM
Robinhood gets 'brilliant' upper manager -- and a spare CEO -- by nabbing TD Ameritrade's ex-thinkorswim top exec, hopefully to throw a lifesaver to Robinhood's sinking stock
The Menlo Park, Calif., firm nabbed Steve Quirk as first-ever chief brokerage officer to 'bridge the gap between academia and reality.'
January 6, 2022 – 10:33 PM
Oisín's snippets: Charles Schwab brand goes up on Omaha's TD Ameritrade stadium, home of college baseball world series • Interactive Brokers lands an RIA custody insider, Charlie Latimer, to climb the custodian ladder
The TDA brand lives on until the techies figure out how to make two systems into one, but change is in the air in Omaha, while Interactive Brokers gets a leg up in the custody business with a new hire.
December 27, 2021 – 9:58 PM
Goldman Sachs nabs TD Ameritrade's Darla Sipolt for RIA custody; Kate Healy, Jim Dario and Peter Dorsey are among 1,000 staffers cut by Schwab post TD merger
Included in the wholesale reduction of the Omaha, Neb.-based broker's redundant talent, about 40% of TD Ameritrade's marketing staff also got word today they have no future with their San Francisco-based owner
October 27, 2020 – 1:20 AM
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