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Schwab CEO tells Wall Street threat of TD Ameritrade RIAs bolting ended months ago, with potential defectors holding fast to avoid repapering headaches

Walt Bettinger says he 'feel(s) exceptionally good' that 'all' RIA defections landed over the summer, and TDA RIAs have since been 'rewarding us with ... loyalty.'

Author Lisa Shidler October 17, 2023 at 2:13 AM
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Walt Bettinger: Even the most negative observers have acknowledged the skill and attention to detail that is going into our integration efforts.
Brooke Southall and Keith Girard contributed to the editing of this article.

RIA Custodians

Chicago RIA

Chicago RIA

October 18, 2023 — 9:42 PM
Regarding the comment: "...there were no significant disruptions to the client experience and overall service levels remained strong – including answering client calls in under one minute..." - this is one of the more absurd comments I've heard on an earnings call. From our firm's perspective (~$1bn AUM), the transition from TD to Schwab has been an unequivocal disaster. Our team has done everything possible to shield our clients from the impact, but given Schwab's wildly outdated technology and processes, we can only do so much. Bettinger's comment is nothing short of laughable. The transition has been a huge negative for our firm and, more importantly, our clients.


March 2, 2024 — 7:24 AM
I truly believe Walt is mistaken if he thinks that most defections happened before the merger. Those that left prior where generally advisors want an alternative to Schwab simply because they may have felt they would get lost in the shuffle of the 800 pound gorilla. Now, five months after the merger, most RIA's that stayed through the merger are so frustrated, many are looking to leave. Large firms, small firms, the incompetence and lack of preparation are evident across the board. The biggest factor I see is the lack of setting proper expectations with TDA advisors. To quote Liz Ann Sonders, Schwab's Chief Investment Strategist, "It isn't good or bad that moves the needle, its better or worse" Of course, she was referring to the markets reacting to economic news. If news id bad, but better than expected, that's usually a win, and vis-a-versa. This merger was clearly not a case of bad, because expectations with advisors were set so high. "seamless transition, no re-papering, trained professionals to help ease the pain. Instead what we received was "worse", unexpected, different than we were told. And because of "worse", my sense from advisors I know across the country that I speak to frequently, there are many that are looking around for an alternative. If Walt thinks the discomfort of repapering will keep advisors at Schwab, the hubris will come back to haunt him. I would take one month of pain if it would alleviate years of disappointment and frustration. It's also an easier sell for clients as well now because they have had frustrations with things that used to be very simple and easy. I think clients would be more inclined to stay with Schwab because of the name, but when it takes weeks to process something that should take a day or two, the name doesn't matter, only the frustration the client feels. And that when things get real. I have told clients we are actively looking for an alternative and they are 100% in agreement.

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November 3, 2022 at 1:59 AM

Walt Bettinger discloses expiration of unknown 'pact' to explain to Schwab investors why Bernie Clark, Peter Crawford and Joe Martinetto all chose to exit at once

The 'sort of informal' deal was struck in 2019, but never revealed to shareholders during the merger transition, until the departures were announced -- in one press release -- this month.

May 25, 2024 at 2:45 AM

Fidelity lands RIA whisperer from Schwab in a coup, apparently using quality-of-life perks as lure

Kelly Smith chose the Boston rival for greater flexibility, better pay and a chance to move upmarket to sell family office services to RIAs that mix with the ultra-high-net-worth elite.

February 10, 2023 at 3:39 AM

Chuck Schwab reveals Part B, doubling-down on Walt Bettinger by making him co-chair, a day after Part A -- wagering $15 billion from the Schwab corporate treasury on the CEO's future leadership

The 84 year-old founder's elevation of his 61-year-old protege may foretell bigger fireworks from Rick Wurster who recently took over many of Bettinger's CEO duties, one executive recruiter says.

July 30, 2022 at 12:41 AM

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