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The Schwab Franchise issue popped up at TD Ameritrade’s 2011 Elite Advisor Summit’s opening session Q&A portion two weeks ago in Miami Beach.

It seems that an advisor asked Tom Bradley (president of TD Ameritrade) and Fred Tomczyk (CEO) about Schwab’s plans to open franchises with independent contractors.

Though they conceded they would be “watching with interest”, they made it clear they had no plans to start franchises, and were a bit perplexed as to why Schwab would want to focus on expansion physically outside their own branches and with the ongoing regulatory issue uncertainty . Tomezyk reiterated that TD’s expansion was focused on increasing sales force, not offices. (TD has added about 100 salespeople every year since 2008.)