SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After months of preparation, it came down to this: a 15-minute pitch to an audience of some 2,000 independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) and an expert panel of judges at the TD Ameritrade Institutional1 2019 National LINC conference. In the end, Derrick Wesley of iMar Learning Solutions and his idea, Plan-It, prevailed as the inaugural grand prize winner of Innovation Quest, a fintech competition to generate ideas to move the RIA industry forward.
Innovation Quest is TD Ameritrade Institutional’s first-ever nationwide competition, designed to attract leading-edge technology solutions for RIAs. With a total of $100,000 in prize money up for grabs, TD Ameritrade Institutional kicked off the competition in July 2018, by inviting entries from anyone with a big idea for enhancing the lives of RIAs or their clients. Out of 135 eligible submissions2, three finalists were announced November 2018.
“Congratulations and well done to Derrick Wesley of iMar Learning Solutions! We’re excited to see Plan-It come to life,” said Jim Dario, managing director of product management at TD Ameritrade Institutional. “This has been such an exciting competition. Each finalist challenged us to think differently about how RIAs can serve their clients – their creativity and vision are inspiring.”
All three finalists received $25,000 and secured a trip to National LINC to compete in the competition’s final round for the grand prize, an additional $25,000. As part of a general keynote session on Thursday, Feb. 7, each finalist took the stage to make a 15-minute, proof-of-concept presentation to a panel of judges and a ballroom full of advisors. Attendees participated in voting for the winning idea.
About the Winner
Derrick Wesley, owner of iMar Learning Solutions, took home the grand prize with Plan-It, a financial literacy application that RIAs can use with their clients. Plan-It teaches the importance of financial planning to anyone as young as 5 years old up through retirement. The app links client accounts together with financial literacy education, providing its users with financial education based on their spending habits and patterns.
“It’s a thrill to win, but it’s even more exciting to be able to move forward with developing Plan-It,” said Derrick Wesley of iMar Learning Solutions. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here and show the potential of how Plan-It can help advisors grow their businesses by serving their clients better through technology.”
Meet the Other Finalists
The other two finalists were as follows:
Patrick Beaudan, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Emotomy, presented the Risk Assessment Tool, an application that uses machine-learning algorithms to give early warnings to RIAs when client accounts are at risk of leaving or need cultivation. In addition, the app warns clients when there has been a significant divergence between their investment returns and what their risk profile suggests.
Timothy Hooker and Brian Smith, co-founders and partners of Dynamic Wealth Solutions, presented the RIA Genie, a voice-activated assistant. RIA Genie uses 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.
Innovation Quest Judges
To help choose the Innovation Quest winner, TD Ameritrade Institutional assembled a panel of judges, each bringing expert insights to the world of technology innovation:
- J.D. Bruce, CPA, President, Abacus Wealth Partners, one of the RIA firms that created iRebal, the industry-leading investment management and rebalancing tool that was acquired by TD Ameritrade in 2007.
- Joel Bruckenstein, CFP, Consultant & Producer, Technology Tools for Today (T3), 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. He was formerly IT Chief Technology Officer at Ford Motor Company.
- Robert Herjavec, Founder of Herjavec Group. An entrepreneur, Herjavec built and sold several IT companies to major companies such as AT&T.
“The Innovation Quest competition proved to us that innovative ideas can come from anywhere,” said Dario. “By tapping into the marketplace, we can source good ideas that can help RIAs thrive in the decades to come.”
TD Ameritrade Institutional, a leading provider of comprehensive brokerage and custody services to more than 7,000 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.
Earlier at LINC 2019, TD Ameritrade Institutional delivered new innovations, including a virtual agent, Amazon Alexa skills for RIAs and investors, and a new client portal.
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).
About TD Ameritrade Institutional
TD Ameritrade Institutional empowers more than 7,000 independent registered investment advisors to transform the lives of their clients. It provides powerful technology and resources that help simplify running a business and let advisors spend time more time doing what matters most — serving their clients. Through meaningful innovation, steadfast advocacy and unwavering service, TD Ameritrade Institutional supports RIAs as they build businesses that positively impact their clients and communities. TD Ameritrade Institutional is a division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a brokerage subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation.
About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
TD Ameritrade provides investing services and education to more than 11 million client accounts totaling approximately $1.2 trillion in assets, and custodial services to more than 7,000 registered investment advisors. We are a leader in U.S. retail trading, executing an average of approximately 900,000 trades per day for our clients, more than a quarter of which come from mobile devices. We have a proud history of innovation, dating back to our start in 1975, and today our team of 10,000-strong is committed to carrying it forward. Together, we are leveraging the latest in cutting edge technologies and one-on-one client care to transform lives, and investing, for the better. Learn more by visiting TD Ameritrade’s newsroom at www.amtd.com, or read our stories at Fresh Accounts.
Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC.
The TD Ameritrade Institutional Innovation Quest competition is subject to Official Rules, available at www.tdainstitutional.com/IQ.
Third parties mentioned above are separate from and not affiliated with TD Ameritrade, which is not responsible for their services or policies.
1TD Ameritrade Institutional is a division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., a brokerage subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation.
2According to the scoring process set out in the competition’s rules.
Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation