By Rob Daly

Trading Comes to Facebook

Retail and institutional broker TD Ameritrade has taken chatbots to the next level with incorporating trading and other account-related functions into its AI-based platform.

Tim Hockey,
TD Ameritrade

“Just yesterday, I bought 100 shares of Apple on Facebook Messenger,” Tim Hockey, the president and CEO of TD Ameritrade, said during the firm’s fourth-quarter’s earnings call. “I do not think people would have thought that possible a few years ago.”

According to Hockey, clients can now trade equities and exchange-traded funds, deposit funds, and take advantage of additional educational capabilities via Facebook Messenger.

“We are big fans of technology like this to help us make financial services more personal,” he said. “Rather than asking for our clients to come to us, we are going to them developing touch points in the places in which they communicate and engage in commerce.”

The offering is but one deliverable that has come from the firm’s increased IT investment over the past year.

“Our technology team has completed more than 3,800 deliverables in the fourth quarter alone compared to the 1,800 deliverables a year ago,” said Hockey. “Our throughput is three times what we delivered in 2016. We are delivering more more efficiently and at cutting our cost per deliverable in half.”

He attributed much of the performance gain to the further adoption of agile development within the firm.

“Our latest investments in technology are paying off,” said Hockey. “In the fourth quarter of last year, 18% of our development teams were agile. Today, that number is 50% with a target of 80% by this time next year.”

Another deliverable, which is slated to be released later this month is an upgrade to the firm’s Veo One advisory platform to let users onboard new clients solely via the platform without having to go through the firm’s legacy Veo platform.

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