Independent perspectives: The steps to a smooth transition

Submitted by john.warren on October 28, 2020

Hi, I'm Jeff Blumenthal, Managing Director of Business Development at Schwab Advisor Services in the West. And I'm joined today by my colleague, Tony Parkin. Tony is a Vice President and runs the Business Consulting and Education team at Schwab. Tony, it's great to have the opportunity to spend some time with you today.

Thanks, Jeff.

Can you talk a little bit about what your team has built to help advisors in transition?

Many of the advisors that we work with, as you know, get a little locked up at the idea of executing on a dance that involves a lot of choreography. 

And this concept of discover, plan, and launch really has resonated with many of them. And it's really become a mantra of sorts for our team of consultants who work with them in this discover phase of looking towards independence.

Tell me about what that means when an advisor interacts with your startup consulting team?

First, is truly them discovering all the options of independence. 

What are all of the options that underlie that decision to become a registered investment advisor? 

So that first piece is truly understanding the model and the opportunities that exist in the model. And then, second, and of equal importance, is what is the firm that that advisor envisions? 

We've invested in and launched an offering earlier this year that we call our firm design offering, which gives us a really structured way to have a deep discovery conversation with advisors evaluating a transition to independence to understand everything that we can about who they are, who their team members are, who their clients are today, what they offer those clients, and then, importantly, what they would like that firm and that client base and that team base to look like years down the road.

And then at the end of that process, we have something that we call our firm design blueprint. It's literally a 16-page document that we hand over to them that plays back all of those conversations that we have, that played back to them the plan that they have decided that they want to move forward with.

Let's talk a little about how your team can help advisors select technology and implement it in their new firm.

Yeah, technology is a huge part of the conversation, especially these days. 

We have a team of technology and operations consultants that specialize in working with advisors looking to transition to independence. We're able to give them a pretty clear picture of what some of that tech stack should look like. And even after that, make some introductions to some key parties in the industry that can help them take action on implementing those systems and those processes.

Can you give me some background on what your team does to help advisors actually move client accounts and start the firm?

Yeah, absolutely. At the end of the planning phase, we have identified many of the third parties that a firm is going to need to work with to get themselves set up and who will act as key partners to their business ongoing. 

And then there's almost a whole separate track that our business transition consultants come in and start to handle around the actual movement of the clients and the assets from one system and one broker-dealer to another.

They spend a tremendous amount of time with the advisors to make sure that everything they and their clients need from a custodian we have and we can deliver on, and they understand how those capabilities of our systems work. And they also step in to help keep a lot of those other interactions with the key third parties on time and those parties on task to make sure that the group of people that are working together to have a successful transition, both in the advisor's team, our team, and in those third parties I mentioned before, are dialed into a plan that's really clear for everybody.

Tony, thanks for joining me today. 

I'm Jeff Blumenthal with Schwab Advisor Services. Thanks, and have a great day.

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