E*TRADE's (ETFC) deal to acquire Trust Company of America, which it announced last week, is resonating well with the advisors that will become part of the discount broker.
That’s according to WealthManagement.com, which polled some of the RIAs to get their sense of the $275 million deal that raised eyebrows among some Wall Street analysts. TCA has more than 180 active registered independent advisers, many of which aren’t worried that there will be competition with E*TRADE's discount brokerage arm. The firm has $17 billion in institutional assets under custody.
RIAs told the Website that while any deal leads to some anxiety, many are confident that under E*TRADE they will have access to more resources and technology that can enhance the role the advisors play as well as the service the clients receive. What’s more, they say that the deal will give them the ability to be more creative and develop new products that help clients meet all of their financial challenges. It will also help keep costs low. Some advisors are believe the deal will provide them with a new leads who have more complex needs via E*Trade’s discount brokerage, the RIAs said.
While RIAs impacted by the deal seem upbeat about it, not everyone on Wall Street is thrilled. When E*TRADE announced the acquisition in conjunction with third-quarter earnings results, it said the company was aiming at diversifying the company’s business, analysts worry about a lack of synergies and a departure from the company’s stance to grow organically. What’s more, some worry the deal would derail any chances of the board finding a buyer for the company.
E*TRADE Chief Executive Karl Roessner said on the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call that while E*TRADE strives to be the number-one digital broker and adviser to self-directed traders and investors, it only has between 10% and 12% of customers’ investable wealth. As a result, it has been searching for the best way to improve that, which led to the acquisition of TCA. He also said the deal shouldn’t hurt any of the board’s activities. That sentiment was echoed by a handful of analysts including Steve Chubak at Instinet who said in a recent research note that the deal gives E*TRADE a foothold into the RIA market and at the same time won’t impede the board’s ability to pursue alternatives if necessary.