Advisor Transition Services
Schwab Advisor Services™
Advisor Transition Services
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?
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…
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?’
MATT: Right? ‘What am I missing?’ ‘How do I…’
JULIAN: I don’t know what I don’t know.
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…
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…
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…
MATT: …to say, and…
MATT: …you know, oftentimes, the client’s like, ‘What took you so long?’ You know?
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…
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…
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 Faries, director of Advisor Transition Services, describes the steps that he and his team take and the lengths to which they go to create a successful transition to the independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) model.