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TD Ameritrade Institutional Names RIA Fintech Competition Finalists

Some of the most compelling ideas for advancing the independent registered investment advisor (RIA) industry are stepping into the spotlight, as TD Ameritrade Institutional1 announces the finalists for its first-ever fintech competition, Innovation Quest.

The three finalists, selected from 135 eligible submissions2, will each be awarded $25,000 and a trip to the 2019 National LINC conference, where they will compete in the competition’s final round for the grand prize, an additional $25,000.

Innovation Quest is TD Ameritrade Institutional’s first-ever nationwide competition for leading-edge technology solutions for RIAs. By offering a total of $100,000 in prize money, TD Ameritrade Institutional wants to help uncover the next wave of fintech ideas that will enhance the lives of RIAs or their clients.

“Congratulations to our finalists. We’re excited to help envision new ways to advance the RIA industry through technology,” said Jim Dario, managing director of product management at TD Ameritrade Institutional. “Independent advisors need to step up their tech game to thrive over the long haul. Innovation is everywhere, and by tapping into the wisdom of the marketplace, we hope to help RIAs meet the rising expectations of the next generation.”

Meet the Finalists

The three finalists will compete for the grand prize before a panel of judges and a ballroom of advisors attending National LINC in San Diego on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. The final ideas, in alphabetical order, are as follows:

  • Emotomy’s Risk Assessment Tool
    Develop an application that uses machine-learning algorithms to give early warnings to RIAs when client accounts are at risk of leaving or need cultivation. The app would also warn clients when there has been a significant divergence between their investment returns and what their risk profile suggests. Submitted by Patrick Beaudan, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Emotomy, Tiburon, California
  • Plan-It, a Financial Literacy Application
    Create Plan-It, a financial literacy application that teaches the importance of financial planning to anyone as young as 5 years old up through retirement. The app would link client accounts together with financial literacy education, providing users with financial education based on their spending habits and patterns. Submitted by Derrick Wesley, Owner, iMar Learning Solutions, Van Alstyne, Texas
  • RIA Genie, the Voice-Activated Assistant
    Use natural language processing, artificial intelligence technology to develop a cost-effective voice-activated workflow assistant that reduces or eliminates the need for low-end administrative workers and empowers advisors to be more productive. Submitted by Timothy Hooker and Brian Smith, Co-Founders & Partners, Dynamic Wealth Solutions, Southfield, Michigan
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What Happens Next

Each finalist team must develop their ideas further into a video and live proof-of-concept presentation for TD Ameritrade’s National LINC conference in San Diego. Finalists will present their ideas on stage before a panel of judges and a live audience of RIAs on February 7, 2019.

The Innovation Quest winner will be announced the next day, Friday, February 8, 2019, during the conference. The winner will receive an additional $25,000.

Advisors attending National LINC have the opportunity to participate in voting for the winning idea. TD Ameritrade Institutional’s panel of judges consists of:

  • J.D. Bruce, CPA, President, Abacus Wealth Partners, one of the RIA firms that created iRebal, the automated investment management tool that was acquired by TD Ameritrade.
  • Joel Bruckenstein, CFP, Consultant & Producer, T3 Technology Tools for Today, an internationally recognized expert on applied technology for financial professionals.
  • Heather Fortner, Chief Compliance Officer & Chief Operating Officer, SignatureFD, a $3 billion RIA with a holistic approach to serving clients across multiple niche segments.
  • Vijay Sankaran, Chief Information Officer, TD Ameritrade. Vijay is responsible for incubating, introducing and managing new technology and data capabilities across the organization. He leads TD Ameritrade’s collaborative technology center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“The interest we’ve had in the competition has been tremendous – we’ve heard from a cross-section of folks – students, entrepreneurs, advisors, tech start-ups, educators, consultants,” said Dario. “There were many diverse entries but they all shared this in common: a passion for RIAs and a creative vision for where this industry and our clients are headed. It’s been inspiring.”

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TD Ameritrade Institutional, a leading provider of comprehensive brokerage and custody services to more than 6,000 independent RIAs, is known for championing technology innovation in the RIA profession through the launch of the Veo One® advisor dashboard, the iRebal® investment management and rebalancing platform, the thinkpipes® options trading platform, and Model Market CenterTM.

Throughout its 43-year history, TD Ameritrade has been an innovator, leveling the playing field for individual investors. Beyond elevating RIAs, the company’s list of ‘firsts’ for investors includes: the first to offer touch-tone telephone trading (1988); the first to offer mobile device trading (1999); the first to integrate real-time Twitter data into stock research (2015); and the first to offer 24-hour trading five days a week (2018).

Aneta Larkins


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