TD and Units Continue to Hire

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TD Bank Financial Corp., parent of Toronto-Dominion bank, and its corporate cousin TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. are continuing to hire workers, giving good news to Canadian job seekers worried about financial problems flowing north from the U.S.

Toronto-based TD Ameritrade Holding has been adding sales and support staff to attract and retain customers - to the point where personnel expenses soared by $27.7 million, or 25.6 percent, in its quarter ended Sept. 30, according to TD Bank also is hiring at the same levels as last year, says Simon Townsend, a company spokesman.

The hiring at both companies comes as Canadian banks are weathering the global financial crisis in better trim than many of their U.S. counterparts. TD isn't the only bank adding staff amid the market turmoil: Canada Imperial Bank of Commerce is looking to build up its CIBC World Markets business. Scotia Capital, part of the Bank of Nova Scotia, is also adding staff, and many Canadian banks are interested in expanding in the U.S.

"Canada's financial institutions are in better shape than their U.S. counterparts thanks to a more conservative regulatory environment, and I think TD Bank is leading the way in capitalizing on that situation," says Ken Stouffer, a vice president with Toronto-based Fulcrum Search Science. "I think the people at TD are expecting quite a few customers of U.S. financial institutions to be shifting their business to the safer confines of a Canadian institution."

Among those institutions is TD Ameritrade, which plans to consolidate 2,000 workers in the Omaha area and could eventually hire as many as 400 additional workers. "Now, we're not going to hire 100 people by next week, but hiring will be paced over the entire year," TD Ameritrade Chief Executive Fred Tomcyzk told the Omaha World-Herald.

Tomczyk, who took over as CEO on Oct. 1, wants to lessen the bank's dependence on trading commissions. With February's purchase of Fiserv Inc.'s Investment Support Services, the company entered the business of managing company-sponsored 401(k) retirement plants and began catering to independent financial advisers, notes Bloomberg.

Caution in Canada, but Hiring Continues

Although recruiters caution the Canadian economy is showing some signs of slowing, Rakesh Kothary, branch manager for David Alpin Recruiting in Toronto, reports TD is "not the only client we are working with going through substantial hiring. Certainly, we have seen a little bit of a slowdown, but we are still seeing hiring opportunities happen in financial services."

TD is among Canada's Top 100 Employers in the eyes of Maclean's magazine, which calculates its list using criteria including physical work place, training and skills development and community development. TD received high marks in compensation, health benefits and community involvement.

The company "provides employees excellent financial benefits, including low-interest home loans, a share purchase plan, year-end bonuses and discounts on banking services," the magazine says. It "helps employees plan for retirement with a traditional pension plan and matching RSP contributions."

HSBC Bank Canada also made the list for becoming one of the first employers in British Columbia to go "carbon neutral" by investing in wind power and providing stipends of $4, 000 (Canadian) for parents who want to adopt children.

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