According to a press release, the new offer by Schwab includes expanded partnerships with a national insurance broker and major commercial real estate firm, a lending program pilot, and expanded service teams. The company is also launching a Web site (http://www.backingtheindependent.com) and advertising campaign to help educate advisers about the benefits of opening an independent practice.
Advisers will be able to look to real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis for transaction and project management support and for help on negotiating real estate costs for their firm. Schwab has also arranged for discounts on select office services like postage and shipping and executive suite options for small firms and/or for temporary use during a transition.
All advisory firms who custody assets with Schwab Institutional will receive from Marsh Affinity Services Group personalized service and preferred pricing on errors & omissions (E&O) insurance – an benefit normally only offered to firms with more than $100 million in assets.
Still in the fledgling stages, Schwab has launched a pilot program – Schwab Advisor Business Loan – in 11 states that offers start-up financing to advisers with at least $75 million in assets under management. Loan amounts will be based on an evaluation of each advisor’s creditworthiness and will begin at $100,000.
The company has also expanded the capabilities of its service teams to help advisers make a smooth transition, offering each advisory firm one conversion consultant to help ensure that all the necessary paperwork and transition details have been completed, including monitoring the account set-up and transfer process for advisors’ clients.
“The moves we are making today are the first of many we will make in 2007 to help advisors who want to become independent,” said Barnaby Grist, managing director of strategic business development for Schwab Institutional, in the release.