TD Ameritrade ( AMTD - Get Report) CEO Joe Moglia said the brokerage will stay the course. While activist shareholders who advocate a merger are simply "doing their job," it does create a "media-type distraction," Moglia said at a Sandler O'Neill & Partners conference in New York on Thursday. "We cannot take our eye off the ball in regards to our business plan," he said on Thursday. "There is not going to be a change to our business plan. There is not going to be a change to our strategy." The chief executive was referring to a letter sent recently to the Omaha, Neb., online brokerage by hedge funds Jana Partners and S.A.C. Capital. They said they "wish to see TD Ameritrade pursue a business combination with one of its industry peers," namely E*Trade ( ETFC - Get Report) or Charles Schwab ( SCHW - Get Report). The funds revealed that they now own a combined 8.4% stake in the firm and were looking to acquire more shares. TD Ameritrade disclosed the letter in a regulatory filing late Tuesday. The online brokerage is no stranger to acquisitions. It has completed eight acquisitions under Moglia's watch since 2001. Last year, the company merged with TD Bank's ( TD - Get Report) U.S. retail brokerage, TD Waterhouse USA. In May, the company finally completed the conversion of former TD Waterhouse clients. TD Ameritrade is also on its way to completing a ninth deal. Two weeks ago, it agreed to purchase a portion of Fiserv's investment support services business for $225 million upfront and an additional $100 million based on certain revenue targets. The deal gives the firm an additional 500 investment advisers and $28 billion in total client assets, most of which are managed by the advisers.
"The entire business plan is focused on an intense orientation around taking care of our active trader, and aggressively going after the long-term investor. And then you've got an offering where we can service" registered investment advisers, he said. But Moglia said the company's next acquisition may not be limited to just online brokers. The company has "an intense focus on our business plan and along with that really looking hard to make sure we are looking at a number of opportunities in the marketplace -- not just what's going on in online brokerage," Moglia said. "As we get more into the asset gathering space perhaps we're supposed to be more creative with regard to where we might look for strategic opportunities." One conference participant asked why the company hasn't already merged with E*Trade. TD Ameritrade "just finished the integration
of TD Waterhouse as we speak. The landscape changes literally all the time," Moglia said. "I said to you: don't only think in terms of online brokers. I said you should also be thinking in terms of maybe something that else that might be ... with the asset-gathering strategy that we are leaning toward. "We going to be deliberate. We're going to be thoughtful, and I have no problem with taking a little longer" to do the right thing, he said. Shares of TD Ameritrade were down 46 cents to $20.25 after reaching a 52-week high of $21.08 during Wednesday trading.