I couldn’t be more excited to share this news: today we’reannouncing our agreement to be acquired by Ally Financial. (Read the fullpress release here.)
In this blog post, I want to explain why we chose this pathand arrived at this destination, why we chose Ally as our partner for our nextphase of growth, and how this news will benefit everyone in the TradeKingfamily – particularly you, our clients.
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Eleven years ago, we launched TradeKing with a mission: tobroaden access to active trading and options at a fair and simple price,supported by outstanding trader education and customer service. I’m humbled tosay we achieved that. We raised the bar considerably in online brokerage andbuilt a great firm. Inevitably, many larger firms have expressed interest ininvesting in us, partnering with us, and acquiring us along the way.
I love what we’ve created together atTradeKing. At the same time, it’s HARD to compete with firms exponentiallylarger than us. We’ve always “punched above our weight”, to the amazement ofmany. That said, we wondered how great we could make our client and employeeexperience if we had similarly deep resources – in a fair fight, as it were. We’vealso become increasingly conscious of how the pace of change in technology andfinance is accelerating. We worried that we could find ourselves falling behindif we didn’t partner up in a way that would give us sufficient resources tocompete effectively at this higher speed.
A few months ago, we felt the time wasfinally right to explore our options seriously on behalf of our shareholders,employees and clients. I turned to trusted professional advisors in thefinancial industry as well as personal mentors like the Quick family, WillemWillemstein, Michael Brown, Ric Duques and Peter Ianello for guidance throughthis new process.
Once this “Pandora’s Box” is opened, onenever knows what may pop out of it. We had several interested bidders, and whena handful of them moved within a few dollars of each other, our investors andboard members generously left the final choice up to me and my teammates.
This allowed us to do what we love at ourcore: put our clients, employees and values first, which led us to choose Ally.
Ally has a great history, with a culture andvalues that align perfectly with ours. It is a strong modern company focused ongrowing its presence in digital financial services. By acquiring TradeKing, it’sdemonstrating its strength and willingness to grow in an important way. Ourgoals are aligned, as are our businesses. Ally doesn’t currently offer onlinebrokerage or advisory services, so TradeKing fills that gap perfectly for Ally’scustomers. TradeKing doesn’t offer online banking or the many related servicesof a bank – Ally does.
Ally is true to its name and word. Its teammembers walk it like they talk it, never backtracking or equivocating on aposition regarding the deal, the team or how clients would be treated. Ally doesn’tanticipate any price changes for existing TradeKing customers for theforeseeable future. Ally values the entire TradeKing team, too. We’ll all keepworking together to take TradeKing to the next level – also unlikely with manypartners. In short, Ally is our kind of people, and we’re thrilled to have themas a partner for the next leg of our journey!
As TradeKing clients, you’ll benefit most ofall. In the past, I’ve remarked that brokerage clients can’t be “acquired” likecattle. You have to attract and then earn their trust – then keep earning itevery day after that. Many of our competitors have cavalierly ignored thistruth to their cost. The same rules will apply to TradeKing’s acquisition. Thisacquisition is our chance – and our obligation – to impress you all over again,to win your business and trust, and to meet and exceed your expectations againand again. When we acquired Zecco in 2012, we worked hard to produce aremarkable value for the Zecco client base. Well over 90% of Zecco clientsdecided to stay with the new TradeKing – an incredible retention rate in ourbusiness. We’re working hard now – and making extraordinary progress – bringingMB Trading clients into the TradeKing fold. We’ll do the same in partneringwith Ally.
We’ll have more to report in the comingweeks and months as the new TradeKing takes shape. In the meantime, I want tothank so many people who’ve helped TradeKing come this far: advisors, boardmembers, investors, mentors, our families, for me personally my wife Courtney,and especially YOU. Without so many clients choosing TradeKing and sticking byus, we couldn’t have built the extraordinary firm we have that Ally values sohighly.
We hope to close this deal in the thirdquarter of this year, and I remain committed to making this acquisition ahomerun for our clients.
Thanks for taking the time to hear mythoughts on where we are headed. Don’t hesitate to share your reactions,questions, or thoughts in the comments below. While it’s early days yet, I willdo everything in my power to keep you informed and put your interestsuppermost.
[image: couple by Graham Fletcher on Flickr]
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