- Imagine if there was an easy way for you to set financial goals for yourself and then create an investment plan to actually fulfill on each one of those goals. Well, that's the idea behind TD GoalAssist. It is a new mobile app designed to do just that. Earlier, I spoke with Paul Clark. He's the president of TD Direct Investing, also executive vice president at TD Bank. And here is that conversation.
- TD GoalAssist is a mobile app that allows the Canadian consumer to take a leading role in planning for their future. It allows them to build a plan, to set goals, and then to track their financial progress against those goals.
- I think one of the key things you said there is that it's an app. And that's the one thing. This is digital first. People can grab their phones, and it's amazing, they can create the entire thing on their phones.
- Yeah, I think that is the simplicity of it, right? When you think about how we all live our lives today, the phone has become an extension of who we are. So where better to put the financial security in your future in that app so that you can actually, on the go, see how you're doing, on the go, adjust your plan, and from the comfort of your home, or in your car, or wherever it might be, can track your progress, which we think is a real benefit.
- I want to talk about why this came about, the thinking about this, because I know we talk about this is incredibly useful, given the time we're in right now. This was a long time coming, though. I do know that. But maybe just take me through what the process is. So what does someone go through when they-- and we've got some screens we're going to show here to people to see, but what do they go through in the process?
- Right. So when you hit the landing page, the first thing it's going to ask you is a few questions about yourself so we can understand what you're trying to accomplish. This is your opportunity to really set out what are your goals. What is it that you're saving for? Are you saving for a house? Is it for your son's education? Is it for that next trip? Whatever it might be, we want to understand your goal first.
Then you're going to get the opportunity to build a plan to achieve that goal. And once you're done, you'll be able to assess whether that plan is going to get you there or not. And once you've made a couple adjustments to make sure that you can actually accomplish that goal, it's going to ask you a couple more questions to help you understand who you are, what your risk profile is. And then, once you complete it, we'll help you actually build that portfolio.
- One of the interesting things that I know as I've played with it over the past while is there's some different options for different people. People have the option to either build a plan for themselves or portfolio for themselves. There's also these one-click ETFs. Tell me a bit about those.
- Yeah, I mean, the notion of everything that we're doing here is built on three simple concepts. The first is that, you think about traditional digital advisors, they think about set and forget. We want to educate and engage. So at the core of this is an education capability that allows you to learn about the investing process.
The next piece is that our clients told us we really want this to be frictionless. There's no monthly balance requirements. There's no fees for the account. And in fact, if you purchase the TD ETFs and the One-Click ETFs that you're talking about, you also don't pay a commission.
And the reason that we did this, the reason that we came up with these One ETFs that you're talking about, is that the part of the process that the people were most frustrated with was the rebalancing effort, the notion that, every month, I had to go in and look at the portfolio to make sure that it reflected my risk. With the One-Click ETF portfolios, TD Asset Management does that work for you.
- I don't want to skip over the fact, too, you said, I mean, obviously, if people are looking at this, this is no fees for TD ETFs, and no minimums, which makes this very accessible to people.
- It does. I mean, again, this was our intent, right? And at the same time, when we built this, we didn't build this from a bank lens out. This is what our customers told us that they wanted. And so we've made this capability free, for the most part, with the only exception being that some of our clients did say that, while our focus is on ETFs and our focus is on planning, it would be convenient to be able to access your great trading systems. And so we have included that ability, as well, so that if somebody sees a particular security that they want to buy, they can still go in and buy that as they would on our normal platform.
- Paul, I know another thing that you wanted people to have access to, as well, was education and people, and be able to learn how to do things and know they're supported along the way.
- Yeah, I mean, this has always been a strength within TD Direct Investing, and we've extended that same capability into GoalAssist, which means that, while you might be involved in a digital interaction, at any time, you can click to talk to one of our dedicated GoalAssist representatives, who are there to answer any questions you might have about investing and about the technical capability that you can leverage inside the GoalAssist app.
Already, early days, but the number of people that have called in simply to just either say thank you or maybe get a couple of questions answered has almost been at the rate of 75 or 80%. People really like the feature of being able to get educated along the digital journey.
- Well, I was just going to ask you as my last question, just how is it going? I mean, it's new to market, I realize, but what's been the response so far?
- I mean, it is definitely new to the market, but you have to remember, we really built this on the basis of feedback from our customers. And so while it is early, the feedback has been terrific because, for the most part, I think we've been able to knock off everything that they've asked for. It is frictionless. There really is no cost to build a plan. There is no cost to build your portfolio. And there are no commissions should you choose to leverage TD ETFs to do it. That has been a huge plus.
Having that human interaction, the ability to talk to someone if you needed to, has been a huge plus. And I think just the simplicity of the app itself. It really is something that is easy to use, it's not time-consuming, and it gives you regular updates on how you're doing. And I think when you package all that together with the great capabilities that TD Direct Investing has always had, it's a compelling value proposition.
- Paul, thanks so much.
- Thank you.