Tim Hockey is receiving a baptism by fire.
Hockey addressed the 2016 TD Ameritrade National LINC conference after stepping in as TD Ameritrade’s president at the beginning of the year amidst market turmoil and general uncertainty towards the future of the financial industry.
“In 2016, we’ve had one of the worst openings of the markets ever, my first week,” Hockey said. “Yet I feel a renewed sense of energy in my new role, I have new people to meet and new things to conquer.”
The company announced that Hockey will take over for current CEO Fred Tomczyk, who has served in that role since 2008, at the end of 2016.
Hockey isn’t the first top executive to take over at TD Ameritrade in such a pivotal moment. Tomczyk recalled his first days on the job in the middle of the 2008 financial crisis.
“I remember taking my family, all of the kids, on a trip before I started this job,” Tomczyk told conference attendees. “I came back and landed on a Sunday night and Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers were going down. It was one week before I was taking over and the world was imploding. The first question I got was what was it like to be the man who advances to be CEO of TD on the eve of the worst crisis since the Great Depression?”
While Hockey was a very public face at the Orlando conference, TD Ameritrade is easing him into the CEO position by having him work alongside Tomczyk for nine months.
“It’s a good thing I’ve had a month. I’ve had the benefit of four weeks of learning,” Hockey said. “I’m on a listening tour, trying to understand the businesses and the culture and how we can take it all to the next level.”
Tomczyk said the difficult start in 2016 isn’t directly analogous to 2008.
“It’s an interesting market, and it’s difficult to comprehend,” Tomczyk said.”A lot of the correlations through history don’t make sense anymore. The market is going with the price of oil, usually the correlation is about 55 percent, but now it’s 90 percent correlated with oil. There seem to be a lot of overnight moves impacting earnings. We’re seeing a lot of futures trading when the markets close in the U.S.”