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Fresh wave of TD Ameritrade RIAs are speaking out 30-days after Schwab Advisor Services merger, complaining about more red tape and problems befalling clients -- stress levels high

Not just social media savvy RIAs, but principals of smaller, classic, all-TDA shops are listing a litany of issues -- the tip of an iceberg, according to small RIA custodians.

Author Lisa Shidler October 7, 2023 at 6:13 AM
no description available
Jeff Snodgrass: 'The Schwab Advisor Center experience has dramatically improved.'
Brooke Southall and Keith Girard contributed to the editing of this article.

RIA Custodians

J King

J King

October 17, 2023 — 4:16 PM
Our firm attended every educational session and the large off site "Solutions" conference in Orlando. We attended the online version of the Orlando event a few weeks prior to the transition. To say "you can blame the victim to some extent" is an absolute slap in the face to Advisors.
Chicago RIA

Chicago RIA

October 18, 2023 — 9:32 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 Our team has done everything possible to shield our clients from the impact, but given Schwab's wildly outdated technology and processes, we can only do so much.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.


October 19, 2023 — 10:42 AM
our data on securities was correct but i now hve california clients who have never been to california. i have charities that my firm now owns. we have audited all client data and the level of wrong is implies rhe data conversion tables were so inaccurrate that we trust nothing at schwab. further the correction process is waiting on the pgone for hours to be yold sorry about that you need to file bla blah blah form which we filed weeks before. essentially schwab has demonstrated a level of transistion that sets a nww standard for incompetance. when tax time comes and california claims taxes due for accounts that schwab has listed as california but have no activity in california and are ohio organizations the priblems will escalate from terrible to costly and the lawsuits will begin to make schwab pay for the tax isdue corrections. we are looking but we fear to move would be more work since so.much of schwab data is wrong. clients do mot like to he repappered twice in a year. our size is over $500 million tda had a great service team that respobded to us quickly and effectively. we have same people who are great but the schwab processes halt reponses and impose new ridiculous standards on doing simple things we have done for years the only truth of this transition is short schwab and ho long all their competitors


November 10, 2023 — 7:27 PM
It's really hard to believe that Schwab has been the largest custodian for a long time now. Their user interface, processes, etc... are so outdated. Schwab essentially lied to TD advisors when they said they would take the best technology of both firms and come up with a better solution. TD Amertitrade's technology was far superior and much easier to use than Schwab's. It's like we went back in time after the merger. Things that took minutes at TD has taken us hours, even days at Schwab. Some of the processes at Schwab just leave you scratching your head wondering if it's real. For example, if a client wants to take out a large withdrawal from their IRA or do a Roth Conversion that would put them in a higher tax bracket, we cannot change the tax withholding online. Schwab says we don't have the authority to do that; however, they will let us call it in (which only works sometimes depending on who you talk to). There are so many inefficient processes that we are starting to create a list. Schwab had better get this fixed fast or else we will be calling Jason Wenk and other custodians. You know it's bad when you would rather repaper all of your clients than to deal with this mess. And I agree with the other commenter in that it is very disingenuous to blame this on advisors. This is squarely on the shoulders of Schwab.


November 11, 2023 — 4:37 AM
Schwab back office is a disaster and is an absolute nightmare. We are frustrated with trying to do daily business at the most basic level. The back office team who handles new forms processes them incorrectly often. They do not pay attention to the request and miss important details ALL THE TIME and the agents answering the calls to walk you through the forms do not know how to answer questions as to how to complete the forms. Additionally those same Schwab employees CANNOT REACH anyone to advise the RIA how to properly complete the their own firms. It is beyond ridiculous.


November 15, 2023 — 5:03 AM
TD should have acquired Schwab not the other way around.


December 15, 2023 — 1:58 PM
I was a retail client at TDA for over 20 years it was GREAT!! Schwab was so bad for me I moved to Fidelity but Fidelity is just as BAD as Schwab!! Will somebody wakeup and just buy TDA software systems (web site, ph app) and just start a NEW COMPANY like TDA!!


March 1, 2024 — 3:57 AM
We are a 150 million dollar RIA. This execution of this merger has been a never ending feeling of frustration, a huge time suck, and a complete lack of accountability on Schwabs part. We had a client that just needed to change the name on a trust account, just eliminating the phrase “Family Trust”. The forms required were filled out to the letter of the law based on what Schwab told us to do. Something that should have taken a day or two, took 3 months. The phrase that I hear more than any other since the transition is “I’m sorry you were given the wrong information”. My sense in talking with other advisors is that most were willing to take A wait and see approach. We decided early on that we would give this a year to work itself out, but that has become untenable. We are actively looking to change custodians. I feel like the attrition from Schwab will gain momentum as advisors reach the point where they simply can’t justify to clients staying at Schwab.


March 1, 2024 — 2:16 PM
Curious to know if anyone has yet moved away from Schwab to a different custodian? And if so, which custodian did you move to or which custodian are you considering moving to? We have interviewed Altruist, Apex, Axos, SEI, and Trade PMR. We'll be narrowing down to our top 3 and then making a decision from there.


March 2, 2024 — 6:22 AM
Brad- We started with 7 potential custodians and narrowed down to 3 that I visited on-site. We decided to go with tradePMR for a number of reasons. Among them, their ability to keep an IRebal type of rebalancing function. It does everything that IRebal does, just easier. The other reason are just as meaningful. They may not be for everyone, but are certainly worth a closer look.


March 5, 2024 — 7:40 PM
This is helpful Todd. Thank you!

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