After 12 years at Schwab in various leadership roles, including Advisor Technology Solutions and Schwab Performance Technologies, Neesha Hathi recently moved to the firm’s retail business. However, as executive vice president of investor services, she hasn’t completely cut ties with RIAs. She leads Institutional Intelligent Portfolios, the RIA-focused counterpart to Schwab’s digital investment platform.
“I get to work on both the retail offering for Intelligent Portfolios, as well as make sure that we continue to enhance it based on what advisors need so they can leverage the platform,” she told Investment Advisor in April.
Clients’ expectations for how they interact with their advisors has been changing, Hathi said, and “advisors are doing a great job nowadays embracing that change.”
For example, they expect service on a much shorter timeline; advisors who are still doing quarterly performance reviews are not meeting those needs. Investors want a “much more dynamic experience,” she said. “They live in the world of Amazon and Uber, so having a personalized relationship that’s not just local but also virtual, having access to their advisor and their information anywhere they want to, any time they want to” is critical.
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Technology is an important tool helping advisors provide that level of service in a scalable way, Hathi said. “Technology not only helps the client experience, and they get all these features around mobility and access and relevance, but [it] also helps the advisor deliver” what clients are looking for.
With its Intelligent Portfolios offerings, Schwab clearly sees robo-advisors as a complement to traditional financial advice rather than a threat. The platforms reached $6.6 billion in assets as of March 2016, just a year after being launched.