Noting Quickening Pace of Advisor Technology Change,
Schwab advances new solution
DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In a presentation to independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) at Schwab’s IMPACT® 2014 conference Wednesday, Neesha Hathi, senior vice president, Schwab Advisor Services, shared her perspective on how the explosion of consumer technology and growing client expectations is reshaping the future of RIA firms. Taking the advisor audience on a journey using three distinct client personas, Hathi showcased how technology trends may not only change the way investors find advisors in the future, but also the way they collaborate and communicate with their advisors on an everyday basis.
“Client expectations around service – accessibility, relevance and transparency – have changed dramatically and these expectations will only continue to grow as technology enables firms to connect with their clients on a personalized level – anytime and anywhere,” said Hathi. “We believe it’s critical that RIA firms build on their technology foundation today, so they can meet both the growing needs of their current clients as well as the next generation, who represent a significant opportunity for firm growth in the decade ahead.”
According to Schwab’s 2014 RIA Benchmarking Study, twice as many firms are planning to invest in an online portal for sharing information with clients compared to 2013, and significantly more firms are focused on providing mobile account access to their clients than in the year prior. In Schwab’s most recent Independent Advisor Outlook Study , 41 percent of firms reported that they are currently using mobile apps to support firm operations, and an additional 34 percent said they are likely to begin using mobile apps in the next two years.
During the presentation, Hathi outlined areas where RIAs can take action today:
- Leverage technology to enable an anywhere, anytime experience
Implement Schwab’s new eApproval tools so clients can electronically complete and sign documents and approve transactions wherever they are.
Consider developing a mobile experience for clients that strengthens relationships beyond in-person meetings. Solutions such as Schwab Advisor Mobile Connect (formerly Schwab OpenView Mobile) allow advisors to provide a customized, advisor-branded mobile app that helps firms stay connected with their clients, while reinforcing their brand.
- Deepen understanding of current clients, their families and children
Leverage client relationship management (CRM) tools to create an institutional knowledge base about client preferences and needs, how a firm meets those needs, and opportunities for improvement.
Review Schwab’s Generation Now research, available on the Schwab Insights HubTM, to learn more about research Schwab conducted with affluent individuals between the ages of 30 to 45 who are following on the heels of advisors’ current pre-retired or retired clients. Having grown up in a 24/7, on-demand world, the research revealed that Generation Now has a desire to communicate with advisors when and how they want, with access when they need it.
- Drive better collaboration through transparency
Consider cloud-based portals, as well as interactive mobile apps, that can put information, ideas and plans in a central location where the advisor and the client can share information.
Manage your social media presence to reinforce and differentiate your brand to clients and prospects.
Schwab Advisor Portfolio Connect Previewing at IMPACT
A multi-year initiative to be delivered late 2015, Schwab’s new portfolio management solution, Schwab Advisor Portfolio Connect (formerly named Project PM2), is in early beta testing and will be previewed at IMPACT. With direct access to Schwab custody data supporting portfolio management and reporting (i.e., performance, billing and analysis), Schwab Advisor Portfolio Connect will address key operational pain points for advisors by cutting the amount of time that advisors spend on data management and dramatically reducing operational overhead.
In addition to eliminating the need for separate downloads and reconciliation, the solution will provide advisors a flexible, intuitive interface featuring a dynamic view of client portfolios. Advisors will have at their fingertips a mobile-optimized experience within the portfolio management solution, and one-click publishing will deliver customized reports, dashboards and presentations that can be shared securely and on-demand through a branded mobile app or portal.
“As the RIA industry continues to mature, it is critical for advisors to find opportunities that help them continue to raise the bar on their already exceptional client experience, but also enable them to deliver this experience efficiently,” said Hathi. “Schwab Advisor Portfolio Connect is designed to reduce the cost of delivering that exceptional client service to enable RIAs to scale and grow their businesses.”
Improving the Client Experience
Schwab’s eApproval initiative, which is focused on improving the client experience by reducing paper use and streamlining processes, has seen strong early adoption with over 20 percent of firms with eligible wires using eAuthorization. In addition, recent enhancements for eAuthorization of wires now enable advisors to approve wire distributions for individual retirement accounts (IRAs), set up standing letters of authorization (SLOAs), and add an option to call Schwab to receive a one-time pin for increased authentication.
Schwab also announced that independent advisors can now leverage the DocuSign Digital Transaction Management platform and electronic signature capability on SchwabAdvisorCenter.com to obtain eSignatures on their proprietary (non-Schwab) forms and agreements. Completed DocuSigned forms will be returned directly to the advisor, not Schwab.
Additionally, the advisory firm’s clients can now authorize others, such as family members, to view their account information through SchwabAlliance.com as long as the individual is also a Schwab client.
Envestnet to Join Schwab OpenView Gateway
Schwab Intelligent Technologies™ announced today that Envestnet, a leading provider of technology-enabled investment and practice management solutions, will participate in Schwab OpenView GatewayTM, the flexible, open-architecture technology platform enabling integration between Schwab systems and those of participating technology providers. The integration will make real-time custodial data and custodial transactions from Charles Schwab available within the Envestnet Advisor Suite™, helping advisors make more informed investing decisions and provide better client service through improved efficiency in their practice.
“The participation of Envestnet in Schwab OpenView Gateway further demonstrates our commitment to advisors to deliver integrated technology solutions that will support an improved client experience,” said Brian Shenson, vice president, Schwab Performance Technologies.
About the 2014 RIA Benchmarking Study
Schwab designed this study to capture insights in the RIA industry, based on survey responses from individual firms. The 2014 study provides information on topics such as asset and revenue growth, sources of new clients, products and pricing, staffing, compensation, marketing, technology and financial performance.
Since the inception of the study in 2006, more than 2,800 firms have participated, with over half being repeat participants. More than 1,100 advisory firms representing nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars in AUM participated this year, making this the leading study in the RIA industry.
The RIA Benchmarking Study comprises self-reported data from advisory firms that custody their assets with Schwab. Schwab did not independently verify the self-reported information.
About the Independent Advisor Outlook Study
The Independent Advisor Outlook Study, conducted for Schwab Advisor Services by Koski Research, has a 3.65 percent margin of error. Koski Research is not affiliated with nor employed by Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. All data are self-reported by study participants and are not verified or validated. Advisors participated in the study between September 10 and September 23, 2014.
Detailed findings can be found at www.aboutschwab.com/press/research.
About the Charles Schwab Generation Now Study for RIAs
Charles Schwab Generation Now Study for RIAs was conducted for Schwab Advisor Services™ by Egg Strategy, a strategic research firm. The study, which was released in 2014, included 40 participants, men and women ages 30-45 with earned or inherited investable assets of $500K (excluding real estate and business holdings), or a household income of at least $150,000. The term Generation Now reflects the immediate opportunity that this incoming cohort of high-net-worth investors may represent for RIAs. All data was self-reported by participants and not validated or verified. Egg Strategy is not affiliated with nor employed by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Investors participated in this study between March 24, 2014 and April 11, 2014. An executive summary of the Charles Schwab Generation Now Study for RIAs is available at: www.aboutschwab.com/press/research.
About Schwab Intelligent Technologies
Schwab Intelligent Integration is a multi-year initiative designed to increase integration between disparate systems and workflows in advisors’ offices. Schwab OpenView MarketSquare™, Schwab OpenView Gateway™ and the Schwab OpenView Workflow Library™ are products of Schwab Intelligent Technologies™. Participating providers in Schwab OpenView Gateway are Junxure, Microsoft, Salentica, salesforce.com, Tamarac, Advicent, MoneyGuidePro and Morningstar. More information about Schwab Intelligent Integration is available at their website, www.schwabintelligenttechnologies.com.
About Schwab Performance Technologies
Schwab Performance Technologies® (SPT) is a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation and a leading provider of portfolio management and accounting solutions to approximately 3,800 independent financial advisors and investment managers. PortfolioCenter®, PortfolioServices, and Schwab OpenView Integrated Office™ are products of SPT. An open architecture firm, SPT provides services to all independent advisors regardless of custodial relationships. SPT also supports third-party outsourcing providers that use PortfolioCenter as the basis for their offering. More information is available at www.schwabpt.com.
About Charles Schwab
At Charles Schwab we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity.
More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com.