Beautiful engraved specimen certificate from the Ameritrade Holding Company
. This historic document was printed by Jeffries Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of the company logo. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's President and Secretary.
TD AMERITRADE Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: AMTD) is the owner of TD AMERITRADE Inc., the largest online brokerage in the world in number of online equity trades placed per day. Services offered include common and preferred stocks, ETFs, option trades, mutual funds, fixed income, margin lending, and cash management services.
TD AMERITRADE traces back its lineage to a small investment banking firm and First Omaha Securities, Inc. (later Accutrade) in Omaha, Nebraska. Ameritrade Clearing Inc. was established as a clearing broker in 1983, and by 1987 TransTerra Company became the holding company for Ameritrade, and the company was subsequently known as TransTerra Company. In 1988, the company introduced the first quote and order entry system via the touch-tone phone. In 1995, the company acquired K. Aufhauser & Company, Inc. and its WealthWeb, the first firm to offer online securities trading, receiving the first order in August 1994. In October 1995, Ameritrade acquired All American Brokers. In January 1996, TransTerra's Accutrade launched "Accutrade for Windows," the first online investing system that let individuals partake in program investing and basket trading. By May 1996, TransTerra launched an Internet only broker called eBroker, and by November, TransTerra Company became Ameritrade Holding Corporation.
In March 1997, Ameritrade became a publicly held company, and its IPO opened at $15 per share. Ameritrade formed Freetrade in November 2000, which provided commission-free equity market orders. Freetrade has since been replaced by Ameritrade Izone, which now offers $5 equity market orders. In 2001, Ameritrade made two acquisitions: the February acquisition of TradeCast, giving Ameritrade a presence in the business-to-business arena, and the September acquisition of National Discount Brokers Corporation, adding $6.3 billion in client assets.
In 2002, Ameritrade merged with Datek Online Holdings Corporation, and changed commissions to $10.99 from $8 for market orders and $12 for limit and stop orders. Ameritrade purchased Mydiscountbroker.com in June 2003, and client accounts reached 3 million. In 2004, Ameritrade completed the purchase of Bidwell and Company in January, BrokerageAmerica in February, Investex in May and JB Oxford and Company in October. As of August 2007, there were reports suggesting that TD Ameritrade was engaged in merger talks with E*TRADE.
In 2008, long-time CEO Joe Moglia announced he would be vacating the CEO position in the upcoming fall after seven years to pursue other interests. Fred Tomczyk, the former COO, was named his successor and took over in September 2008. Rumors started that the company was going to move its headquarters out of the Omaha area after Moglia took over the Chairman position from founder and former CEO J. Joseph Ricketts. With the departure of Ricketts, who founded the company in Omaha, the company for the first time in its history had no members from the founding family on its management team, outside of the two that remained on the Board of Directors. Tomczyk further strengthened the rumors when he stated that he would not be moving out to Omaha, but rather staying in the New York City area, where he is based out of. However, those rumors were put to rest when in October 2008 plans were unveiled of the new TD Ameritrade headquarters in Omaha. The new headquarters would consolidate the call center and corporate offices together into one building. The new building, planned for development in the Old Mill area of Omaha, has a scheduled completion date of 2012. Tomcyzk later confirmed that the company considered moving out of the Omaha area, but decided to stay because of the large number of employees based in Omaha.
On January 24, 2006, Ameritrade Holding Corporation acquired TD Waterhouse USA from TD Bank Financial Group. Following the acquisition, it renamed itself TD AMERITRADE. TD AMERITRADE is one of the largest online brokerages, with 6.3 million client accounts and $300 billion in client assets. Revenue and net income are expected to increase to $1.8 billion and $557 million, respectively. TD Bank now owns 39% of TD AMERITRADE, and purchased Ameritrade's Canadian brokerage operations for $60 million cash. As part of the acquisition, Ameritrade investors received a special one-time $6 dividend, funded from Ameritrade borrowings and excess cash contributed to TD Waterhouse USA by TD Bank. TD Bank will limit their ownership of TD AMERITRADE to 45% for up to ten years after the acquisition, while founder J. Joseph Ricketts will limit his family's ownership of TD AMERITRADE to 29% for ten years after the acquisition. Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia became the CEO of TD AMERITRADE.
Security breach and resulting Identity theft risk and spam flood
In October 2005, several nanae posters began to uncover what was at the time the 3rd largest dataloss incident ever when they reported spam to the disposable email addresses they'd given (only) to Ameritrade that were not the result of a Directory Harvest Attack and TD AMERITRADE staff reported that it was investigating the matter.
Reports of an ongoing problem continued. For example, on March 30th 2007, a Slashdot article reported that unique email addresses provided only to TD AMERITRADE were frequently becoming targets for spammers. There was speculation that one of TD AMERITRADE's affiliated companies was the source of the leaks.
However, in mid-September 2007 media including the Associated Press and British tabloid IT-news portal The Register reported that TD Ameritrade had disclosed that TD Ameritrade had itself fallen victim to a backdoor-based network attack, and that a database containing all customer Social Security numbers, names, addresses, and email addresses had been compromised. The Register alleges said breach was only disclosed after a class action lawsuit started against the TD Group.
Preliminary approval a proposed class action settlement agreement was requested of judge Vaughn R Walker, who denied the request on June 30, 2008. On November, 13 2008, the state of Texas, in a letter from attorney general of Texas to judge Walker objected to a revised settlement agreement.
Investigation of the breach is reported to be ongoing, but no leads have been reported.
TD Ameritrade has come under criticism recently for its involvement in the auction rate security scandal. Ameritrade sales people actively promoted Nuveen's auction rate securities as an alternative to money market funds, resulting in large losses to investors when the investments went bad.
An auction rate security is a type of closed-end fund which means the fund has a fixed initial investment and is then traded on a secondary market. The money was to be invested in municipal securities and other instruments at rates that would be determined by weekly auctions. TD Ameritrade salespeople promoted Nuveen funds with names like "Quality Preferred Income II" to corporate and individual investors, claiming they were liquid alternatives to money market funds. In fact they were not, because they had no expiration date and the issuer has no obligation to pay back money it has borrowed from the investor, who can only cash out by selling his investment to someone else.
The market for auction rate securities collapsed in February, 2008 when broker-dealers such as UBS declined to continue to participate in dutch auctions that determined the rate of interest for the securities. Up to this point, brokers and issuers had propped up the auctions by acting as a bidder of last resort; without their participation the market quickly folded. Investors were left with "frozen" accounts, that essentially were worth nothing since they could not be redeemed and the investment houses that created them refused to close them out or return the money.
After the closing of the Auction Rate Security auctions in February 2008, Ameritrade and Nuveen customers were left without recourse. The total loss to Nuveen customers appears to be more than $15 Billion.
Investor groups are said to be organizing class action suits against Ameritrade, Nuveen, and other organizations such as UBS and Merril Lynch, that have been involved in the auction rate security scandal.
The firm's customers were approached by TD AMERITRADE brokers and recommended to invest their liquid money in a money market fund managed by The Reserve, RYPQX (the Reserve Yield Plus Class R fund), according to investors in the fund. More than 98% of the fund had been sold to TD AMERITRADE's clients, as disclosed in a statement from the Reserve in July 29, 2008. When the fund broke the buck along with several other Reserve money funds in September, 2008, money assets of thousands of TD AMERITRADE clients (including many senior citizens) were frozen. For the larger Reserve Primary fund that also broke the buck, TD AMERITRADE said it will reimburse clients for up to a 3% loss. However, the Reserve Yield Plus fund previously marketed by the company is not covered by the offer.
Investors allege a conflict of interest for TD AMERITRADE to promote the fund over its clients in the presence of a distribution agreement between The Reserve and TD Ameritrade that earns Ameritrade an undisclosed slice of fee revenue. Fred Tomczyk (TD AMERITRADE president) argued that the contract was a standard one and that "an investment firm has to make money in some way." According to the Chicago Tribune article, the distribution agreement clearly was effective: assets in Yield Plus Class R shares sold almost exclusively to TD Ameritrade clients shot from almost nothing in 2006 to $770 million by March of this year, public documents show. Another class dominated by the Omaha firm shot from $2 million to $171 million.
The SEC along with several state regulatory agencies are investigating TD Ameritrade's fund promotion and marketing practices.
History from Wikipedia and OldCompanyResearch.com (old stock certificate research service).
Specimen Certificates are actual certificates that have never been issued. They were usually kept by the printers in their permanent archives as their only example of a particular certificate. Sometimes you will see a hand stamp on the certificate that says "Do not remove from file".
Specimens were also used to show prospective clients different types of certificate designs that were available. Specimen certificates are usually much scarcer than issued certificates. In fact, many times they are the only way to get a certificate for a particular company because the issued certificates were redeemed and destroyed. In a few instances, Specimen certificates we made for a company but were never used because a different design was chosen by the company.
These certificates are normally stamped "Specimen" or they have small holes spelling the word specimen. Most of the time they don't have a serial number, or they have a serial number of 00000. This is an exciting sector of the hobby that grown in popularity over the past several years.