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Portfolio > Asset Managers

Schwab rolls out robo for RIAs

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RIAs that custody their clients’ assets with Charles Schwab now officially have the option of calling themselves Robo advisors.

That’s because the behemoth discount broker has rolled out its Institutional Intelligent Portfolios platform, specifically designed for the broker’s RIA channel to meet retirement investors’ growing craving for web-based advisory solutions.

What the platform claims to offer could be called a turnkey solution for advisors.

Individual firms will be able to brand their own identity around the new web and app programs, which will interface with Schwab’s existing desktop platform for RIAs, and RIAs will of course retain the ability to set their own fees.

Advisors can build out their platform with a series of pre-designed asset allocation models, and deploy Schwab’s Investor Profile Questionnaire to determine investors’ risk tolerance.

All portfolios will be required to hold at least 4 percent of assets in cash. Once enrolled, all communications, including trade receipts, will be delivered electronically, through the app.

Schwab now hosts 450 ETFs across 28 asset classes that advisors can build portfolios off of. In a statement, Schwab disclosed that the firm will get paid off of the assets in proprietary and third-party ETFs, as well as earning revenue on trading activity in the portfolios, but the firm did not disclose how much.

Accounts that maintain a $5,000 minimum can be automatically rebalanced to meet investors’ risk profiles, and accounts with over $50,000 can be offered automated tax-harvesting features.

RIA clients will also have access to Schwab’s full-time customer support team.

Perhaps the best feature to RIAs? All of that will be free to advisory firms, so long as they are big enough.

Firms that custody more than $100 million with Schwab will be able to design and deploy the Robo option for free. Firms with less than $100 million already with Schwab will pay 10 basis points on the assets channeled thorough the Intelligent Portfolios platform.

“Advisors see the opportunities ahead of them—whether the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next, the emergence of Generation Now investors, or the shifting priorities of retired clients,” said Bernie Clark, executive vice president of Schwab Advisor Services.

Clark said the initiative is a response of not only the larger automated advisory unit, but the result of Schwab’s channel of RIAs communicating the need to incorporate automated investment solutions in order to grow their firms.


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