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Bernie Clark chides TD Ameritrade RIAs during Schwab IMPACT for publicly airing merger transition 'negatives,' but RIAs say Schwab was quick to grease squeaky wheels

The Schwab RIA chief told the 2,500 attendees that people with negative experiences should 'tell us before you spin out into another place...' and 'we'll figure it out.'

Author Lisa Shidler October 27, 2023 at 2:50 AM
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Bernie Clark: 'I want to tell the positive story.'
Brooke Southall and Keith Girard contributed to the editing of this article.




May 17, 2024 — 10:19 PM
I worked for Schwab until mid last year and can tell you the technology issues are real. As employer we hoped they would slap a Schwab logo on the TD web's and call it a day. Internally the systems are equally bad. The only way to get a change is a social media type setup that you have to get upvotes from other employees which is a joke. Additionally, they are correct about the bureaucratic nightmare at Schwab. Low level managers are more DEI hires than financial experience. Mid-level are the definition of yes men and the top, well let's just say they bungle everything. The past couple of years is like watching the Roman Empire crash. Run away.
Dillon Williams

Dillon Williams

June 12, 2024 — 4:15 AM
I am a former Schwab employee turned RIA. We have been in business over 15 years and have 160 million dollars under management. We were caught up in the TD/ Schwab merger last year. To say that the last 9 months have been challenging is an understatement. I expected issues with such a big undertaking early on. I told my team to hang in there for 1 year and then we will reevaluate. We couldn't make it a year. Schwab made it impossible to justify to clients why so many things have gone wrong, and why they haven't improved. The technology down grade in my mind is the least of Schwab problems. Although the technology was better at TD, we felt like we could work around that. Our issue is how many service team reps are completely clueless. I literally had to explain "trade settlement" to one rep who mistakenly thought that cash was available to withdraw on the day of a trade. Bernie Clark made an issue out of advisors not approaching Schwab with issues first, before they went public. I did just that. I had a number of issues that I escalated to the service team managers, and up to their managers as well. Each time I explained the problem I was having, each time they reviewed what had happened, listened to calls, and each time they came back apologetic and in disbelief that a simple item had gone off the rails so bad. I heard the phrase "this will be a teaching moment for our reps" no fewer than 5 times. Case in point, It took us three months to change the name on a trust account after having submitted all of the correct paperwork. I called and spoke to the team manager and it was fixed the next day. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to escalate everything that goes wrong. They ask for advisors to be patient, but advisors have people to answer to as well, and you can only say I'm sorry so many times before a client begins to wonder why we as advisors aren't doing more to solve these issues. So we took matters into our own hands. We found a new custodian, and moved our assets, because that was the one thing that was in our control. The service reps will guess if they don't know an answer rather than take the time to find out. This, and lack of accountability from the service teams led to our need to move assets. This is not an easy process, but when things deteriorated so bad that clients were threatening to leave, we had no choice. Schwab has been the master of P.R. and public spin. Not just on this but on a number of things that ran them afoul of the SEC and cost them some healthy fines. Of the other firms that I know personally that went through this merger, none are happy even now and are starting to look at alternatives. I think Schwab is nieve to think that advisors won't move because they don't want to go through another move, this is just not correct. Many advisors, Like had initially intended are going to try to wait out the year. By the end of this year (2024) based on advisors I speak with and know personally, the next wave of advisor attrition is on the horizon.

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