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Schwab connected lawyer’s InvestmentNews column erupts like a sudden spring storm, roiling advisors, after firing a warning shot at RIAs without revealing connections

Lawyer Robyn Crowther of white shoe LA law firm Steptoe penned article; both Schwab and InvestmentNews disavowed knowledge of its origin or author conflicts

Author Keith Girard April 13, 2019 at 3:27 AM
no description available
Robyn Crowther: I referred to Schwab and other firms to illustrate some of my points because I am familiar with their policies.



Charles Schwab & Co.


Fred Gabriel


Robyn Crowther



April 15, 2019 — 5:56 PM
and this is new? This incident pretty much defines trade rags....they are riddled with undisclosed conflicts.
Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy

April 15, 2019 — 6:19 PM
The "shot" fired by Schwab is a preview of the coming storm for the investment advice industry. For Schwab it represents another full-cycle of engaging, and then competing against, investment advisors. Economic cycle after economic cycle it's the same game - rinse & repeat. The issue with the space is that neither product, nor custodial platforms are highly profitable as stand-alone differentiators in the industry any more. So established players pass accounts back and forth amongst themselves based on the latest "innovation". Unfortunately these innovations are little more than marketing ploys used to pull retail investors into closed platforms where higher margin "proprietary" products/services can be sold.


April 15, 2019 — 6:47 PM
I suggest we all move assets to another custodian. Who needs these guys. They're using our clients' money to put us out of business.


April 15, 2019 — 7:34 PM
Are any RIAs surprised that Schwab and Fidelity are directly competing for their business?! Why firms custody with them is baffling. Schwab doesn’t even need to charge the $30/month. Their revenue is driven by money markets and proprietary ETFs. And/or MFs on OneSource. They are easily making 80-90bps on all accounts, overallocating clients to reps (300+ each), providing lackluster performance and service. Fidelity....even worse. Several initiatives to capture $1-100million clients. Some think they will grow their biz through the “partnership” with Fido and SCH through referrals, think again. 30-40bps for accounts their branches don’t want to work with. Our firm custodies all of our assets with Pershing, after moving from Fidelity and not even considering SCH. They have been a tremendous partner in every way. Wake up folks.
Jason Johnson

Jason Johnson

May 18, 2019 — 3:39 AM
A lot of this has to do with the failure of Schwab to deliver on the multi-custodial version of Portfolio Connect, which is now as we all know, strictly Schwab custodial only. Portfolio Center, the B-52 of portfolio management software, was sold, and we are now seeing the after effects. Cut off the knees of the RIAs with less than $20M in AUMs, simply because the free Portfolio Connect offering is not up to par. Schwab is mostly making its money based on the interest collected from AUM, Intelligent Portfolios, and the good old Schwab Fund 2035.

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