PFA Updates

Thoughts following Schwab Impact

Nov 06, 2023

Hello Friends,

During the last week of October, we sent three members of our team to attend the Schwab Impact conference in Philadelphia. Our focus at conferences such as this is to make sure we’re using the best financial planning and investment strategies for our clients, and discovering what pieces of technology we can use to make sure we continue to be on the cutting edge of the industry. This conference was particularly important as it was our first opportunity to be around the Schwab leaders following the recent conversion from TD Ameritrade to Schwab. Below are some thoughts from each of the team members that attended the conference.


When you think of celebrities you may think of names like Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise or Taylor Swift, but in the financial planning industry one of those names is Michael Kitces. He is considered to be an industry leader in retirement planning, and I had a chance to talk with him one on one about our approach to financial planning and the assumptions we use when we’re putting together retirement plans for clients. It was a good discussion, and for us it was very positive to hear him validate the methodology and strategies within our retirement plans.

This conference was a little different than normal though because we just went through the big transition to Schwab. Since Schwab is the largest custodian in the US, we now have access to some additional investment products that we didn’t have at TD Ameritrade. Some of the highlights are that we now have access to CD’s (which we’ve been getting a lot of questions about lately), Donor Advised Funds for individuals who are interested in gifting significant money to charity and 529’s for families saving for college. We left the conference feeling very confident in the investments we’re using in client accounts and the financial planning work that we do. The move to Schwab hasn’t been as “seamless” as we might have hoped, but we think that Schwab will be an excellent long-term partner for us with the vast array of services that they offer.


This was one of the largest conferences I’ve attended in my 21 years at PFA. The amount of detail that went into this education event seemed so seamless from my point of view. The “technology hub” Schwab had set up was one of the best I’ve attended.

I was ultimately at the conference to learn the ins and outs of working with Schwab as well as getting some of our questions answered regarding some of the behind-the-scenes processing hiccups we incurred after the conversion from TD Ameritrade. I had the opportunity to meet one on one with the Schwab departments we deal with on a daily basis to learn how our office can provide the best error-free and timely processing of paperwork and requests for our clients. I came away with my questions answered and best practices which I have shared with our PFA team. We will continue our learning experience, as we participate in weekly webinars on various topics to help us adapt to the “Schwab way” of processing. I also learned about some of the new processing capabilities and technology that will be released by the year end and the first quarter of 2024. This was very exciting news for our support assistants.

In all the conference was a great learning experience. I was able to connect and speak with other financial advisors and their support staff to share ideas and incorporate what I’ve learned into our office setting.


My biggest takeaway from the conference is that Schwab takes cybersecurity very seriously. They have robust resources on how both our office and our clients can keep our data safe, we are already using these resources and systems to continuously improve our data security and will be sure to share the client resources over the coming months.

This commitment to cybersecurity led to some of our early frustrations following the transition, as we learned that clients must be more involved in simple updates, such as phone number changes than when we were with TD Ameritrade. We have found that in some cases it is easier for the client to make an update online than for us to make them on your behalf and in most cases if we make a change, clients must grant documented approval through Schwab e-approvals, DocuSign, or signing paper documents.

Change can be hard, and the transition to Schwab was a major change, but knowing the “why" behind their policies helps. If a few extra steps means our clients are better protected, then I am definitely on board.


The Team at Presper Financial Architects

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