TD Ameritrade is expanding its skills for Alexa, Amazon.com, Inc.'s (AMZN) voice-activated personal assistant found in its line of Echo speakers, enabling users to access real-time market information and investor education via voice commands.
In a press release, the Omaha, Nebraska-based discount brokerage said the expanded Alexa skills, which also include visuals with the Echo Show, provide investors with on-demand market information, news and events, stock quotes, and sector information across all Alexa-enabled devices. Investors can also access more than 100 educational videos on the Echo Show, the Amazon speaker that has a screen. The TD Ameritrade skill for Alexa also acts as an on-demand service representative, the company said in the press release, powered to help clients with questions about basic investing to more complex retirement inquires. Alexa is also equipped to answer questions from Scottrade clients regarding the transition to TD Ameritrade.
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"We've always been committed to delivering simple, on-demand access to the markets and investor education, and Amazon's latest devices give our clients one more entry point," said Vijay Sankaran, chief information officer for TD Ameritrade, in a press release. "As voice-driven devices become more pervasive, consumers expect that whatever questions they ask will be answered, and financial questions are no exception. The beauty of getting market updates and investor education on Echo Show is that it helps make finance more conversational and visual for investors."
TD Ameritrade isn't the only firm embracing Alexa and voice commands to serve clients, regardless of whether they are accessing the brokerage from mobile, online or through smart speakers. Ally Bank, a unit of Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY), which also owns the robo-advisory service Ally Invest, announced a new service in November in which customers can engage in banking activities via voice commands. With the skill and an Alexa-enabled device, Ally banking customers can conduct banking transactions such as checking account balances, tracking recent transactions and deposits, transferring money, and accessing deposit product interest rates via voice commands. The skill is now available to Ally Bank's deposit customers.
The Ally Skill also comes with CurrenSeeSM, a feature that enables consumers to make better choices about purchases. The technology converts the price of any item a customer wants to buy into the working hours it will take to earn that much. Ally Bank also launched Face ID and Send Money with Zelle® for deposit customers. While Ally Invest has not announced similar technology for its robo-advisory platform, its parent is focused on advanced technology, which should mean that more capabilities are coming to Ally Invest as well.