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TD launches Amazon Alexa skill for trading



TD Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey
TD Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey
TD Ameritrade

  • TD Ameritrade last week rolled out a new offering which
    allows Main Street investors to place trades via Amazon’s
    voice-activated assistant Alexa.
  • It’s the first time that people can make financial
    transactions through Alexa.

  • It’s the latest step as TD Ameritrade tries to
    make trading more mainstream and pull in new

“Alexa, buy 10 shares of Facebook.” 

TD Ameritrade clients now can summon the Amazon’s
voice-activated assistant, Alexa, to place trading orders,
without calling a broker or tapping a button on a laptop, the
brokerage firm announced last week.

It’s the first time people can make financial transactions
through Alexa, said Sunayna Tuteja, TD Ameritrade’s head of
emerging technologies.

It’s the latest step as TD Ameritrade tries to make trading
more mainstream, particularly among young, digitally-savvy
investors, in an attempt to pull in new clients. The firm already
allows its 11 million Main Street investors to place trades via
Facebook and Twitter. 

TD Ameritrade debuted an Alexa “skill” — verbiage for
Alexa-compatible applications — last December, enabling the
virtual assistant to give out market briefings and stock quotes
to users. But it’s now rolling out new features that allow Alexa
to execute orders of buying or selling 

or ETFs at a maximum amount of $10,000 for each

After verifying a numeric voice PIN, users can request
Alexa to access their personal TD Ameritrade trading accounts,
execute trading commands, and check position summaries.

Business Insider got a remote demo from TD Ameritrade to
see how the technology worked. 

Alexa: “What company or symbol would you like to

User: “Zynga.”

Alexa: “That is Zynga Incorporated, symbol ZNGA,

User: “Yes.”

Alexa: “As of 12:43 pm Eastern Time, ZNGA is $3.88 per
share, down 1.9%. [The test trading account] has $9.59 for
trading. You want to buy ZNGA, right?”

User: “Yes.”

Alexa: “Do you want to place a market order or a limit

User: “Limit order.”

Once the user sets the price and the number of shares he or
she is willing to purchase, the virtual assistant places an open
order and submits a confirmation. The user can then examine the
status of orders placed within 24 hours.

The new features comes when the adoption of
voice-controlled devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home is
booming in consumer markets.

A Gallup poll
in March shows that about 22% of U.S. adults already
use voice-activated virtual assistants. Amazon, which
dominates the smart speaker market
, has sold about 50 million
Alexa-enabled devices, according to The Information. 

“When we were looking at the trends where the customer are
spending their time and what technology they are using, Alexa was
at the top,” Tuteja said. 

Other financial service companies are
considering using voice-activated devices as well, including

that these devices could pose security risks leaving
users vulnerable to
and hacks, customers are increasingly willing
to use such devices to manage their bank accounts. According to a
report by Bain & Co, over one-quarter of respondents would
consider using voice-controlled assistants for their everyday
banking, and 6% already do so.

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