Exploring top tech solutions

Submitted by sally.tanner on December 16, 2020

Hi, I'm Jeff Blumenthal, Managing Director of Business Development on the West Coast for Schwab Advisor Services, and I'm excited today to be joined by my colleague, Janelle Ward. Janelle works within our Business Consulting and Education Team. 

Janelle, great to see you. Thanks for joining me this afternoon.

Jeff, thanks so much for having me.

Well, let's dive right in. When we're talking to advisors in the field, we constantly hear this concept of best of breed technology. Can you talk a little bit about what that might mean?

Best of breed, when it comes down to it, is the best software within a given category. 

While the core capabilities are often superior, importantly, best of breed enables advisors to create a purpose-built client experience. Ultimately, that's a driver of why advisors choose Schwab. 

They want the flexibility to work with providers of their choosing that best support their ideal client experience for today, and that experience as it's evolving into the future. 

And the best of breed technology approach aligns to support that vision.

I would imagine in this market environment that advisors are looking to interact with their clients using mobile with video technology, and there are lots of tools and resources in the market that probably make it a little bit difficult to decide what is best to use. Does your team help make those decisions?

Absolutely. We're helping advisors to understand the firm needs and helping them to also clarify their technology vision. How will technology ultimately support not only the staff, and business needs and experience, but that ideal client experience? 

We help put a detailed plan together that identifies the solutions that are going to be critical on day one at the launch of their firm or their transition to Schwab. And then, as well as looking at six months, 12 months, and beyond.

And in addition to the Schwab technology, the plan most often is going to include portfolio accounting software, which is going to deliver billing and reporting and sometimes trading and integrated client portal experience, client relationship management, as well as financial planning tools. And the plan identifies the components that are going to be most important to run the business from a technology standpoint, including what it's going to look and what it's going to feel like from the client standpoint.

And how does Schwab's technology integrate with some of these third-party systems?

Our goal is to help advisors connect the data and the workflows across many different platforms because we know that Schwab's technology is only one of the advisor's larger technology ecosystem that they're relying on every single day. 

We offer advisors a broad range of secure, high quality integrations with most of the leading technology providers today. And what's really exciting in the RIA technology marketplace, and at Schwab, is that number of providers is ever-growing. With our broad range of integration solutions, advisors also have the option to build customized integrations that enable their systems to access Schwab data whenever and wherever they need it.

Janelle, I would imagine that advisors often have a dream of what they would like to deliver to clients, but they're not quite sure how to get there. How does your team help bring that dream to reality?

Great question, Jeff. We come alongside as a thought partner. We're not here to make every decision for the advisor. Instead, we're here to help them uncover what truly matters most to their firm, and, ultimately, what experience is it that they're trying to deliver to their clients.

We'll help them think that through, put all of that into a detailed plan, and, ultimately, be there as a thought partner throughout the entire process.

Well, Janelle, it's been great to catch up this afternoon. Thanks for taking the time to walk us through the Schwab Technology service delivery. And, thanks, have a great day.

Jeff, thanks so much for having me. Have a great day.

Janelle Ward surveys the vast technology landscape and maps out the latest ways to create efficiency in RIA firms. Coming to Schwab from TD Ameritrade Institutional, Janelle is a managing director and technology consultant. She shares how the tech support for our RIAs rivals the tech support found in other channels.

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