When the Securities and Exchange Commission eliminated the practice of fixed brokerage commissions on May 1, 1975, none of the major brokerage firms at the time thought anyone would ‘break ranks’ and offer discounted commissions. But, a handful of small firms, including First Omaha Securities, Inc., saw a unique opportunity. First Omaha Securities evolved into TD Ameritrade, and for over 35 years has remained a pioneer in an industry that continues to innovate new ways that make Wall Street more accessible to the individual investor.
In the 1980s and 1990s, TD Ameritrade pioneered a number of ‘firsts,’ leveraging technology to make investing easier, faster, and more efficient. In 1988, the company was the first to offer touch-tone phone trading. And, in 1995 it acquired K. Aufhauser & Co., which was credited with executing the first online trade in 1994. Following its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in March 1997, the company combined its various brokerage units into one broker dealer, Ameritrade, Inc., and launched its first national advertising campaign, complete with a pricing philosophy that continues today.