Being Independent

Transition

Transition

What if becoming an RIA is the answer you’re looking for?

“We wondered how we’d handle the transition stress—then we got a transition plan.”

Becoming an independent RIA isn’t easy. But if you have a team like Schwab to help anticipate your needs, plan for the challenges, and move accounts, then the process is a lot less stressful.

Kent Skornia, Krilogy Financial

Want details about the transition?

The RIA Roadmap provides you with the key steps to take to help you start your journey to independence.

Forward Momentum will help you understand the RIA model and the opportunities it offers, specifically for large, elite advisor teams.

Exploring independence provides a comprehensive look at the spectrum of options for becoming an independent RIA, key benefits, economic potential and the role of the custodian.

Get Your Guide 

Complete this form and the guide is yours to download.

The form below helps us connect you with the right people to answer your questions about transitioning to an independent RIA. We also may use the information to send you additional leadership insights from Schwab Advisor Services.

 

Potential

“The question wasn’t, ‘How much growth will we see?,’ it was ‘Do we have a plan for it?’”

 

We knew there was potential for growing our business. We just weren’t sure how to prepare for it. With help from Schwab, we put together a strategy for short-term and long-term goals. It was a huge, eye-opening experience for us. We grew over 20% in just 24 months.

 

Bijan Golkar, FPC Investment Advisory

More and more advisors are part of the fastest growing, highest performing advisor channel. And they feel pretty good about it.

96% of advisors like you say they'd go independent again. That's an overwhelming majority who feel they've made the right choice. Maybe that’s because the RIA channel has been the fastest growing advisor channel for the past ten years, and shows no sign of slowing down.1 In fact, the numbers show that the channel and advisor managed assets will only continue to grow.

test
test
test
test
test
test
test
test
test

Advantages

“I asked myself: is there a way to serve my clients better?”

 

When you become a registered investment advisor (RIA), you become truly independent. You have control of your own brand, reputation, and values. And for my firm, becoming an independent RIA meant always acting in our clients’ best interest as a fiduciary. We can focus on offering products and services that are right for them.

Lindsey Williams, Vista Capital Partners

Support

See how Schwab can help with transitioning and beyond.

Members of Schwab Advisor Services discuss how they help with the transition process, selecting technology, establishing a business strategy, and more.

Advisor Transition Services

Learn how our Advisor Transition Services team can help you make the move to the RIA model.

+ Read transcript

This is a transcript of unscripted speech, rather than written prose, and therefore should not be relied on for grammatical accuracy. This is not a verbatim transcript. Parts have been slightly modified to improve readability.

On-screen text: 
Schwab Advisor Services™ 
Advisor Transition Services

On-screen text: 
Julian Lopez 
Managing Director, Advisor Services Business Development

JULIAN LOPEZ: Hello, my name is Julian Lopez, Managing Director of Schwab Advisor Services. Matt, thank you for joining us.

MATT FARIES: Sure. Glad to be here.

JULIAN: Director of Advisor Transition Services. It’s going to be a fun conversation; looking forward to spending some time here with you.

MATT: Me, too. Thanks for having me.

JULIAN: So let’s jump right in. When you think about your role and what you do, what do you particularly enjoy about what you bring as far as resources to advisors?

On-screen text: 
Matt Faries 
Managing Director, Advisor Transition Services

MATT: Yeah, so great question. There’s a lot to it that I enjoy, hard to narrow it down to one piece, in particular. But I would say, really, for me, it’s the onset of working with an advisor team, seeing them kind of see their dream come to reality.

JULIAN: How long have you been at Schwab now?

MATT: So I’ve been at Schwab 27 years…

JULIAN: All within Convergent Services?

MATT: Within Convergent Services about seven years now.

JULIAN: And so when you think about your role describe to a prospect who maybe is unfamiliar with what we do within your team…

MATT: Sure.

JULIAN: …what, exactly, that you and your team does for them.

MATT: Sure. Yeah, so I would say about 10 years ago we kind realized the need for separate teams to kind of help advisors during this transition process, like planning the actual conversion process, that transitioning for their firm. And so my whole job is dedicated to that conversation, and really my role is a project manager for that conversion, itself, right? So every advisor has a different model, every advisor team has a different need, a different structure. So I put together a list that says from ‘A to Z here are all the pieces that you’re going to need to look at, here are the priorities, here’s the timeline.’ That way they feel like as we’re moving close to that, quote, target date of that move nothing’s going to surprise them, right?

JULIAN: We’re taking an advisor from one side and kind of helping them bridge their current experience to what their experience might be at Schwab. Any one or two things that you would think about to tell an advisor ‘These… these are items that you want to be thinking about early in the process.’?

MATT: Each move is a little bit different. I think, first and foremost, ‘What is the most important piece? Why are you making this move?’ Right? ‘Is this for your clients?’ ‘Is this to meet, you know, new clients, go after clients that you haven’t necessarily been able to service in the past?’ ‘I think figuring out that marketing strategy, what your new vision is going to be, what your new strategy will be, how you’re going to grow your business, do you want to grow your business, what is the whole purpose of doing this’ is one of the key pieces. And then really the other important pieces is just being engaged in the process.

JULIAN: How do you prepare, how do you educate them on the ability to understand the different resources that are available to them?

MATT: Oftentimes, teams don’t really realize, number one, what that RIA model looks like, what it’s going to look like at Schwab. So, yeah, first and foremost, I have a checklist that I run through that as I mentioned earlier, kind of runs the gamut of here are all the things that we want to look at. We have in-depth research and training modules that we can show them, and so we start that training towards the end as they’re getting ramped up to start this new business. But, certainly, we’re pulling in specific product experts and so forth to introduce them to what our capabilities are, so that they understand them.

JULIAN: How would you position Schwab and what you do within your team, specifically, versus what we see and hear about in the industry.

MATT: This is a team that we put together over the last 10- to 15 years now, really, that’s solely dedicated to the conversion process . And we’ve built-out that process. We’ve built-out what that structure needs to look like, what that support needs to look like, beyond site support, if necessary, for these conversions. We’ve actually talked with other advisors who have gone through some of our competitors and seen what they have or have not done, and, certainly, feel like we’re… our product is much better, much more competitive from that standpoint.

JULIAN: So to that point, approximately, conversions and assets that you may or your team has worked on, been involved with over the last few years, do you have an idea as to what that looks like from a magnitude perspective?

MATT: Yeah, so from an overall perspective, I think we’re around 2,300 to 2,400 conversions, so teams, if you will, and I think around 190 billion in assets. So, certainly, a lot of experience, I think.

JULIAN: So let’s talk about the top two or three questions that you might get.

MATT: Ah, ‘What am I not thinking of?’

JULIAN: Yeah.

MATT: Right? ‘What am I missing?’ ‘How do I…’

JULIAN: I don’t know what I don’t know.

MATT: Right.

JULIAN: Yeah.

MATT: ‘How hard is the transition?’ Right? ‘How quickly can it happen?’ ‘How do I know my clients are going to come over?’ So it’s helping them kind of understand their book as deeply as possible.

JULIAN: How do you help them mentally prepare to take this leap?

MATT: It can get stressful. And it’s really pulling in our team that has that experience, sitting down with advisor. I’ve gone to advisors’ homes, you know, after hours, late at night…

JULIAN: Huh.

MATT: …to kind of sit down and walk through a project plan and make sure they have that comfort. But we do weekly calls, right, where we’ll call in and check in with the advisor or the team to make sure that they feel like everything is going according to plan. I really think helps give them the confidence and that everything is going to be okay, right? And to give them solid examples of what we’ve seen really helps.

JULIAN: You can tell that you’re passionate about the relationships.

MATT: Yeah. Yeah.

JULIAN: How to get people to get to do what they do best.

MATT: It’s great. I mean, they… to be honest, it is so rewarding to see how exciting this process is…

JULIAN: Yeah.

MATT: …to see the advisors, how excited they get, but even more so, their clients because I know I keep hitting on this, but that fear of what their clients are going…

JULIAN: Right.

MATT: …to say, and…

JULIAN: Right.

MATT: …you know, oftentimes, the client’s like, ‘What took you so long?’ You know?

JULIAN: Yeah.

MATT: And, ‘You know, we were waiting for you to do this.’ And ‘We’re so happy for you.’ And they’re bringing in cakes and cookies. I mean, how great is that?

JULIAN: So, Matt, what is the one thing that comes top of mind around what you want advisors to know about you or your team?

MATT: Yeah. I guess top of mind the one thing for them to know is that it’s going to be okay…

JULIAN: Yeah.

MATT: …that we’re going to help them, we will be there, we’re not going to leave them, we’re not going to go away, we are absolutely dedicated to making this process work. We don’t have other jobs. I don’t do this on the side. This is… I am fully dedicated to helping these advisors through this transition process.

JULIAN: Matt, thanks for that perspective and all the…

MATT: Yeah.

JULIAN: …other perspectives. Really appreciate you taking time out of your busy day…

MATT: Yeah, you got it.

JULIAN: …to join us. I know you’re going to have some advisors here actually visiting our facility shortly.

MATT: Yep. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. So you bet, thanks for your time, as well.

JULIAN: So thanks for joining us…

MATT: Appreciate it.

JULIAN: All right.

MATT: Okay.

DISCLOSURES: 
Information as of May 16, 2017. 
Information included during this video is intended to be an overview and is subject to change. 
Schwab does not provide legal, regulatory or compliance advice. Consult professionals in these fields to address your specific circumstance. 
Schwab Advisor Services™ serves independent investment advisors and includes the custody, trading, and support services of Schwab. 
Independent investment advisors are not owned by, affiliated with, or supervised by Schwab. 
©2017 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”). All rights reserved. Member SIPC. (0917-7028)

Business Consulting

Technology Services

Mike Williams, managing director of Technology Platform Sales, talks about guiding advisors to the technology solutions they will need to run, grow, and scale their businesses.

Learn how our Technology Services team can help you select the technology options that are right for your business.

+ Read transcript

This is a transcript of unscripted speech, rather than written prose, and therefore should not be relied on for grammatical accuracy. This is not a verbatim transcript. Parts have been slightly modified to improve readability.

On-screen text: 
Schwab Advisor Services™ 
Technology Services

On-screen text: 
Chris Reedy 
Managing Director, Advisor Services Business Development

CHRIS REEDY: Hello, I’m Chris Reedy, Managing Director of Business Development for Schwab Advisor Services. I’m joined today by Mike Williams, Managing Director, who leads our technology consulting team that works with advisors considering going independent. Welcome.

MIKE WILLIAMS: Thanks, Chris. Glad to be here.

CHRIS: So, Mike, how you’ve been at Schwab?

On-screen text: 
Mike Williams 
Managing Director, Technology Platform Sales

MIKE: Chris, I’ve been at Schwab for just over 24 years, you know, working on the consulting business, you know, helping advisors choose technologies from portfolio management, to client relationship management, and financial planning tools. So excited to have this opportunity to help advisors look at turning independent.

CHRIS: So, Mike, what do you like about your role?

MIKE: Chris what I like best about my role is the opportunity to work with firms that are looking to go independent. I mean, it’s an exciting time for those individuals, trying to decide should they start their own practice. It’s an exciting time, but a scary time. So having the opportunity to kind of be that coach in that important decision process in their life, and helping them think about all of the things they could do. And then I think the biggest win for me is actually seeing these firms be successful and knowing that I played a small part in that decision process.

CHRIS: Walk me through a little bit about how your team helps advisors.

MIKE: Okay. Well, our team helps advisors… I really look at it in three different ways. Our main focus is to get them comfortable with the tools and capabilities we have as a custodian, the technologies we bring to the table to do business with us. Then we also, you know, sort of play that coach role in trying to help them understand the tools and resources they will need day one. You know, the great thing about going independent is there are hundreds of firms out there that are catering to independent firms and the capabilities they will need. Again, that’s sort of a challenge there, trying to evaluate all these different tools. Again, that’s our team’s approach is to really help you narrow that down to a handful of solutions, and helping you really then pick the right solution for you firm. And then it’s understanding where you want to take your firm, and then some of the what are the nice-to-haves that we can later? How will those marry to those solutions we’re helping you choose right out of the gate?

CHRIS: What makes your team different than what’s out there from the competition?

MIKE: Well Schwab understands how important it is to make the right decision upfront. We want firms to make it through the transition period as smooth as possible, but we want them to stay focused on growing. Most of the firms we’re talking talk are in growth mode and looking to ‘How do I get to the next level?’ You know, our team is there to make sure they don’t miss a beat as they go through that transition period.

Having that dedicated resource allows someone to completely focus on that advisor’s specific needs, making sure they’re there any time, that they need to vet, a specific capability, or really understand the capabilities of the solutions they’re looking at, how those systems work together. Again, making sure that the advisor is comfortable with that decision process.

CHRIS: Advisors that are looking to go independent probably already have some sort of suite of technology solutions they’re using right now. What can they do differently with technology once they become an RIA?

MIKE: Well, a great thing is they have the flexibility to decide what’s right for them. A lot of the people we’re talking to that are coming out of the wirehouses or the IBD space, they have technology, but, in most cases, it’s chosen for them. Most cases, they’re… may even be paying for technology they’re not even using. You know, the sad thing is if they got something that’s not working for them, they’re kind of locked in and they can’t change. Once they’re an independent firm, they have the flexibility to decide what’s right for them. If something’s not working, they can pull the plug on it.

CHRIS: So 24 years with Schwab you’ve seen a lot of change in the technology space. What do you see the next changes be coming down the road?

MIKE: Yeah, Chis, I see more things moving to the cloud, big data, having access to service your clients in different ways. A perfect example would be around the automated investment space. New tools coming to the table to help advisors streamline the opening of account process, more self-service. When it comes to actually managing the assets, we’re seeing a lot of traction around our Institutional Intelligent Portfolios, where advisors are able to build model portfolios, and actually having those systems rebalance the account, having those accounts raise cash for clients automatically.

CHRIS: Why should advisors choose to work with Schwab Advisor Services?

MIKE: Why should advisors choose to work with Schwab Advisor Services? Three things come to mind. Really, just our experience in the industry. We really helped define this industry. When you think about 30 years ago, as this RIA space started to take off, Schwab was right there helping advisors think about how to set up firms. Next would be our technology. I’m the technology guy, so I believe we’ve got the best technology out there. Really, I think our approach to technology, allowing the advisor to decide what their platform is, us opening up our systems to allow some of the best-of-breed third-party technology systems to have access to the data for the advisor to run their business, service their clients.

And last but not least, probably the most important piece is the people. I mean, really we come to work every day, our main focus is taking care of our clients, advisors, helping our advisors wow their clients. At the end of the day taking care of the people that are most important to you, your clients is really what drives and makes people excited at Schwab to be… come to work every day.

CHRIS: Mike, thank you for joining us today and providing all your insights.

MIKE: Thank you, Chris. It’s a pleasure to be here today.

CHRIS: Thanks.

DISCLOSURES: 
Information as of May 16, 2017. 
Information included during this video is intended to be an overview and is subject to change. 
Schwab does not provide legal, regulatory or compliance advice. Consult professionals in these fields to address your specific circumstance. 
Schwab Advisor Services™ serves independent investment advisors and includes the custody, trading, and support services of Schwab. 

Institutional Intelligent Portfolios® is a technology and service platform made available by Schwab Performance Technologies (“SPT”) to independent investment advisors (“Advisors”) who maintain a business relationship with Schwab Advisor Services™, a division of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”).  Institutional Intelligent Portfolios is used by Advisors to provide their clients with an automated investment management service.  Schwab, a registered broker-dealer and member SIPC, provides custody, trading and support services. SPT and Schwab are separate companies affiliated as subsidiaries of The Charles Schwab Corporation, but their products and services are independent from each other.

Independent investment advisors are not owned by, affiliated with, or supervised by Schwab. 
©2017 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”). All rights reserved. Member SIPC. (0518-83YJ)

Service Professionals

Tina Kerr, senior team manager of Schwab Service, describes the deep relationships her team builds with advisors and the pride they take in supporting advisors’ back offices.

Learn how our Service Professionals and Client Support team can help you with your day-to-day needs.

+ Read transcript

This is a transcript of unscripted speech, rather than written prose, and therefore should not be relied on for grammatical accuracy. This is not a verbatim transcript. Parts have been slightly modified to improve readability.

On-screen text: 
Schwab Advisor Services™ 
Service Professionals

On-screen text: 
Jeff Blumenthal 
Managing Director, Advisor Services Business Development

JEFF BLUMENTHAL: Hi, I’m Jeff Blumenthal, Managing Director of West Coast Sales for Schwab Advisor Services, and I’m joined, today with Tina Kerr from the Schwab Advisor Services Service and Client Support group. Morning.

TINA KERR: Good morning.

JEFF: So I know you’ve been a Schwab over 10 years, and you spend a lot of time with clients. What’s a typical conversation with a client?

On-screen text: 
Tina Kerr 
Senior Team Manager, Service

TINA: So the conversations are different every day. It’s part of what I actually love about it, is that it’s never the same. A lot of them are some of the, ‘I need help doing this.’ ‘I need help doing that.’ They call the service team and they get to have one single point of contact of their service team. And we get to act as their quarterback, advocating for them with all of our different departments working with New Accounts, Retirement Services, making sure that those business partners understand the advisor relationship and, we really get to act, again, for the advocate for the advisor and their client, making sure that we’re working to get the best possible solution.

We get to know our advisors, their children, even cheering on the same sports teams and going through that. I just had an email from a client who we’re talking about the recent hockey playoffs, and making sure… or talking about those. So it’s just building those relationships over the phone that we prefer. But we do have, of course, the electronic methods of getting in touch with us for those that prefer that. Maybe they’re on the road and they can only communicate through email. We have secure email messaging that they can communicate through that, as well.

JEFF: Does Schwab do anything to measure service?

TINA: Yeah, so we go out to our clients, with a third party, and ask them to rate what they think of service. And we are the leading custodian in that, and it’s something that we take very serious. Myself, as a manager, I follow up with the folks who respond to those surveys, asking for feedback, and not just whenever they respond to a survey, but on a continual basis, making sure, again, that we are making… that our service is what it is that they need. So it’s not just a one-time thing where we check in. It’s an ongoing relationship, again, making sure that we’re meeting their needs.

JEFF: What do you think differentiates service at Schwab?

TINA: It’s our culture. We really strive to see things through the clients’ eyes, again making sure that the client is taken care of, making sure that the advisor can really service the clients in the way that they want to. Each of our advisors are different, and so we need to make sure that we are tailoring our service so that they can serve their clients in the way that they see fit.

JEFF: Can you talk a little bit about how you hire employees?

TINA: So we have a very high tenure on our service teams. We work very hard to hire the individuals who are here to service clients. It’s about customer service, client service, not necessarily, you know, knowing everything about the industry. It’s ‘Are you going to be there to support our clients and provide the highest level of customer service?’ And we work very hard. Of course, there are folks who we’ll promote and move on within the organization, but we work hard for the succession planning it’s a focus, making sure that we have the right folks to move in when somebody does move on.

JEFF: So we talked a little bit about advisor technology. What kind of technology is available for end clients?

TINA: The end clients have access to the Schwab Alliance website, and then they can also do the mobile app, as well. This allows them to view their accounts easily, also allows them to approve electronic authorizations of money movements, which is just a fast and secure way to be able to get their money.

JEFF: When you work with new advisors that have transitioned out of an independent broker-dealer what are the big a-ha’s that are different about workflow or our approach?

TINA: Yeah. I think the big thing is that they’re not alone. I know that sometimes it’s scary for them kind of thinking that they’re going to branch off onto their own, doing their own business, but Schwab is here to support them. That’s what our business is and we do it well according to our clients. So they’re not alone. It’s something that we will help them through, and, they will be happier on the other side being able to service their clients the way that they want to.

JEFF: Tina, thanks you for your time this morning. It sounds like you have a lot of passion, ah, about serving advisors, and, ah, appreciate all your feedback today.

TINA: Yeah, a pleasure being here.

JEFF: All right.

TINA: Thank you.

JEFF: Thanks.

DISCLOSURES: 
Information as of May 16, 2017. 
Information included during this video is intended to be an overview and is subject to change. 
Schwab does not provide legal, regulatory or compliance advice. Consult professionals in these fields to address your specific circumstance. 
Clients refer to advisors who custody with Schwab Advisor Services. 
Schwab Advisor Services™ serves independent investment advisors and includes the custody, trading, and support services of Schwab. 
Independent investment advisors are not owned by, affiliated with, or supervised by Schwab. 
©2017 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”). All rights reserved. Member SIPC. (0917-7028)

Your independence. Supported by Schwab.

The RIA industry is our history and our future—we’re in it for the long haul. Discover why more than 7,500 independent RIAs choose Schwab Advisor Services and how we are supporting them at every step of their journey.

Explore the Schwab Difference >

test

What if now is your moment?

Talk with Schwab Advisor Services about your questions around becoming an independent RIA. There’s never been a better time to go independent.

We will contact you

If you have questions, would like to discuss options, or are interested in working with Schwab Advisor Services, complete the form below and a representative will contact you within two business days.

 

dialog