TD Ameritrade Crushes Wall Street Forecasts in Q4 Earnings

The company’s revenue and earnings are up from a year earlier.

The online brokerage firm TD Ameritrade really needed some good news. The company’s shares are down 23% from a year earlier. And in early October, the stock hit a new 52-week low after announcing its plans to slash its trading commissions from $6.95 to $0.

Good news came in the form of the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report. TD Ameritrade beat Wall Street’s expectations on both earnings and revenue. Here is an overview of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings and what’s next for TD Ameritrade.

Q4 earnings beat Wall Street forecasts

During the fiscal fourth quarter, TD Ameritrade reported earnings of $1 per share on net revenue of $1.6 billion. The company’s earnings are up 25% from a year earlier, and its net revenue rose by 11%. And it beat analysts’ expectations of 94 cents per share on $1.47 billion in revenue. 

The average client trades also rose 5% from a year earlier, reaching 837,000 trades per day. And the company’s interest-rate-sensitive assets also rose 9% over the previous year. According to CFO Steve Boyle, the company’s strong fourth-quarter results “demonstrate the strength of the diversity of our business.” 

However, TD Ameritrade did lower its guidance slightly for the fiscal first quarter of 2020. During the first quarter, the company expects its revenue to fall somewhere between $4.9 billion and $5.3 billion. This would be down slightly from the previous year. 

Will $0 trading commissions kill profits?

TD Ameritrade’s fourth-quarter earnings were impressive, but they don’t account for the company cutting its trading commissions. Currently, roughly two-thirds of the company’s revenue comes from the asset-based fees it charged. Going forward, it will have to rely on this source of revenue almost entirely. 

However, TD Ameritrade isn’t the only online brokerage firm to cut its trading fees. This trend actually started with Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers announcing they were cutting their fees, forcing other firms to follow suit. 

Getting rid of the trading fees will undoubtedly cause a temporary drop in revenue, but long-term, it could make the company more competitive in the market. Going forward, CEO Tim Hockey said that the company would continue to stand out for its superior platform and exceptional customer experience.