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Advisor Transition Services
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.Open new window
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.
Rob Barnes, sales director of Managed Accounts and Alternative Investments, describes the breadth of investments available to advisors.Open new window
Schwab Advisor Services™
Managing Director, Advisor Services Business Development
SCOTT D’ALESSANDRO: Well, good afternoon, everyone. My name is Scott D’Alessandro, and I’m Managing Director for Business Development in the Eastern Division, and I’m here with Rob Barnes, who is our Sales Director of Managed Accounts and Alternative Investments. Welcome.
ROB BARNES: Thank you, Scott.
SCOTT: First off, can you just share how long have you been with Schwab?
Director, Managed Accounts and Alternative Investments
ROB: Right, 17 years, all that time in our, Managed Account organization, out of San Francisco. And, so working all that time with advisors through our Advisor Services group.
SCOTT: I know that, you know, the industry, there’s a lot of folks in it. What do you view as Schwab’s, I would say, strengths…
ROB: From a platform solution standpoint, Schwab, historically, since I’ve been here, is what we call open architecture, meaning you, the advisor, if there’s a manager or fund that you want to hold at Schwab for your clients, we’ve got great people in place that can work with those funds’ managers to get the proverbial plumbing in place so that the managers can trade your accounts at Schwab. And so it’s one of those where it’s the steady blocking and tackling of doing that and supporting a platform. But it’s so much more than just sort of the nuts and bolts. You know, I get back to people again, and just that sort of institutional memory, the experience, and sort of being in the industry, and really appreciating it for what it is, and sort of the independent mindedness. And, so I think there are a lot of reasons to appreciate Schwab and to be proud of, but I think it really just keeps coming back to the people, and, obviously, technology is such a big thing these days, as well.
And beyond that I think our partners in the asset management world, right? So, again, separate accounts. Schwab is very highly regarded in that way. And so, oftentimes many of the money managers that you… the advisor you’re dealing with have a long track record and history of working with Schwab and trading at Schwab, as well. So we’ve got a great reputation in the asset management world, as well.
SCOTT: One other thing that I hear a lot is they’re so much information coming to these folks that are leaving the firms that it’s so complicated. What would you tell them if they’re coming here and they’re looking at separate account management.
ROB: My message in these situations is you can do it yourself, right? You can go out, you can hire a manager direct that we call dual-contract—right?—where you have an agreement between your firm and the manager, and you’re setting your own terms. And, really, Schwab is acting as custodian in those situations. We’re really not in the middle of the relationship mandating what the fees and the minimums should be, all that. And know that Schwab, you know, we always try and provide the solution, right? So there’s the sort of do-it-yourself, but then where’s the solution?
And know that there are any manner of capabilities to help you sort of find your way, right? Due diligence. Schwab does research on managers. We have opinions on managers. So, obviously, you can rely on Schwab for that. We also provide a database search capability, right? So, oftentimes, you’ll see an advisor who’s trying to replace a manager, and I’ll spend some time with them getting acquainted with our database capability. We work through… Informa we’ve private labeled Informa, who’s kind of a Morningstar of separate accounts. So you can go out and run a search… let’s say, a large cap growth search, and ‘Show me all large cap growth managers that have, you know, a 10-year track of top quartile performance for Sharpe ratio and batting average,’ or something like that.
So you take this vast universe of managers at Schwab and, hopefully, narrow it down to two or three that you can ultimately call on and interview, and really kind of do more investigation to see if they really fit, and, you know, have a shared philosophy, and connect with their people, as well.
SCOTT: What do you love about your job?
ROB: I get great joy from the outcomes. And so I love to see people succeed. One of my things is meeting advisor 10, 15 years ago, and going into their office and it was such a mom and pop originally, and now look, there’s 50 people in this office, and what a story it’s become. Just seeing that sort of success manifested, really I enjoy that.
SCOTT: A concern that I hear sometimes from advisors is ‘If I leave the wirehouse can I get the same product that I have there?’
SCOTT: Sometimes it’s proprietary, other times we may not have it…
SCOTT: …but it could be added.
SCOTT: How would you address that to them?
ROB: Right. So know that before advisor makes any type of move, right? We will… our team does a thorough review of all your current holdings, right? So you’ll know with confidence, ‘Okay, of the seven managers I use, six are already set up at Schwab, and the one that isn’t Schwab will work to get that one set up.’ Sometimes folks will allocate to proprietary in-house funds, and oftentimes those aren’t, necessarily transferable, but maybe what you can do is develop alternatives where maybe the fund firm that you offer a version of it here at Schwab that over time you can liquidate the other position and reposition here at Schwab.
And know that we’ve got dedicated people on service teams that can help you in those situations and in setting up those funds and getting them onto the Schwab platform and so forth. And I think the message and the takeaway in these situations is that, ‘Oh, okay, Schwab has the ability to help me sort of find options.’
SCOTT: Well, Rob, I wanted to thank you very much for your time. It’s been a pleasure having you here and sharing some of your information with us here. So, again, thank you so much.
ROB: Thank you, Scott. Appreciated it.
Charles Schwab Bank Deposit and Lending Services for your clients
Schwab Bank National Sales Executive Christian Rodriguez describes the banking products and services available to clients that complement the investment accounts advisors manage.Open new window
Charles Schwab Bank®
Client banking and lending services
Managing Director, Advisor Services Business Development
JEFF BLUMENTHAL: Hi, I’m Jeff Blumenthal. I’m the Managing Director of West Coast Sales for Schwab Advisor Services, and I’ll be speaking today with Christian Rodriguez, who joins me from Charles Schwab Bank. Hi, Christian. How are you today?
CHRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ: I’m doing well. How are you doing today?
JEFF: Great, thanks. When most people think about Charles Schwab they think about a brokerage company and they don’t know that we have a really large bank. Can you tell me a little bit about Schwab Bank?
National Sales Executive, Charles Schwab Banking & Trust Services
CHRISTIAN: Well, it’s interesting that you bring that up because the fact that people don’t know Charles Schwab Bank, but we’re the 12th largest bank in the nation, with over $180 billion in assets. So we are a very large institution and we are very proud to be part of Charles Schwab.
JEFF: And so I understand that the Bank was purpose-built to support clients of advisors. Can you tell me a little bit about the products and services that are available?
CHRISTIAN: So what we’ve built for clients of advisors is we have a bank that offers lending, deposits, and trust services, but we also partner with some industry leaders, like Quicken Home Loans, to provide home lending,
JEFF: Interesting. Often, advisors when they’re in transition worry about relationships they’ve built using bank products like pledged asset lines.
CHRISTIAN: One thing that some advisors or prospects aren’t aware of is that we actually help facilitate bringing those lines over and bringing them over to Schwab. Some people think that they have to close that line out. They don’t necessarily have to do that. We can go ahead and facilitate that, and make that transition very smooth for them.
JEFF: You mentioned Charles Schwab Trust Services. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
CHRISTIAN: Charles Schwab Trust Services is something that, candidly, we should be asking more questions about because we’ve got a very unique offer in the sense that it’s a bifurcated model, and it’s bifurcated in the sense that we take care of the administration aspect of the trust, but we still allow the advisor to do the investing and all the investments that come with that. So it’s a little unique, but it’s worked very well for us.
JEFF: We’re in a technology world now that talks a lot about being mobile, mobile first. What kind of mobile capabilities does Schwab Bank offer?
CHRISTIAN: You might be surprised to find out that over 90% of the deposits that Charles Schwab Banking and Trust Services takes in are done mobilely. So that’s one of the big things that we have is our mobile capabilities, being able to do the deposits like that. And then some of the other things that we’re working on, too, is facilitating the onboarding process, especially for prospects and advisors, in regards to transferring what they have with other institutions over to Charles Schwab Banking and Trust Services.
JEFF: Culture is a big part of what drives good service. Can you tell me a little bit about the culture of your team?
CHRISTIAN: The culture of our team is really based around trust. We need to trust in the sense that we know what we’re doing, we know how to approach the client or the advisor, and make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to provide the best experience possible.
JEFF: So, Christian, when advisors are in transition, there’s a lot of planning that has to take place before they can move. Can you talk a little bit your team gets involved with that?
CHRISTIAN: Our team gets involved very early in the transition process, because the earlier that we can get involved and understand what the dynamics and all the different pieces are coming over, the more equipped we are to help and provide the right solution there. So we’ll work very closely with the business development officer to immediately understand what the loan portfolio looks, what are the constraints on it, what are the interest rates, and then we quickly go in, work together, and figure out what we can do to match or beat rates in most parts, and really make sure that that transition is as smooth as possible. But the banking needs are the least of the worries that the advisor has in their transition.
We know that it’s a stressful situation and we know that there’s a lot of moving parts. So what we want to make sure is that everything from a banking perspective is taken care of, where as soon as they, quote/unquote, turn on the lights that everything is smooth, not only in the entire process, but, most importantly, from a banking and trust services perspective.
JEFF: Schwab supports advisors of all sizes, but I know that smaller firms can leverage some of these banking capabilities to really differentiate their offer.
CHRISTIAN: That’s what it’s all about. It’s about making sure that regardless of size of firm or, candidly, client size, that we have everything that we need to provide the solutions that they’re looking for.
JEFF: Christian, I know you’ve been with Schwab Bank for three years. What do you love most about your job?
CHRISTIAN: What I love most about the job is I get a chance every day to interact with clients and see if we can figure out a way to provide an exquisite client experience and make sure that we’re providing everything that we need to make them feel confident with Charles Schwab and the brand that they’re deciding to do business with.
JEFF: Christian, I really appreciate your time this afternoon. I’ve learned a lot about the Bank today, and I really appreciate the support you provide our Advisor Services clients.
CHRISTIAN: Well, Jeff, thank you very much for having me here today. I really appreciate the opportunity to partner with you and your business, and I look forward to great things in the future.
JEFF: All right, thanks a lot.
CHRISTIAN: Thank you.
Providing value long after your transition
Whether it's making portfolio-level decisions or developing your unique brand message, we know how to help.
Members of the Schwab Advisor Services Trading Team discuss the many ways they help independent RIAs with day-to-day trading needs.Open new window
Schwab Advisor Services™
Managing Director, Advisor Services Business Development
JULIAN LOPEZ: Hello, my name is Julian Lopez, Managing Director with Schwab Advisor Services, coming to you from Phoenix, Arizona. It’s my privilege to have part of our Trading Team here with us, members of different departments within the Trading Team, that are going to help introduce what they do for all of the advisors that we work with across the country. Rob Malone, with our Fixed Income Trading Desk, welcome.
ROB MALONE: Thank you.
JULIAN: Susie Gonzales, Mutual Fund Trading. Pleasure to have you.
SUSIE GONZALES: Thank you very much.
JULIAN: Steve Bauer, with our Equity Trading Team…
STEVE Bauer: Thank you.
JULIAN: Thanks for being here.
STEVE: Thank you…
JULIAN: And Kris Anest with our Middle Office.
KRIS ANEST: Thank you.
JULIAN: Thanks, guys, for making time out of your busy schedules. So what I’d like to do is start off by asking you to introduce yourselves a little bit and tell us a little bit about what you do, what your role entails, and then we’ll get into some of the details a little bit later. Rob, let’s start with you. How long have you been at Schwab? Tell us a little bit about your role.
Senior Team Manager, Advisor Services Fixed Income Trading
ROB: So I’m Rob Malone. I manage the Advisor Services Fixed Income team and we provide back office support, we support their trading needs, and, most importantly, I think what we do is we partner with them and help them, come up with research and tools that make their firm as efficient as possible.
JULIAN: Wonderful. Thanks for being here again. Susie, mutual funds. So great to have you.
SUSIE: Thank you.
JULIAN: A little bit about yourself, how long you’ve been at Schwab and how would you describe your role?
Senior Specialist, Advisor Services Mutual Fund Trading
SUSIE: Been at Schwab for 14 years, industry total 17 years. We… on my role, we are here anything mutual fund-related for our advisors—research, you know, just a general phone call, trading, anything mutual fund-related we are support.
JULIAN: Excellent, thanks. Steve, equities. Certainly, the largest channel at Schwab, right? But certainly keeps you busy.
Manager, Institutional Trading
STEVE: Absolutely. Steve Bauer. I’ve been at Schwab for 10 years. And we help advisors execute large blocks of equities, ETFs, options, international stock, ex-cedera, anything from strategy to help with the website in regards to trading capabilities.
JULIAN: Thanks for that. Kris, middle office—Prime Broker, Trade-Away. I know there’s a lot of other things that probably come into definition of middle office. But tell us a little bit about yourself and your team.
Senior Team Manager, Advisor Custody and Trading
Middle Office Trade Away Services
KRIS: So I’ve been at Schwab for 15 years, in the industry for 30. But what we do in Middle Office is we take care of our clients across the country. We’ve got offices in Denver and in Phoenix, teams in Denver and Phoenix. We handle their trade error issues. We handle any reconciliation issues. I’m a senior manager on the Trade-Away Services Desk. So we book Prime Broker transactions and transactions that advisors custody with us, but they book… they place their trades, or execute their trades away from Schwab.
JULIAN: So let’s dive in to a little bit more about what you all do on a daily basis. Rob, let’s start with you.
ROB: I think the biggest thing we do is, number one, we have dedicated coverage. So an advisor, when you call in to our desk, you’ll be speaking with the same representative every single time. So there is an opportunity there for the trader on my team to develop a relationship with you and learn how you manage your business. So from that point, we’re able to identify what types of bonds you need in your portfolio. We can also identify solutions around training. And, in particular, I think one of our strengths is how we disseminate knowledge. So we can present Knowledge Forums with the Schwab Center for Financial Research. We can have them come to your office live, and help you with strategic discussions. We also put on quarterly webcasts that focus on a specific area of the market. And the last thing that we do is we publish all of our information on the website, so a lot of the research and back office tools available to you.
JULIAN: I think that’s great. Thank you for that. Susie, mutual funds.
SUSIE: We service only the investment advisor. There’s so many different roles that we do play, whether it’s just we are here for support if they need us, whereas we could proactively going out and running asset reviews for them, new assets coming over. We can review the different products to see if they’re available at Schwab. And then kind of go a little further to see maybe there’s a better share class out there for them. We can proactively run reviews for them and let them know, ultimately, what Schwab has to offer, the services we have to offer, and always be there to lend the best experience that we can for them.
JULIAN: Rob, let’s jump back over to you. Fixed income is an interesting story in today’s world. When you go out to an advisor, what are maybe the top two or three questions that you get from them as you’re sitting with them in their offices?
ROB: Well, there are strategic and portfolio positioning questions, of course, and that’s where we can employ the Schwab Center for Financial Research to help them guide the direction they want their portfolio to take. But the team itself, when you look at who’s on the team, we average 22 years of experience. So if you have a dedicated fixed income professional, they’re only talking about fixed income, they’re not generalists, and they’re able to speak to you and help you make portfolio-level decisions. I think that’s incredibly valuable. Then, in addition to that, we have some online tools and resources that are available. We have a fixed income portfolio analysis tool—very robust platform, allows advisor to input CUSIPs from a potential portfolio, and they’ll get an idea of what that looks like. And they can present that in an output that’s branded to their firm, they can show it to a prospect or an existing client, and they can rehearse presentations with them based on that portfolio output.
JULIAN: Susie, Mutual Funds. So what in your world do you see or hear from advisors as a top maybe two or three questions that you get in your daily activity with them?
SUSIE: You know, I think a lot with the DOL and, wanting to do the best for their clients. So a lot of it now is, ‘What tools are out there, what can the Desk do to help me manage my business, make sure my clients are in the appropriate investments that they should?’ We’ve been seeing a lot of that. And then just availability of the funds, of the fund platform. We have over 15,000 funds available out there, different share classes of everything. And they’re coming out with new funds every day, so there’s a lot of availability questions and, ‘What can I… what do I need to do to be able to get these funds available.’
JULIAN: So, Kris, Middle Office—I think there’s a common statement we hear from advisors. What don’t we know, or what should we be asking that we’re not asking currently? When you think about your world and your team as it relates to that statement, how would you help an advisor get more familiar with what you do?
KRIS: So when they call our desk and they talk to folks that have very, very deep knowledge, because, they too, are very tenured what we want to hear from them is who do they have relationships with, what other executing brokers do they have relationships with, and what it is that they want us to do to help both their firm, their executing broker, and us make every Prime Broker transaction or Trade-Away transaction seamless.
JULIAN: That’s great. Susie, we have advisors of all shapes and sizes at Schwab. We have some advisors that are just getting started out and some that have really matured and are large practices. How would you say maybe you would work with a smaller advisor, let’s just say somebody that has less than 100 million in assets under management? Do you and your team, do you cater a little bit differently knowing that the person that’s trading is also the owner who’s also doing the ops for the firm?
SUSIE: Absolutely not. We want to make the experience for every single advisor on our platform the same. We love our job. We love providing that service to them. So whether it’s a, you know, smaller advisor or, you know, one of the biggest that we have, I think the experience that they’re going to get is completely the same. We are here for them to make every interaction with us the best it can be.
JULIAN: That’s great. Rob, when I think about fixed income, Bloomberg machines come to mind quickly and quotes. Not all advisors can afford to have a specialist for just fixed income trading within their office, but that’s where you come into play. Help us understand maybe how you see your interactions with a smaller advisory firm versus a really large, complex firm.
ROB: Well, whether it’s a large firm or a small firm, I think that the biggest thing you worry about when it comes to fixed income it’s a decentralized market, it’s highly inefficient, so we want to partner with you. And, in particular, if it’s a small firm, that they don’t have an in-house fixed income staff, we want them to know that they can call us and we’ll put their bid out to our network of over 200 dealers. We’ll advocate on their behalf. JULIAN: Let’s talk a little bit about tenure. You know, I think this is so critically important and very big differentiator for Schwab, in general, but I imagine for your teams, as well. Susie, let’s start with you. When you think about your team, these aren’t professionals who are coming to this industry for the first time. We’re growing, we’re certainly investing in the future of our business, as well, but we have a seasoned group of professionals that are there for advisors. What does that look like on your team?
SUSIE: Absolutely. Yeah, we have a well-seasoned group of individuals on my team. We have two gentlemen that have been with Schwab for 25 years. With Advisor Services, it’s a little bit different. Once you get down to Advisor Services, it’s such a great group of people, true professionals, and people don’t want to leave. It’s a great place to be. It is a great place to be. I think on my team, our tenure, we have a little newer folks on there, but altogether tenue I would say would be over 15 years.
JULIAN: Certainly you know, a lot of intellectual capital that we’re bringing to the table.
JULIAN: Kris, let’s talk about your team. So tenue, what does you team look like?
KRIS: So I have an employee, I would say now she’s probably bumped up to number five, she’s been with Schwab for 36 years.
KRIS: So talk about deep knowledge. She helped build the Prime Broker desk. The average tenure on my desk, ‘cause I do have a few newbees, is about 12 years. But again, just like Susie said, the tenure in that knowledge it’s just… it’s so deep, and people don’t want to leave.
ROB: I’d like to go back on what Kris said real quick. I mean, you can’t hack experience.
ROB: So to have a team full of people with 22-plus years of experience, on the surface that’s great. When you think about the connections they have in the industry…
ROB: …particularly, in fixed income…
ROB: …the strength connections they have, the dealer network they’ve developed over the years…
ROB: …that experience is completely invaluable. And I think that across all four of our teams you know, 12-plus years, 15-plus years, 20-plus years of experience, that’s incredible.
JULIAN: Yeah, and particularly in Fixed Income, right? It’s even more critical that we have some of that experience.
JULIAN: …the knowledge and awareness, and to your point, the network of dealers that are out there. Many of our advisors come to us and say, ‘I have relationships already. I just need to execute what I need to execute with you, but I have a lot of these resources.’ And so those networks that you bring to the table through your team are critical.
JULIAN: Yeah. Steve, what about your team?
STEVE: So our team, our average tenure is 18 years, in spite of me who’s only 10 years. But, we’ve had a bunch of former advisors, Wall Street traders, floor traders, option floor traders on our team that really bring a wealth of knowledge and experience. And we’re all constantly learning from each other every day, and learning from our advisors, and sharing that knowledge with advisors every day. I think we all really get a thrill out of being involved in the market every day and being a sounding board for our advisors.
JULIAN: Rob, let’s jump over to you. What is it about your role that you particularly enjoy?
ROB: Well, last week, I was in the field visiting with advisors. We had a number of visits in Seattle and Portland. And the one thing I like is they all have a story about how they started their business, right?
ROB: It was a one-man shop 10 years ago. They’ve developed trust among their clients. They’ve turned it into this successful business model. And, for me, it’s really simple. I like partnering with entrepreneurs and help them become successful.
JULIAN: Steve what gets you up in the morning? What is it that you love about what you do?
STEVE: Well, I love markets and I love investing and helping our advisors and their clients become financially fit. I love when an advisor gives us an order and they give us discretion over that order, and we’re able to surprise them in a good way over how great that execution was.
JULIAN: Kris, Steve, Susie, Rob, times flies. Thank you so much for making time out of your busy schedules to join us today. It was great to see you.
ALL: Thanks, Julian.
Shawnette Gauer, managing director of Relationship Management, describes how her team serves as a thought partner to advisors, bringing strategic and tactical support to firms at every stage of business.Open new window
Schwab Advisor Services™
Managing Director, Advisor Services Business Development
SCOTT: Well, good morning. My name is Scott Delasandro. I’m the Managing Director for Business Development in the Eastern Division for Schwab Advisor Services. I’ve been working with financial advisors, helping them go independent for the last 23 years. And I’m joined with Shawnette Gauer, who is our Managing Director out of Southern California. Good morning.
SHAWNETTE: Good morning. Glad to be here.
SCOTT: Great. Shawnette, could you tell me a little about your role and what you do here at Schwab?
Managing Director, Relationship Management
SHAWNETTE: Absolutely. So my role and the role of my team is to help advisors as they become independent. We continue to support them on strategic and tactical issues with their business.
SCOTT: Great. And how long have you been at Schwab?
SHAWNETTE: I’ve been at Schwab for seven-and-a-half years, and prior to my time at Schwab, I was actually on the advisory side, as well.
SCOTT: Can you share with me the culture of the organization as you see it being here for seven-and-a-half years?
SHAWNETTE: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things I love about Schwab and the Advisor Services division is the client focus. And, for us, those clients are our advisor firms. Prior to my life at Schwab, I was an advisor and I custodied with Schwab, so I’ve seen that side of the business, as well, and I was always very impressed with Schwab, having had relationships with other custodians, as well. And I was wondering if what I saw on the outside as a client was really going to translate once I was on the inside as a Schwab person. And in the seven years that I’ve been here, I’ve been so impressed with how an organization of our size really has that built-in to our DNA in terms of everybody being onboard, solving issues that advisors have, how we can support them, and really being dedicated to their needs.
SCOTT: How do you define our service? What are the things we do, because I would argue and say we have the best service in this industry?
SHAWNETTE: I agree. I think the service that… that Schwab Advisor Services provides for independent advisors is world class. We collectively have a large organization dedicated to supporting the needs of advisors. So whether they’re opening up some sort of complex account or have a challenging client situation that needs some extra attention, needs some help solving for how we can serve that client best, our Service, our Complex Accounts teams, our Concierge team, Solutions team, all of us work together to deliver a good result for that advisor.
SCOTT: Some of the programs that your team gets engaged with, can you share some of those?
SHAWNETTE: Some of the solutions that we provide in terms of consulting, our role, as I mentioned earlier, is to really help firms think strategically and also tactically. And on the strategic side, we offer a number of resources to really help firms grow and think about their business in a way that’s meaningful to then. And so whether they’re thinking about strategic planning and developing a written strategic plan, whether they want to think about client experience and how they really drive a better client experience and deliver the right solutions to their clients, maybe they’re thinking about profitability, maybe they’re thinking about ‘How do I tell my story? How do I differentiate myself?’ Those are all areas that we can help with, that we can act as a thought partner to help them improve on those areas. We also provide a lot of resource and a lot of support around operational workflow, consultations, cybersecurity, and a number of those areas, as well.
SCOTT: Shawnette, I want to ask you, you talked about the culture of the organization, people willing to help advisors. How do you hire people, what do you look for in them to bring them on to the team, to fit into the culture?
SHAWNETTE: It is a great culture at Schwab and real focus on delivering great client service. One of the things I look for in hiring team members is their experience. On my team, we have all had experience on the advisor side, as an example. We also really set high standards in terms of what our advisors can expect for us. Some of the basics—delivering timely responses, communicating effectively, being responsive to their needs, and letting them know that we are there to support them as they need it. I think it’s important to also have people that take initiative, that are self-starters, that are willing to go above and beyond what is asked, that are happy to do that. That’s really what I look for, is that… that engrained DNA in somebody that wants to overachieve, to excel in their role, to exceed expectations, not only that I have for them as a part of the team, but that advisors have for them as we work with them and support them.
SCOTT: Shawnette, I hear from a lot of advisors that what to know how they’re going to do, how do they compare to other people. As you think about a wirehouse, they’re able to see themselves. Production, you know, how am I doing? When we come to the advisor world, they’re concerned about growth, profitability, ‘How much am I paying people?’ How can your team help them?
SHAWNETTE: That’s a great question. The way our team can help firms when they really want to understand how they’re doing relative to the industry and relative to their peers, the first thing that comes to mind is our annual Benchmarking Study. We have roughly 1,200 participants every year, the largest in the industry, where firms can input their own data, their own performance metrics, and get a deep and comprehensive report helping them understand their performance relative to the industry. We also have our annual Advisor Outlook Study, where we understand what advisors are thinking, what’s going on in the industry, and our role on the Relationship Management Team is to really take those results and help advisors understand not only their performance, but trends in the industry, where they are today and where they need to think about going in the future.
SCOTT: What’s different about Schwab versus our competitors?
SHAWNETTE: Yeah, it’s a great question and one that I get asked quite often. The thing that’s really different about Schwab and Schwab Advisor Services is the commitment that we have to the advisor industry. When you think about Schwab as a company, Schwab Advisor Services is nearly half the company, 1.5 trillion in assets. That’s substantial. So when we think about supporting advisors and all that we do, there’s a significant commitment, relative to some of our competitors where the advisor business is a much smaller slice of the overall company. We also have Schwab Bank, which is another differentiator for us in terms of really being able to provide some lending solutions to advisors and their clients. And, finally, safety and security of assets. We wake up every day thinking about how do we keep your trust, your clients’ trust. We don’t want to be a negative headline. So that safety and security and brand reputation is very important for us.
SCOTT: So, Shawnette, what advice to you have for advisors after they’ve gone through the conversion, after they’re set a year on, because there so much information coming at them, as you fast-forward?
SHAWNETTE: The advice that I would give to firms that have recently gone independent is to allow themselves time to adjust and to adapt. While as much as they think that they’re prepared, they’ve gone through the process, they’ve settled through the conversion, it is still an adjustment with the decisions that they now have the opportunity to make on behalf of their own business. I also encourage them to engage with their Schwab Relationship Manager, because we are here to support them to be a great thought partner with them as they get up and running.
SCOTT:What questions would you have if you were sitting on the other side of the fence for the advisors to ask?
SHAWNETTE: That’s a great question. I think the questions that advisors wished they had asked when they were thinking about becoming independent is understanding the support that Schwab provides in their business. Oftentimes, I think that they think independence means going it alone, and that’s not, necessarily, the case. We are here as their custodian to support them, to serve them, to help them think about their initiatives, and what they want to do. So part of our role on the relationship management side is really helping advisors understand all of the resources that Schwab has to offer, which are vast and various, and it can be a lot. So our role is to continue helping to simplify that, understand their needs, and then be able to deliver the solutions that are helpful to them.
SCOTT: So, Shawnette, why do you like your role?
SHAWNETTE: One of the reasons I love my role is I really love helping firms go from where they are today to where they want to get in the future, and that’s different for every firm. So my role is not to tell a firm where they should be doing, my role is to help them think about how to get there. And that’s… that’s the fun part, is watching that evolution and watching firms achieve the success that they want.
SCOTT: Well, thank you so much, Shawnette, for your… your time and your inspiration here today.
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.Open new window
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.
Schwab Advisor ServicesTM
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?
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 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.
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.
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