TD Waterhouse Group said Wednesday that its profits more than doubled in the second quarter against the year-earlier period, pushed by an industrywide surge in online investing.
The New York discount brokerage earned $76.6 million, or 20 cents a share, in the three months that ended April 30. Earnings for the affiliate of Toronto-Dominion Bank were $30 million in the year-earlier quarter.
Revenues were $488.7 million, up from $249 million, and assets under management were $160.4 billion, up 51%.
Stephen McDonald, chief executive officer of TD Waterhouse, said the company won 418,000 new accounts in the quarter, up 61%. It spent $70 in advertising per new account, up from $49.
"Everyone anticipated growth because of the active market, but we grew even more than that claimed by overall market expectations," Mr. McDonald said.
He noted that analysts had expected the company would earn 16 cents a share.
However, Ken Worthington, an analyst with CIBC World Markets in New York, said TD Waterhouse's growth was no big surprise. "This is not bucking the trend," he said. "This was driven by an increase in daily average revenue trading. More online trading led to greater earnings."
Investors made a record 1.4 million online trades a day from January through March, versus 800,000 a day in the fourth quarter of 1999. TD Waterhouse processed 254,800 of those trades, and 74% were entered through its Web site, up from 59% in the year-earlier period.
Mr. McDonald said he expects continued growth even though the stock market has cooled.
"People are tending to sit on their hands during this period of retrenchment, and that just means we are going to have to work smarter," he said. "The secular trend toward online investing is now in place. There will be peaks and valleys caused by market activity and volatility."
Mr. McDonald said TD Waterhouse will focus on the wireless market and on increasing its market share in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, India, and the United Kingdom.
TD Waterhouse is 88.5%-owned by Toronto-Dominion Bank's TD Waterhouse Holdings Inc.