When Charles Schwab suddenly decided to close broker/dealer brokersXpress in May of last year, it left about 300 advisors, many of which trade options, without a home. Chicago-based MoneyBlock, a new online broker/dealer for independent reps and RIAs, is hoping to fill that void.
Trading Block Holdings is the parent company of online broker TradingBlock and MoneyBlock. Schwab’s closing of brokersXpress turned the company’s head, and triggered a shift in focus from the self-directed business to making reps and financial advisors their primary business strategy, said Tom Heffernan, vice president at MoneyBlock. So far, they’ve recruited about 35 advisors, 27 of which are independent reps from brokersXpress.
They brought on Gary Martino, brokersXpress’s first full-time employee and former executive vice president and chief operating officer, to lead sales and business development. Martino said the firm’s goal is to take the best of brokersXpress—the technology, options capabilities and service—and make it better.
And with brokerXpress gone, there aren’t a lot of firms with the tools to make it easy to trade options. “That’s a tool other firms don’t have,” Martino said, during a recent visit to WealthManagement.com’s offices.
The firm’s focus is on middle-tier active advisors with a mix of commission- and fee-based business. This would be asset managers who take an active role in their clients’ accounts, rather than asset gatherers, Martino said.
Here’s a look at the new platform:
· Advisors will have the capability to trade up to four option legs in one order in qualified and non-qualified accounts. The platform also offers pre- and post-trade analytics.
· Integrated client and client administration portals so the rep and client can access the same interface and portfolio data.
· Advisors can access and service self-directed account for their clients.
· Group trades: This allows reps to place the same trade in a group of accounts at once.