On CNBC's "Closing Bell" Thursday, host Mike Santoli interviewed TD Ameritrade CEO Tim Hockey and asked him about investor's risk appetite, industry consolidation and client cash preferences. Hockey said, "We look at our retail clients that are more self-directed. We call them empowered. They actually like to take advantage of those types of opportunities.... December did feel a little different, I would say. If you look at our investor movement index, it actually dipped down. Our cash levels bounced back up. Our margin levels dropped. That's now slowly recovering, as those more active investors get back into the market and we have that recovery." Hockey was then asked to respond to ads run by competitors that now boast about paying more for cash balances in brokerage accounts. He explained, "We have a very different view, just as most in our industry do, about what that cash is for and what clients think of it. They don't actually think about it as an investment vehicle, an asset class in and of itself. When it comes to your self-directed account, you're really saying that's my money that's there as a holding tank until I decide to make that trade.... So as a result, that money is highly sticky. It doesn't usually chase for yield. Some of it does, of course. There's some price sensitivity. As a result, it's a very careful balance for us to manage the interest-paid levels with the demand sensitivity for clients. We think we find the right balance and make sure that they've got lots of vehicles they can invest in if they do want to search for yield."

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