TD Ameritrade 1Q profit up 10 percent on stronger trading, asset-based fees

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OMAHA, Nebraska — Online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. said Wednesday that its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 10 percent as trading revenue and asset-based fees both grew.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company said it earned $211 million, or 39 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Dec. 31. That's up from $192 million net income, or 35 cents per share, a year ago.

Ameritrade's profit per share, which was helped by share repurchases, was in line with what analysts surveyed by FactSet expected on average. The company had 548 million shares outstanding in the quarter, down from 555 million.

The online brokerage's revenue grew 9 percent to $819 million but fell short of analysts' expectation of $831 million.

"I couldn't be more pleased about our start to 2015," CEO Fred Tomczyk said. "We had a strong quarter and January is off to a good start as well. Virtually every metric we measure and manage is trending in the right direction."

Ameritrade's shares edged up 29 cents to $33.41 in morning trading Wednesday.

Jefferies analyst Daniel Fannon said in a research note that Ameritrade's profits were in line with what he expected but revenue was modestly weaker.

The number of trades Ameritrade handled grew 11 percent to an average of 457,000 a day as the stock market remained volatile. That generated $359 million in transaction fees for Ameritrade, up from $328 million a year ago.

But the average commission per trade slipped to $12.45 from last year's $12.56 because customers made more futures trades.

Ameritrade also generates revenue from assets it holds for clients and fees for advice although the current low interest rates limit Ameritrade's asset-based revenue.

During the quarter, Ameritrade attracted $18.8 billion in net new client assets as its total client assets grew to $672.4 billion. That asset growth from a mix of individual investors and investment advisers more than offset the low interest rates.


Follow Josh Funk online at http://www.twitter.com/funkwrite


TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.: http://www.amtd.com

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