Schwab continues to see strong enrollments by advisors for its free Advisor Portfolio Connect management system that was launched in April 2019, according to Bernie Clark, executive vice president of Schwab Advisor Services.
“We’ve had great adoption,” he told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday, pointing out the number of Schwab Advisor Services clients is approaching 1,000.
The number of clients using Portfolio Connect already passed 800 advisors, Schwab spokesman Rob Farmer said Thursday, adding that “about 99% of the advisors using it manage less than” $100 million.
“We greatly exceeded our expectation for year-end enrollments on the platform, with over 700 clients now utilizing the platform on a daily basis,” Andrew Salesky, senior vice president of Schwab Advisor Services, told reporters during a Technology Tuesday conference call Jan. 21. At that point, the average assets under management for those clients was about $40 million, he said.
“What you’ll see this year [are] more capabilities for larger firms that are interested in using Portfolio Connect: some data capabilities, export capabilities, bulk account management capabilities,” Salesky said at the time. However, he added that Portfolio Connect “will stay a Schwab custody-only solution.”
Portfolio Connect “saves firms tens of thousands of dollars,” Clark told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday. And that is especially significant when you factor in the fact that it is “focused more on the smaller advisor — that single custodian,” he noted. If those advisors turned to Orion or Envestnet Tamarac for the same services, they would have to pay for what Schwab is providing to them for free, he said.
This is a “great solution for the smaller firms,” according to Tom Bradley, the TD Ameritrade veteran whom Schwab hired as senior vice president to oversee the integration of the two advisory businesses as part of Schwab’s planned acquisition of TD Ameritrade.
AI-Enhanced Voice Technology
Also new on the technology front at Schwab is an an artificial intelligence-driven, voice-activated phone system for its “core advisor” group — those RIAs with $100 million or less in assets — that is designed to connect a caller directly with the person who has expertise to answer their question.