Schwab Waives Some Fees, Plans to Add Tools for RIAs

Charles Schwab announced a series of initiatives it said are designed to help independent advisers grow their businesses in today's rough environment.

At an annual gathering of independent registered investment advisers (RIAs), the company announced a series of steps it is taking to support advisers, according to a news release.

For one, starting next month, Schwab said it will waive commissions on electronic equity trades and reimburse transfer of account fees charged by contra brokers for up to one year for new-to-Schwab clients of independent investment advisers who open accounts by the end of the year. In addition, Schwab Performance Technologies will waive the next year’s maintenance fees for its portfolio management software, PortfolioCenter, for any advisory firm that custodies client assets with Schwab Advisor Services and licenses PortfolioCenter through Schwab.

Schwab also said it is investing in an array of new service and technology projects that will begin to benefit advisers by the end of the year, including:

  • a newly redesigned technology platform that integrates and centralizes the features of Schwab’s Web site and the SchwabLink desktop application and helps advisers explore and use client data with greater flexibility;
  • secure email functionality between select advisers and Schwab’s service representatives;
  • operations consultants who will share best practices with advisers’ back-office staff;
  • the debut of a new program offering classes to help adviser back-office professionals become proficient at managing custody, account servicing, and operations processing.

A number of other longer-range technology enhancements are also in the works, including enhanced reporting technology and straight-through data file download and updates to PortfolioCenter, Schwab said. Furthermore, the firm said as part of its commitment to open architecture, enhancements will also be made to data and services interfaces provided by other technology providers for advisers.

Also in development is scanning technology that will enable advisers who rely on scanning technology to scan documents directly into Schwab’s workflow.